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Pistons at Wizards preview: Wall-less but always dangerous

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Detroit begins four-game road trip starting in D.C.

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Washington Wizards Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

It’s too bad players can’t call their own fouls.

Foul, ball up top.

Initially, the call was out of bounds on Otto Porter. After the review process, though, the verdict was overturned and since you can’t review “foul/no foul”, the ball remained with Washington. The Pistons ended up losing 115-111 after being down by as many as 15 in the third quarter.

Whatever.

Game Vitals

When: December 1st at 7 p.m.
Where: Capital One Arena - Washington D.C.
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit (League Pass)

Analysis

The Wizards were a dark horse team to come out on top in the Eastern Conference before the season started. Their big three of John Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter—in some eyes—were poised to take the next step after taking the Boston Celtics to seven games in the EC semifinals a year ago.

It’s still early but things haven’t gone exactly to plan.

Heading into tonight’s game, the Wiz sit at 11-10 and will be without Wall (PRP injections in his left knee) for a bit longer and Beal took a shot to the face in their loss against Philadelphia on Wednesday (he left the game but returned and should play tonight).

The honeymoon phase with head coach Scott Brooks seems to over as—much like in Oklahoma City—his late-game offensive blueprint has been routinely questioned.

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Without Wall, expect a healthy dose of Porter and Beal, who scored 28 and 25, respectively, in the first meeting.

Porter inked a four-year max deal over the summer which some people (i.e. me) lightly questioned. He’s a fine player and any team would love to have him but with ball-dominate Wall and Beal currently at a 29 percent usage rate, Porter’s offensive ceiling seems limited to spot-up opportunities.

With a Wall-less roster, though, he’ll be called upon to deliver like he did in Minnesota (a 92-89 Wiz win) earlier this week:

Beal is a remarkably slick off-guard who seemingly keeps getting better with each off-season. A noted sharp-shooter, Beal is also immensely effective orchestrating a Wizards PNR. Scoring 1.033 PPP as the ball-handler puts Beal in elite company.

Beal—like most right-handed shooters—prefers to pull-up when he’s going left and is more zealous to attack the rim going right:

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What to Watch For

Sneaky, sneaky Marcin Gortat has perfected the offensive “seal”:

When the big defending the PNR uses drop coverage, Gortat will cancel the screen and seal-off his defender.

With Wall out, Tim Frazier gets the clear path to the hoop:

As we learned in the first time around, it’s not a foul if the ref doesn’t call it.

Projected Lineup

Detroit

Reggie Jackson, Avery Bradley, Andre Drummond, Tobias Harris, Stanley Johnson

Washington

Tim Frazier, Bradley Beal, Marcin Gortat, Otto Porter, Markieff Morris

Prediction

It’s the third game in four nights for the Wizards.

Pistons 104, Wizards 100