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Wizards vs. Pistons Pregame: More Than Just A Game

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Regular Season Game 53

Pistons (27-27) at Wizards (24-28)

February 19, 2016 at 7:00 PM
Verizon Center, Washington, DC
TV: CSN Mid-Atlantic
Radio: 99.1FM


Last time they met was..

November 21, 2015 – The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, MI: Wizards 88, Jazz 84
Game Notebook 10, Wizards at Pistons: Revisiting 2013 Nene


What to watch

The standings. With the Pistons being directly ahead of the Wizards in the standings, this game is extremely important. Washington can close the gap, or open a chasm as they continue to chase a playoff spot. And while the Wizards will be on no days rest, the Pistons will be on eight days rest.

You can be sure SVG will have his troops refocused on the goal, and his goals are clearly bigger than just making the playoffs. Detroit wants to get in, and they want to cause turbulence throughout the East if/when they do. Detroit was one of the few active teams at the trade deadline, acquiring Tobias Harris and Donatas Montiejunas. They shipped out Ersan Ilyasova and Brandon Jennings, major players on their roster, indicating that Stan Van Gundy wasn’t satisfied with where they stood, and made moves with the intent and belief that they could be significantly better, and he believes that Tobias Harris can be a major key to success.

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Of course, Tobias will need to find his fit in Detroit, and that transition happens much faster with wins than losses. If the Wizards can serve the Pistons a loss in their first game with Harris, it could help start a domino effect, with Detroit pressing to force Harris’s fit, and stumbling out of the post-All-Star block. On the flip side, if Detroit starts the Tobias era with a win, and stretches their lead on the Wizards, they could get rolling, and be tough to catch.

Some games are more than just one game. This game is one of them.


Key Matchup

Wizards vs. the high screen and roll.

No one loves getting a screen at the top of the key more than Reggie Jackson, and few guys are as good at getting the match-ups they like than Stan Van Gundy. Early in the season, Detroit would send Drummond to set the screen trying to force a big to switch onto Reggie Jackson, allowing him to attack downhill, where he is at his best. Teams got wise to this tactic, and began playing this set without switching, understanding the consequences of allowing Jackson to attack a center vs. a guard. Recently, Detroit has started pre-empting this action with 1-4 pick and rolls, getting a quicker power forward to switch on to Jackson, rather than a center. Detroit then runs their standard Drummond action, finding that teams will now make the switch they want, seeing that a bigger player is already on Jackson, why not just make the center switch too? The result is Detroit still getting what they want, with Jackson isolated on a center, free to shoot or attack at will.

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Coaching!


X-factor

Tobias Harris.

Detroit traded for Tobias Harris, believing that he could be the X-Factor to their team taking the next step. Who am I to argue?

Harris’s value lies in his versatility. He can handle the ball, he can shoot the three, he can attack the rim, and he can play and guard multiple positions. SVG likely sees Tobias playing the Hedo Turkoglu role from his old Orlando days. He’s a career 17 point, 8 rebound guy, and only 23 years old.

He can do this:

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And he can do this:

Tonight will be Tobias’s first game as a Piston. If he looks like Orlando Hedo Turkoglu tonight, that’s a problem.


Fun Factor:

Morris Twins Reunion!!

Speaking of first games with a new team…Welcome to DC Markieff Morris! Things didn’t go so well in Phoenix once his brother left him, but his brother is in the house tonight, as a Detroit Piston, so maybe it’s a good omen for Markieff’s DC career!

We can only hope. Markieff is definitely a talent, a potential 20 points-7 rebound player, and at just 26, he fits extremely well with the Wizards young core. Wall, Beal, Otto, Markieff. That’s a solid group, but based on the evidence, it’s JUST solid, not great. What the Wizards do moving forward and in the off-season, from a player, coaching, and philosophy standpoint will all determine how bad, good, or great an addition Markieff Morris is long term.

But that’s for the future. Tonight, it’s all about the Morris Twin Face-Off!

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Will they guard each other? Will they “guard” each other? Will they make it a personal battle? Will they trade jerseys? Will they get in a fight? Anything is possible.


Prediction

Markieff Morris is the missing piece!! We getting that 7-seed!! Bring on the Raptors!! For one night.

we are Hoop District

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