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Wizards look to bounce back Sunday against Clippers
The Wizards (7-14) are back at Capital One Arena on Sunday, hosting the Clippers (16-7) at 6:00 P.M. The teams met just seven days ago in Los Angeles in a decisive Clippers win, despite 30 points and nine rebounds from Rui Hachimura.
Capital One Arena | 6:00 P.M. | NBCSW | 1500 AM
Wizards: G – Ish Smith, G – Bradley Beal, F – Isaac Bonga, F – Rui Hachimura, C – Moritz Wagner
Clippers: G – Patrick Beverley, G – Paul George, F – Kawhi Leonard, F – Maurice Harkless, C – Ivica Zubac
Wizards: Thomas Bryant (right foot stress reaction – out), Jordan McRae (right ring finger surgery – out) C.J. Miles (left wrist surgery – out), Isaiah Thomas (left calf strain – out), John Wall (left Achilles rehab – out)
Clippers: JaMychal Green (tailbone contusion – questionable), Rodney McGruder (right hamstring strain – out), Patrick Patterson (back spasms - out) Landry Shamet (high left ankle sprain – out)
Wizards look to learn from last weekend’s loss in L.A.
Just one week ago, the Clippers topped the Wizards by 25 points at STAPLES Center. The game was Washington’s fourth of a four-game West Coast road trip and saw the Wizards playing without Moritz Wagner, who leads the team in defensive rating (107.4) and true shooting percentage (68.4). The Clippers put on one of their best shooting performances of the season, hitting 55.3% from the field and 43.8% from 3-point range. Both of Los Angeles’s All-NBA forwards, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, scored at least 30 points. The Wizards took the Clippers’ best shot. As a developing team, those losses can carry value and facing a team again so shortly after a loss provides a fairly simple measuring stick for how well those players were able to learn from the mistakes made in the teams’ first meeting. Wizards head coach Scott Brooks has stressed time and time again that this season, especially in its earliest phases, is more about the development of the young players than the wins and losses. If the Wizards’ young players can take a handful of lessons from that loss last weekend in Los Angeles and apply them to this weekend’s matchup, it will say a lot about the Wizards’ players willingness to adopt Coach Brooks’s line of thinking.
Wizards succeeding when focusing offense within the arc
All season long, the Wizards’ offense has been touted for its fast-paced, high-volume approach, getting up and down the court and putting up point totals that rival the best teams in the league. And while Davis Bertans’s record-setting 3-point numbers and Bradley Beal’s hot streaks have caught eyes, the Wizards have actually found more success when their offense is predicated within the arc. In eight games this season in which Washington has attempted more than 35 3-pointers, the team is just 1-7. When the Wizards attempt 30 or fewer 3-pointers in a game, they are 4-2. One of those four wins came Thursday night against Philadelphia when Washington put on one of its best performances of the season. The Wizards attempted a season-low 27 shots from beyond the arc and played one of their slowest paced games of year.
How that strategy can fare against a Clippers team renowned for its defensive depth is yet to be seen. In fact, one of Washington’s two losses when attempting 30 or fewer threes came to Los Angeles last Sunday. The Clippers are able to do things on the defensive end that most teams in the league can’t, but beyond Sunday, the Wizards’ 3-point rate and how it fluctuates through wins and losses is something to keep an eye on as this season progresses.
Both teams look to bounce back from Friday losses
The Wizards and Clippers are each looking to rebound after losses on Friday night. Washington lost 112-103 in Miami in the second game of a home-away back-to-back while the Clippers fell to the league-leading Bucks 119-91, their worst losing deficit of the season. Both teams shot well below their season average from 3-point range. The Wizards shot 30.8% from 3-point range, including 3-21 (.143) in the second half, while the Clippers hit just 25% from deep against the Bucks. Los Angeles is looking to avoid just its second two-game slide of the season.