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Wizards vs. Pacers Game Preview: Avoiding the trap game


Indiana at Washington

November 5, 2014 at 8:00PM
Verizon Center, Washington, DC
TV: CSNWashington
Radio: 99.1FM

Last time they met was..

May 15, 2014. Pacers won 93-80 at the Verizon Center, eliminating the Wizards from the playoffs after 6 games.

*Sigh* The last time the Pacers visited Washington, they brought an end to what would be the best season in recent memory for Wizards fans. The enigmatic Pacers returned to form that night with all starters scoring in double figures, including 29 points from David West. Defensively, they forced the Wizards into 12 turnovers. I think we all felt a great sense of ambivalence that night. Heartbreak for the end of the run, but optimism for the team’s future.

Projected Starting Lineups

[ezcol_1third]WIZARDS[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third][/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]PACERS[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]John Wall[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]POINT GUARD[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]Donald Sloan[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]Garrett Temple[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]SHOOTING GUARD[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]CJ Miles[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]Paul Pierce[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]SMALL FORWARD[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]Solomon Hill[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]Nene[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]POWER FORWARD[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]Luis Scola[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]Marcin Gortat[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]CENTER[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]Roy Hibbert[/ezcol_1third_end]

Marcin Gortat vs. Roy Hibbert

[ezcol_1half]Marcin Gortat[/ezcol_1half][ezcol_1half_end]hibbz[/ezcol_1half_end]

Last night against the Knicks, Marcin Gortat logged the fewest minutes of any Wizards starter (21) and spent a significant amount of time on the bench in the 4th quarter. While Gortat had a little difficulty with New York’s big men early on, you have to think Randy Wittman was simply keeping some of his rotation fresh for the second game of the back to back.

Tonight, Gortat will be matched up against Roy Hibbert, who will immediately pose the best challenge of the young season. What Roy lacks in floor-stretching game, he makes up for with inside presence, including rebounding (8.8 per game) and shot blocking (4 per game). Roy is also Indiana’s second leading scorer, averaging 15.8 points per game, and will be relied upon heavily until the team can take on the semblance again of an NBA roster.

Who’s Out?

Wizards: Bradley Beal and Martell Webster remain inactive following wrist and back surgeries, respectively.

Pacers: Paul George, as we’re all aware, is out for the season. The Pacers will also be without George Hill, David West, and CJ Watson, who are all nursing a host of injuries.

How the Wizards will win:

Pick and Roll

One area in which the Wizards have enjoyed success is the pick and roll chemistry between John Wall and Marcin Gortat. Gortat’s ability to use his quickness to open up after high screens, combined with his respectable range, will make difficult for the Pacers to defend the scoring chances.

Also key is getting Roy Hibbert and isolated with our wing players on defensive switches. While Roy excels on the interior, he lacks the lateral quickness to defend shots beyond 10 feet. This will spread the floor for Wall, Temple, and Pierce. The Wizards can also benefit from pulling Luis Scola away from the rim on screens. He’s shown a tendency to overcommit on defense.

Big Game John

John Wall struggled early in last night’s Knicks game, committing turnovers and missing some layups, including an easy fast break opportunity. When Andre Miller entered the game to spell Wall, he changed the pace, using Shane Larkin’s assertiveness against him and became effective at a much different pace.

Tonight, Wall will be matched up against Donald Sloan, where he’ll have the clear advantage. Wall can take advantage of his speed and ability to create off the dribble in half court sets.

I predict a big game for John.

Handle Business

Even prior to the rash of injuries that plagued the Pacers early this season, the team was teetering on lottery territory. With the void Paul George left, you’d be hard-pressed to find a consistent scoring threat on their roster. Tonight, they’ll put on the floor a team that simply isn’t good.

In sports cliché terms: this is a game the Wizards must win. Washington must continue to get solid performances from its starters, work in its reserves early, and avoid what amounts to a trap game against a severely shorthanded Pacers team.

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