February 15, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers power forward Blake Griffin (32) controls the ball against the Washington Wizards during the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Wizards At Clippers Preview (1/19/13)


This is the second game in as many nights as the Washington Wizards will meet the L.A. Clippers, one day after stunning the Denver Nuggets.

Key Match Up

John Wall has been spectacular since his return from injury. Recording his second straight double-double last night with 14 points and 12 assists off the bench, John Wall is contributing in all aspects of the game. He sealed the victory with a game winning block against Ty Lawson, and later converted both free throws. The Washington Wizards have won their last four of five games, with one loss coming to the Sacramento Kings by a one point margin. Washington has looked like a very good basketball team with Wall on the floor. Bradley Beal has averaged close to 21 points, shooting nearly 70% from the three point line, as of result of John Wall’s ability to dish the basketball. At times, Wall and Beal have shown flashes of what’s to come in Washington. They truly have the makings of a great future back court, and it’s largely credited to John Wall’s unselfishness. Here’s a look at Beal’s recent stats.

The Clippers don’t have their shortage of talented guards either. Although Chris Paul is listed as ‘day to day’ and may not play in tonight’s game, John Wall’s Kentucky teammate Eric Bledsoe, is one of the leagues rising stars. Bledsoe hasn’t gotten the opportunity to show off his talent due to the Clippers’ depth of talent, but with Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups experiencing some injuries, Bledsoe has shown that he’s capable of producing on an NBA court. Like Wall, Bledsoe isn’t known for his ability to knock down the jump shot, but his speed and quickness more than makes up for it. With the Clippers’ ability to get out in transition, Eric Bledsoe fits their offensive mold perfectly. He’s able to score double digit points on any given night. I’m sure he’ll be pumped up to play against his former teammate, John Wall.

Other Links/Notes

  • If you haven’t heard already, the Wizards pulled of a stunning upset in Denver last night. On a side note, it was good seeing JaVale McGee doing JaVale McGee things.
  • Kevin Seraphin was motivated against McGee. Motivated or not, he needs to continue playing under the basket, and settling less for the mid range jumper.
  • The Clippers are ranked fourth in offensive efficiency (107.5). It doesn’t hurt to have Chris Paul running the offense, I guess.
  • They also have the fourth best defense in the NBA. For the team with the second best record in the league, they sure like to hustle and get out in transition. Chris Paul has really rubbed off on the rest of the team. (All stats from HoopData)
  • Steve Perrin of ClipsNation broke down the game tonight for us.

Prediction

As mentioned, this is the second game in as many nights for Washington. Coming off an upset in Denver, the Wizards will surely have some momentum carrying over to Los Angeles tonight.

The Clippers have emerged as a top NBA contender under Chris Paul’s leadership. With CP3 possibly sitting out tonight, Washington’s chances of winning will obviously increase. The Clippers always played second fiddle to the Lakers, but those times have been long gone. They’re consequently a top 5 team on both ends of the floor, and they do the simple things which are needed in order to win games.

The only advantage Washington has over the Clippers is the low post presence. Nene didn’t play a great game last night, but Kevin Seraphin stepped up and filled the void. He scored 18 points and grabbed 7 rebounds against his former teammate, JaVale McGee, in just 26 minutes off the bench. Nene and Seraphin have the offensive ability to really help contribute against Blake Griffin, who isn’t particularly known for his defense.

I can’t see how the Wizards will pull out another road win tonight. The Clippers are no joke. They have the best bench in the league, and their ranked in the top 5 in both offense and defense. Their unselfishness has really propelled them into elite status.

This game does have some good match ups, so it does the potential to be a fun game to watch. I haven’t been this excited to watch Wizards basketball since the ‘Big 3′ era. I attribute that mainly to John Wall and Bradley Beal.

Let’s hope the Wizards remain competitive.

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