Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards (3-10) take on the New Orleans Pelicans (5-10) Wednesday night before heading back to the nation’s capital ahead of several hectic weeks.
That said, there is a chance this game is postponed, likely due to coronavirus tracing from the Pelicans’ side. If the game is postponed, this post will be updated accordingly.
When: Wednesday, January 27 at 9 p.m. ET
Where: Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, LA
How to watch: NBC Sports Washington
Wizards: Troy Brown Jr. (Coronavirus protocol, Day-to-Day), Deni Avdija (Coronavirus protocol, Day-to-Day), Davis Bertans (Coronavirus protocol, Day-to-Day), Ish Smith (Coronavirus protocol, Day-to-Day), Moritz Wagner (Coronavirus protocol, Day-to-Day), Rui Hachimura (Coronavirus protocol, Day-to-Day), Thomas Bryant (ACL, Out)
Pelicans: The Pelicans’ last scheduled game against the San Antonio Spurs was postponed yesterday because they could not have eight players for the game due to contact tracing. The Spurs didn’t either, and were the Wizards’ last opponent on Sunday.
Sources tell @wojespn and me that the issue with the postponement in the Spurs-Pelicans game is with a potential coronavirus exposure to a non-team member of the traveling parties of both teams in recent days.— Andrew Lopez (@_Andrew_Lopez) January 26, 2021
The NBA is taking extra precautions with these situations.
It’s always the defense — Through 12 games (I wrote this before the Wizards’ loss to the Rockets last night), the Wizards are allowing a league-worst 121.3 points per game. And while the numbers are slightly skewed due to missed games, it is an accurate reflection of how porous the Wizards’ defense has been this year — Bradley Beal recently lamented that the team “couldn't guard a parked car.” It’s good thing the Pelicans are ranked 22nd in the league in points per game. Isaac Bonga, who logged 33 minutes in Sunday’s loss to the Spurs, should be able to help on the defensive end.
Who will help Beal on offense? — Bradley Beal is leading the NBA in scoring with 34.5 ppg, which is the reason why the Wizards have put up the third most points per game in the league (118.8). And despite measures of 39, 60, 41 and 34, the Wizards are 3–9 and in the cellar of the Southeast Division. Against San Antonio, the only starter, other than Beal, to score in the double-digits was Jerome Robinson (16), while Alex Len was the lone bench player to put up more than 10 points. That has to change.
How “healthy” is Russell Westbrook? — Despite being deemed fit enough to return from a quad injury, Westbrook had trouble in the team’s first game back following the hiatus. He scored nine points, grabbed eight boards, had six assists on 3–11 shooting from the field. Westbrook underperforming only puts more a strain on Beal, making the Wizards’ offense stale and predictable. Clearly, Westbrook is healthy enough to play. The question then becomes: How healthy is he?