The Wizards got off to a solid start out of the All-Star break despite having to play three straight games in as many days. Washington won two of those three and will look to continue their success and push into the playoffs against the Pelicans.
They'll have a major obstacle to face with Anthony Davis coming into town off of a historic game with 59 points and 20 rebounds. Davis is the first player since Shaquille O'Neal and Wilt Chamberlain to have at least 55 points and 20 rebounds in a single game in the last 50 years.
So, it won't be easy, but the Pelicans are 22-33 still. Despite them playing better as of late, this is still a game the Wizards can win so long as they maintain their pressure on the defensive end. Despite their gaffes in their last game against the Miami Heat, their outings against the Utah Jazz and the Detroit Pistons should leave some encouragement.
Let's get into the logistics.
When: 7:00 p.m. EST
Where: Washington, D.C. at the Verizon Center.
TV: CSN Mid-Atlantic with Steve Buckhantz and Phil Chenier.
Radio: Bloomberg radio 99.1 with Dave Johnson and Glenn Consor.
Pelicans: Omer Asik and Eric Gordon are both questionable with an ankle injury and a finger injury respectively.
Wizards: Gary Neal is day-to-day with a leg injury and Alan Anderson expects to play tonight barring any unforeseen setbacks.
Wiz Killer of the Night
Jrue Holiday was the first player that came to mind, but he's previously been an All-Star so he cannot be used. Ryan Anderson qualifies here, but he's a good rotation player and, despite not being an All-Star in his career, will be coveted this offseason and will garner a huge deal.
So, naturally, I'm going with Bryce Dejean-Jones. He's not a particularly special player, but he has the ability to handle the ball, get into the lane and occasionally finish with his size. He's a solid shooter, but against the Wizards' solid shooters have looked consistently phenomenal. The Wizards might not want to pay him special attention, but they cannot leave him unguarded.
Keys to Victory
Crash the glass
The Wizards cannot afford to be outrebounded by the Pelicans as they were against the Heat on Saturday night. Hassan Whiteside had 23 rebounds and the Heat had 67 rebounds in total. That cannot happen again, but Anthony Davis is an excellent rebounder and a great defender.
The Wizards have to keep him off of the glass the best they can if they want to win. That means that the team has to rebound as a unit and push the ball forward when they get the chance to keep the Pelicans off balance.
Keep Anthony Davis in front of you
This is harder than it sounds, but the Wizards have to keep Davis away from easy looks at the rim. He's a great player in general, so he'll likely get his shots off. But you want to keep Davis in a position where he has to create for himself. Letting Davis find backdoor lanes to the rim and receive easy passes is not going to lead the Wizards to victory.