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Wizards head to Detroit to take on Pistons
The Wizards will resume play after the holidays on Wednesday night in Detroit. In what will be the team’s first of three matchups with the Pistons, the Wizards will look to end recent road woes with a win. The Pistons come into Wednesday’s game 2-8 in their last 10 contests. After this game, the Wizards will return home for three games over a week span.
Little Caesars Arena | 7:00 P.M. | NBC Sports Washington | 1500 AM
Wizards: G – John Wall, G – Bradley Beal, F – Trevor Ariza, F – Jeff Green, C – Thomas Bryant
Pistons: G – Reggie Jackson, G – Reggie Bullock, F – Luke Kennard, F – Blake Griffin, C – Andre Drummond
Wizards: Dwight Howard (aggravated gluteal soreness – out), Otto Porter Jr. (right knee strain/contusion – out)
Pistons: Henry Ellenson (left ankle sprain – out), Glenn Robinson III (left ankle sprain – out), Ish Smith (right adductor tear – out)
In order for the Wizards to get the win, John Wall and Bradley Beal will need to have big two-way games. Wall has missed time recently, and has not been able to really find a rhythm. Beal, who is averaging 27.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 5.8 assists per game in December, had arguably the best game of his career Saturday with a 40-point triple double. Reggie Jackson and Reggie Bullock are both strong defenders and can get hot offensively, but the Wizards certainly have the advantage in the backcourt with two All-Stars. The Wizards will look for Wall to attack the basket aggressively on pick-and-roll and make plays on both ends of the court. They will need to find ways for Beal to make plays off the dribble and set screens for him on catch-and-shoot opportunities.
Containing Griffin and Drummond
Blake Griffin has been doing it all this season for the Pistons, averaging 25.3 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per game this season. The offense runs through Griffin as a “point-forward,” with the 6’10” forward in the top 20 in the NBA in usage percentage. The Pistons are also 9.0 points per 100 possessions offensively better with him on the floor. Jeff Green will likely get the main assignment to contain Griffin, but good communication on defense will be needed to keep him in check.
Andre Drummond (17.7 PPG, 15.5 RPG) is another All-Star frontcourt player who could present problems for the Wizards. At 6’11”, 280 pounds, Drummond anchors the Pistons’ rebounding, in which they rank top 10 in offensive, defensive, and total rebounding percentage in the league. The Wizards are last in the NBA in defensive rebounding and total rebounding percentage. The entire team, not just Thomas Bryant and Keef Morris, will need to help box out and try to limit Drummond and the Pistons from completely controlling the glass. Washington is 6-0 this season when out-rebounding its opponent.
Last road game of 2018
The road has not been kind to the Wizards so far this season, posting a 4-15 record away from Capital One Arena. Washington comes into Wednesday’s game losers of five straight road games, but the team has an opportunity to right the ship against the Pistons. Considering the Wizards have won six of seven games at home and have been tough to beat in D.C., playing better on the road could go a long way. After this game, the Wizards will be home until traveling to Miami on January 3. They will have three home games during that time period, hosting the Bulls, Hornets, and Hawks, three winnable games.