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As nice as it might be to get right back on the court while working on a winning streak, the Charlotte Hornets probably needed their first two-day break of the season this week.
Now it's back to action for a visit from the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night in Charlotte, N.C. The Hornets have won three in a row, matching their longest winning streak of the season, and will be playing the third game in a four-game homestand.
Charlotte last appearance was Sunday night -- a riveting 106-102 decision against the Golden State Warriors, who had just one loss coming into the game.
"Keep it going," Hornets guard LaMelo Ball said.
That won't be easy against the Wizards, who are on even a more impressive roll than the Hornets. Washington has won five consecutive games, including Monday night's 105-100 decision against the New Orleans Pelicans.
"We understand that we haven't done anything (yet)," Wizards forward Montrezl Harrell said. "It's definitely a great feeling to be where we're at."
That's because the Wizards own a 10-3 record under first-year coach Wes Unseld Jr., marking the team's best start in 47 years.
"It's not like we can rest on our laurels," Wizards guard Spencer Dinwiddie said.
That latest result included a comeback from a 19-point deficit in the second half.
"We have great talent and great energy," Wizards forward Deni Avdija said. "When we play together and have that great energy, it's really hard to stop us."
Washington has had a pair of two-day breaks during its winning streak, so those pauses didn't hinder their momentum.
Five of the Wizards' victories this season have come by seven or fewer points.
Perhaps more important, the Wizards have shown the ability to excel even without leading scorer Bradley Beal. He has missed the past two games because of personal reasons (grieving the loss of his grandmother, who he has described as "Mom 2.0").
For the Hornets, there was much to digest from the victory over Golden State. Many of the usual contributors emerged on offense, but it turned out to be a well-rounded effort.
"We followed it up with some good offensive execution," Charlotte coach James Borrego said. "But in the end, it was won with our defense."
The crucial part of all this for the Hornets will be making sure the lessons from Sunday transfer to future games.
"Playing competitively for 48 minutes," Borrego said. "I think that's the key for us moving forward."
Ball said late-game defense can be the key for the Hornets.
"Staying locked in on defense, that helps us go," Ball said. "When we're playing defense, that helps us generate on offense."
That's much of the way the Wizards describe their recent success, too.
"Why we've been on this run is due to our defense," Dinwiddie said.
Charlotte's other three-game winning streak came in the first three games of the season.
This begins a stretch of six road games in an eight-game stretch for Washington, which holds a 4-2 record in road games.
The Wizards-Hornets matchup will be the first of two meetings between the teams in a six-night span, with the next meeting Monday in Washington.
--Field Level Media