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Pregame: Wizards vs. Suns

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Regular Season Game 17

Phoenix (8-11) at Washington (7-9)

December 4, 2015 at 7:00 PM
Verizon Center, Washington, DC
TV: CSN Washington
Radio: 99.1FM


Last time they met was..

January 28, 2015 at Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix: Suns 106, Wizards 98
READ: Game Notebook 47: Wizards at Suns: Wiz end road trip with baffling blunders


What to watch

Tempo. If you thought the Wizards played fast, wait til you get a load of the Suns. The Suns lead the league in pace, and are third in the league in scoring at 106 points per game. They get up and down, and fire up 26 threes a game, making a toasty 39%, good for 3rd best in the league. When the Suns really heat up, they’re tough to beat.

Also, Marcin Gortat is out tonight, traveling to Poland to deal with a family emergency. Without the big man, expect more varieties of Wittman’s hand-picked small ball lineups to match with the Suns.


Key matchup

Suns point guards vs. John Wall.

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The Suns dual point guard attack of Brandon Knight and Eric Bledsoe is unique and relentless. They combine to score 44 points per game, dish 12 assists, and grab 8 rebounds. They shoot 11 threes per game, and make them at a 40% clip. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that the two point guards in this game playing the best basketball right now both play for the enemy.

By the end of the night, that statement needs to sound crazy. For the Wizards to win, Wall needs hold his own in this 2 on 1 handicap point guard match. Something along the lines of 18 points, 13 assists, and out-assisting the Suns backcourt combo. If Wall can keep Bledsoe and Knight cool, the rest of the Wizards should be able to burn the Suns everywhere else.


X-factor:

Consistency. Like the Wizards, the Suns have been up and down this season, and their pace has also led to some sloppy performances. They have shot 43% from three in wins, compared to 36% in losses. Like the Wizards, they are committing 16.6 turnovers per game, tied for fourth worst in the league.

The Wizards show an even more dramatic shift in performance between wins and losses. The Wizards shoot a stellar 41% from three as a team in wins, compare to just 31% in losses. They are committing 19 turnovers per game in losses.

Those stats may seem obvious: Of course, teams play better in games they win than in games they lose. True. But the Wizards variation, similar to years past, is excessive. During an 82 game regular season, you need consistency from your stars, and consistency in your style. When you get dramatic variation night to night, you struggle to find a rhythm and comfort level as a team. Both DC and PHX are learning this the hard way.


Fun factor:

The Phoenix Puns! He’s hot right now. He’s on fire. He’s playing like a star. The offense revolves around him. The Suns with a burst. Brandon Night. The Suns are setting. They’re bringing the heat. The Suns get burned.


Prediction:

The Suns get burned.

we are Hoop District

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