home 2014-15, Blogs, Game Coverage Wizards at Pelicans Preview: Will the Wiz fly home happy?

Wizards at Pelicans Preview: Will the Wiz fly home happy?


Washington (22-11)
at New Orleans (17-16)

January 5, 2014 at 8:00 PM
Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, LA
TV: CSNWashington
Radio: 99.1 FM

“The plan was to drink until the pain’s over
But what’s worse? The pain or the hangover?”

— Kanye West, “Gorgeous”

The Wizards enter tonight’s road trip finale against the New Orleans Pelicans bruised and bleeding. After a hard-fought win against the Rockets exactly a week ago, Washington dropped contests to Dallas, Oklahoma City, and San Antonio.

It hurts. The bench that looked so promising in comparison to the past several seasons has seemingly aged overnight. They appear a step slower and unable to hold leads. Martell Webster is back, but not back, so second unit scoring isn’t exactly at a premium.

A loss tonight would place the Wizards firmly in the discussion of a team that is the beneficiary of its soft opening schedule. When you can’t manage more than 1 win on a tough road trip, your earlier “signature” wins against Eastern Conference foes lose their luster, and down the power rankings you go.

The Pelicans are hovering just above .500, with great home wins last week against the Suns and Rockets. Anthony Davis has been performing well, as usual, but overlooked has been the production of Ryan Anderson in New Orleans’ second unit. Anderson averaged 19.7 point per game over last week’s three game stretch, and shot close to 50% from the floor. Also complementing Davis well has been Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday, who have been consistently creating matchup problems for opponents with their speed.

Last Time They Met

November 30, 2014 Washington 83, New Orleans 80

Washington had entered on the heels of two losses, including a drubbing on the road to the Cavaliers. Looming were two questions: 1) How to stop Anthony Davis and; 2) How to play around the defensive stalwart that was the Pelicans’ front court.

The Wizards solved the first issue with Marcin Gortat putting up a 24 point, 14 rebound, and 4 block effort. Anthony Davis, however, wasn’t slowed, putting up 30 points on 11-18 shooting and pulling down 13 boards. Davis also went 8-9 from the free throw line.

To win tonight, Washington is going to have to get an equally good defensive effort. The Pelicans have crept above the middle of the league in scoring (13th overall) and have shooters that can stretch the floor (albeit at a below average rate).

Never forget: Drew Gooden #PowderGate

Also: Defense + fastbreak points. Peanut butter + jelly.

we are Hoop District

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