The start to the Wizards season has already seen it's share of drama, with each game going down to the final moments. Now that they've got a few games under their belt, they're getting ready for a challenging part of the schedule. Seven of their eleven games this month are against playoff teams from last season, and they also get the Thunder, who only missed the playoffs last season thanks to Kevin Durant's injury.
What will the end of November look like for our Washington Wizards? How many wins? How many losses? You decide. Cast a vote below and enjoy the colorful commentary on the next 11 games.
November 4, 2015 v. San Antonio Spurs
Current Record: 3-1
Probable Starters: K. Leonard, L. Aldridge, T. Duncan, D. Green, T. Parker
With the high profile addition of LaMarcus Aldridge the Spurs have yet to reach the high expectations set for themselves this offseason. Translation: Can they beat the high flying offense of the Los Angeles Clippers & the Golden State Warriors with old legs? Led by the winningest trio in NBA history (Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan) who pose a problem for our young Wizards core. An old home for Wizards Gary Neal & DeJuan Blair, and a new home for ex-Wizard Rasual Butler. The teams sure know each other well, but who has the advantage?
November 6, 2015 at Boston Celtics
Probable Starters: J. Crowder, D. Lee, T. Zeller, A. Bradley, M. Smart
We haven't seen much of Kelly Oubre Jr. lately could he possibly play valuable minutes on defense against the Celtics' feisty backcourt, led by Avery Bradley, Isaiah Thomas, and Marcus Smart. The Celtics are a sleeper team in the East but run into trouble scoring points and turn the ball over just as much as the Wiz Kids. With their best players coming off the bench, this could be an entertaining game from start to finish.
November 7, 2015 at Atlanta Hawks
Probable Starters: K. Bazemore, P. Millsap, A. Horford, K. Korver, J. Teague
The Atlanta Hawks were at the top of the NBA & Eastern Conference last season and the Wizards still almost beat them in the playoffs.
Sighs. I feel cheated. I, for one, believed they were going to beat them. Told Jake and everything. This is not a revenge game, more like "I know I'm better than you" game. There's no DeMarre Carroll and Thabo Sefolosha is back. It's John Wall's first time in Philips Arena since ... you know. My advice for the Washington Wizards: Win. No excuses. Who cares if it's early in the season? Who cares that you'll see them three more times?
November 10, 2015 v. Oklahoma City Thunder
Probable Starters: S. Ibaka, K. Durant, S. Adams, R. Westbrook, A. Roberson
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined for 91 points on the road in a double-overtime win against the Orlando Magic last Friday. John Wall and Bradley Beal *only* combined for 51 points in a lost at home against the New York Knicks. They'll have to play hard. They'll have to play smart. And they'll have to play together if they want to beat this Oklahoma City Thunder team at home. The Verizon Center crowd will be split between cheering for Durant and of course, the home team. I'm seeing nerves. I'm seeing bad passes. And, I'm seeing game-winners next Tuesday. Oh, and there could possibly be a media circus parade in the days to come with KD's looming free agency and all.
November 14, 2015 v. Orlando Magic
Probable Starters: E. Fournier, T. Harris, N. Vucevic, V. Oladipo, E. Payton
The last meeting between the two went down to the wire as Victor Oladipo and John Wall traded baskets. One lucky courtside fan grabbed a handful of Ramon Sessions shorts and gave him a happy and rather long pat on his left cheek, sending the Internet in meme and vine overdrive.
The athleticism of this team is ridiculous. Scott Skiles has the Magic playing a different brand of basketball. The only things keeping them from a better record is youth and inexperience. The Wizards will need the second unit to play better than they played in the first meeting. Also, if the Wizards turn the ball over in Orlando 17 times again, how can they proclaim to be an elite team in this league?
November 17, 2015 v. Milwaukee Bucks
Probable Starters: G. Antetokounmpo, J. O'Bryant III, G. Monroe, K. Middleton, M. Carter-Williams
We saw them last month in Giannis Anteokounmpo's first game back from suspension. He was feeling it that night and dropped 27 points, 9 rebounds, a monster slam on Nene, and shot 60 percent from the field. Sheesh. What will "The Greek Freak" do next? (Not a fan of the nickname, by the way.)
Fortunately the Bucks were unable to stop Washington's guard play and the Wizards shot 57 percent (12-21) from three including four threes from Beal in the fourth quarter. Three of the Bucks key players are still out with nagging injuries, (J. Henson, O.J. Mayo, J. Parker) but should be back in time for this one. The Wizards have already proven they can beat Milwaukee, now they just need to do it again at home.
November 21, 2015 at Detroit Pistons
Probable Starters: M. Morris, E. IIyasova, A. Drummond, K. Caldwell-Pope, R. Jackson
John Wall & the #WizSquad face Reggie Jackson (Wall's second favorite player behind himself) and the Detroit Pistons, who are still undefeated in the Motor City and Malice Palace.
Andre Drummond was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for Tues. Oct. 27 - Sun. Nov. 1, posting a double double in three wins. Detroit is on a road to redemption but they have to get past the Wizards first. This will be a physical game, elbows and all. Please no ejections. Please no moving screens. Just win.
November 24, 2015 v. Indiana Pacers
Probable Starters: C. Miles, P. George, I. Mahinmi, M. Ellis,
It's rough up there in Naptown but their premiere player Paul George is back and George Hill dyed his hair blonde so everyone will know his name.
They lost some key pieces this summer to the Western Conference and have yet to find a new identity. Hence, the three game losing streak in the opening week. But, Indiana is sneaky and could easily beat Washington on their home floor if they fail to pay attention. I like this statement from George Hill, after their lost to Utah, "We're getting everybody's best punch. It's not that teams are beating us—we're beating ourselves." Well, need I say more?
November 25, 2015 at Charlotte Hornets
Probable Starters: P. Hairston, M.Williams, A. Jefferson, N. Batum, K.Walker
Michael Jordan's team! Jeremy Lamb just signed a three-year $21 million contract extension which cashed in because the Hornets just dropped the Bulls Tuesday night for their first win of the season.
Had Michael Kidd-Gilchrist been on the floor this season, I think it would be a lot different. That kid is talented, and the Shaqtin A Fool mistakes of Spencer Hawes are not. The bench will most certainly play a large part in this game and after that, it's Thanksgiving! There are no nights off in the NBA, so the Washington Wizards should be holiday intense for this one.
November 27, 2015 at Boston Celtics
Probable Starters: J. Crowder, D. Lee, T. Zeller, A. Bradley, M. Smart
Someone must really love the Wizards-Celtics rivalry, to pit them against each other twice in the same month at TD Garden. Maybe the schedule was made with Pierce in mind. It's a must-win! Any game against a former team of Paul Pierce is a must-win! He at least taught them that much.
This second matchup could be scrappy or a blowout, seeing how we are only one day removed from Turkey Day and playing midnight games with family and friends.
November 28, 2015 v. Toronto Raptors
Probable Starters: D. Carroll, L. Scola, J. Valanciunas, D. DeRozan, K. Lowry
Backcourt matchup! Backcourt matchup! Kyle Lowry & Demar DeRozan vs. John Wall & Bradley Beal. Toronto's backcourt has made two All-Star appearances, but they didn't play like one against Washington in the playoffs last season. Excuse me while I put this broom away.
All jokes aside, the Raptors are winning games by double-figures, with new additions DeMarre Carroll & Luis Scola in the starting lineup. They beat Washington in the preseason in Montreal (doesn't count) and they're hosting the 2016 All-Star game. Losing to them in the regular season now would be embarrassing after handling them so easily last spring. I can't call it, to each his own.
Other Notes to keep in mind before voting:
- Last season at the end of November, the Wizards were: 10-5
- Garrett Temple & Paul Pierce were in the starting line-up and Otto Porter Jr. & Kris Humphries were coming off of the bench.
- Bradley Beal didn't play until November 19 last season and didn't return to the starting lineup until November 26.
- John Wall averaged 17.5 points, 8.7 assists, 4.4 rebounds, and 2.4 steals per game in November last season.
**Numbers reflect games played through November 3, 2015.