Preview: Washington Wizards at Indiana Pacers (Key Match Up, Notes, and Prediction)

Nov 29, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers point guard George Hill (3) tries to keep the ball during the second half of the game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana Pacers win 93 to 73. Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

After picking up back-to-back wins on the road, the Wizards will have a chance to get back to .500 for the third time this season tonight. Although the Wizards have played some good basketball on the road this season, the Indiana Pacers are obviously one of the best teams in the league, so it’ll be a tough road back to .500. The game will tip off at 7:00 from Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Key Match Up:

Unlike many teams around the NBA, the Pacers still rely on their big men to produce for them to succeed. Roy Hibbert and David West are arguably two of the most important pieces on their championship contending team and others around the league have obviously had trouble matching their size. Indiana pushed the defending champion Miami Heat to a 7-game series last season before collapsing on the road, but if they continue to play at this level they won’t have to worry about playing the final game away from home this season. Hibbert is probably the best center in the Eastern Conference, anchoring Indiana’s elite defense, while David West provides the stability and leadership every contending team needs.

Needless to say, Marcin Gortat and Trevor Booker will need to have some spectacular individual performances against Indiana’s frontcourt for the Wizards to remain competitive tonight. Gortat has posted double-doubles in both of Washington’s back-to-back wins, while Booker has always provided the rebounding and effort Washington expected after sliding him into the starting lineup. Indiana is one of the better rebounding teams in the league and they’re also at the bottom half in fouls per game, so Gortat and Booker are going to have to work their butts off tonight. Indiana is very good all around, but I personally think the key to stopping them starts with their big men. Let’s hope Gortat, Booker, and even Nene are up to the challenge.

Notes:

  • Indiana has the highest defensive rating in the NBA.
  • The Pacers are coming off a double-digit loss to the Atlanta Hawks, so they’re beatable. They also lost by 13 points to the Toronto Raptors on New Year’s Day.
  • Oh, I forgot to mention that the Pacers have 17 wins at home with just 1 (!!!) loss. YIKES.
  • John Wall scored 8 points on 14 shots the last time the Wizards-Pacers met. Yeah, he’ll need to play a little better for the Wizards to pull off an upset.

Prediction:

Washington has only beaten one team above .500 this season and the Indiana Pacers only have one loss at home. Unexpected things have happened in the NBA, but I don’t expect the Wizards to get the win tonight. Many people are picking the Pacers to win the championship this season and they need to secure wins over teams like the Wizards at home if they want to remain first in the Eastern Conference. They’ve already lost twice this month and they’ll certainly be ready for whatever the Wizards have in their arsenal tonight.

John Wall and Bradley Beal have to shoot lights out from the field, while Gortat and Booker have to compete with one of the best frontcourt duos in the NBA. Paul George might be playing at an MVP level this season and the Pacers simply have too much talent for the Wizards. Moral victories aren’t acceptable, but it wouldn’t hurt to stay competitive tonight. As long as Washington doesn’t get blown out tonight, I don’t think anyone should be too disappointed in the result.

Topics: John Wall, Marcin Gortat, Nba Game Preview, Roy Hibbert, Washington Wizards, Wizards Pacers, Wizards Vs Pacers, Wizards Vs Pacers Preview

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