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Wizards vs. Hornets preview: Washington heads to Charlotte looking for key win

NBA: Washington Wizards at Charlotte Hornets Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Game Info

When: Monday, January 23 at 7 p.m. ET
Where: Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina
TV: CSN Mid-Atlantic
Radio: 1500 AM and Wizards Radio App

Injury Report

Wizards: Ian Mahinmi (Out, Knee), Danuel House (Out, Wrist)
Hornets: Jeremy Lamb (Day-to-Day, Foot)

What to watch for

Which point guard makes a bigger statement?

Wall got the best of Walker the first time, going for 25 points, 10 assists, 7 steals, and 6 rebounds in a win while holding Walker to 17 points, 9 assists, and 6 rebounds. But this time around, they’ll be on Kemba’s home floor, where he has defeated Wall three times in a row.

Don’t forget: The reserves for this year’s All-Star Game will be named on Thursday, so this is one of the last chances for John Wall and Kemba Walker to make cases for why they should be on the team. A good last impression is vital for both players.

Southeast Division standings

Winning a division may not mean as much as it used to, but it’s still a nice bragging right that neither the Wizards or Hornets have claimed since the Southeast Division was formed before the start of the 2004-05 season.

Right now, the Hawks still hold the division lead, but with all the questions about their future and what they’ll do at the trade deadline, Washington and Charlotte both have an opportunity to claim their first division title this season. Whoever wins this game will take an important step forward in their quest for a division title and could potentially play an important factor in playoff seeding. Charlotte found out the hard way how important those tiebreakers can be when they came out on the bottom of a four-way tie for the third-best record in the Eastern Conference last season. You can bet they’ll be motivated to make sure that doesn’t happen again in what appears to be another tight race this time around.

Most Likely Wizards Killer: Marco Belinelli

Belinelli baited Wall into a technical foul the first time these two played this season after some questionable guarding practices.

Not cool, but he was more than just a pest in that game. He also went off for 16 points in less than 22 minutes of action and made four of his six shots from deep to help fuel a late comeback by Charlotte. Washington will need to do a better job guarding him in this one if they want to overcome the Hornets’ home advantage.