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Wizards vs Mavericks: Game Preview

(Photo by Stephon Gosling, Getty Images)

The Wizards are back home, and they're debuting their new Cherry Blossom City Edition Jerseys tonight at 7 PM EST against the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavs have been playing fantastic basketball as of late, winning four of their past five games, coming off a 94-88 loss to the Orlando Magic yesterday. Washington will be without All-Star guard, Bradley Beal, for the third consecutive night; something to keep an eye on.

Injury Report:

Washington: Bradley Beal (OUT, health and safety protocols), Delon Wright (OUT, right hamstring strain)

Dallas: Christian Wood (OUT, sprained left knee), Davis Bertans (OUT: knee soreness)

Projected Starting Lineups: Washington: Monte Morris, Corey Kispert, Deni Avdija, Kyle Kuzma, Kristaps Porzingis

Dallas: Luka Doncic, Spencer Dinwiddie, Reggie Bullock, Dorian Finney-Smith, Javale McGee

Keys to the game

Guard the Perimeter: The Wizards have lacked perimeter defense with the absence of Delon Wright. The Mavs have shot the ball at a clip of 35.7% from downtown as a team, ranking 17th in the league. With Luka Doncic being one of the top playmakers in the league, collecting 8.3 assists per game so far this year, the Wizards will have to be able to defend the perimeter with a sense of urgency.

Pound the Paint

Even with the new additions of Javale McGee and Christian Wood this off-season for Dallas (even though Wood didn't make the trip and is doubtful to play tonight), the Mavs have struggled to guard the paint. Washington has two guys, Kyle Kuzma and Kristaps Porzingis, that can post up and shoot over anyone. Against a lackluster paint-defending team, the Hornets, on Monday, Washington was able to eat up Charlotte down low; finishing with 58 points in the paint. Washington has to feed their big men down low and hope for favorable results, which will likely come throughout the night.

Matchup to Watch:

Luka Doncic vs Deni Avdija

Deni has laid his hat on the defensive end, improving year in and year out, taking the challenge of guarding the other team's best player; whether it be a superstar or not. Luka Doncic, meanwhile, is leading the NBA in scoring, averaging 36 points per game. Doncic is, without a doubt, the unanimous front-runner for MVP so far. While Avdija hasn't proven to be that effective offensively, this matchup will be intriguing to keep tabs on, to see if Deni can stay with Luka.


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