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Wizards vs. Pacers Pregame: A Chip on the Shoulder

wizpacers

Indiana (30-40) at Washington (40-31)

Verizon Center, Washington, DC
March 25, 2015 at 7:00 PM
TV: CSNWashington
Radio: 99.1FM


Tale of the Tape

[ezcol_1third]WIZARDS[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third][/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]PACERS[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]40-31[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]TEAM RECORD[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]30-40[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]98.2[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]PPG (own)[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]96.6[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]97.6[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]PPG (opp)[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]97.0[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]Lost 3[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]W/L STREAK[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]Lost 6[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]Lost at Warriors 107-76[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]PREVIOUS GAME[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]Lost vs. Rockets 110-100[/ezcol_1third_end]


Last time they met was..

November 8, 2014 @ Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Washington, DC – Wizards 97, Pacers 90
Game Notebook 7, Wizards at Pacers: Another late scare survived against Indiana

Nene outscored the Pacers by himself in the 1st quarter of this game, 15-14. The Wizards built a 19-point lead at halftime but allowed the game to get back into reach for the Pacers after getting outscored 30-19 in the 3rd. As has been the case all season long, the Wizards were unable to hit a lot of 3’s and, of course, rarely attempted any to begin with. They went 2-11 from downtown for the game.


From the Crystal Ball, by Irfan K.

What to Watch: Welcome home! Look for the Wizards to be rejuvenated and ready to go! The Pacers mark the start of a five game home stand (four of the five opponents have a losing record).

An energized Wizards team should systematically dismantle the Pacers. And therein lies the challenge. The Pacers are a well-coached, disciplined team that does not beat themselves. They do everything systematically, and force their opponents to do the same. They are 3rd in the league in points allowed, 9th in the league in defensive rating, and 4th in the league in FG% defense.

But the Pacers can’t score. They rank 24th in points scored, 24th in offensive rating, and 23rd in FG%. With the Wizards defense as good as it is, particularly at home, they should handle the Pacers like they have in the previous two meetings.

But then again, there’s a reason ‪#‎SoWizards‬ exists. And after Marreese Speights put the Wizards on blast with his accusations of players ‘arguing’ with each other and subsequently ‘quitting’ against the Warriors in the 3rd quarter of Monday night’s game, the chips have been planted on their shoulders. Regardless of how right or wrong Speights was, or the fact that Bradley Beal denied the team ever ‘gave up’, reality proves the Wizards have lost their last three games by an average margin of 23 points, and after being marked by an opposing player as “quitters”, well, that’s something that could very well pile on to any discouragement they already may be enduring. The Wizards, despite facing a team tonight they can probably dominate if they wanted to, will instead probably find ways to even out with sloppy execution, turnovers, defensive lapses, and poor coaching. Watch with caution.

Key matchup: Frank Vogel vs. Randy Wittman.

Randy Wittman! The great equalizer! Nothing balances out a match-up like disjointed offensive sets, inconsistent substitution patterns, and allowing your opponent to dictate your lineup adjustments. Advantage: Pacers.

X-factor: George Hill. Before their recent 5 game skid, the Pacers were on a 16-5 stretch that directly coincided with George Hill getting healthy. He averaged 14 points and 6 assists in February, and is averaging an 18 and 5 in March. Most importantly, Hill and Vogel have been together for a long time. He knows how to manage the game the way the Pacers like it, and knows his personnel. If you find yourself screaming “goddam George Hill!!” there may be trouble.

Fun factor: Nene vs. David West! Two veteran tough guy enforcers that will not back down from anyone, facing off in the midst of March, with both teams vying for playoff position.

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[NOTE]: Roy Hibbert has been ignored in this preview due to his primary function as a rim protector. The Wizards already hate attacking the rim and love shooting midrange jumpers against everyone, probably even when Luis Scola is playing the five spot.

Prediction: In classic Wizards fashion, the Wizards win in a way that somehow feels like a loss.

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