Can Michael Jordan's Hornets prevent back-to-back wins for the Wizards?

Mike DePrisco

Sporting the NBA's most prolific offense and coming off their best win of the year against the Spurs, the Wizards are gunning for their first set of back-to-back wins since March of last season. 

The Wizards play the Hornets on Friday at 7 p.m. EST on NBC Sports Washington.

In order to get there, they'll have to get past one of the worst teams in the league in Michael Jordan's Hornets. Charlotte is currently 24th in offensive efficiency, 23rd in defense and has the fourth-worst net rating, getting outscored by nearly eight points per 100 possessions. 

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The Wizards' defense has been legitimately awful through the first 12 games of the year, but perhaps the Hornets could be their "get right" game to build some confidence on that end of the floor. 

To do that, they'll need to neutralize Terry Rozier and Miles Bridges

Terry Rozier

Rozier broke out in the 2018 playoffs by helping lead the Celtics to the brink of the NBA Finals without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. His follow-up act last season was disastrous. He failed to adjust to a reserve role behind Irving, he ended up shooting 38 percent from the floor and the Celtics, for a multitude of reasons, crashed and burned. 

It became clear that for Rozier to succeed, he needed a team to give him a starting role. That's exactly what the Hornets provided when they signed him to a three-year, $58 million deal to replace Kemba Walker. 

In his first season as a full-time starter, Rozier is averaging 16.5 points, 4.5 assists and 4.5 rebounds while shooting a career-high 41 percent from the floor and 35 percent from three. When trying to stop the Hornets' attack, nearly everything begins with Rozier. 

He's not much of a facilitator on pick and rolls, mostly looking to score off the dribble. This isn't something he's great at, because Rozier's a streaky shooter. If the Wizards' defense lets him get comfortable early and some of his pull-up jumpers fall, he could be in line for a 25-plus point night. 

Miles Bridges

Bridges may not be the most polished offensive player yet, scoring most of his points off of activity and athleticism around the rim, but that's the kind of player who could go off against a defense like the Wizards.

He's shooting a modest 36 percent from three on 4.4 attempts per game, so there's not much of an upside to playing off of him to keep the second-year wing out of the paint. The key will be making sure he's accounted for on the offensive glass and getting back on defense after misses to limit transition opportunities. 

Similarly to Rozier, the Wizards need to be mindful not to let Bridges get going early on. If they can keep both out of rhythm early, Washington shouldn't have a tough time with these Hornets. 

Expectations were low coming into the year for the Wizards and seemingly fell even harder after the team limped out to a 2-7 start. However, it's clear this team can score against anyone and if they decide to play even a lick of defense on Friday, they should walk out with a relatively easy win. 

The Wizards and Hornets tip-off Friday night at 7 p.m. EST on NBC Sports Washington.

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Can Michael Jordan's Hornets prevent back-to-back wins for the Wizards? originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

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