Before the season started, many believed that the Washington Wizards would be challenging for a spot in the Eastern Conference finals and that the Charlotte Hornets would be in a bit of a pickle after losing Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
But the Hornets haven't missed a beat. Some say they are better without MKG because it allows their offense to flow better.
And the Wizards? Well, a change in playing style hasn't worked, Bradley Beal got hurt and the season is going downhill, fast.
The Wizards fell to 6-6 after their last meeting with the Hornets - a 14-point loss in Charlotte on Nov. 25 - and haven't been much better since. While the Wizards are 10-14 the Hornets are 15-10.
Losses and injuries are piling up for the Wizards, and they are hoping their fortune turns in this Eastern Conference battle.
When and Where: Saturday, Dec. 19 at 7 p.m. at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.
Watch on: Folks in the DMV can catch this one on CSN, those in Charlotte can watch on Fox Sports Southeast, or everyone can watch this one on NBATV. National broadcast for the Wiz!
Listen on: As usual, the radio party is on WNEW 99.1 FM.
Wizards are missing: Alan Anderson (ankle), Bradley Beal (fibula), Drew Gooden (calf), Nene (calf).
Hornets are missing: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (shoudler). Al Jefferson is serving his second of a five-game suspension for violating the league's drug policy and Nic Batum is doubtful with an illness.
What to Watch for
Who is going to help John Wall stop the Hornets' backcourt?
Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lin have found some chemistry lately and the pair combined for 62 points in the Hornets' overtime win against Toronto a few days ago.
In the Wizards' last five games - four losses and one win - they have given up an average of 37.4 points, 10.8 rebounds and 9.4 assists to starting back court pairings.
The Wizards only had Beal for one of those games - a six-point loss to the Rockets - and the Wizards gave up 57 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists to James Harden and Corey Brewer.
With Kemba and Lin rolling and with the Wizards struggling to find someone to replace Beal's production and defense, this could be a rough night for the Wizards if they can't contain those two.
Most likely Wizards' killer:
In their last meeting, the Hornets used a 25-2 run to comeback and top the Wizards in the fourth quarter. That was with Big Al Jeff and Nic Batum, however Jeremy Lamb led the run with nine points and an assist in that final period. He scored 18 points total in that one and could hurt the Wizards again tonight, especially if he's left open from long range.
Lamb is averaging about 12 points, five rebounds and two assists for the Hornets this season, coming off the bench in 24 games.