Wizards seek answers in Charlotte

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Washington Wizards are in a rut and they'll try and break out of it Thursday night when they travel to Time Warner Cable Arena to face Southeast Division rival Charlotte.

The Wizards have lost four straight and six of their last eight. This skid includes consecutive road setbacks as the Wizards fell 10 games behind the Atlanta Hawks, thanks to Wednesday's 105-96 defeat at Philips Arena.

John Wall tallied 24 points with nine assists, Bradley Beal had 23 points and Nene added 17 points for Washington. The Wizards have dropped four straight games for the first time since Dec. 6-14, 2013.

The Wizards were no factor early in the contest. They trailed by 11 after the first quarter, fought back, but surrendered a late run and Atlanta's edge was 13 at the half. Washington showed life in the third, sparked by a 12-3 run. The Wizards took the lead, but a pair of late baskets by the Hawks gave them a three-point cushion to start the fourth.

The lead teetered around seven much of the final 12 minutes. A costly technical foul from Washington coach Randy Wittman helped push the Hawks' lead to 11 and they hung on for victory.

"They are a good team," Wittman said. "I think it was the last 2:40 of the first half, we're battling... then they have a spurt where we come in and let them score six or eight to end the half."

Marcin Gortat finished with 14 points, but Paul Pierce was limited to just four. The Wizards shot a dismal 4-for-16 from long range, compared to the 44 percent clip Atlanta shot from long range.

The Hornets have won two straight, three of four and six of their last eight. They swept the last two games of a recent road trip and own a four-game winning streak at home.

On Monday, Charlotte went into Washington and left with a 92-88 victory over the Wizards.

Al Jefferson had 18 points and 12 rebounds to guide his team to the win. Brian Roberts had 18 points, Gerald Henderson added 17 points and five assists and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist contributed 13 points and 13 boards for the Hornets.

"We just came out and played our style of basketball," said Jefferson. "We know they're a great team, loaded with a great bench. We didn't want to come out slacking and I thought we did a good job of that."

Charlotte held an 88-80 lead after Jefferson hit a jumper with 1:19 to play, but Pierce followed with a basket and, after Henderson missed at the other end, a three-point play from Wall made it a three-point game.

Following a shot clock violation from Charlotte, Wall missed a layup at the other end, and Henderson hit two free throws for a 90-85 lead. Pierce had a clear look at a 3 and buried it to make it a two-point game with 11.9 seconds left, but Roberts countered with two free throws one second later.

Wall then missed a 3-pointer at the other end to seal the fate of his squad.

The Hornets have won four straight in this series, including the last two meetings in Charlotte.