After a thrilling win in the home opener on Wednesday, the Wizards return to action to host the Pistons on Friday night.
Capital One Arena | 7:00 p.m. | NBCSW | 1500 AM | Buy Tickets
Wizards (1-0): G – Wall, G – Beal, F – Porter, F – Smith, C – Gortat
Pistons (1-0): G – Jackson, G – Bradley, F – Johnson, F – Harris, C – Drummond
Wizards: Markieff Morris (Sports Hernia – Out), Sheldon Mac (Achilles – Out), Jason Smith (Shoulder – Questionable)
Pistons: Dwight Buycks (Hip – Doubtful), Reggie Bullock (Suspension – Out)
While not everyone may admit to it, there is always some extra buzz in the air on opening night, and that was certainly the case on Wednesday in the Wizards’ 120-115 season opening win over the Sixers. The atmosphere was electric, from introductions until the final whistle, which made it feel somewhat like a playoff game. Now, with the opener behind us, it’s time for the players to really lock in and gear up for the grind of the NBA season and that begins Friday night with Detroit.
Wednesday’s game had a lot of positives for the Wizards to build off, especially on the offensive end. The team went just 6/22 from 3-point range and still managed to score 120 points, scoring 30 or more points in three of the four quarters. The team shot 38 free throws and made 30 of them, including a career-high 16 attempts from Bradley Beal.
There were some lapses on the defensive end and some areas for the team to clean up, which the team admitted that they would need to be better on that side moving forward. Thankfully, there are 81 more games to try and get this straightened out before the playoffs begin.
Wizards at PF (again)
There is some irony in this being a storyline again for Friday’s game, but Jason Smith, who Scott Brooks announced as his starter 90 minutes before tip-off of the opener, left Wednesday’s game with a sprained right shoulder and has been listed as questionable for this game against the Pistons. If Smith can’t go, the Wizards could elect to start Kelly Oubre Jr., who started the second half on Wednesday in place of Smith and played very well. Brooks told the media on Thursday that he may get the nod if Smith was unable to go. The other option would likely be Mike Scott, who scored seven points in 14 minutes coming off the bench on Wednesday night. In either case, the Wizards would be thin up front, with Keef Morris already out while recovering from sports hernia surgery, so they’ll need to keep their forwards out of foul trouble and may have to extend some of their minutes.
Pistons Enter 1-0
The Pistons are coming off a win in their season opener as well, as they took down the Hornets 102-90 on Wednesday night in the first ever NBA game at the brand new Caesars Palace Arena in Detroit. Tobias Harris led the Pistons with 27 points, while Langston Galloway came off the bench and added 16.
The Pistons enter this year coming off a disappointing 2016-17 season, but they are determined to bounce back and be a playoff team once again, like they were in 2015-16. Their biggest move of the offseason was their trade with the Boston Celtics, in which they acquired guard Avery Bradley in exchange for Marcus Morris. Bradley will take the spot of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who signed as a free agent with the Los Angeles Lakers. Bradley is one of the best two-way guards in the Eastern Conference and instantly becomes the Pistons best perimeter defender. He’ll likely spend most of the night guarding Bradley Beal. They also moved Stanley Johnson into the starting lineup and they have high hopes for the third-year swingman, despite his 0/13 shooting night in the team’s opener. Andre Drummond dropped weight this summer and is determined to bounce back into an All-Star this season. Along with his point guard Reggie Jackson, the two have a chance to be one of the better pick-and-roll combinations in the East.
The Wizards have beaten the Pistons in five straight games at Capital One Arena and went 2-1 overall last season.