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Wizards vs. Pacers Pregame: Seeking Vengeance

Regular Season Game 31

Pacers (15-17) at Wizards (14-16)

December 28, 2016 at 7:00 PM
Verizon Center | Washington, DC
TV: CSN Mid-Atlantic
Radio: 1500 AM


Last time they met was..

December 19, 2016 – Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis: Pacers 107, Wizards 105


What to watch:

Another night of vengeance.

After seeking and eventually having their vengeance against the Milwaukee Bucks for a blow out loss last week, the Wizards once again face a bounce-back opportunity against a Pacers team who beat them by the mere bounce of a ball misfired by Bradley Beal with 0.9 seconds left in the regulation:

Even though the game ended in heartbreak for Wizards fans, it was fitting that the game came down to the final possession, with less than a second left on the clock. Look how evenly they matched up:

  • Both teams’ shooting percentage was just around the mid-40s, with the Wizards shooting 43% and the Pacers at 47%
  • Both teams shot poorly from downtown; the Pacers at 33%, the Wizards- 24%
  • Both teams had 15 total turnovers
  • The Wizards had 19 assists; the Pacers- 18 assists.
  • Both teams got the majority of their production from the starting units, with four of five starters on each team scoring in double figures, and the bench evening out at 20-20.
  • Both teams currently sit 2 games under .500.

What really separates the two teams? The Pacers have lost all 3 of their games since their meeting with the Wizards, while the Wiz won two of their next 3.


Key Matchup:

The Pacers and Wizards are average 3-point shooting teams, both ranking somewhere around the middle of the league in the 35 percent range. But over the past three games the Pacers have been a lot worse, making just 23 of their last 71 attempts. Paul George individually has made just one of his last 12 attempts from downtown.

The Wizards struggled just as much in the two games following their game against the Pacers last week, making just 10 of 42 three-point shots. But then suddenly they decide to light up the Verizon Center on Monday night with 12 made 3’s. Individually, Otto Porter has been a flat out marksman the last three games, hitting on 11 of his last 18 shots from 3.

Paul George squares up against Otto Porter tonight, and that’s your key matchup.


X-Factor:

The Phone Booth

Kelly Oubre said this previous to the Bucks game at the Verizon Center:

“We gotta get our fans behind us again and continue to give them what they want, and that’s wins at home, make the games exciting and that’s what we’ve been doing these past five games. Just continue to play the way we play and the fans will get behind us. They’re like our sixth man out there. Hopefully we’ll have a good showing tonight”

Then followed this shocker of a quote from John Wall after the Bucks at the Verizon Center:

Then, me:

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The Wizards…heard the crowd…and it wasn’t about free chicken…and they FED off their energy…and won their SIXTH straight at Verizon?

John Wall has been irritably vocal about the lack of fan engagement at home games, specifically citing the notion that the home crowd is more concerned about earning free Chick-Fil-A sandwiches off missed free throw rather than the team itself. FINALLY we get a quote from Wall bigging up the fans and quite possibly encouraging them to show up like they have in recent nights. I’ve always stated that a lack of fan energy plays a factor in how the team performs, but this touchy subject is no more than a slippery slope with a double-edged sword waiting at the bottom of it.

Bottom line is: Win the crowd, Wizards.

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Fun Factor:

This OG pose from Glenn Consor with Bradley Beal:


Prediction:

The Wizards have seemed to snatch all the momentum when playing at home and its boosted their confidence. Protecting their house is something they’ve often preached but seldom acted upon. Tonight won’t be that case. Wiz take their seventh straight game at home, close within one game of .500.

we are Hoop District

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