Wizards-Hornets Preview

Despite both teams’ overall play this season, the Washington

Wizards and New Orleans Hornets probably feel good about facing

each other with the hopes of ending their respective current rough

stretches.

The Wizards look to avoid a seventh consecutive road defeat and

hand the Hornets a fourth straight home loss Thursday night in a

matchup of two of the NBA’s worst teams.

While only Charlotte has fewer victories than Washington (9-32)

in the Eastern Conference, New Orleans (10-33) owns the worst

record in the West. The teams are a combined 4-10 in March and

between them have dropped five in a row overall.

New Orleans has won two in a row and five of six against

Washington, including three straight at home. The Hornets, however,

are 4-18 on their home floor where they have dropped three in a

row. They blew a 17-point lead in a 107-101 overtime loss to the

Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday.

Jarrett Jack scored 30 points on 13-of-21 shooting and Chris

Kaman added 21 with 12 rebounds but the Hornets still found a way

to lose despite shooting 51.8 percent and forcing 19 turnovers.

“The losses just drive you nuts,” coach Monty Williams’ told the

Hornets’ official website. “I was listening to somebody talking

about winning. It’s good, but it’s not as bad as losing. The losing

just makes you over-analyze at times or makes you really emotional.

Where winning, it’s almost the same every time.”

Jack and Kaman have been the only real bright spots for New

Orleans in 2011-12. The only Hornet to score 30 points this season,

Jack is averaging a career-high 15.3 points. Kaman, meanwhile, has

averaged 16.4 points and 9.7 rebounds in the last 16 contests.

Kaman is averaging 20.8 points in his last five games versus

Washington.

While the Hornets believe they have a good chance to bounce back

Thursday, the Wizards might feel confident they can snap their

six-game road skid against a team struggling at home.

Trevor Booker had 20 points with 12 rebounds and John Wall added

18 with 10 assists as the Wizards remained competitive but allowed

Dallas to shoot 50.6 percent in a 107-98 road loss Tuesday.

“We competed,” Wall said. “We just gave up too many easy

baskets. We’ve got to figure out how to close.”

Already one of the NBA’s worst defensive teams giving up 102.3

points per contest, Washington has allowed an average of 110.0 on

50.0 percent shooting while losing four of five overall.

Despite another poor defensive effort leading to a third

consecutive defeat overall, Wizards coach Randy Wittman has plenty

of faith in his club.

“We’ve just got to keep fighting like that, and keep improving,”

Wittman told the Wizards’ official website. “Making steps in the

improvement defensively we need to make.”

Wall is averaging a team-leading 17.3 points in his second NBA

season, but he was held to a combined 16 on 6-of-20 shooting in

Washington’s two losses to New Orleans in 2010-11.