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Wizards vs. Pelicans preview: Washington set to face depleted squad in New Orleans

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Washington Wizards Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Game Info

When: Friday, March 9 at 8 p.m. ET.
Where: Smoothie King Arena in New Orleans, Louisiana
TV: NBC Sports Washington, NBA TV
Win probability: Washington has a 44 percent chance of winning according to Kevin Broom’s Win Predictor and a 32 percent chance of winning according to FiveThirtyEight.

Injury Report

Wizards: Otto Porter (Day-to-Day, Hip), John Wall (Out, Knee)

Pelicans: Anthony Davis (Doubtful, Ankle), DeMarcus Cousins (Out, Knee), Alexis Ajinca (Out, Knee), Solomon Hill (Out, Hamstring), Frank Jackson (Out, Foot)

What to Watch for

Can Washington attack the paint?

Pour one out for the poor souls who bought tickets to Friday’s game hoping to see Kentucky teammates John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins battle in out in New Orleans. On top of that, they may not even get to see MVP candidate Anthony Davis after he sprained his ankle in the Pelicans’ loss over the Kings on Wednesday.

If Davis is out, or if he’s playing but not fully himself, Washington needs to get aggressive attacking the paint. The Pelicans allow nearly five more points in the paint per 100 possessions when Davis is off the floor this season than when he’s on. Since the All-Star break, that gap is even wider. The team gives up over six more points per 100 possessions when Davis is off the floor.

Washington has struggled getting points in the paint in recent weeks. Since the All-Star break, they’re 27th in points in the paint per 100 possessions. They’ve been able to get by in recent weeks by creating high quality shots outside the paint, but especially on the road if you’ve got a chance to get good looks inside, you’ve got to take advantage of it.

A random moment in Wizards - Pelicans history: John Wall’s zips past Anthony Davis for the dunk