The New Orleans Pelicans have had perhaps the worst injury luck in the league this season. Just four players have played in all 21 games. And despite having much of their roster back, the Pels have lost five of their last six. However, their one win in that stretch came against Cleveland. Anything could happen.
The Pelicans beat Cleveland largely due to someday-MVP Anthony Davis (averaging 28.3 points and 10.7 rebounds per game) dominating his matchup with Kevin Love. This doesn’t bode well for the Wizards, who will likely have to choose between having a traditional center (Marcin Gortat, Ryan Hollins) or undersized post player (Jared Dudley, DeJuan Blair) to guard Davis for most of the game, neither of which is likely to work very well. Sending help on Davis - which is probably necessary - gives Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson the space they need to kill the Wizards from three. Washington probably isn’t going to stop New Orleans, so they’ll have to outscore them instead.
Luckily for Washington, New Orleans has one of the worst defensive ratings in the league (108.8 all season, 110.1 in December). The Pelicans are currently tied for highest opponent three point percentage at 39.9 percent. Tied with who, you ask? The Wizards, of course! The Pelicans are also one of the worst teams at preventing opponent points in the paint (something the Wizards are actually fairly good at). With two teams so bad at defending the three point line, this could easily turn into a shooting contest. The Wizards should also look to attack Omer Asik and Davis in pick and rolls with Gortat and the House of Guards.
When and where: 8:00 pm on December 11 at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans.
Broadcast: CSN Washington if you’re in the DMV, FSNOLA if you’re in New Orleans. You can also listen on WNEW 99.1FM in DC and WRNO 95.5 FM in New Orleans. The game will be streaming on League Pass if you are out of market.
Nene and Drew Gooden did not travel so they're out for tonight's game.
Kris Humphries (you know, another key figure in the normal post rotation) is listed as questionable for the Wizards.
For the Pelicans, Kendrick Perkins is questionable and Quincy Pondexter is out.
Most Likely Wizard Killer tonight
What is a #WizardKiller? A non-All Star (or likely future All Star) level player - usually, though not always, an inefficient backup guard - who can’t seem to miss when they play Washington. (H/t to TerpsDMV3 for suggesting this section.)
Norris Cole. Though the Pelicans backup point guard is averaging just 7 points a game while shooting 25 percent this season, he has a history of bringing it against the Wizards. Cole’s highest scoring game of the 2014-15 season and his second highest scoring game of the 2013-14 season both came against the Wizards