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Wizards vs. Pistons game preview: It’s time to eat

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Regular season game #1
Washington Wizards (0-0) at Detroit Pistons (0-0)
October 30, 2013
The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, MI
TV: CSN Washington
Radio: 106.7FM The Fan

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Projected starting lineups:

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

Detroit Pistons
C- Andre Drummond, PF- Greg Monroe, SF- Josh Smith, SG- Chauncey Billups, PG- Will Bynum

Key matchup:

John Wall v. Peyton Siva

siva

We have all been on the Bradley Beal wagon lately and for good reason. Beal has dominated on offense for a majority of the preseason. John Wall has played well for the most part, but everything has been overshadowed by Bradley’s superior performances.

Prior to the preseason, most of the attention was on John Wall as he challenged himself this offseason to improve his game and lead his team to the playoffs. Perhaps the preseason was too early for Wall to have a performance that would show us that he is ready to take his game to the next level. Starting tonight, everything counts. Maybe this introduction and selection was more fitting for inserting John Wall into our spotlight tonight, but it’s about much more than that.

To be an elite guard in this league you have to take advantage of the inferior players you might go up against. Peyton Siva is inferior. Chauncey Billups might even end up taking this assignment, and as crafty as he is, he is much too old and slow to keep up with John Wall. As much as I am still terrified of Andre Drummond, the Wizards held their own in the frontcourt last time around. The Wizards out-rebounded the Pistons and did not get their own shallow frontcourt in any foul trouble. The Pistons backcourt is in shambles and the Wizards need to run circles around them. Maybe Bradley Beal will do most of the damage, but I want John Wall to set the table. I want John Wall to run the break and force Detroit’s bigs to rush back on defense because John Wall is pushing the break as soon as Nene kicks it to him off the rebound. If John Wall is hungry, than tonight is the night to eat.

Spotlight:

marcin_gortat_hd_wallpaper-1280x720

Marcin Gortat. Fans are very excited about the addition of Marcin Gortat and what he might bring to the Wizards offense. He is the perfect compliment to John Wall, and his addition enables Nene to move down to his preferred position. This will be his first game as a Wizard and it should come with some growing pains. He will be playing with a brand new team with a brand new scheme, and on the road. To make it even more difficult, he will be going up against a very talented frontcourt. It should be interesting to see how much pick and roll Coach Wittman draws up for Wall and Gortat, and how he plans to utilize him early on. The Wizards probably made adjustments to the offense after Okafor went down, and now they have had to readjust considering a true center has been added back to the offense. The spacing of Gortat and Nene should be something to note also considering how unique the two players skill sets are.

The X-factor:

3-point shooting. Considering that these teams played less than ten days ago, we have a good idea of what the Wizards need to improve on. The Wizards did a great job of rebounding and minimizing turnovers last game. However, they did not do a good job of moving the ball around. The Pistons jumped out to a double-digit lead because they hit 7 three-pointers in the first half. The Wizards only had 19 assists to end the game while the Pistons had 29. Detroit shot 42% from downtown, while the Wizards were a measly 3-for-16. The Wizards have to limit Detroit’s ball movement in order to limit the success of their long distance shooting. On the flip side, the Wizards have to do a better job of moving the ball on the perimeter to create better shots for their backcourt.

What happened last time they played?

The Pistons edged out the Wiz at home in the preseason. Detroit got out to an early lead after the Pistons caught fire from behind the arc. They were up by 22 going into halftime until a Bradley Beal-led comeback turned into a tie game via a Kevin Seraphin jumper midway through the 4th quarter. Greg Monroe had a game-high 18 points and Bradley Beal led the Wizards with 17. The Pistons won 99-96.

Who’s hurt?

The Pistons are still missing a large chunk of their backcourt. Brandon Jennings (jaw) and Rodney Stuckey (thumb) are expected to be out. Otto Porter and Chris Singleton will sit this one out for the Wizards.

Outlook:

“Wizards go into home opener undefeated…”

The Pistons boast a very talented frontcourt. I just don’t think it’s enough to offset the advantage the Wizards have at the guard positions. The wild card is how well Josh Smith plays. Smith was a late scratch in the last game during the preseason and we don’t really know how he will fit into an already large frontcourt for the Pistons. If Josh Smith continues to take shots that don’t really fit his skill set like he has most of his career, it could be an advantage for the Wizards. If the Pistons utilize Smith in a way that monopolizes the boards for them, the Wizards could be in for a long night. Considering the Pistons got out to an early lead because of some uncharacteristically great 3-point shooting, the Wizards should be able to win this game. Bradley Beal did not get a lot of help last time they played, aside from Kevin Seraphin, and I expect that to change this time around. Wall and Beal should exploit the Siva-Billups backcourt and they just need a strong game from either Nene or Gortat and some minor bench contributions to take this one. Wizards by 5.

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