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Wizards and Pelicans meet for second time this week
Winners of six of their last nine games, the Wizards head to New Orleans to take on the Pelicans for the second time in the last week. The Wizards defeated the Pelicans on Saturday in D.C., but Anthony Davis did not play. He has since returned to the lineup, but New Orleans has lost four games in a row heading into this game.
Smoothie King Center | 8:00 P.M. | NBC Sports Washington | 1500 AM
Wizards: G – John Wall, G – Bradley Beal, F – Kelly Oubre Jr., F – Otto Porter Jr., C – Thomas Bryant
Pelicans: G – Jrue Holiday, G – E’Twaun Moore, F – Wesley Johnson, F – Nikola Mirotic, C – Anthony Davis
Wizards: Dwight Howard (aggravated gluteal soreness – questionable)
Pelicans: Elfrid Payton (fractured left finger – out)
Wizards 3-1 since lineup change
The Wizards have won three of four games since inserting Kelly Oubre Jr. into the starting lineup and having Keef Morris come off the bench. The resume is impressive: wins over the Clippers, Pelicans, and Rockets. With Oubre and Thomas Bryant, who is starting for the injured Dwight Howard, in the starting lineup, the Wizards have been able to play with greater pace. Morris has been excellent as a reserve in the four games, averaging 16.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game while shooting 40.9% from deep. Though he has not started, Morris has finished all three wins and has come up big with timely offensive rebounds, 3-pointers, and defensive stands. Austin Rivers also tied his season-high with 18 points off the bench, and closed the game with lockdown defense. The Wizards will need their role players to step up once again in order to sweep the season series.
What to take away from previous matchup
In Saturday’s matchup between these two teams, the Wizards and Pelicans were both able to score at will in the first half. The adjustment came at halftime; with Davis not playing, Washington zeroed in on stopping Julius Randle and Jrue Holiday. After giving up 61.9% shooting in the first half, the Wizards held the Pelicans to 35.4% from the field in the final 24 minutes. Offensively, the Wizards were able to shoot a then season-high 56.7% from the field against the Pelicans’ 27th ranked defense (giving up 112.3 points per 100 possessions).
Everything changes, however, now that Davis is back in the lineup. Davis is averaging 27.0 points, 12.8 rebounds, 4.9 assists, and 2.7 blocks per game, and New Orleans is 10-7 when he plays. While the Wizards could focus on stopping Randle and Holiday with Davis out on Wednesday, most of the Pelicans’ offense runs through Davis. Thomas Bryant, Keef Morris, Jeff Green, and Ian Mahinmi will be asked to help defend him one-on-one if Dwight Howard remains out. Ultimately, it will be on all of the Wizards to play sound team defense to stop Davis and the Pelicans’ number four ranked offense (112.8 points per 100 possessions).
- The Pelicans are 8-2 at home this season, scoring 122.0 points per game at home vs. 114.7 points per game on the road.
- The Wizards have won 13 of the last 14 games in the series, including six in a row.
- Otto Porter Jr. scored a season-high 29 points against the Pelicans on Saturday.
- Scott Brooks is 20-9 (.689) all-time against New Orleans.