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Wizards vs. Pelicans preview: John Wall welcomes DeMarcus Cousins to town

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NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at New Orleans Pelicans Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Game Info

When: Tuesday, December 19 at 7 p.m.
Where: Capital One Arena in Washington D.C.
TV: NBC Sports Washington
Win probability: Washington has a 63 percent chance of winning, according to Kevin Broom’s Win Predictor, and a 68 percent chance of winning, according to FiveThirtyEight.

Injury Report

Wizards: Otto Porter (Questionable, Hip), Sheldon Mac (Out, Achilles)

Pelicans: Anthony Davis (Questionable, Ankle), Alexis Ajinca (Out, Knee), Frank Jackson (Out, Foot), Tony Allen (Out, Leg), Solomon Hill (Out, Hamstring)

What to Watch for

How will everyone handle the elephant in the room?

This will be the first time John Wall and DeMarcus have faced off against one another since November 2016. A lot has happened since the last time these two met:

  • The Kings traded Cousins to New Orleans in February, even though the Pelicans didn’t have a firm commitment on whether or not he would stay after the end of the 2017-18 season.
  • The Pelicans, caught in a tight spot with few assets and no cap space, re-signed Jrue Holiday to a max contract and largely brought back the same team from last season.
  • The Wizards, also caught in a tight spot with few assets and no cap space, re-signed Otto Porter to a max contract and largely brought back the same team from last season.
  • New Orleans is off to a better than expected start to this season, as the Pelicans have figured out how to make the most of their talented, but top-heavy team.
  • Washington is off to a slightly worse than expected start to this season, as the Wizards have struggled to make the most of their talented, but top-heavy team, especially as they try to battle through injuries.
  • Even though the Pelicans are winning the battle of expectations, Washington has still been the better team so far this season. They have a slightly better record, a much better point differential, and advanced metrics like ESPN’s BPI and FiveThirtyEight’s CARMELO both project Washington will be the better team at the end of the season.

It’s anyone’s guess how all of this is weighing on DeMarcus Cousins’ mind as he prepares for free agency this summer, but it will certainly be a topic of discussion in this one, regardless of the final outcome. Hopefully for Washington’s sake it doesn’t end as poorly as their last big pitch to a potential star.

A random moment in Wizards - Pelicans history: Nene’s game-winning dunk to beat New Orleans

Nene’s dunk was the cherry on top of one of the best performances of his career. He scored a career-high 30 points and added 7 rebounds, 3 steals, and a pair of blocks to lift Washington to victory. The Wizards went on to win their next four games, which gave that 2013-14 team the win streak they needed to get and stay over .500 for the rest of the season.