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Wizards at Pelicans Pregame: Who Will Struggle Most?

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Regular Season Game 21

Washington (9-11) at New Orleans (5-16)

December 11, 2015 at 8:00 PM
Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, LA
TV: CSN Mid-Atlantic
Radio: 99.1FM


Last time they met was..

January 5, 2015 at Smoothie King Center, New Orleans: Wizards 92, Pelicans 85
READ: Wizards–Pels Takeaways: Andre Miller resurges the bench mob; Wall’s 20th double-double


What to watch

Disjointed. Basketball. Wins are hard. To get. When your team. Has no. Flow. When you’re not. Sure. What your. Identity. Is. When nothing is. Going. Smoothly.

Writing like that is hard. So is playing basketball. Right now, playing basketball is hard for the Pelicans, and watching them can be even harder. This was supposed to be the “Year of the Brow.” This was the year Anthony Davis was supposed to take the league by storm, win the MVP, and drag a team of misfitting pieces into Western Conference contention. About that…

Instead, the Pelicans have just looked like a team of misfitting pieces. Injuries have played a role, with the Pelicans best players all missing significant time due to various injuries. Without consistent health, new coach Alvin Gentry has yet to find the right mix of line-ups to balance size, shooting, defense, and tempo. Do we build around Tyreke Evans-Anthony Davis pick and rolls? What about Anthony Davis post-ups? What about Jrue Holiday? Should Omer Asik even play? Should we play more of Davis at the five? Can Davis stay healthy? The season has been full of questions, with very few answers. The result has been an ugly, disjointed season that finds the Pelicans at 5-16, and the season virtually lost already.

See Wizards fans! There’s another team that came into the season with huge expectations, and they’re struggling far worse than we are! Solace at last!


Key matchup

Wizards interior vs. Anthony Davis.

Even a struggling Anthony Davis is a dominant Anthony Davis. He’s scoring 24 points per game, grabbing 11 rebounds, blocking 2.7 shots, and shooting 36% from 3-point range. There’s a reason the Pelicans had great expectations this season, and he is that reason.

And he’s going to give the Wizards bigs fits. He’s long. He’s active. He can put the ball on the floor. He can shoot. The Pelicans only have 5 wins, but Davis is good enough to lead a team to victory on any given night. The Wizards defense needs to keep Davis from putting on a performance that raises eyebrows. Hehehe.


X-factor:

Bad defense. What Anthony Davis provides, the team makes up for with bad defense. The Pelicans are the worst rated defensive team in the league, per NBA.com. With size the Asik and Alexis Ajinca, alongside Davis, and noted assistant coach Darren Erman in charge of defense, hypothetically the Pelicans should be a good defensive team. And maybe eventually they will be, but not now. With perimeter plays getting abused and the team ranking 24th in rebound percentage, and players coming in and out of the lineup disrupting chemistry building, the Pelicans simply turn into a sieve on defense on a nightly basis.

Tonight should be no different. Look for Wall and Beal to dominate their individual matchups, and control the tempo.


Fun factor:

The Brow. Regardless of record, the guy is one of the best basketball players in the world. The Wizards only play him twice. Enjoy the moment.

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Prediction:

The Pelicans get their wings clipped.

we are Hoop District

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