home 2013-14, Blogs, Game Coverage Gameday: Wizards vs. Magic pregame – Ain’t no sunshine when Nene’s gone

Gameday: Wizards vs. Magic pregame – Ain’t no sunshine when Nene’s gone

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Magic (17-41) at Wizards(28-28)

February 25, 2014 at 7:00 PM
Verizon Center, Washington, DC
TV: CSN Washington
Radio: 106.7FM The Fan

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Projected starting lineups:

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C- Marcin Gortat
PF- Trevor Booker
SF- Trevor Ariza
SG- Bradley Beal
PG- John Wall

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C- Nikola Vucevic
PF- Tobias Harris
SF- Mo Harkess
SG- Victor Oladipo
PG- Jameer Nelson

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Who’s hurt?

Wizards:
Nene – out (MCL)
Kevin Seraphin – 0ut (knee)

Magic:
Aaron Afflalo – out (ankle)

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First meeting since…

December 2, 2013: After 5 years, the Wizards finally reached the .500 plateau, improving to 9-9 on the season.


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Bradley Beal v. Victor Oladipo

Entrenched as the second leading candidate for Rookie of the Year, Victor Oladipo is improving as the weeks go by. His dominant performance against the Knicks is the microcosm of what his ceiling could be; a Tasmanian devil that can disrupt passing lanes and turn what look to be one-on-one fast breaks into all out track meets. Perhaps that’s the wrong word. Because a track meet would imply competition. It’s always Oladipo by the length of a Mini Cooper.

Oladipo had the best game of his short career as he put up 30 points, 14 dimes, and 9 boards. Bradley Beal has had issues keeping his man out of the lane, as have the Wizards as a whole. When Beal finds himself taking a step back in defense to avoid getting blown by, he ends up giving lesser contested jumpers. Tonight, he might have to live with letting Oladipo take perimeter shots. If Oladipo gets in the habit of finding himself driving to the lane without much resistance, the Wizards will be in some trouble considering they are already understaffed in the front-court. Throw in a very good Nikola Vucevic cleaning up any messes, and Wittman will be scrambling to find an answer.

While we have somewhat of an idea on what to expect from John Wall, we have less of an idea about Bradley Beal. What we do know for sure is, when Bradley Beal and/or Trevor Ariza have poor shooting performances, the Wizards lose. Now consider that it’s likely true when they have Nene in the starting lineup and it becomes a bit worrisome. With Aaron Afflalo out, Oladipo will continue to take on more duties in his role and that could either work in the Wizards favor or backfire badly into a loss against a team that hasn’t won on the road since December 16th.

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Spotlight

TREVBOOK

Trevor Booker

He wanted more minutes. John Wall wanted for him to get more minutes. Now it seems like he doesn’t have a choice. Be careful what you wish for. Trevor Booker has done a decent job in recent games when coming off of the bench. He will be now in the starting lineup and that can sometimes change the dynamic.

In certain situations, more minutes for a player who produces in short spurs can extrapolate stats very well. In others, a player can wither under the pressure of now being expected to produce on a nightly basis. I love Trevor Booker’s energy along with most others, and I look forward to him making the most of this opportunity. If he can continue to confidently hit jumpers and make big blocks in the lane as he displayed in Utah then we might be in luck. If he can attack the rim with brute force like he did against Atlanta, then Wall will be remembered as the guy who continuously lobbied for the eventual Hall of Famer and 4-time league MVP, Trevor Booker.

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The X-Factor

Bench.

As if the Wizards bench wasn’t already thin enough, news came out this morning that Kevin Seraphin would be out for tonight’s contest. Throw in the fact that Al Harrington has been gone for months and only played 33 seconds last game, and we could have a bit of a dilemma on our hands. That dilemma might be called “Chris Singleton.” Small ball anybody? I still expect increased minutes for Harrington but that’s also pending his conditioning. One thing is for sure, the Wizards are sorely lacking in the front-court, and Drew Gooden is NOT walking through that door…well at least until they face off against Toronto on Thursday.

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Notable Notes

  • The Magic haven’t won a road game in more than two months. That’s 15 straight games. They have lost by an average of 14.0 points during this road losing streak.
  • The Wizards won the last meeting 98-80 at home on December 2nd. In that game, Trevor Ariza led the Wizards with 24 points and four 3-pointers. This is only the second matchup between the two teams this season.
  • The Wizards have won three straight games. A fourth consecutive win would be a season high.
    Nene will be out tonight and for the foreseeable future. Since he’s been apart of the Wizards they’ve been 60-61 with him in the lineup, and 8-34 when he isn’t. That includes being 1-6 this season.
  • The Magic have dropped four straight in Washington – losing by an average 15.7 points.
  • we are Hoop District

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