John Wall, Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards battle Kemba Walker, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday night as they aim to continue rising the ranks of the NBA's Eastern Conference.
Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch…
WASHINGTON WIZARDS at CHARLOTTE HORNETS
Where: Spectrum Center
Tip-off: 7 p.m.
TV: CSN+ (coverage begins at 6:30 p.m.)
Live stream: CSNmidatlantic.com
Radio: 1500 AM
Three things to watch...
The Wizards made a late scratch to their lineup about an hour before tip-off against the Chicago Bulls on Friday night, as power forward Markieff Morris dealt with an illness. The Wizards were fine without him for a night, as Jason Smith and Ian Mahinmi each stepped up with season-highs in points: 17 and 16 points, respectively.
But Washington surely wants to get Morris back to 100 percent and soon. John Wall said Morris has been battling sickness for several games and that's why his production has dipped. They need to get him back and playing well before their schedule heats up. We'll see if he can go on Saturday night.
Last tuneup before Boston
Saturday night may represent a bit of a trap game for the Wizards, who know they have a matchup with much higher stakes set for Monday in Boston. The Hornets have had a disappointing year at 29-39 and currently sit 11th in the East. It would be easy to overlook them at this point of the season.
If the Wizards can take care of business, they will roll into Boston with a two-game winning streak. Getting Morris back into the mix would be a nice bonus, as well. Right now the Celtics are second in the East and just 1 1/2 games ahead of Washington. The Wizards lead the season series 2-1, so one more win and they secure an all-important tiebreaker.
The Wizards, by the way, are inching closer to securing a playoff spot. Their magic number to clinch is now just five and their magic number for the Southeast Division is 10. Washington hasn't won a division since 1978-79, a span of 37 seasons. That's the longest drought in the NBA.
[RELATED: NBA Power Rankings: Movement in the East]
Charlotte is bottoming out
Not only are the Hornets underperforming this season, lately it has gotten even worse. They have lost three straight and 11 of their last 16 games. Injuries have hurt the Hornets all season and right now they are without star guard Nic Batum, who has a serious bout with migraine headaches.
The Hornets are a vulnerable team and there is certainly an opportunity for the Wizards, who have had trouble closing out games recently against lesser teams. Working in the Wizards' favor is their streak of 11 straight wins in games that are part of a back-to-back, as Saturday night's matchup will be.