Preview: Wizards open four-game road trip Wednesday vs. Pelicans

Smoothie King Center | 8 p.m. | TV: NBCSW | Radio: The Team 980 & Wizards App

The Wizards open a four-game road trip on Wednesday night, taking on the Pelicans at 8 p.m. at the Smoothie King Center. Washington is coming off a loss against Charlotte despite a late comeback effort while the Pelicans have lost four of their last five games.

G Spencer Dinwiddie Tomas Satoransky
G Bradley Beal Garrett Temple
F Kentavious Caldwell-Pope Josh Hart
F Kyle Kuzma Brandon Ingram
C Daniel Gafford Jonas Valanciunas

WIZARDS: Thomas Bryant (left ACL injury recovery – out), Rui Hachimura (not with team – out)

PELICANS: Devonte’ Graham (left foot soreness – questionable), Daulton Hommes (right fibular stress fracture – out), Zion Williamson (right foot fracture – out)

Wizards look to bounce back from recent struggles
After a five-game winning streak and a stretch of eight wins in 10 games, the Wizards are facing their first bit of adversity of the season. Washington has dropped three of its last four games, including a pair of matchups with the Hornets and a 15-point loss to the Heat. The team’s win in that time was one of its most impressive of the season, a comeback from 16 points down in another matchup with Miami. Still, the takeaways from the trio of losses have been the team’s primary point of focus over the last week. The team is staying optimistic, citing a consistent ability to dig themselves out of deficits, but are looking for ways to avoid those second-half deficits entirely going forward.

“Hopefully we’ve learned from some of those mistakes and won’t repeat (them),” Wizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr. said after practice on Tuesday. “But the fact that we have stayed competitive in those situations is a good sign.”

Washington set for second-longest road trip of season
Washington’s game in New Orleans marks the first of four consecutive road games, tied for its second-longest road trip of the season trailing only a six-game trip in mid-December. This season, the Wizards are 4-4 away from Capital One Arena, earning wins over the Raptors, Celtics, Cavaliers and Magic. If Washington can replicate some of the play that got it to 11-6 this season, it should be in store for a solid trip. Washington’s four upcoming opponents – New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Dallas and San Antonio – are a combined 22-46 (.478) on the season.

The Wizards, however, are focused inward as they embark on the road trip.

“Home court has been good for us for a number of reasons, but good teams find ways to win on the road,” Unseld Jr. said. “You have to. Part of that is doing what we can do to control the controllable. Limiting turnovers, making sure we finish possessions defensively with a rebound…That will help avoid some of the lulls and keep us in the game.”

Scouting the Pelicans
The Pelicans come into Wednesday’s matchup at just 3-16 on the season and coming off a 14-point loss to the Timberwolves in which no starter scored more than 13 points. Brandon Ingram, who leads the team in scoring with 21.4 points per game, had an uncharacteristic off-night, shooting 2-13 (.153) from the field, scoring just nine points in 37 minutes. In the Wizards’ and Pelicans earlier matchup this season, Ingram was outstanding, scoring a game-high 31 points to go along with five rebounds and four assists.

Tickets for all Wizards home games can be purchased HERE.


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