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Wizards-76ers preview: We're not last

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Wizards-76ers preview: We're not last

Matchup: Washington Wizards (26-30) at Philadelphia 76ers (8-49)

When: Friday, 7:00 p.m. (TV: CSN+, CSNMidatlantic.com via NBC Sports Live Extra) 

Season series: Washington leads 1-0. Three games remain in the series.

When we last met: The Wizards won 106-94 on Feb. 5

Three things to know:

East watch: Despite Wednesday's frustrating loss at Chicago, Washington is 3-2 since returning from the All-Star break. That's positive, but not enough to make a dent in it deficit when it comes to chasing a playoff spot. The Wizards remain three games back of the eighth and final playoff spot, now occupied by the Hornets. The gap for homecourt advantage in round one increased to five games in the loss column, though they are just four behind fifth. With 26 games left, none of this matters if the Wizards doesn't start stringing wins together.

We're not last: The winning consistency remains elusive, but the Wizards have shown improvement defending the 3-point line. Last in opponent 3-point shooting percentage for a chunk of the season, Washington (37.9%) now sits 31st, one slot ahead of the Phoenix Suns. Over the last seven games, foes are shooting 28.4% (39 of 137) from distance, the second-best mark in the league over that stretch. The players have admitted that better effort and not changes in scheme have led to improved defense overall. The wing presence of Alan Anderson should also help.

Here they go again: Just when it seems like the 76ers might, might, might be turning the corner, they lose 10 of 11 including six straight. Since returning from the All-Star break, the margin of defeats are 7, 22. 9 and 20. Detroit pummeled Philadelphia 111-91 Wednesday. In those games, opponents averaged 121.3 points.

"We had that good stretch before the All-Star break, and it earned us some respect," guard Ish Smith said, according to the Associated Press. "The problem is that we've lost what we had, so teams are taking us seriously and beating the crap out of us. That's what the Pistons did tonight."

MORE WIZARDS: Morning tip: No way Wizards could lose to Sixers? Wrong

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Wizards vs. Hornets: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

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USA TODAY Sports

Wizards vs. Hornets: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Jr. and the Washington Wizards battle Kemba Walker, Dwight Howard, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch:

WASHINGTON WIZARDS VS. CHARLOTTE HORNETS

Where: Capital One Arena
Tip-off: 7 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (coverage begins at 6 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

On a roll

The Wizards have some serious momentum going right now. With an impressive win over the Cavs on Thursday, they have now won three straight games and eight of 10 since John Wall went down with a left knee injury. They had a week off due to the All-Star break, but didn't show any rust at all in their first game back.

The Wizards are now 34-24, 10 games above the .500 mark. They are fourth in the East and could move into third on Friday if they win and the Cavaliers lose. Even with Wall out, things continue to look up for Washington.

PODCAST: BIGGEST STORYLINES COMING OUT OF ALL-STAR BREAK

Hornets have had their number

The Wizards haven't done so well against the Hornets so far this season. Charlotte has taken both meetings and that includes a 24-point win on Jan. 17. That game featured Dwight Howard taunting the Wizards late in the fourth quarter.

Howard has killed the Wizards through two games with averages of 22.0 points and 14.0 rebounds. Jeremy Lamb (20.0 ppg vs. Wizards) has been a big factor as well as All-Star Kemba Walker (21.5 ppg vs. Wizards).

The last time these teams played about a month ago frustrations boiled over in an incident that got Tim Frazier ejected. Michael Carter-Williams picked a fight with Jason Smith and Frazier went off:

RELATED: BEAL IMPRESSED BY LEBRON AT ALL-STAR GAME

Hornets coming in hot

The Hornets are outside the playoff picture at the moment at eight games below .500, but they have won two straight games and Walker and Howard are coming off huge games. In a win over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday, Walker dropped 31 points and Howard grabbed 24 rebounds.

Those guys will be riding a high coming into Washington on Friday. But it should be noted that Howard complained after the game how tired he is at this point in the season. That exhausion could affect him more in the second game of a back-to-back.

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS

 

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' huge road win over Cavaliers, including Markieff Morris' alley-oop

5 must-see moments from Wizards' huge road win over Cavaliers, including Markieff Morris' alley-oop

Here are the five best plays or moments from the Washington Wizards' 110-103 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night...

1. The Wizards didn't start out well, as they trailed by nine points at the end of the first quarter. Kelly Oubre, Jr. stumbled early by missing four of his first six shots and it looked like a carryover of his slump before the All-Star break.

But Oubre got hot in the second quarter and helped the Wizards turn the game around. This was one of his best plays, a two-handed slam that he celebrated with an emphatic scream to the crowd:

RELATED: BEAL IMPRESSED BY LEBRON AT ALL-STAR GAME

2. Tomas Satoransky was one of the stars of the game. He had 17 points to go along with eight assists, four rebounds and two steals. 

Here's one of his dimes, a perfect alley-oop lob to Markieff Morris, who finished with nine points and eight rebounds:

3. Satoransky has reached double-figures in six of the 10 games since John Wall went out with an injury. This was a very impressive move, a stepback fadeaway that was super smooth:

RELATED: GET TO KNOW NEW WIZARDS FREE AGENT SIGNING

4. Ian Mahinmi made some key contributions including four offensive rebounds and a steal. This was his best basket, a powerful slam that came at a key time:

5. This play helped seal the victory. It was a smart after-timeout set drawn up by head coach Scott Brooks and it worked to perfection:

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS