Since the Kings beat the Wizards back on December 8th, Washington has only 3 wins all coming at home. They played each of the teams that they beat, twice during that period with each team winning on their home court. There was some obvious difference between each series which I’ll go into now.
Their 1st victory came in a 108-75 win over Charlotte. It was a slower paced game then Washington normally plays and they shot slightly better than their season average of 47% from the field. But, the biggest deciding factor was that the Bobcats had 27 turnovers mostly unforced which lead to a 11 FGA advantage for Washington. The Wizards turned those attempts into 10 more Made Baskets; 5 of which were 3 pointers, and they added 8 more points from the FT line for the 33 pt victory.
In the rematch, the Turnovers and Offensive Rebounds were about equal leading to only an 82-79 FGA advantage for the Wizards. But, Charlotte out shot Washington from the field, 3pt range and the FT line for a 15 pt victory 104-89.
In Washington’s next victory, 104 to 90 against Indiana, they again had a 98-85 advantage in FGA. The Wizards had a 21-13 advantage on the Offensive Boards and had only 8 turnovers to Indiana’s 17. Washington only shot 39.8% from the field but their 11 attempt advantage lead to 4 more made baskets and a plus 5 from the FT line for their 14 pt victory.
Their rematch was 2 days later in Indiana on New Year’s Eve. Indiana turned the ball over 23 times but Washington turned it over 22 times and only won the Offensive Boards by 2, for a FGA advantage of 80-78. The Wizards shot below 40% again only this time without the FGA advantage they were outshot 38-31 from the field for a 9 pt loss.
The Wizards final victory came against the Nets on Jan. 7th. Washington won 97-77, but this time the FGA advantage went to New Jersey, even though they had 9 more turnovers than Washington 17-8 because they had 7 more Offensive Boards. While Washington shot a below average 44% FG percentage, with the help of Outlaw’s 1-8, Vujacic’s 1-14, and Harris’ 1-7 New Jersey only shot 34.6%
So basically, all of Washington’s wins have come from their opponents either turning over the ball or shooting at below 40%. In the Kings 25 pt victory, it was the Wizards who turned the ball over 23 times to the Kings 19, and the Kings won the Offensive Boards 16-13. And, the Kings made the best of their FGA advantage by shooting 54% from the field to the Wizards 41% to outshot them 45-31 from the field and a 116-91 victory.
In the Kings last 7 games they have averaged only 13 turnovers and have had only one game over 15. They are also +7 in offensive rebounds with their worst game coming in their defeat to Denver when they were outrebounded by 6 on the offensive glass. The Kings have a 46.8% seasonal average from the field and have only shot below 40% once this season. In the last 7 games they have shot a below average 44% in their losses to Denver and Toronto, and 42% in their win over Phoenix.
Defensively, Washington gives up the 5th highest number of Made baskets at the rim on the 5th highest number of attempts. Sacramento gives up the 3rd highest number of Made basket inside 10ft on the highest number of attempts. While both teams allow almost identical FG percentages from mid, long and 3pt ranges. In fact, their Offensive and Defensive Ratings are within 0.2% of each other and Washington only holds a 0.25% eFG% advantage. Sacramento only has a slight advantage on the offensive boards, turnover rate and rate at which they get to the FT line. The Wizards have the advantage in Blocks, Steals, and FT%. So, it shouldn’t be too surprising that Washington at 9-26 and the Kings at 8-26 have almost identical records. Washington is 0-18 on the road but 9-8 at home, so no one on the Kings should be counting this one in the win column just yet.
Since our last meeting, Washington traded Gilbert Arenas to Orlando for Rashard Lewis back on December 18th, and he’s been averaging 13 pts / 9 rebs / 3.5 asts on 48.7% field and 35% from three as the starting SF. Andray Blatche who starts at PF, is averaging 12 pts / 6.8 rebs on 37% shooting but had been averaging 17pts in Nov & Dec. JaVale McGee, the starting center, is averaging 9.8 pts / 6.8 rebs / 3.8 blks on 64% shooting. Nick Young the 6-7 SG who was taken by the Wizards with the 16th pick of the 2007 draft has taken over the starting SG spot since Arenas was traded. Young has started 11 games and is averaging 18 pts/ 2.8 rebs on 43.7% field and 42.6% from three as a starter. Of course, John Wall is the starting PG. The ROY candidate is averaging 15pts / 8.8 asts / 3.5 rebs / 1.8 stls on 40% from the field and 30% from beyond the arc. Wall & Blatche missed the game in Sacramento, so the Kings will be seeing 4 different starters in this game, in Wall, Blatche, Lewis and Young.
Al Thornton who came over in a trade with the Clippers last February lost his starting SF spot to Lewis. He’s below his career averages across the board averaging only 9 pts/ 3.5 rebs and only 15% from three on only 20 attempts. Kirk Hinrich and Yi Jianlian are the other main contributors off the bench. But, expect all the starters to play at least 36 minutes each and all score in double figures.
Blatche can be a beast around the basket, and he missed the 1st game allowing JT to get 14 rebs and the Kings a 48 to 36 rebounding advantage. And, the way we allowed Toronto to penetrate, I fear Wall and McGee may set the record for alley-oops in a game. Even with a healthy Tyreke, I think the Kings could easily lose this game because the Wizards do defend the home court. And, I don’t like the backcourt matchups of Wall’s speed & Young’s size and outside shooting against Beno & Tyreke. If we’re going to win this game, DeMarcus and JT are going to have to have monster games and the Kings are going to have to shot better than 50% again. We’ll need to see much better help defense then we saw against Toronto. And it may just come down to how well our bench plays. GO KINGS!!