Washington Wizards: Three Key Matchups To Watch Against OKC

Washington Wizards Bradley Beal (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
Washington Wizards Bradley Beal (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) /

After an eight-point loss to the Mavs, Washington looks to bounce back against the Thunder and earn their first victory of the season. Here are three matchups to keep an eye on in Oklahoma City.

Thunder Guards vs Wizards Backcourt

With Russell Westbrook now a Rocket, welcome Chris Paul to the rebuilt Thunder roster that touts a three-guard system anchored by the veteran in Paul, flanked by young stars Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Dennis Schroder. The trio of ball handlers combined for 51 points in their season opening loss to the Utah Jazz. The Wizards backcourt of Ish Smith and Bradley Beal, although not elite defenders, will look to stymy the trio by jumping into passing lanes triggering the fast break where the Wizards are at their best.

Danilo Gallinari vs Rui Hachimura

Welcome to the NBA, rook. After a matchup with All-Star Kristaps Porzingis in his NBA debut, Hachimura now faces another European skilled forward in the 2008 sixth-overall selection in Gallinari. Hachimura will look to use his stout fundamentals on both ends of the floor to limit the sharpshooting forward. Gallinari’s game resembles the likes of Porzingis in that they both use their length and basketball IQ to spread the floor allowing for open shots where they flourish.

The Bigs: Thomas Bryant vs Steven Adams

One of the top rebounders in all of basketball, Adams’ game has improved dramatically over the past couple seasons. Primarily a scoring threat via the pick-and-roll, Bryant will have to use his quickness and shot-blocking ability frequently against Adams around the rim. Communication will also be key as the Thunder surround Chris Paul with shooters on the outside. They tend to run a “four-man out” system with Adams patrolling the middle, opening up the floor as much as possible to allow their wings to attack the basket.

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