|Wizards aim to clinch winning trip against Hornets|
The Washington Wizards will seek to complete a winning road trip when they visit the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday night.
The Wizards rebounded from a trip-opening loss at Toronto on Sunday with a triumph at Milwaukee the next night, putting them in position to take two of three after a day off in Charlotte.
Beating the Hornets on the road will be no easy task. Charlotte tipped off a three-game homestand with 15- and 16-point wins over the Los Angeles Clippers and Minnesota Timberwolves, respectively.
The key to the Hornets' recent success: spreading the wealth on offense.
After Kemba Walker's 47-point explosion wasn't enough in a loss at Chicago last Friday, the Hornets turned to a more balanced approach in the wins over the Clippers and Timberwolves.
Dwight Howard was the headliner with a pair of impressive double-doubles, recording 16 points and 16 rebounds against the Clippers before collecting 25 points and 20 rebounds against the Timberwolves.
"He controlled the paint at both ends of the floor," Hornets coach Steve Clifford said after the Minnesota contest. "He controlled the game."
The 20-20 game was the first of the season for Howard and the 49th of his career. No other active player has more than 16.
Also contributing to the overpowering of the Clippers and Timberwolves were Nic Batum and Jeremy Lamb, who combined for 29 and 33 points, respectively.
The Hornets are getting hot from long range, with Walker connecting on six 3-pointers in the win over the Clippers, and Frank Kaminsky dropping in four against the Timberwolves. Charlotte shot a combined 22 of 52 (42.3 percent) from beyond the arc in those games.
The Wizards will counter with a defense that has allowed 100 or more points just once in their last seven games -- and that was in a 100-91 loss at Toronto on Sunday.
They bounced back with a stellar defensive effort at Milwaukee, limiting the Bucks to four 3-pointers in 22 attempts and just 88 points.
"Defensively, we locked into the game plan," Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. "We were aggressive. We were physical. We played with an IQ. We made them take the shots that we wanted them to take."
The Wizards have been particularly strong in defending 3-pointers this season. Opponents have made just 33.1 percent, the fifth-lowest figure in the league.
The Wizards and Hornets have battled on even terms over the past four seasons, each winning eight times.
Washington won last year's season series 3-1 thanks mainly to a 109-99 victory at Charlotte in January. The Hornets were limited to 8-for-32 shooting on 3-pointers in defeat.
Wizards star John Wall has dominated his matchup with Walker over the years, scoring in double figures in the clubs' past 18 meetings and averaging 24 points in Washington's three victories last season.
Walker, meanwhile, had 21- and 17-point games in two of the losses, making just 14 of his 39 shots (35.9 percent).
Wall sat out Washington's loss at Toronto on Sunday with a bruised knee, but he returned to play 31 minutes and total 15 points Monday against Milwaukee.