Wizards vs. Bobcats Preview: Can Washington punch its playoff ticket?

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Wizards will hit the road to face the Charlotte Bobcats. Here's what you'll need to know, including the impact the game has on the playoff race.

Last weekend, the Wizards got two critical wins by beating the Pacers and Hawks in back to back nights. By doing so, the Wizards also had a chance to clinch a playoff berth if the New York Knicks lost to the Golden State Warriors Sunday. Unfortunately, that didn't happen, so the magic number remains at one as the Wizards head into Monday's game against the Bobcats. Charlotte lost on the road to the Orlando Magic Friday, so it's now three games behind the Wizards for sixth place.

Where and When? Game time is at 7 p.m. at Time Warner Cable Arena. You can watch it on Comcast SportsNet.

Who's out? Nene and Glen Rice, Jr. are out for the Wizards. Trevor Ariza was questionable after suffering a groin injury during last Saturday's game against the Hawks, but he should play.

Gary Neal is questionable for Charlotte, while Brendan Haywood and Jeff Taylor are out for the season.

Are they good, and what are they good at? The Bobcats aren't a great team, but they're eons better than the 7-59 team that took the floor two years ago. Their forte is on the defensive end, where they are currently ranked eighth. Also, Kemba Walker, Al Jefferson and Gerald Henderson have formed a pretty good trio for them. Jefferson in particular has been a beast in the low post.

What are they bad at? When they're in the playoffs, the Bobcats will need more players consistently scoring besides the aforementioned Walker, Jefferson and Henderson. Getting Neal in a trade deadline deal for Ramon Sessions has helped when he's suited up.

Who wins? The Wizards just got some positive momentum over the weekend and they play well on the road, so I'll pick them to win in a close battle.

But if they lose, could they still clinch a playoff spot tonight? Yes. The Knicks will play the Utah Jazz on the road at 9 p.m., so if the Wizards lose, they still can clinch a spot if the Knicks also lose.

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