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Wizards vs. Pelicans preview: Momentum swing + road game = W?


WIZARDS (15-17) at PELICANS (15-18)

January 8, 2014 at 8:00 PM
New Orleans Arena, New Orleans, LA
TV: CSN Washington
Radio: 106.7FM The Fan


Projected starting lineups:


C- Marcin Gortat
PF- Trevor Booker
SF- Trevor Ariza
SG- Bradley Beal
PG- John Wall


C- Alexis Ajinca
PF- Anthony Davis
SF- Al-Farouq Aminu
SG- Eric Gordan
PG- Jrue Holiday


Key matchup:

John Wall v. Jrue Holiday


Wall and Holiday make for an interesting matchup based on their similarities in style of play. Like Wall, Holiday likes to move with the ball and create offense by penetrating the lane to get to the rim or dishing it off to open teammates. Unlike Wall, Holiday is more prone to take outside shots. Last year, Holiday doubled Wall in jump shot attempts but both shot at an equal 37% clip.

Speaking of which, John continues to be inconsistent with jump shots, going just 3-for-12 on shots outside the paint including 2-for-7 from downtown. It’s clearly been a matter of technique as Wall is still trying to establish a consistent form when putting the ball up. Of course the improvements have been noticed but until Wall can prove some sort of consistency, it’ll remain a detriment to his game.

Tonight, Wall must be keen on defense to prevent Holiday from too much penetration. Holiday has plenty of burst including when he’s coming off screens, which makes him a definite threat to get a lot of points at the rim.

For Wall it’ll be business as usual. Despite the loss of Ryan Anderson, the Pelicans still like to chuck 3-balls at a subpar percentage so Wall will have ample opportunities counterattack on the fast break.



Anthony Davis. The Brow has been on a surge here in his sophomore NBA season. Davis is averaging 19.1 points per game to go with 10.2 rebounds and a league leading 3.2 blocks. A glaring concern for the Wizards matching up against Davis is his dominating length and his prowess for attacking the offensive glass. The advantage against Davis is that he’s not that strong so with a little body bump and force, it’s possible to have him outmatched. Defensively, Davis’ long presence poses an issue for teams trying to drive the lane and attack the rim. His long arms are good at clamping down passing lanes and are the reasons why he leads the league in blocked shots.

The X-factor:

3-point shooting The Wizards pride themselves on the long ball so it’s pretty much a given that they’ll be taking an ample share of shots from downtown. Thing is.. those shot attempts need to be limited with John Wall. John attempted seven 3’s against Charlotte last night, his second highest number of attempts this season (he attempted 8 against Philly in November). He converted only two and as mentioned before, he just hasn’t polished it enough. I look for the Wizards to continue executing strategies to open up their corner shooters. Martell Webster has been fairly inconsistent in the last few games but may have found his touch after hitting that late-game tre against Charlotte. Meanwhile, we’re still calling on Trevor Ariza….

The Pelicans are without their prime triggerman Ryan Anderson which diffuses their threat level from downtown a bit. They still, however, continue to find ways to shoot the 3-ball but at a lesser percentage, obviously.

What happened last time they played?

These two teams met in the preseason at Rupp Arena in Kentucky in what was a homecoming celebration for both John Wall and Anthony Davis. The Pelicans won 93-89 behind Davis’ 16 points and a key block on Bradley Beal in the winding seconds of the game. Beal had 30 points including 13 in the 3rd quarter while Wall added 16.

Al Harrington and Glen Rice remain out for the Wizards. Ryan Anderson is out indefinitely for the Pelicans with a herniated disc.


The Pelicans are a talented team and carry some of the traits that could make the Wizards miserable..IF the Wizards are not in sync. Eric Gordon and Jrue Holiday have created a respectable backcourt, while Anthony Davis anchors the interior. But despite Davis’ hawking presence down low, the Pelicans are not that great of a defensive team. They are 26th in the league in points allowed and without Ryan Anderson, it’ll be tough for New Orleans to counterattack the Wizards’ offense should they get hot.

A lot of my attention will be focused on Bradley Beal. The Pelicans are prone to giving up a lot of long range shots and with Beal “taking what the defense gives him,” I expect plenty opportunities for him to shine.

The Wizards got a much needed win in Charlotte last night to simmer some of the frustration from all the losing. With a bit of a momentum swing and another road game, the Wizards hope to have some confidence rollover for tonight’s matchup. And I think they will.

we are Hoop District

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