|Hornets open home-heavy second-half vs. Wizards|
The city of Charlotte hosted All-Star Weekend. The Hornets now will host a bunch of basketball games that actually count in the standings.
Charlotte (27-30) begins its post-break stretch in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, in a tight race for one of the eight playoff spots, 3 1/2 games ahead of the 11th-place Washington Wizards (24-34).
The Hornets open a four-game homestand against the Wizards on Friday, the first of seven contests in an eight-game stretch at Spectrum Center.
"We have a lot of games here at home. We've played well against some of the teams we're going to be facing," forward Marvin Williams said. "They're going to be just as hungry as we are. They might have even more of an edge because they do have to come here.
"The games that we do have to play here at home, we really have to take care of business, and we have to find a way to get a couple out there on the road."
The Hornets are 19-9 at home. The Wizards are 7-23 on the road, the third-worst mark in the East.
Charlotte is expecting to get back veteran point guard Tony Parker, who missed four games before the break because of back soreness. He was able to practice Wednesday.
"We've really missed him in a tremendous way," coach James Borrego told reporters after practice. "He looks good. He did every bit of practice. ... I think we're trending the right way with him physically, and we're going to need him."
Charlotte is 1-9 this season when Parker doesn't play.
All-Star Kemba Walker has led the way, averaging 24.9 points and 5.6 assists this season.
Washington is trying to make a playoff push without John Wall (out since late December because of a ruptured left Achilles tendon), with All-Star guard Bradley Beal taking the lead role.
"I'm locked in. I'm beyond locked in," Beal said on NBA.com after the All-Star Game. "Hopefully my teammates will be the same way, because we got a lot of games that we need.
"These are games are imperative and important that we get them. I'm going to make sure that everybody's locked in. I feel good. My body feels good. We're going to hit the ground running."
Forward Trevor Ariza has averaged 15.4 points per game in 28 games for the Wizards after arriving via a trade with the Phoenix Suns.
Washington is hoping to be more cohesive down the stretch after adding Bobby Portis, Jabari Parker and Wesley Johnson before the trade deadline earlier this month. They have each played four games with the Wizards.
Washington will get back point guard Tomas Satoransky, who missed the final two games before the break due to the birth of his and his wife's first child.
"It was great timing," Satoransky told reporters Wednesday. "I could spend all the time with my family. I mean, words can't describe the feeling. ... But I'm looking forward to getting back to work and finishing the season strong."
This is the first of three games between Charlotte and Washington in a three-week span. They play again in Charlotte on March 8 and wrap up the four-game season series at Washington on March 15.
The Wizards won 130-126 at home on Dec. 29, despite 47 points from Walker, who made 18 of 29 shots from the field.
--Field Level Media