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Wizards vs. Clippers game preview: Wall vs. Paul (Pt. 1)

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L.A. Clippers (15-9) at Washington (9-12)

December 14, 2013 at 7:00 PM
Verizon Center, Washington, DC
TV: CSN Washington
Radio: 106.7FM The Fan

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Projected starting lineups:

Washington Wizards
C- Marcin Gortat, PF- Trevor Booker, SF- Trevor Ariza, SG- Martell Webster, PG- John Wall

Los Angeles Clippers
C- DeAndre Jordan, PF- Blake Griffin, SF- Jared Dudley, SG Willie Green, PG Chris Paul

Key matchup:

John Wall v. Chris Paul

Los Angeles Clippers v Washington Wizards

Because why not? This is a matchup between two of the best point guards in the NBA. When these two guys are at their best on the floor, it’s tough to beat either team as they’re responsible for a huge percentage of their team’s points. Paul will never wow you with athleticism, but his ability to completely control a floor is second to none. It will probably help Wall if his jumper is falling early. He gets in a good rhythm when it does, but when it doesn’t he tends to settle instead of attacking as last night’s 6-22 shooting performance showed.

Spotlight:

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Trevor Booker. Booker has given this team unseen and much welcomed production since Nene has missed the last 2 games. He is averaging 18 points and 13 rebounds in two starts and has brought his usual high level of energy. Nene is likely a game-time decision tonight, but even if Booker has to come off the bench it looks like the bench will add strength, while if he starts you’re expecting good production.

The Clippers front court is a tall task, and last night the Wizards were killed by the Hawk’s front court for 50 points and 26 rebounds between Paul Millsap and Al Horford. Booker will be matched up against Blake Griffin and he’ll be needed to match Blake’s intensity as it will be a fight down low on the boards.

The X-factor:

Glen-Rice-Jr.-Brad-Mills-USA-TODAY-Sports

I know at this point it’s probably cliche for the Wizards, but bench play. This time I say this in a positive way. Last night, the bench gave Wittman good minutes AS Jan Vesely AND Otto Porter both looked confident. For the first time in Vesely’s career I actually saw him take the ball on multiple possessions AND look to make a basketball move. Otto knocked his first two shots down AND actually looked like he wanted to be a part of the offense. He moves fluid through the offense and started to find his way to the ball last night, keeping a couple of possessions alive. Now if he and Glen Rice Jr. can find their shots consistently, this team suddenly doesn’t have a terrible bench anymore.

What happened last time they played?

The Wizards defeated a Chris Paul and a Blake Griffin-less Clippers team at the Verizon Center 98-90. The story of this game was turnovers for the Clippers. 20 turnovers including eight in the 4th quarter that helped the Wizards go on a key run to secure the game. Jamal Crawford poured in 28 points off the bench for the Clippers, while the Wizards had five players in double figures, led by Martell Webster with 21 points and five 3-pointers.

Who’s hurt?

For the Clippers, Matt Barnes is a game-time decision while J.J. Redick, Maalik Wayns and Reggie Bullock are all out. For the Wizards, Nene is a game-time decision while Bradley Beal and Al Harrington are out.

Outlook:

Even with the injuries the last two games against potential playoff foes, the Wizards have someone been in position to win both games. The Clippers are coming off of a loss to the struggling Brooklyn Nets & this is their last game on a 7 game road trip. I’m going to say John Wall comes out and has a much better game than last night and gives the Clips their second straight loss.

Hoop District Staff

Collaborative efforts from the Hoop District Staff.

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