Preseason game #5
Washington Wizards at New Orleans Pelicans
October 19, 2013
Rupp Arena, Lexington, KY
Projected starting lineups:
C- Nene, PF- Trevor Booker, SF- Trevor Ariza, SG- Bradley Beal, PG- John Wall
New Orleans Pelicans
C- Greg Stiemsma, PF- Anthony Davis, SF- Al-Farouq Aminu, SG- Eric Gordon, PG- Jrue Holiday
John Wall vs. Jrue Holiday
When Jrue Holiday was traded away to the Pelicans on draft night I’m pretty sure it caught a lot of people off guard. For fans of John Wall this trade also meant the path for Wall to get an All Star birth was reduced by one as well. I’ve always like Holiday’s game, he’s quick and I believe his court vision is underrated. Being that the game is at Rupp Arena Wall’s juices are going to be flowing to put on a show for his Wildcats fans which means we could see some highlight reel plays and great guard play on the offensive and defensive end.
The return of the Kentucky 3. The only travesty about this game is the fact that nobody outside the arena and with an illegal internet connection will get to see it unless SportsCenter shows some highlight clips. As I mentioned previously I think Wall and Davis will be excited to go back to Rupp Arena and I’m sure they’ll both want to play an uptempo pace with all the ooh’s and ahhh’s possible for an NBA exhibition game.
Assist to Turnovers. It’s ok to play fast paced basketball and thrill the crowd, as long as you are protecting and moving the basketball. When turnover numbers are high and assists are low there is no chance you can win games and the four games prior to this are glaring examples of that. Brooklyn had a 29/15 edge in assists and caused 23 turnovers in a game 1 loss, Chicago had a 23/16 edge and forced 19 turnovers, in their only win Washington led Miami 26/20 in assists and although they had 21 turnovers of their own they forced 23 out of Miami. Thursday night against the Knicks was the one time where Washington was able to keep assist numbers on par with their opponent and turnovers relatively low but they couldn’t shoot themselves to victory (.395) and 5-31 from 3pt range. Live by the 3 die by the 3? Protect the ball and dish it.
What happened last time they played?
The 22-42 Wizards took on the 22-44 Hornets for the last time in the storied Wizards/Hornets rivalry – until next year – and came away with a 9 point win 96-87. Wall led the way for Washington with 29 points, 3 of 3 from 3pt land, 9 assists, 4 rebounds and 2 steals and Martell Webster contributed another 18 points from his starting SF position. The then Hornets were led by Vasquez, Gordon and Davis who accounted for 54 of the 87 points scored. Vasquez matched Wall’s nine dimes but ultimately could not lead the Hornets past a Wizards team that shot 50% from the field and 45% from 3pt range.
For the Wizards, Okafor, Singleton and Porter remain out for Washington and from the latest we hear and see Smith is out for the Pelicans.
I’m going to be the homer I am and pick a Wizards win because I feel like it’s going to be a positive sports weekend in Washington. But seriously, I like the way John Wall get’s up for these types of games, I love what we are seeing out of Bradley Beal thus far and would like to see even more Martell Webster. This should be an exciting game for a preseason tilt and since you can’t win forever why not break up the Pelican’s unbeaten preseason. Look for the Wizards to bounce back from a low shooting percentage on Thursday night and give our very own Abdullah Sharif an early wedding present with a victory.