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Wizards vs. Nets preview: the first look of 2013

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Preseason game #1
Washington Wizards vs. Brooklyn Nets
October 8, 2013
Verizon Center, Washington, D.C.
TV: NBATv
Radio: 106.7FM The Fan

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Projected starting lineups:

Washington Wizards
C- Nene, PF- Al Harrington, SF- Trevor Ariza, SG- Bradley Beal, PG- John Wall

Brooklyn Nets
C- Brook Lopez, PF- Kevin Garnett, SF- Paul Pierce, SG- Joe Johnson, PG- Shaun Livingston/Tyshawn Taylor

Key matchup:

John Wall vs. Nets guards

Deron Williams will likely sit out the first two preseason games for the Nets, which should help out the debut of John Wall. All eyes are on Wall this year and fans will expect him to run circles around a young and inexperienced Taylor and a much taller but slower Livingston. However, I expect some rust early on. As the game goes on, I expect Wall to take advantage of this match-up. On the flip side, Wall will have to limit the production from the Nets guards, as they have a decided advantage at every other position.

Spotlight:

I want to list a Wizard here, but the Nets are stacked. I expect a huge game out of Brook Lopez. Lopez can rebound, play defense, and he has impressive range for a big man. Even though Nene will not have much of a minute restriction this season, and probably not tonight, the front court depth for the Wizards is weak.

The X-factor:

Whoever can control the glass and create second chance points will likely win this game. With Okafor out, the rest of the Wizards will have to pick up the slack. Nene will have his hands full boxing out Brook Lopez, which means extra hustle from guys like Beal and Ariza will go a long way. I am expecting a lot of minutes from Al Harrington, who with his stretch 4 style of play might be out of reach for a lot of balls that bounce off the rim.

What happened last time they played?

The game was in Brooklyn, and the Nets chose not to play 4 of their 5 starters. The Wizards built an early lead and looked like they would cruise their way to an victory. There was one Net who assured that wouldn’t happen, and it was our former captain himself, Andray Blatche. Wall had a double-double, but the Nets outscored the Wizards by 11 in the second half en route to a 5-point victory. Notably, Wall had his NBA debut against the Mavericks a few years back when he was matched up against Jason Kidd, who is now the coach of the Brooklyn Nets.

Who’s hurt?

For the Nets, Deron Williams and Jason Terry are taking a cautious approach and will likely miss a couple games, specifically this one. The Wizards, who were hoping to avoid the injury bug this season, aren’t getting their wish so far. The Wizards will be playing tonight without Trevor Booker (right knee), Otto Porter Jr. (right hip), Chris Singleton (left foot) and Emeka Okafor (neck).

Outlook:

I expect the Wizards to give the Nets all they can handle because I foresee a large improvement in the offense. With Williams out, Wall and Beal need to have their way. The bench will need large production from Eric Maynor also since there is a lack of back court depth for the Nets tonight. If the Wizards back court excels, anything is possible. If it’s left to the front court, expect a long night for the Wizards. Either way, the Wizards still have more injury issues tonight than the Nets, and it’s not something that they can afford in any game given their lack of ultimate depth in comparison to a powerhouse like Brooklyn. With that in mind, the borough comes out thorough tonight. Nets by 8.

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