The Washington Wizards and host Charlotte Hornets are in need of a reversal of their fortunes early in the season, and both will be looking to put a halt to a freefall when the teams meet for the first time this season on Monday night.
The Hornets, who carry a four-game losing streak, and the Wizards, who have dropped five of their last six games, have encountered a bevy of shortcomings.
Among the glitches for the Wizards and Hornets was the inability to capitalize on facing the Brooklyn Nets, who have been mired in turmoil. Washington and Charlotte lost to the Nets on back-to-back nights (Friday and Saturday), respectively, in home games.
Coach Wes Unseld Jr. said the Wizards have demonstrated a “competitive spirit” while short-handed because of a limited roster, so that could bode well despite the unfortunate results.
Washington’s Bradley Beal missed Sunday’s game against Memphis because he was in the league’s health and safety protocols. That means it’s likely he won’t play in Charlotte as well. He averages 21.6 points per game.
The Wizards were hurting in several ways in that 103-97 loss to Memphis, especially from beyond the arc, as they shot 19.5 percent (8-for-41) from deep.
Without Beal, the Wizards moved Corey Kispert into the starting lineup in his second game back in action after an ankle injury caused him to miss the start of the season. He scored just six points.
Jordan Goodwin helped spark Washington’s 19-0 run in a comeback that fell short.
“His impact on the ball defensively,” Unseld said. “He made some plays to the rim. He was able to keep us organized. I think that helped turn the tide.”
Goodwin has certainly gained the confidence of the Wizards around him.
“He’s a hungry, hungry guy,” teammate Monte Morris said. “He’s trying to show people he can play at this level. He’s doing that at practice and also in games.”
For the Wizards, it might be important to not become content with the good segments of the game since the result still wasn’t there.
“No moral victories,” Unseld said.
Offensive execution became a trouble spot for the Hornets, who have failed to reach the 100-point mark in their past three games.
“Knowing when to shoot it, when to drive it, when to pass it is a big thing,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford said. “That’s our major problem.”
The good thing for Charlotte is the return of guard Terry Rozier, who hadn’t played since the second game of the season because of an ankle injury. He poured in 25 points on Saturday night against Brooklyn, aided by making 6 of 14 shots from 3-point range.
Rozier said there were positioning issues down the stretch Saturday, and he said suspect ball movement resulted in players being in awkward spots.
“I’ve got to be better,” Rozier said. “I’m going to look at film and I’ve got to be better and I will. … We want to play fast, but not in a hurry.”
The Hornets could be close to getting guard LaMelo Ball back in action for the first time this season. Cody Martin also appears nearing a return to action, Clifford said.
–Field Level Media