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Wizards at Kings Pregame: Time To Get Personal

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Regular Season Game 74

Wizards (36-38) at Kings (29-45)

March 30, 2016 at 10:00 PM
Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, CA
TV: CSN Mid-Atlantic
Radio: 99.1FM


Last time they met was..

February 2, 2016 ā€“ Verizon Center: Wizards 113, Kings 99
READ: Game Notebook 26, Wizards vs. Kings: No Royalty For SacTown In DC


What to watch

The end of times for Washington basketball as we know it in this 2015-2016 season.

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Yeah it’s finna be a wrap real soon. The Wizards have been stuck between 2.5 and 3.5 games behind the 8-seed for about two weeks it seems and with just eight games remaining the schedule, the Wizards have barely budged from that position. Meanwhile, the team we’ve been keeping our tabs on all this time, the Detroit Pistons, has now moved up to the 7-seed, making our new team to watch the Indiana Pacers.

The Wizards currently stand three full games behind Indy and still have three full games left to play on the West Coast. A loss tonight would just about all but have the Wizards in for one of those pre-summer $80 round-trip fares to Miami (you just have to fly into Ft. Lauderdale, though). Tonight’s opponent: the 29-win Sacramento Kings.

Reminder: the Wizards beat the Kings back in DC 113-99 in a game where John Wall totaled a career-best 19 assists…with only SIX (6) other guys in uniform. Two of those guys were Garrett Temple and Kelly Oubre. The rest: Jared Dudley, Ramon Sessions, Kris Humphries. Marcin Gortat can be considered the only fair one. So basically, John Wall totaled 19 assists with just one real player on the floor with him. That is how good of a season John Wall is having.

The Wizards will surely have more than six guys in uniform tonight, although likely one of them won’t be Alan Anderson. The question is, how much is left in their hearts as their playoff chances have dwindled from slim to just about nothing? Will they take tonight light, or take it personal?


Key Matchup

Fatigue vs. rest

The Wizards will be pretty worn after a long bus ride from Oakland to Sacramento and a tolling loss to the Warriors. The Kings’ three best players – Rajon Rondo, Demarcus Cousins, and Rudy Gay – will be pretty well rested after sitting out their last game and not having played since Sunday. Advantage = #KAAANGZ. The Wizards are the most vulnerable to these types of situations and especially when it’s locked in their minds that they’re facing a sub-30-win team. It is simply in their nature to completely screw this game up. Or at the very least, come out the gates backwards and play from behind the rest of the way out. The physical toll, plus the mental unease from being this close to missing the playoffs, plus a pretty solid Kings team with pretty solid matchups, this one could be the one that dooms the Wizards once and for all this season.


X-factor

Marcin Gortat.

The Hammer had one of his strongest games of the season against the Kings back on December 21, totaling 27 points on 12-19 shooting to go with 16 rebounds. He was HOT to start the game, knocking down a number of midrange jumpers, getting down court after made baskets by the Kings to beat the defense for quick buckets, and just outplaying Boogie straight up. A fast start for Gortat usually pays off for the Wizards in the end, and we know Gortat is always up for a challenge against Cousins, as long as Cousins is taking some of Gortat’s advice to him:

Boogie didn’t take Gortat’s big game that night lightly, telling reporters after the game that he was “bothered” by it.

Let’s also remember that Gortat and Boogie have a little history with one another. #TBT to March of 2014 and Gortat’s Rated-R lips when he mouthed off at Boogie in the winding seconds of an overtime loss to the Kings in Sacramento:


Fun Factor:

Speaking of taking things personal, another shocking Demarcus Cousins story. This time, it’s the infamous Shrug-Off with Drew Gooden.


Prediction

I think Gortat will play well. I think the Wizards won’t be as tired. But I don’t think Drew Gooden will shrug and I don’t think the Wizards will win. It’s a wrap.

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