Oct 30, 2013; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons small forward Josh Smith (6) drives to the basket during the third quarter against the Washington Wizards at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Pistons won 113-102. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Preview: Washington Wizards vs. Detroit Pistons (Key Match Up, Notes, and Prediction)

The Wizards are coming off a pretty successful four game road trip, winning three away from home, but they lost Bradley Beal to injury last night in a blowout loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves. They’ll return home to the nation’s capital tonight to face the Detroit Pistons, who also suffered a blowout loss to the Orlando Magic last night, in their second game in as many nights. The game will tip off at 7:00 PM from the Verizon Center.

Key Match Up:

Washington’s bigs were completely dominated by Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic last night, and it won’t get any easier for them tonight when matched up against Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond. Detroit has one of the biggest starting lineups in the league, since new head coach Mo Cheeks decided to start Josh Smith at small forward along side both Monroe and Drummond. Their frontcourt combined for just 8 for 21 shooting against the Magic last night, but they’ll certainly have an advantage against Trevor Booker/Nene and Marcin Gortat. Drummond is still relatively raw offensively, so Marcin Gortat has to do a good job taking him out of his comfort zone. Forcing Drummond out of the paint is no easy task, but if he could keep him off the glass, the Wizards should be able to compete in the rebounding category tonight.

With that said, Gortat has to be more assertive offensively. Pekovic got whatever he wanted from the Wizards last night, and if that happens tonight with Detroit’s bigs, tonight could be a long game for the Wizards. Gortat has gone through a string of games where he he’s been hesitant offensively, and that needs to change. He’s been one of the most consistent players on Washington’s roster, but he hasn’t looked comfortable as of late. John Wall should look to utilize him in the pick-and-roll early on in the game. Although the Pistons are considered the underdogs tonight, they have been good on the road this season and their size causes problems for virtually every team in the NBA. Washington has to find a way to compete on the glass tonight if they want to give themselves a chance to win.

Notes:

  • Bradley Beal’s X-ray results came back negative, but his MRI results should offer more detail. He probably won’t be available to play tonight, so expect Martell Webster to slide into the starting lineup.
  • Kevin Seraphin was also out last night with a sore knee. He’s questionable for tonight.
  • Detroit is 24th in the NBA in assists per game. Could this be considered the Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings effect?
  • The Pistons are the second worst three point shooting team in the NBA, shooting just 32.1% on the season.

Prediction:

Washington has struggled against the Pistons for the past few seasons, including a loss in Detroit to start this season. They’ve lost multiple games at home that playoff teams should win, and I think the Wizards have learned from their past mistakes at home and will sneak past the Pistons tonight.

Besides John Wall, no one on the Wizards roster played particularly well last night and I don’t see that continuing tonight at home. Wall should get the advantage over Brandon Jennings, and Martell Webster/Trevor Ariza should be able to light the Pistons up from three point territory.

If the Wizards could contain Josh Smith, and Greg Monroe/Andre Drummond on the glass, they should be able to get the victory. Washington has to find ways to win games at home against teams below .500, and although the Pistons might be more talented on paper, they haven’t been great in a lowly Eastern Conference either.

 

Tags: Andre Drummond Greg Monroe John Wall Josh Smith Nba Game Preview Washington Wizards Wizards Pistons Wizards Pistons Preview

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