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NBA Preview: Washington Wizards Open The Season Against The Pacers

newsonjapan.com -- Oct 18
The start of a new NBA season brings with it hopes of a deep run in the playoffs for many of the teams involved in the competition.

Two teams that failed to reach the playoffs last season will clash on opening night at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indiana on October 20, as both the Washington Wizards and Indiana Pacers will be looking for a victory in the first game of the season.

The US sports streaming trends already indicate that the fixture is likely to be watched by many bettors online with “stream basketball” interest increasing from last year, but can the Wizards open their 2022-23 campaign with victory? A lot of the expectation for success will, of course, fall on Rui Hachimura to dominate the court.

Wizards Hoping To Make Playoffs

The 2021-22 season wasn’t exactly what Wizards fans would have been hoping for, as they weren’t able to finish in the playoffs spots for the third time in four seasons. Many saw the campaign as a backwards step for the Wizards after they reached the playoffs in 2020-21, before being beaten in five games by the Philadelphia 76ers. Last season’s win race of .427 was also down on their average from the previous season, but slightly better than two of the previous three seasons.

Hopes will be slightly raised ahead of this term, as Wes Unseld Jr takes control of the team for the first full campaign after being brought in late last term. The Wizards will also be hoping for strong performances by draft picks Johnny Davis and Yannick Nzosa, while the additions of Delon Wright and Taj Gibson add further depth to their roster.

Pacers Looking To Put Difficult Campaign Behind Them

The Indiana Pacers were also very disappointed with their performances from the previous campaign, as they failed to make the playoffs for the second season running. They averaged an extremely low win percentage of .305, which was the lowest average that they had recorded since the 1984-85 season. Rick Carlisle will once again lead the team this season, and their options will be boosted following the arrivals of draft picks Bennedict Mathurin, Andrew Newbhard and Huge Besson.

The initial signs in pre-season have been pretty good, as they have scored over 100 points in games that they have played against the New York Knicks and Charlotte Hornets, with their only win coming against the latter.

Who Will Win?

The Pacers have won two of their previous three games between the two sides, but the latest success was achieved by the Wizards. However, the Pacers have an excellent home record in this fixture, having won the previous two. It could be worth siding with them getting off to a perfect start this season.

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