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Wizards get first glimpse of Pelicans' matchup problem of DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis

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Wizards get first glimpse of Pelicans' matchup problem of DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis

Few teams in the NBA offer a matchup problem as unique as the New Orleans Pelicans, who feature two All-Star big men in Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins.

One is lanky with arms that reach to the sky. The other is wider and known for his brute strength.

Both can move and shoot unusually well for their size.

On Tuesday night, the Wizards will see the Pelicans' twin towers for the first time since Cousins landed in New Orleans. He was acquired from the Kings in a Feb. 20 trade, just 16 days after the second and final meeting between the teams in the 2016-17 season.

Cousins is a player the Wizards know well. He and Wizards guard John Wall teamed up at the University of Kentucky back in the 2009-10 season before the two were drafted into the NBA. Veteran players on the Wizards have played against both Cousins and Davis over the years. But now they have to deal with them at the same time.

"I'm not even gonna lie. It's going to be a bloodbath probably," Wizards center Marcin Gortat said.

 "It's going to be a very, very tough matchup for me and [Markieff Morris] and for all of our bigs. It's a challenge. These two are the best in the league, hands down the best in the league."

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A five-time All-Star, Cousins is averaging a ridiculous line this season of 26.2 points, 12.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.5 blocks, all while shooting 47.3 percent from the field and 36.1 percent from three. Davis, a four-time All-Star, is putting up 25.2 points, 10.6 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and 1.1 steals per game while shooting an absurd 56.9 percent.

Cousins is 27 and Davis is 24. Though their pairing has amounted to just a .500 record so far this season, they have helped lead one of the best offenses in basketball. The Pelicans are fifth in the NBA in points per game (110.8) and eighth in offensive rating (109.6).

"They can score from so many places on the court," Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said. "We've gotta manage them the best we can."

Gortat thinks it will be all about limiting their efficiency.

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"They're probably going to get their 20 or 30 points. It's just important if they are going to go 10-for-15 or 10-for-30 [shooting]," Gortat said.

Playing against Cousins also brings an element of intimidation. He weighs 270 pounds and likes to play physical. He talks plenty of trash, both to opponents and referees. Cousins has led the NBA in technicals each of the past two seasons and he's in the lead this year, too.

Gortat knows what to expect.

"He just hates people. That's how it is. That's what makes him so great," Gortat said. "I don't like a lot of centers, either. The difference is that I just don't tell them that."

Gortat said he considers Cousins to be the best center in the NBA. Now he gets to see him with his running mate.

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2018 NBA trade deadline: Hornets are shopping All-Star guard Kemba Walker, report says

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2018 NBA trade deadline: Hornets are shopping All-Star guard Kemba Walker, report says

The Charlotte Hornets are attempting a firesale of sorts with the 2018 NBA trade deadline approaching and have made All-Star point guard Kemba Walker available in talks, according to a report by ESPN.

Walker, 27, is having one of his best seasons with averages of 21.7 points, 5.8 assists and 1.2 steals per game. He is a prolific scorer and is on a team-friendly contract of $12 million per year through next season.

Though many teams have good point guards these days, there should be a strong market for Walker. Teams like the Sixers, Pistons, Clippers, Knicks and Nuggets would seem to be great fits. 

PODCAST: SHOULD THE WIZARDS MAKE A TRADE OR BENCH A STARTER?

The Pistons stand out in particular. They are currently ninth in the East and their primary point guard Reggie Jackson is hurt. Even when he does play, they need offense and that's what Walker provides.

The Sixers have Markelle Fultz working his way back from a shoulder injury, but have the assets to trade for Walker and could use some help to make a playoff push. The Knicks could use more talent around Kristaps Porzingis and Walker would certainly help.

There are still about three weeks until the Feb. 8 trade deadline and a lot can change before then. But it appears there is another big name readily available on the market.

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Wizards at Pistons: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Wizards at Pistons: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and the Washington Wizards battle Andre Drummond, Avery Bradley, Tobias Harris and the Detroit Pistons on Friday night.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch…

WASHINGTON WIZARDS AT DETROIT PISTONS

Where: Little Caesars Arena
Tip-off: 8 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington Plus (coverage begins at 7 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Online with no cable TV: fuboTV (try for free)
Radio: 1500 AM

Three things to watch...

Will Brooks make adjustments?

The Wizards suffered another tough loss on Wednesday night, a blowout defeat in Charlotte to a Hornets team that is currently well outside the playoff picture. It was a loss so bad that afterwards head coach Scott Brooks said he would "change some things." Guard Bradley Beal said after the game that he believes Brooks is serious, that changes will be made.

We didn't get any specifics, but they likely mean an adjustment to the rotation. A starter could be benched or pieces could be moved in the second unit. Brooks could of course change nothing at all. We will see what he meant on Friday night.

PODCAST: SHOULD THE WIZARDS MAKE A TRADE OR BENCH A STARTER?

Oubre is killing it

The Wizards are waiting for Otto Porter and Markieff Morris to get going, but backup forward Kelly Oubre, Jr. has been on quite the tear. In his last six games he's reached double digits in points with averages of 14.7 points and 4.7 rebounds while shooting 55.3 percent from the field and 51.7 percent from three. Over his last 13 games, Oubre is shooting 53.5 percent from the field and 47.4 percent from beyond the arc.

Oubre, in fact, has been the Wizards' third-leading scorer since Thanksgiving, a stretch of 27 games. That's a big sample size and further evidence that Oubre has developed into much more than a bench player. He is a starter-level player coming off the bench. 

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Pistons are banged up

The Pistons were one of the NBA's biggest surprises early this season as they jumped out to a strong start and looked like legitimate contenders in the Eastern Conference. But since they have fallen hard back down to Earth and currently sit ninth in the East and outside of the playoff picture. Detroit has lost three straight games and six of their past eight. 

Injuries have helped contribute to their recent slide. Defensive stopper Avery Bradley is dealing with a sore groin and could miss Friday's game. Point guard Reggie Jackson is out with an ankle injury. Swingman Stanley Johnson has a bum hip and could sit out against the Wizards. And rookie Luke Kennard is expected to return on Friday, but he's dealing with a thumb injury on his shooting hand. The Wizards should have an advantage in depth in this matchup.

The Wizards have won each of the first two meetings between these teams this season. If they win on Friday, they will take the season series which could come in handy for playoff tiebreakers later on.

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