The Wizards fell to the Charlotte Hornets 99-86 in a game seemed over before it even got going. The Hornets started off on fire from three, with Gary Neal and P.J. Hairston both hitting two in the first quarter to set the tempo for the Hornets strong shooting night. While Charlotte was prolific from the perimeter, Washington could never really get into a rhythm on offense, struggling to score until a late surge of deep shooting in the 4th quarter. Xavier Silas scored 16 points and Otto Porter added 14 for Washington. The Wizards return to Washington to play the Pistons at 1 PM Sunday in a game that thankfully will be televised.
3 Things we learned
1. Why can't the Wizards hit 3's?
The Wizards were one of the best three point shooting teams in the league last year, finishing 5th in the NBA in percentage. However, thus far this preseason, the Wizards shots have just not been effective from deep. Washington came into their game against Charlotte having hit shot 7-29 from three in their first two preseason games. Part of the fall off is to be expected, with the Wizards without two of their best three point shooters from last year in Trevor Ariza and Martell Webster. That said, it was hoped that Pierce, Rice and Porter could pick up the slack, but that hasn't happened enough yet.
Friday night wasn't much better as the Wizards continued to struggle, starting off a putrid 1-10 in the first half while the Hornets seemed hit everything is sight. This was enough to dig a hole that they couldn't escape. The only bright spots in this respect were Xaver Silas and Otto Porter who came off the bench late to hit 4 of 7 and 2 of 3 threes respectively. However, most of these were hit long after the game was in doubt, and only served to help get the Wizards to a pedestrian 33% for the evening.
2. A bright spot? Wizards control their turnovers
After two games in which the Wizards committed 19 and 20 turnover, respectively, Washington did a much better job of taking care of the ball against the Hornets. Wall, who coughed the ball up 9 times against the Pelicans, did so only twice against Charlotte. The Wizards as a whole only turned over the ball 10 times, with Wall and Seraphin accounting for half that number. Though this is a positive aspect of tonight's performance, taking care of the ball doesn't matter that much if you can't do anything with it.
3. Where is the perimeter defense?
Just as the Wizards struggled shooting from behind the arc, their struggles with perimeter defense were on display again versus Charlotte. Gary Neal and P.J. Hairston started off strong from the outside against the Wizards, and the rest of the Hornets kept the party going, hitting 13 of 28 for on the night. Hairston, Neal and former Wizard Jannero Pargo each hit three or more three pointers, and Neal led all scorers with 19 points. The Wizards will have to find out a way to better defend on the perimeter than they have thus far this preseason.
Some vine highlights from the game