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Wizards vs. Hornets preview: Beware of the Buzz

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After Tuesday night's debacle, it feels like anything is possible when it comes to the Wizards. CJ Miles and Paul George made 15 of 17 combined threes and the Pacers ran away with a win out of the Verizon Center.

Tonight, the Wizards have to make sure things go differently. Hopefully, Kemba Walker won't have a career night against a Wizards defense that has struggled to find a consistent place all season long.

But the challenge won't be easy. Don't look now, but the Hornets are the fourth best offensive team in the league so far according to NBA.com's stats tool. And the Hornets will always bring it defensively, so the Wizards will have to fight on both ends of the floor.

It's going to be tough, but this is still a game the Wizards can win. But they will have to play a notch above they did last night if they want to walk out of Buzz City successfully.

Game Info

When: November 25 @ 7 PM EST.
Where: Time Warner Cable Arena
TV: CSN Mid-Atlantic+
Radio: 99.1 WNEW in the Washington area.

Injury Report

Alan Anderson and Martell Webster are out for the Wizards, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is out for the Hornets. Nicholas Batum is questionable with a stomach bug, but did participate in shootaround this morning.

Keys to success

Take care of the ball

The Wizards turn the ball over in losses 19.4 times per game. In wins? Just 14.2 times per game. They've been faithful to their philosophy of moving the ball and trying to keep the defense off balance--they just have to do it in a smart way.

After the Pacers game, John Wall said the Wizards were still trying to build chemistry with their movement off of the ball. When he drives into the paint, he said, the defense collapses and he passes the ball to spots where players just are not standing at times.

Wall, himself, had eight of the team's 21 turnovers against the Pacers. That is a problem. There were many times where he threw passes teammates weren't expecting and that is never a good thing. The team has to find a rhythm and play well together. If that happens tonight, they can get a win.

Guard the three well

As a team, the Hornets shoot 36 percent from three point range. As a collective unit, that's a pretty solid spot to be in. They take 26.6 threes per game, which is a huge difference from what they've taken previously. They're actively searching for threes and knocking them down.

The Wizards have to guard against that and make sure they do not get hot like other opponents have against them. Paul George and CJ Miles are only the most recent players to break down the Wizards' three-point defense, but Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and Kawhi Leonard had success against the Wizards from deep.

Kemba Walker must be stopped

Unlike previous years when Al Jefferson has been the most prevalent threat for the Hornets, Kemba Walker has come into his own as their leading scorer, averaging 18.4 points per game on 46 percent shooting from the floor. He's also shooting the ball well from deep at a 40 percent clip.

Though he is not an elite distributor, he can hurt a team as a scorer from just about any area of the floor. Wall is going to have to stay on him and fight over the multitude of screens he gets to keep him locked down.

And showing Walker love does not mean Jefferson is not a threat. He's still got his old man post moves ready to go at any moment. Nicolas Batum has also had a resurgence early on this season and is shooting well from deep. His playmaking ability is crucial to Charlotte's offense and the Wizards have to stop him from finding the open man as well as scoring the ball.

****

Overall, the Wizards have a solid shot at this one. No team in the NBA is an easy out and everyone will play full throttle on any given night.

But the Wizards seem to have forgotten about last night's debacle and are looking forward to playing in Charlotte and getting back on track. Last night's game cannot affect tonight's play and it shouldn't.