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Wizards at Nets Pregame: Proving A Point

Regular Season Game 19

Wizards (6-12) at Nets (5-14)

December 5, 2016 at 7:30 PM
Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
TV: CSN Mid-Atlantic
Radio: 1500 AM


Last time they met was..

February 2, 2016 – Barclays Center, Brooklyn: Wizards 120, Nets 111
Game Notebook 81, Wizards at Nets: Pride Came, Luckily A Fall Didn’t


What to watch

The Wizards prove a point.

The Wizards are 6-12 and that sucks. They blow leads (more on that below), the bench is detestable, and if things don’t turn around soon, they may have lose on the season entirely. What hasn’t sucked, however,- a silver lining if you will – would be the recent off the wall performances of John Wall and Bradley Beal. If you were to grind the two and compound them into one human, they would have averaged 28.6 points (Beal) and 11.2 assists (Wall) over the last 7 games. Factored into these averages are Beal’s career-high 42 point game and three (!) separate 15-assist performances by Wall. The Wizards, unfortunately, won only three of those seven games and the irony of that is maddening.

After close losses at OKC and at San Antonio, both games in which Washington blew a considerable lead, the Wizards face a litmus test in the much weaker Brooklyn Nets. The Wizards, FINALLY led by the superstaresque duo of Wall and Beal, proved to be competitive against a tougher set of opponents when they played the Spurs and Thunder. Tonight, they need to prove they are tougher than the Brooklyn Nets.


Key Matchup

Brook Lopez vs. Marcin Gortat

The sweeping conversions of bigs into 3-point shooters has simply been astonishing. Initially, it was more of the slender stretch-4’s who stood just under or a few inches shorter than 7-feet developing some distance in their shot. Now you’ve got these bigger dudes like Brook Lopez – framed at 7 feet 270 pounds – extending the floor with newly acquired range. In his eight seasons prior to this one, Lopez totaled 31 three-point attempts. He’s attempted 102 in 17 games this season.

How this affects Gortat’s defense will be key. Per some research done by J. Michaeil, Gortat has found some success in his perimeter defense, showing better mobility as well as verticality. With Lopez averaging just around 6 three’s a game, the Wizards will have to find a way to make up for whatever Gortat leaves behind as he moves farther away from the basket.


X-Factor:

Late-game jitters.

The Wizards are a +22 in the first half of games.

They are a -60 in the second half of games.

I mean, what are they doing at halftime, eating the left over pints of ice cream that didn’t make it to the media buffet and sugar-crashing before the final buzzer? Whatever the case, as J. Michael reports, Scott Brooks exposed his team’s lax demeanor on several different inbounds plays and emphasized the importance of being more locked in. It’s the Wizards versus their late-game conscience. They need to dominate it.


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