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Wizards look for second win out West against Warriors
The Wizards head into Wednesday night’s meeting with the back-to-back NBA champion Warriors fresh off of their first victory of the 2018-19 season in Portland. Next is a road test in one of the league’s best environments and against the league’s best team. Washington’s offense came alive Monday, particularly from beyond the 3-point arc where it shot 40.5% on 15 makes from deep. While the Warriors (3-1) have been scoring below their usual rate (just over 113 points per game), the Wizards will need to be wary of Golden State’s ability to pile up points quickly. Washington will need another complete effort to win Wednesday at Oracle.
Oracle Arena | 10:30 p.m. | NBC Sports Washington | 1500 AM
Wizards: G – John Wall, G – Bradley Beal, F – Otto Porter Jr., F – Markieff Morris, C – Ian Mahinmi
Warriors: G – Stephen Curry, G – Klay Thompson, F – Kevin Durant, F – Draymond Green, C – Damian Jones
Wizards: Dwight Howard (Gluteal Soreness – Out), Ian Mahinmi (Back Spasms – Questionable)
Warriors: DeMarcus Cousins (Left Achilles Rehab – Out), Shaun Livingston (Left Knee Contusion – TBD, missed past 2 games)
Last time in the Bay…
The Wizards’ last visit to Oracle started fast and ended poorly, as Washington built a 14-point halftime lead but lost (120-117) after getting outscored 33-20 in the fourth quarter. They did it nearly without Bradley Beal, who was ejected from the game along with Draymond Green after an altercation early in the first half. Washington was also without Markieff Morris. Still, the Wizards used 29 points from Otto Porter Jr. (7 3-pointers), 20 from John Wall and nearly 40 combined points from Kelly Oubre Jr. and Marcin Gortat to battle the Warriors down to the wire.
The Big Situation
With Dwight Howard still out and Ian Mahinmi dealing with back spasms, the Wizards could have to rely on smaller lineups for longer stretches Wednesday. It’s not something Washington is unfamiliar with, as Markieff Morris thrived in being the ‘center’ in a small lineup in Portland. If Mahinmi can’t go or is limited, Scott Brooks could mix Thomas Bryant into the rotation along with Morris and Jason Smith. While the Warriors are known for smaller, shooting-heavy lineups, they do start a traditional big in Damian Jones.
Against a team as dangerous as Golden State, perhaps the biggest prerequisite to winning is limiting mistakes that can make it easy for the Warriors to spark big runs. At any rate, the Wizards’ success will have to start with defense if they are to win in Oakland. Both Otto Porter Jr. and Kelly Oubre Jr. were menaces defensively in Portland, and their range (along with that of players like Jeff Green and Markieff Morris) will need to be on display. The Warriors are among the best at moving the ball, and the Wizards will need to use their length to disrupt passing lanes and avoid letting Golden State find a rhythm.
On last season’s visit, they made life hard for Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson on the perimeter and created 18 Golden State turnovers on the night. This season, the Wizards are only committing 11.7 turnovers per game themselves, a mark that’s second-best in the NBA in the early going. On the other hand, the Warriors are committing 17.5 per contest. Washington has also done a good job getting to the free throw line with its attacking style, and converting on those chances Wednesday will be paramount.