Dec 11, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Hornets shooting guard Austin Rivers (25) drives past Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal (3) during a game at the New Orleans Arena. The Wizards defeated the Hornets 77-70. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Preseason 2013: Washington Wizards vs. New Orleans Pelicans Preview (Key Match Up, Notes and Prediction)


The Wizards failed to pick up their second preseason victory against the New York Knicks on Thursday, but they’ll have a chance to redeem themselves against the new-look New Orleans Pelicans at Rupp Arena. The game tips off at 7:00 PM.

Key Match Up:

After adding two dynamic guards in All-Star Jrue Holiday and former Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans, the New Orleans Pelicans have completely revamped their roster this offseason. With the key additions propelling them as one of the leagues most intriguing teams, I think the Pelicans might have a chance to compete for one of the eight playoff spots in the Western Conference.

With that said, John Wall will be matched up against one of the leagues elite point guards in Jrue Holiday and we’ll get yet another chance to see how he competes with other elite-level guards. John Wall has averaged over 17 points and 8 assists per game in the 11-games matched up with Jrue Holiday, all of which come against the Philadelphia 76ers. Holiday has picked up 7 victories out of those 11 games, but now that the Wizards have established their core group, I’d expect that outlook to change sooner rather than later.

Unlike Wall, the former All-Star doesn’t rely nearly as much on his athleticism, but his ability to score the ball has really caught the rest of the league’s eye. I’d look out for how John Wall defends Jrue Holiday, since it will be the first time he’s matched up with an All-Star caliber guard (Williams was out for Brooklyn, Rose was out for Chicago).

Other Notes:

  • Randy Wittman rested Nene in the game against New York, but I’d expect him to return to the starting lineup along side Trevor Booker tonight.
  • This will be the first time both John Wall & Anthony Davis return to Lexington, Kentucky for an NBA game since they were both selected first overall in their respective years. Wall made history by becoming the first player from the University of Kentucky to get selected first overall by Washington in 2010.
  • Otto Porter will be out tonight, but I’d expect an update on his situation soon.
  • The game will not be televised on CSN nor NBA TV.

Prediction:
For the first time all preseason, it seems like the Wizards will be able to get the frontcourt edge. The Pelicans have zero frontcourt depth, and Anthony Davis doesn’t have the size to defend a player like Nene. Both teams will rely on their dynamic guard play, but due to their experience with each other, I think John Wall and Bradley Beal should be able to dominate once again. Beal is coming off his second straight game scoring 21 points or more and I wouldn’t expect that to change tonight.

Even though it should be an eventful night for UK fans, it’s a bummer for the rest of us all since the game won’t be broadcasted anywhere. I guess I’ll leave my bias aside, and pick the Wizards to sneak out with another victory.

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