Game On: Pels Host Wizards After 3 Days Off

The Pelicans have not beaten the Washington Wizards in New Orleans since 2011, enroute to 7 straight losses overall, and tonight does not look too encouraging a time to break that streak. Given the 5-16 start to the season, the Pels really needed a couple a days off to practice and work on improving something, anything that could help turn this season around. At first it seemed injuries were the main culprit, but with the return of all but Quincy Pondexter, the problems with this team are starting to look much deeper rooted than that.

Washington has had a disappointing start to the season as well, sitting at 9-11 and just 11th in the East after making it to the conference semi-finals last season. Tonight the Basketball Gods might flip the script for the Pels, as Washington could be missing 3 of its front court players (Nene and Drew Gooden are both out, Kris Humphries could be out as well) while the Pels will be down just 2 (Pondexter and now Ryan Anderson is out sick). This could spell a shoot out for the two teams. The Pels have the worst defense in the league by a good margin, and the Wizards have allowed opponents 105ppg this season. Without frontcourt depth, Anthony Davis could break out, he is averaging 25.7 points and 11.3 rebounds on 64.6% shooting in his last 3 games against the Wiz.

The Wizards are having similar troubles with an increased pace this year. Last season they ran a relatively slow pace, relied on defense (5th in DRtg), didn’t take a lot of 3’s but shot a good %. This season they are out and running (3rd in pace), they are taking ~8 more 3’s a game, not shooting as well, and their defense has about fallen off a cliff (21st in DRtg). They have a pg who isn’t the best shooter, they have a little bit of an identity crisis, have been lacking effort at times, and the whole team is out of sync. Sounds a lot like the Pelicans.

Though the Wizards struggles haven’t nearly been as bad as the Pels, they do follow a similar trend of trouble adapting to a faster pace when the team should seemingly benefit from it. So join us tonight as two teams fight to find out who can find their identity first. Some Keys to the Game:

(I’m gonna keep these simple for the Pelicans’ sake)

  • Rebound – That’s it. Somehow someway win the rebound battle. The Pelicans are 4-3 when winning the rebound battle, 1-13 when losing. The Wizards have a depleted front court. The Pels have two 7-footers and Anthony Davis. No excuses, time to roll up your sleeves and do the dirty work required.
  • Don’t Settle – I know the team is having a hard time getting used to this way of playing but they have to keep attacking the basket. Good things happen when you get to the basket, like getting fouled. Case in point: In wins they are taking 28 FT’s a game, in loses just under 21.
  • Get Dirty – There is no excuse for what happened in Boston on Monday. This team is not good enough to win on 80%, 90% effort. I don’t care if it looks good but this team has got to find a way to get a W. That is all that matter right now.

Tip off is for 7 CT at the Smoothie King Center. If something is going to give this season, it is going to happen soon so stay tuned and Flock Up!

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