Hornets-Wizards Preview

While John Wall says he still isn’t fully up to speed after

missing the first 10 weeks of the season, his latest efforts may

indicate otherwise.

Wall and the Washington Wizards aim for a fourth consecutive

home win Friday night against the last-place New Orleans

Hornets.

Wall, who didn’t debut until Jan. 12 due to a stress injury in

his left knee, is averaging 14.8 points and 7.4 assists in 30

games, just below his career marks of 16.1 and 8.0.

“I think this summer I was in my best shape ever, but after

sitting out 33 games, I think you lose it,” he said. “I’m still

trying to get back into top game shape. It’s tough.”

His last two games, though, seem to show that he may finally be

at 100 percent.

Wall posted season highs of 27 points and 14 assists in a 95-90

loss at Cleveland on Tuesday and had 23 and 10 in a 106-93 victory

over Milwaukee the next night.

“There was an instance tonight where I really saw a glimpse of

greatness,” said swingman Martell Webster, who’s gone 13 for 26

from 3-point range and averaged 19.0 points in the last three

games.

Wall has averaged 19.6 points during rookie Bradley Beal’s

five-game absence due to a sprained left ankle. Beal, scoring 14.2

points per contest, is uncertain to play Friday.

“Just being more aggressive and taking better shots than what I

was taking,” Wall said of his recent play. “Just give credit to me

working harder with (assistant coach) Sam (Cassell) on my jump

shot, those type of things.”

Averaging an NBA-low 91.9 points, the Wizards (21-42) have

scored 99.8 per game in winning 13 of 17 at home. They would appear

to have a good chance to continue that success against the Hornets

(22-43), who have dropped nine of 11 on the road, including four

straight by an average of 17.7 points.

While it wasn’t pretty, Washington pulled out a 77-70 win at New

Orleans on Dec. 11. The Wizards shot 32.9 percent, their lowest

mark in a victory since Nov. 7, 2000. Wall and Hornets leading

scorer Eric Gordon, who averages 16.9 points, sat out.

New Orleans is coming off its fourth loss in five games, 108-98

at Brooklyn on Tuesday. The Hornets shot 51.3 percent but were

outrebounded 42-31.

“In games like that, you got to play through the physical

contact, because that’s what we’re going to have to overcome if

we’re going to be good team someday,” coach Monty Williams

said.

Gordon scored 24 points, Anthony Davis had 17 and 11 rebounds

and Greivis Vasquez added 15 points and 14 assists. Davis has

averaged 17.0 points and 12.0 boards over the last five games.

Ryan Anderson missed his first game of the season Tuesday due to

an illness and is uncertain to suit up Friday.

The Hornets have won three straight in Washington, last visiting

Jan. 1, 2011.