home 2015-16, Blogs, Game Coverage Wizards vs. Bucks Pregame: Let’s Get Weird

Wizards vs. Bucks Pregame: Let’s Get Weird

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Milwaukee at Washington

January 13, 2016 at 7:00 PM
Verizon Center, Washington, DC
TV: CSN Mid-Atlantic
Radio: 99.1FM


Last time they met was..

November 17, 2015 – Verizon Center, Washington: Wizards 115, Wizards 92
READ: Game Notebook 9, Wizards vs. Bucks: When Life Comes At You Fast


What to watch

The Wizards make a concerted effort at home to play as ‘well’ as they do on the road. Let’s crunch a few numbers.

The Wizards have lost 11 of the 19 games they’ve played in DC this season, while in ironic fashion, they’ve won more games than they’ve lost way from DC (9-8).

Statistically, there’s no real rhyme or reason to the Wizards being less successful on their home floor. Their offensive rating at home is roughly the same as it is on the road. In fact, their offensive rating is 0.3 points better at home than it is on the road at 101.6. Their defensive rating at home is also just the about the same as it is on the road. As a matter of fact, THAT statistic is 0.6 points better at home than it is on the road at 103.6. WEIRD, right?

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Yes, there are a few areas where you can pinpoint some key dissimilarities between the Wizards’ production at home versus their production on the road, and those dissimilarities are noticed mostly in the 4th quarter of games. Check it:

Wizards team stats in the 4th quarter:

Opp. FG percentage at Verizon: 46.6%
Opp. FG percentage on the road: 43.2%

3PT percentage at Verizon: 30.3% (!!!)
3PT percentage on the road: 37.2%

Opp. 3PT percentage at Verizon: 41.9%
Opp. 3PT percentage ion the road: 36.8% (a FIVE percent drop off!)

Could this be a theory? Yes, yes it can.

I certainly have my qualms about the fan presence at Wizards games and I know there are plenty of folks that share them with me. The ambience at the Verizon Center could totally improve and it should improve because it could help the Wizards improve when they play there. But the Wizards aren’t THAT much better on the road than they are at home. They haven’t really been that great in many of the venues they play in (except Chicago and Cleveland – again, WEIRD). At Verizon, they’ve folded pretty badly against some pretty good teams. They lost the home opener to the Knicks. They’ve been blown out by OKC, the Clippers, Miami, and Indiana. They even allowed Kobe to possibly reconsider retirement after he scored a season-high 31 points in his last game in DC. But then on the flip side, they’ve also beat the Spurs at home. Yeah. Simply put, this team is weird one to watch.


Key Matchup

Jared Dudley vs. The Greek Freak

Facing up against anyone nicknamed a “Freak” is bound to be a demanding task whether it’s in a bedroom or a basketball court. For Jared Dudley, though, facing this “freak” from Greece – on the basketball court – has been straight light work. In the first game against the Wizards this season, Giannis was able to capitalize on the defense in a number of ways, drawing mismatches against smaller guards off screens, trucking down the court in transition, boxing out to get putback buckets. He scored 27 points on 9-13 shooting through the first three quarters. But all would be well for the Greek gawd only up until then, when it was Dudley who was appointed as his defender in the 4th quarter. Giannis ended up taking only two shots in the final period, both misses, and committed two turnovers, both offensive fouls. All four shortcomings were dealt to him directly by way of Jared Dudley.

In Washington’s 115-86 win over Milwaukee in November, Giannis was shut down from the break, shooting just 3-13 for the game for just 9 points and 4 turnovers. Dudley once again led the assault against Giannis, but the Wizards were also able to throw a number of other guys at him including Kris Humphries (who had a massive block on him early in the game), Otto Porter, and even Marcin Gortat.


X-factor

Bradley Beal’s game-time decision.

He’s baaaack. I think….

J. Michael and Jorge Castillo both reported today that Beal would be game-time decision. Beal told reporters that he’s been fully cleared by doctors and trainers to play and that it is fully up to him whether he will or not, and all of that would be based on his mood after pregame warmups. If he does return tonight, he’ll be on another minutes restriction, perhaps 10-15 minutes off the bench. There is also an anticipated minutes limit for his career, said to be around 35 minutes.

Beal had one of his better performances of this season against the Bucks, albeit it was just the second game. A 26 point night from Beal was comprised of five made 3’s including this sweet stepback:

The Wizards have tried to fill the deep void Beal left on offense with his absence. Garrett Temple has been about as good as you can ask him to be as Beal’s replacement, but it’s no secret the Wizards are a sputtering engine without their top scorer. Beal’s potential return could serve as a spark plug for the Wizards if his minutes are appropriately aligned. Meaning, he’s available down the stretch. If Beal decides to take one more game off and get a full practice in (which he has not yet) before returning, then the Wizards will have to once again resort to their plan B’s and C’s.


Fun factor

This amazing depiction of the hustling Wizards role players by Bullets Forever, who exhaust all efforts night in and night out to make up for loss of talent due to injury.

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Prediction

The Wizards stay weird and win a game at home.

we are Hoop District

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