Wizards face Pacers Monday afternoon in third seeding game
On Monday, the Wizards meet the Pacers at 4:00 P.M. at VISA Athletic Center in their third seeding game and the second outing of a back-to-back. Washington is coming off a Sunday loss to Brooklyn while the Indiana, on a day’s rest, is coming off a six-point win over Philadelphia.
VISA Athletic Center | 4:00 P.M. | NBCSW+ | 1500 AM
Wizards: G – Ish Smith, G – Troy Brown Jr., F – Isaac Bonga, F – Rui Hachimura, C – Thomas Bryant
Pacers: G – Aaron Holiday, G – Malcolm Brogdon, F – Justin Holiday, F – T.J. Warren, C – Myles Turner
Wizards: Garrison Mathews (personal reasons – out)
Pacers: Goga Bitadze (sore left knee – questionable), Malcolm Brogdon (cervical strain – questionable), Jeremy Lamb (torn left ACL – out), Victor Oladipo (right knee injury recovery – doubtful), Domantas Sabonis (left foot plantar fasciitis – out)
Wizards face quick turnaround after hard-fought game Sunday
Each team participating in the Orlando restart has one back-to-back worked into their eight-game seeding schedule. For the Wizards, it came early. After a 2:00 P.M. tip against Brooklyn on Sunday, Washington faces a quick turnaround heading into their matchup with Indiana. The challenges that teams must normally overcome when facing a back-to-back don’t apply in the same way in Orlando. While fatigue and workload monitoring could still come into play, teams are at least spared the hassle of dealing with travel logistics, which take a toll on rest. The extent of each team’s travel during the Orlando restart is a short bus ride back to their hotel.
Still, the Wizards will be at a slight disadvantage from a freshness standpoint. Against the Nets, Troy Brown Jr. played one of the best games of his career, but did so racking up 38 minutes. Thomas Bryant played 36-plus minutes on his way to a 30-point double-double. Rui Hachimura also crossed the 30-minute mark. Look for Washington to lean more on their bench than they did on Sunday.
One thing going in the Wizards’ favor is the health of the roster in attendance. While missing a few key contributors, Washington has its full restart roster available. The Pacers, on the other hand, are dealing with a slew of injuries, including some notable names. Malcolm Brogdon is questionable, while two-time All-Star Victor Oladipo is listed as a doubtful. Domantas Sabonis is out.
Brown Jr. continues to show progress
Sunday against the Nets, Troy Brown Jr. did a little bit of everything, totaling 22 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, nearly notching his first career triple-double. He shot 8-17 (.471) from the field and 7-13 (.538) from inside the arc, including 4-4 (1.000) on floaters, which have been a big part of his offensive repertoire in Orlando. Brown Jr. has proven himself to be an above-average rebounding wing and Sunday’s game was further proof of that. He now has 20 games this season with at least seven rebounds. It’s his playmaking that has made the most strides as of late. His eight assists marked a career high and were distributed all around. Two went to Thomas Bryant, two to Jerian Grant and one each to Shabazz Napier, Isaac Bonga, Ish Smith and Rui Hachimura. Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said postgame that Brown Jr.’s effort was part of what kept the Wizards in it against the Nets.
“That’s what we need,” Brooks said. “He has to do that every night. In order to play in this league consistently on a winning basketball team, you’ve got to be able to be consistent with your game. I thought he played well tonight.”
Warren coming off career performance
Monday’s matchup will be the first for Indiana’s T.J. Warren since torching Philadelphia on Saturday. The sixth-year pro, who played his first five seasons with the Suns, was acquired by the Pacers this offseason and has averaged a career-high 19.2 points per game in Indiana. Against the Sixers, Warren went off for a career-high 53 points, shooting 20-29 (.689) from the field and 9-12 (.750) from 3-point range. His previous career high was 40, set on November 1, 2017 against the Wizards.
Warren stands 6’8” with a strong build and has shown the ability to score from all over. This season, he shot 65.7% inside 10 feet of the basket, 47.1% on two-point pull-ups and 39.3% on catch-and-shoot threes. Given his size, look for the Wizards to utilize Isaac Bonga and Rui Hachimura as the primary defensive options against Warren.