DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 26: Bradley Beal #3 of the Washington Wizards dunks the ball against the Detroit Pistons on December 26, 2018 at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan.
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Wizards and Pistons meet in Motor City

The Wizards will continue their three-game road trip on Monday night in Detroit to take on the Pistons at 7:00 P.M. The winner of the game will hold the season series tiebreaker, which will be an important note for playoff implications down the line. Washington swept a back-to-back over the weekend, while Detroit has won four out five. Tomas Satoransky will miss the game due to personal reasons. Wayne Ellington is expected to make his debut for the Pistons.

Game Info

Little Caesars Arena | 7:00 P.M. | NBC Sports Washington+ | 1500 AM

Probable Starters

Wizards: G – Chasson Randle, G – Bradley Beal, F – Trevor Ariza, F – Jeff Green, C – Thomas Bryant

Pistons: G – Reggie Jackson, G – Langston Galloway, F – Bruce Brown, F – Blake Griffin, C – Andre Drummond

Injury Report

Wizards: Tomas Satoransky (personal reasons - out), Dwight Howard (aggravated gluteal soreness – out), John Wall (left Achilles tendon tear – out), Troy Brown Jr. (left ankle sprain – out), Jeff Green (left hip tightness – questionable)

Pistons: TBD

Storylines

Playoff implications

The Pistons beat the Wizards earlier this season in Detroit, while Washington defended home court in January to even the series at 1-1. Since this will be the final meeting between the two teams this season, the winner of Monday’s game will hold the tiebreaker should these teams end the season with the same record. With both teams right there in the Eastern Conference playoff hunt, Monday’s game is big. The Pistons are only two games up on the Wizards and hold the eight seed in the East. A win in Detroit would be the equivalent of a two-game swing because of the tiebreaker.

Newcomers filling their roles immediately

In their first two games as Wizards, newly acquired Bobby Portis, Jabari Parker, and Wes Johnson have statistically been the Wizards top three players. By taking into account each Wizards player’s net rating when he is on or off the court, we can understand each player’s impact on the game. In the two wins over the weekend, the Wizards are 26.1 points per 100 possessions better with Portis on the court versus when he’s off. Portis exploded for 30 points in 23 minutes on Friday, and secured a double-double against his old team on Saturday. Johnson did not score much on Friday, but he had 14 points including two four-point play opportunities. His 15.9 points per 100 possessions differential is second to Portis on the team in those two games. Finally, Parker’s near triple-double on Friday and 20 points on Saturday have been impressive, as well as the seven turnovers he’s forced. He has especially thrived as a playmaker, especially playing alongside a prolific scorer like Bradley Beal. Parker ranks third on the Wizards with a 15.1 net rating differential. These numbers are a small sample size, but it’s certainly encouraging to see the team’s three new players all making an impact immediately.

Containing Griffin

In order to win in Detroit, the Wizards will need to contain Pistons All-Star forward Blake Griffin. Entering Monday’s game, Griffin is averaging 26.1 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game on 47.7% field goal and 36.1% from deep. The Pistons’ offense runs through Griffin, who is one of the best playmaking big men in the NBA. Detroit is a team-low 96.5 points per 100 possessions offensively with Griffin not on the court, which is all you need to know about his impact on their offense. Look for Jeff Green, Trevor Ariza, Bobby Portis, and Jabari Parker to all get a crack at guarding Griffin. If the Wizards can force Griffin off his spots and settle for contested jump shots, the team will put itself in a great position to come out victorious.

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