Wizards Face Pacers With Playoff Implications

Wizards Face Pacers With Playoff Implications

Wizards

Wizards Face Pacers With Playoff Implications

Regular Season Game 64
Pacers (35-27) at Wizards (36-27)
March 4, 2018 at 6:00 PM Capital One Arena | Washington, D.C.
TV: NBCSW
Radio: 1500 AM
Odds: WSH -4.5

(Photo: Tom Szczerbowski via USA TODAY Sports)
What to Watch:
Season Series On The Line
The Washington Wizards are already up 1-0 so far in the season series and have a chance to win the playoff tiebreaker with a win on Sunday. The Indiana Pacers come to D.C. just a half game back of the Wizards and the No. 4 seed, but a win would provide cushion in the win-loss column as well as a game in hand with the tiebreak.

Key Matchup:
Bradley Beal vs. Victor Oladipo
In the last matchup between these two teams in early February, Oladipo did not play with an illness, which gave Washington a huge advantage on their way to a victory. The former DeMatha star has had a resurgence returning to his college town by averaging 24 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 2.2 steals per game. Beal also received his first All-Star honors this season and has averaged 23.4 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 4.5 assists this season. The two shooting guards will probably see lots of matchups against one another on both ends of the court where the winner will likely lead their team to victory.
X-Factor:
Sharing The Ball With Each Other, Not The Opponents
For two straight games, the Wizards committed 18 turnovers, which was the biggest reason for losses against the Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors. Without John Wall, the Wizards need to maximize every offensive possession for the best chance at victory and cannot afford to be gifting their opponents possessions off on defense and extra scoring opportunities on offense. Oladipo and Myles Turner are two strong defenders who have a nose for the ball that Washington will have to be weary of.
Fun Factor:
Potential First Round Preview
If the playoffs started on Sunday, the Wizards would again be the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs and host the Pacers, which I think would be a rather favorable matchup relative to one against the Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia Eagles, or even Miami Heat. I would think that Indiana fans will not travel as well as other teams that have taken over Capital One Arena recently so maybe The Vault will provide a nice homecourt advantage and potential playoff-like atmosphere.
Prediction:
The Wizards continue to be one of a handful of teams in the NBA not to lose three straight games this season with a win over the Pacers.

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