home 2014-15, Blogs, Game Coverage Wizards vs. Mavericks Game Preview: BRAD BEAL BACK!

Wizards vs. Mavericks Game Preview: BRAD BEAL BACK!


Dallas at Washington

November 19, 2014 at 7:00PM
Verizon Center, Washington, DC
TV: CSNWashington
Radio: 99.1FM

Tale of the Tape

[ezcol_1third]WIZARDS[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third][/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]MAVERICKS[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]7-2[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]TEAM RECORD[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]8-3[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]98.7[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]PPG (own)[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]109.3[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]96.4[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]PPG (opp)[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]98.2[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]Won 3[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]W/L STREAK[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]Won 4[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]Won vs Orlando 98-93[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]PREVIOUS GAME[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]Won at Charlotte 107-80[/ezcol_1third_end]

Projected Starting Lineups

[ezcol_1third]WIZARDS[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third][/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]MAVERICKS[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]John Wall[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]POINT GUARD[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]Jameer Nelson[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]Garrett Temple[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]SHOOTING GUARD[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]Monta Ellis[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]Paul Pierce[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]SMALL FORWARD[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]Chandler Parsons[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]Nene[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]POWER FORWARD[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]Dirk Nowitzki[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]Marcin Gortat[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]CENTER[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]Tyson Chandler[/ezcol_1third_end]

Last time they met was..

January 1, 2014. Mavericks won 87-78 at the Verizon Center.

Remember that one annoying period of time early last season when the Wizards just couldn’t break the plus-.500 threshold? Great times, right? This loss on New Year’s Day to the Mavs would be the second of like 100 failed opportunities for the Wizards to attain a record of more wins than losses, and it wouldn’t come without a classic 4th quarter meltdown in the final minutes.

The Wizards had a one point lead as late as 8 minutes into the 4th quarter, but the Mavericks ran off on a 14-4 run to close the game, which included a few DeJuan Blair free throws. The game was a terrible showcase of offense from both teams, who each shot under 40% from the field and abysmally from downtown (combined 11-48). The difference in the game- free throws of course. The Mavs were 21-23 from the stripe, while the Wizards attempted only 10 and made 7.

This was also that monster Trevor Booker rebound game where he pulled down 19, including 7 on the offensive glass. John Wall led all Wiz Kids with 22 points to go with 5 assists.


Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 9.49.10 AM

Grab your officemate. Spin them in a pirouette. Then knock the overstuffed manila folder out their hands and buck in their face to make them flinch because today, this glorious day we have assimilated the knowledge that Bradley Beal has been medically cleared to resume his life as a professional basketball player, there will be no f*cks will be given.

And oh BOY could the the timing have been any more appropriate.

The Wizards have done all we could have hoped for while Beal had been out nursing a fractured left wrist. And before you cynically annoying Wiz fans begin countering my stance with arguments about bad 3-point shooting and an easy schedule, what I mean by ‘done all’ is the simple fact that they’ve escaped Beal’s absence by winning 7 of their first 9 games. The present situation for the Wizards: a 7-2 record, an improving Bradley Beal – who may be eased back in the rotation tonight – and a 5-game schedule comprised of respectable teams they’ll need to beat in order to render their own respectability while wiping away some of that cynicism I mentioned above.

Indeed, the Wizards have struggled shooting the ball from distance. They currently rank in the bottom 10 (23rd to be exact) in 3-point FG percentage at .328. Their only respectable shooters from downtown have been Rasual Butler (7-14), Otto Porter (4-9), and USED to be Garrett Temple, who started off making 14 of his first 27 but has missed 10 of his last 11.

Beal’s return offers the Wizards, and primarily John Wall, another shooting threat and an evolving ball handler to help construct some offense. With Beal returning, and Pierce, Butler, even GTemp if he snaps back into that enchanting shooting spell, John Wall will have a nice group of snipers at his disposal. Unfortunately for tonight, that probably won’t be much the case against the Mavs given Beal’s imminent minutes limit – or whether he’ll even play. Still goes without saying, we’re glad to have the Panda back finally.

Who’s Out?

Wizards: NOT BRADLEY BEAL. Oh, but it’s not December yet which means Martell is still out.

Mavericks: Devin Harris (leg) is out. Raymond Felton, serving a 4-game suspension is also out.

Staying focused

  • Countering offense .. with offense

The Wizards not only face the league’s top scoring team (109.3 ppg), but also a team that loves to share the ball (the Mavs average 24.5 assists a game – 4th best in the league). Not making matters easier for the Wizards is the fact that the Mavs are also the league’s least turnover-prone team.

While this makes it imperative for the Wizards to be sharp defensively – i.e. rotating timely, closing out against shooters, being extra aggressive on the ball – it’ll be equally important for the Wizards to match buckets with the Mavericks. Especially when the Mavs are the league’s worst in terms of opponents 3-point field goals per game. They allow an average of 10 made 3’s a game. So yes, this is a call for Garrett Temple to start aiming more accurately, for Rasual Butler to keep doing what he’s doing, and for Paul Pierce to snap out of his ongoing funk. This is a call for John Wall to keep pressing the ball upcourt and locating his arsenal on the wings.

  • Impose some discomfort on Mavs shooters

Monta Ellis is typically known as a perpetual chucker and there’s no doubt that, when in a zone, he can shoot the lights out of any gym. The real bad news for the Wizards is that he’s been in that zone for most of this season with some substantially improved shooting percentages. I guess it helps when you’re not the defense’s focal point of scoring. The key for the Wizards is to find a way to jar Ellis defensively and tilt him out of a good rhythm because chances are he’ll keep firing shots up it even if they aren’t falling. Getting Ellis, as well as any other Mavs perimeter sharp shooter to start missing shots would lead to rebounding opportunities for the Wizards since the Mavs don’t rank very well in that department.

  • Setting a tone down low

The Wizards are actually pretty good at this. More often than not, we’ve noticed Randy Wittman running his offense through his bigs early on. This helps establish a tone in the trenches which gets Nene and Gortat in a nice groove (like the ones where Nene scores 15 in the 1st quarter or starts to make sexy passes to Gortat under the rim) which helps the Wizards score points and dictate the boards. But, be wary of Tyson Chandler (10 rebounds a game) and Brandon Wright, both of whom are shooting over 70% from the field.

  • Dirk Nowitzki

WELL OF COURSE DIRK NOWITZKI. The 12-time MVP and 9th best scorer in NBA history has had his minutes per game trimmed to a career low 27.5 but his PER remains a whopping 26.1. He’s averaging 19.6 points in those short 27 minutes which equates to 125 points per 100 possessions and over 25 points per 36. Rick Carlisle has done a phenomenal job rotating his players, managing their minutes, and getting the most production out of them.

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