Game On: Wizards-Pelicans preview

Game On: Wizards-Pelicans preview
January 8, 2014, 3:00 pm
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Gortat: Less distractions on the road

The Wizards (15-17) are a better team away from Verizon Center than they are at home. They've won eight road games, already more than they did in all of last season. The Pelicans (15-18), too, are playing back-to-back games. 

TV: Wizards Central pregame show on CSN at 7:30 p.m. ET; followed by tip-off from New Orleans Arena at 8 and Wizards Postgame Live immediately afterward. Radio: 1500 AM. 106.7 FM

Last game: Wizards won at the Charlotte Bobcats 97-83 on Tuesday; Pelicans lost at the Miami Heat 107-88 on Tuesday.

Last meeting: New Orleans won 93-89 in a preseason game Oct. 19 in Lexington, Ky.

Projected starting lineups: Wizards –- PG John Wall, SG Bradley Beal, SF Trevor Ariza, PF Trevor Booker, C Marcin Gortat. Pelicans –- PG Jrue Holiday, SG Eric Gordon, SF Al-Farouq Aminu, PF Anthony Davis, C Alexis Ajinca.

Entry passes: 1). The Wizards only had seven turnovers, and the starting unit tallied just one. 2). Ariza is just 21-for- 61 shooting, or 34.4%, in his last seven games. 3). The bench added 25 points, which will increase if Otto Porter continues to improve and Al Harrington returns. 4). The Wizards' three-point shooting still isn't as good as it needs to be, going 20-for-73, or 27.3%, in the last four games. 5). Gortat should have another solid showing vs. Ajinca. 

RELATED: [Wake-up call: Shutting down Jefferson awakens Gortat]

X-factors: Beal had his first 20-point game since returning from a stress reaction to his lower right leg, scoring 21 points and playing his most minutes (31). ... and Nene still is playing with time restrictions, too, and logged just 15 minutes. ... F Jan Vesely is 7-for-11 shooting in his last two games. ... C Kevin Seraphin is healthy but hasn't played since Jan. 3.

He said it: “I don't dwell on things during halftime. These guys know what they are supposed to do. It is not something that I need to harp on. I just told them to go out and get warmed up and ready to play the next half. That's about it." -- Wizards coach Randy Wittman on his team's third-quarter struggles before Tuesday's game when they did an about-face. 

Around the bend: The Wizards will arrive in Indianapolis on Thursday, an off-day, play at the Pacers on Friday (CSN, 7 p.m. ET), fly out immediately after the game to return to D.C. for Saturday's home game vs. the Houston Rockets (CSN, 7).