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Wizards at Hawks Pregame: Back Up In This!

Regular Season Game 1

Wizards (0-0) at Hawks (0-0)

October 27, 2016 at 7:30 PM
Philips Arena, Atlanta, GA
TV: CSN Mid-Atlantic
Radio: 1500 AM


Last time they met was..

April 13, 2016 – Verizon Center: Wizards 109, Hawks 98
Hoop District Video Diaries: Wizards vs. Hawks, 4-13-2016


What to watch

Basketball is back ladies and gents. With the new season underway, the Wizards host the Hawks for their first game of the season. How fitting is it that the team that they played in the final game of last season is the first team that they play in the first season.

All those sessions at Summer League, training camp, and the preseason are put to test. With roster moves strengthening each team in the Eastern conference, it is important that the Wizards get off on a good note, especially against the Hawks, who last season, made it deep into the Eastern conference playoffs.

• I know it’s the first game and it may be too soon to worry, but please Bradley Beal, do not get hurt. Since his inception in the league we’ve heard many comparisons to Ray Allen (which is still possible), but the thing is, Beal gets hurt a lot. And when players get hurt, they tend to lose track of the things they’re good at doing. So maybe the Ray Allen comparison is now more of a Michael Redd one. Don’t get me wrong, Redd was a great shooter too but just like his shot, he only lasted for short spurts. I don’t want that to happen to Bradley. At 23 years old and going into his fifth season, injuries should not happen all the time for you, kid. You’re younger than the majority of the team. Let’s try to play the entire season.

• Outside of John Wall and Bradley Beal, the Wizards have many players that are trying to solidify their roles and figure out how they are going to contribute in Scott Brooks’ system.


Key Matchup

Wizards Big Men vs. Dwight Howard

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• Dwight Howard is one of the latest superstars to pull off a LeBron James and play for his hometown team. Even though he is past his prime, he is still a force inside. With career averages of 17.8 points and 12.7 rebounds, the man can still ball. Look for the Hawks to establish his presence in the paint against the Wizards big men.

• Who can stop Dwight in the paint? Marcin Gortat. The Polish Hammer who has established himself as the Wizards starting center will band bodies with Howard in the beginning. With him holding the fort in the paint, the real question will be: Who can handle Howard while Gortat is resting on the bench? With Mahinmi out, will Jason Smith and roster survivor Daniel Ochefu be able to defend Howard and provide solid minutes behind Gortat?

• Takeaway: Don’t let Dwight Howard dominate us, please.


X-factor

Otto Porter

• The third year man from Georgetown will be an important member for the Wizards to support John Wall and Bradley Beal. This is the year that Otto Porter provides more than a bench player. With Porter and Kelly Oubre competing for the small forward position, I believe that Porter has the edge due to experience and skill, just like this made basket with a ton of contact.

• Porter doesn’t have to be Superman and be as good as Wall and Beal, but he needs to be active on the defensive end and provide a spark.


Fun Factor:

Jeff Teague is no longer a Hawk but this happened to him in a Hawks uniform and the Wizards play the Hawks tonight so yeah..


Prediction

With both teams getting makeovers over the summer, I think that the Wizards get the win tonight against the Hawks. John Wall goes against Dennis Schroeder tonight and not the All-Star Jeff Teague, so the Wizards backcourt will try to hold an advantage there. The Wizards front court will look to hold its own against Howard and company. Oh yeah, let’s get this first win for Scott Brooks.

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