Regular Season Game 76
Hornets (34-42) at Wizards (41-34)
March 31, 2018 at 3:00 PM Capital One Arena | Washington, D.C.
TV: NBATV, NBCSW
Radio: 1500 AM
Odds: WSH -5.5
(Photo: Bob Leverone via The Associated Press)
What to Watch:
Unlike Bradley Beal who said he only checks them out every once in a while, Tomas Satoransky owned that he looks at the Eastern Conference standings every day. As things stand going into Friday night, No. 6 Washington would be in a first round matchup with No. 3 Cleveland. LeBron James and his 21-0 record in his last 21 first round playoff games is something Satoransky admitted he wants nothing of and I’m sure is a sentiment that others within the team also share. Obviously, the Wizards should not purposely tank for the seven seed as they want to be carrying momentum into the postseason, but it would not be the worst thing in the world to play the banged up Boston Celtics instead.
Dwight Howard vs. Wizards’ Bigs
On his fifth different team in seven seasons, one may think that Howard’s productive days are behind him and he is no longer an elite center. He is indeed past his peak, but is certainly still a force to be reckoned with. In his last four games, Howard is averaging 23 points and 19 rebounds in 33.1 minutes. He dropped 32 points and 30 rebounds, including 11 offensive, on Brooklyn just over a week ago. It will likely be defense by committee for the Wizards against Superman with his former mentee Marcin Gortat, Ian Mahinmi, and Markieff Morris when Scott Brooks opts to go small.
Otto Porter Jr.’s Ankle
In the third quarter against Detroit, Porter rolled his right ankle and then got his right foot stepped on resulting in the ankle tendon to then strain in a seperate direction. He would exit the game with assistance to the locker room and not return. He was able to put some weight on the ankle later, but was unable to practice on Friday and will be officially listed as questionable for Saturday’s game. If he cannot go, it will lead to a domino affect of Kelly Oubre Jr. or maybe even Tomas Satoransky having to start at small forward. With x-rays negative, what initially looked like a somewhat serious injury was a crisis averted as numerous other NBA players are going down with injuries.
The Return – For Real
For days now, Scott Brooks has teased that John Wall is getting “close” to returning to game action. The day is finally here as Wall is fully expected to play in his first game since January 25. Capital One Arena may not be full of fans, it rarely is, but you can bet that the Point Gawd will receive a standing ovation when introduced as a starter and loud cheers when ever he does something spectacular.
Washington plays well behind the return of their five-time All-Star point guard to win their first game against Charlotte this season.