NBA

Wizards need defense to step up vs. Hornets

After the Washington Wizards' recent defensive lapses, head coach Scott Brooks turned to a trusty teaching aid during Thursday's practice session.

"It's a truth box," Brooks said of the TV used to go over their collective mistakes defensively. "That screen tells you exactly what it tells you. If you're playing the right way, it tells you that. If you're not, it tells you that."

The Wizards, who meet the Hornets in Charlotte on Saturday, have allowed their past four opponents to shoot at least 50 percent from the field.

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In Thursday's practice, the coach used the video screen to call out players who failed to stop their opponent on the defensive end.

"Straight one-on-one. Old school," shooting guard Bradley Beal. "Get down and guard your guy. Keep him out of the lane and defend."

The Chicago Bulls shot exactly 50 percent on Friday against the Wizards, But Washington forced 18 Chicago turnovers and won, 112-107.

On the practice court, Brooks' drills followed the same simple formula: one on one.

"It's helped us in the past," Brooks said, "and hopefully it can get us back to playing the way we know we can play defensively."

Washington (42-26) gave up 39 fourth-quarter points to in a 112-107 home loss Wednesday to Dallas, the NBA's lowest scoring team.

"A lot of times, the film is a lot louder than the voice," Brooks said. "We know what we have to do and we know we have to get better. We can't afford to give up 39-point quarters and expect to win."

Point guard John Wall, who had been considered day-to-day with a foot injury prior to Friday's game, had a career-high 20 assists against the Bulls in 34 minutes.

Charlotte (29-39) is coming off a 98-77 loss at Indiana, which shot 53.4 percent from the floor. The Pacers' Paul George torched the Hornets for 39 points.

"You could see it right from the beginning of the game (George) had a look in his eye. Once he got into a rhythm, it's hard to stop him," Hornets coach Steve Clifford said. "When we play well at both ends of the floor, we've been a good team. Tonight, our defense was good enough -- except for the Paul George stuff -- (but) we were poor offensively."

The 77 points tied a season low for Charlotte.

Charlotte this week signed forward Johnny O'Bryant to a multi-year deal. The former D League prospect had been on consecutive 10-day contracts.

On Saturday, the Hornets, losers of three straight and currently four games out of the Eastern Conference playoffs, will turn to a Charlotte superstar who isn't on the roster to find a spark.

It's Cam Newton Bobblehead Day.

The first 15,000 fans who enter the Spectrum Center will get a bobblehead of the Panthers' 2015 NFL MVP quarterback, a common attendee at Hornets games.

The Hornets host Atlanta on Monday.

Washington, currently No. 3 in the Eastern Conference, has a big matchup on Monday in Boston with the second-place Celtics.