When: Monday, November 28th, 4:00 pm PST
Where: Verizon Center, CSN-CA, KHTK Sports 1140 AM
Breaking Down the Wizards
Offense: For a team with offensive weapons like John Wall and Bradley Beal, and a reputable coach in Scott Brooks, it would be easy to assume that the offense of the Wizards was one of the highlights of their teams, and yet, here they are 15 games into the season and absolutely struggling to get points on the board in an efficient manner. Averaging 102.1 points per games (22nd in the league) and playing at the 12th slowest pace, the Wizards struggle in some areas that will be advantageous for the Kings and the holes they have in their defensive scheme. For one, the Wizards are dead last in the league in three pointers attempted and three pointers made per game, and have the eighth worst three point shooting percentage at just 33.5% a game. Doing most of the damage from inside the arc, the Wizards attempt the 13th most two pointers, but again are only 18th in two point percentage at 48.8% a game. Beyond that, the Wizards attempt the fifth fewest free throws a game, the sixth least assists, and average the third least amount of rebounds per game. What do they do well? Well, individually they have two 20 point scorers in John Wall and Bradley Beal and they’re both fairly adept long ball shooters this year at 38.1% and 35.5% respectively. Otto Porter is averaging 14.7 points per game and pulling down 8.1 boards, in a nice little breakout season for Washington.
Kevin Fippin Marcin Gortat is averaging 12 rebounds a game. This is a 5-10 team, they’re struggling right now.
Defense: On the defensive side of the ball, the Wizards don’t allow many shots to go up with their opponents shooting the third least amount of shots per game. On the flip side of that, however, is that they allow the fourth highest opponent field goal percentage at 46.4% a game. To make matters even worse, they allow their opponents to shoot 38.9% from behind the arc and 50% from two: the second worst opponent three point percentage in the league and the tenth worst two point percentage. Where the Wizards try to beat teams is in limiting their attempts. They give up the eleventh fewest three point shots a game, the third fewest two point shots and the tenth fewest free throw attempts. The Wizards are also second to last in blocked shots, and fifteenth in steals.
Kings Focus: The name of the game for the Wizards is containment. Their pace, their defense is all in the sake of limiting the amount of possessions the Kings have on offense, and while they will allow the Kings to put some points on the board, the Kings will have to be efficient in their offense. Marcin Gortat and Otto Porter combine for nearly half of the Wizards total rebounds, so if we see DeMarcus or Rudy getting to the line a lot early in the game, this game could get rough early for the Wizards. On the defensive end, the Kings still need to find a way to contain the perimeter shooting of their opponent. John Wall isn’t nearly as bad from three as he has been in the past, and Bradley Beal can get hot very quickly, so funneling them inside the arc and forcing the to take contested two’s will go a long ways towards a second road victory in as many nights. This will be a game for coach Joerger to go small. Wizards power forward Markieff Morris is having a decent year, averaging 12.8 points and 5.7 rebounds, but more importantly shooting 37.8% from deep, and while admittedly it’s in few attempts, he will be the guy to torch the Kings if they decide to run Kosta Koufos and DeMarcus Cousins out in the starting lineup together again. With the Wizards having a record of 5-10, it’s still annoying to have to say that this is only a “winnable” game for the Kings, but if the Kings play like they did for 75% of the second half against the Nets on Sunday, this could be another really nice victory for the Kings.
Some Things to Consider:
The Temple of Doom: How nice has Garrett Temple been so far this season on the defensive end of the floor? Praise for his defense gets repeated enough by both the Kings broadcast crew and by the folks here at Sactown Royalty, but I’m really starting to feel the relief of having a legitimate wing defender whenever I see Garrett Temple coming to the table. With the versatility to play point guard through small forward, the guy really does an excellent job disrupting where opposing guards want to be on the floor, especially when they’re handling the ball. The guy has averaging two steals a game in his last four games, and has more than once spurred a run on the offensive by picking a player clean, or by holding a guy like James Harden or DeMar DeRozan scoreless for a stretch, allowing the Kings chances to make up lost ground. Garrett’s intelligent efforts on the defensive end aren’t going unnoticed and here’s to hoping the Kings finally have a perimeter for the first time in a long time.
Welcome Back: A quick welcome back to former Sacramento Kings shooting guard, Marcus Thorton and former assistant coach Chad Iske. Thorton will always have a spot in my Kings fandom for his heart and his clutch play near the end of the Maloof era. Chad Iske was the play caller last season for George Karl’s coaching staff, and by that I mean, he was the guy standing up and yelling out Karl’s commands as George for the most point sat. I’m glad to see that he found employment elsewhere in the league.
Prediction: Marcin Gortat is going to have a solid first half, due in part to DeMarcus not wanting to hurt the guy that posts all those funny gifs after Kings victories. At halftime, after a long power point presentation explaining to Boogie that Marcin definitely doesn’t writing for Sactown Royalty, DeMarcus will hold Marcin Gortat scoreless. Marcus Thorton will try to shoot the chip off his shoulder, but will end up chipping the glass near the bottom of the backboard with a particularly wild shot.
Kings win; 107-101.