NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, March 12th (All times Eastern)
Charlotte Bobcats (30-34) at Washington Wizards (33-30), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - It's something of a surprise that Wednesday's matchup between the visiting Charlotte Bobcats and Washington Wizards features two seemingly playoff-bound teams.
The two squads have made one combined postseason appearance in the last five seasons, but both are on track for the playoffs this time around.
The Wizards are in the fifth slot, two games behind the Chicago Bulls for fourth and 5 1/2 games ahead of the Atlanta Hawks, who currently own the eighth spot.
The Bobcats are seventh, two games ahead of Atlanta.
Washington saw its two-game winning streak snapped on Monday night with a road loss to the two-time defending champion Miami Heat, 99-90.
Bradley Beal paced the Wizards with 18 points, Martell Webster scored 17 and Marcin Gortat tallied 14 points and 18 boards for Washington, which had won eight of the last nine games coming into the tilt.
Washington led 84-83 following Drew Gooden's layup just past the midpoint of the fourth, but Dwyane Wade answered with a three-point play to spark a decisive 12-0 run from the Heat.
"We were kind of too lackadaisical with the ball," acknowledged Beal. "(We) had a lot of unsure decisions, we should have been a little bit more aggressive."
Monday was a particularly tough night for All-Star John Wall. He finished with seven points on 2-for-8 shooting and committed seven of Washington's 19 turnovers.
The Bobcats have won three of four since a brutal three-game losing streak, all road tilts with Miami, Oklahoma City and San Antonio.
Charlotte's most recent outing was a 105-98 home victory over the Denver Nuggets.
Al Jefferson scored 26 points and pulled down 13 rebounds to help the Bobcats to their seventh consecutive home victory, which is the second-longest in franchise history.
Kemba Walker added 24 points, seven assists and six rebounds and Gary Neal finished with 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting for the Bobcats.
"It was an important win. They're hard to guard, but we hung in there. We fought hard. It wasn't our best game. We made a lot of mistakes in the fourth quarter, but it's a good win and an important win for our team," said Bobcats coach Steve Clifford.
The Wizards won this season's only matchup with the Bobcats, which came in Charlotte on Jan. 7. The Wizards are 4-1 in their last five against the Bobcats in Washington.
03/12 10:20:30 ET