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Wizards vs. Pelicans Preview: Washington looking to keep playoff hopes alive

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Wizards face the Pelicans on Friday Night. This will be the Wizards’ first look at the #1 overall pick Zion Williamson

2020 NBA All-Star - Rising Stars Media Availability and Practice Photo by Tyler Kaufman/NBAE via Getty Images

Friday Night’s tilt against the New Orleans Pelicans may not have the same importance as the Wizards’ previous games. With the Wizards 4 losses in the bubble, they are on the brink of being eliminated from contention for the 8th and final playoff seed. Currently the Wizards are 7.5 games behind the 8th place Orlando Magic. A loss combined with a Magic win would officially eliminate the Wizards from playoff contention.

Game Info

When: Friday, August 7 at 8 p.m. ET

Where: Visa Athletic Center, Orlando, Florida

How to watch: NBC Sports Washington

Injury Report

Wizards: Bradley Beal (out), Davis Bertans (out), Gary Payton II (out), Garrison Mathews (out), John Wall (out), Jarrod Uthoff (Day-to-Day).

Pelicans: Darius Miller (out)

Pre-Game Notes

Spoilers More than Contenders

With the Wizards close to a likely elimination from playoff contention, the Wizards do have an opportunity to play spoiler to the Pelicans who are in a fight to get to the 8th seed play in tournament. Currently they are two and half games behind the free-falling Grizzlies, but a loss would be huge as 3 of their last 4 games will feature teams they are battling with to get positioning for that 8th seed play-in tournament. The Pelicans need every win they possibly can to stay within 4 games of the 8th spot.

Let’s get Rui going

Rui is averaging 11.4 ppg on 36.4 percent shooting. What’s more? He has only attempted 2 3-pointers in the 4 games in the bubble. For a player that the team wants to feature in the bubble, teams have played off of him not expecting him to take 3 pointers and he has obliged. With very little to lose, it may be time for Rui to start attempting more 3s. If he misses them, you don’t lose much because he is already having minimal impact on offense, but if he makes them it changes the offense, it opens the floor and it gives the team another much-needed outside threat that defenses need to respect in order to space the floor.

Consistency From the Young Talent

Troy Brown Jr., Thomas Bryant and Jerome Robinson have had good moments so far in the bubble. The key to making the next steps in their development is consistency. These are meaningful games, against teams who are fighting for seeding or to make the playoffs. The minutes they are playing are invaluable but they must continue to play well.