Before heading into the NBA All-Star break, the Washington Wizards have a chance to pick up their fifth consecutive victory at the Palace of Auburn Hills. The Pistons have won both prior match ups against the Wizards this season.
Key Match Up
Nene is coming off one of his most efficient games of the season, scoring 21 points against the Milwaukee Bucks this past Monday night. Nene not only contributed in the scoring department, but he grabbed 13 rebounds to go along side 6 assists. Washington has done a good job in taking advantage of the smaller lineups in which they are matched up with, as they did on Monday night. Tonight, Detroit will also be losing some significant size, due to rookie Andre Drummond sitting out from a stress injury. Pistons big man, Greg Monroe, isn’t the type of player who racks up blocked shots, but for a man his size, he does move fairly quickly. Nene needs to continue doing a good job running with floor with John Wall, since opposing defenses are reluctant to leave Wall open in transition lanes. With teams collapsing on Wall, the dump off pass is always available for Nene. I’ll be interested to see how well Nene plays against Monroe, especially since the Pistons have dominated the Wizards in their prior meetings this season.
As noted, Georgetown’s own, Greg Monroe, is one of the best young big men in the NBA. With Drummond out, Monroe is forced to play more of a center role for the Pistons. Monroe is capable of hitting the 10-15 foot jump shot, but I’m sure Washington would live with him taking that shot. Nene, as well as Emeka Okafor, need to keep Monroe and Jason Maxiell out of the paint. Both of their big men are capable of grabbing rebounds on both ends of the floor, so Washington needs to do a better job collapsing on the boards. The Wizards have had a tendency to fall asleep on defensive rebounding opportunities, especially on the road. That simply wont cut it tonight. Detroit is one of the worst three point shooting teams (27th in the league), so they won’t hurt Washington much from the perimeter. If the Wizards can keep Monroe from living in the lane, they should be able to close this one out heading into the All-Star break.
- Our very own James Straton showcased some statistics, which showed Jordan Crawford’s recent production, or lack thereof.
- The guys over at Bullets Forever also discussed Jordan Crawford’s situation in Washington. In my opinion, Crawford doesn’t really have a place in Washington anymore. Since John Wall has returned, the Wizards have been one of the league’s best defensive teams. Where does Crawford fit into that equation? I’d look to shop him before the trade deadline.
- Washington is ranked 16th in the Hollinger Power Rankings. This is by far the highest Washington has been ranked all season.
- Despite scoring a career high 28 points on Monday night, head coach Randy Wittman has decided it was best for Beal to continue coming off the bench tonight. Why? I’m not really sure. I’d like to see Beal become acquainted with playing with John Wall in the starting lineup. I don’t want Bradley Beal to become stuck in a James Harden like situation.
- Martell Webster is having a breakout season.
- As mentioned, this will be the last Wizards game before All-Star break. Let’s enjoy this one Wizards fans.
Washington has won four consecutive games, all four coming against playoff bound teams. They’ve held each of their opponents to under triple digits in scoring, including the New York Knicks who are known for their offensive prowess. Detroit is a slightly below average offensive team, but they have found some recent success. They’ve won two of their last three games, including an impressive victory over the San Antonio Spurs. So what does that say about the Pistons?
With Jose Calderon, a newly acquired talent in Detroit, inserted into the starting lineup, their offense has been flowing much better. Calderon is one of the most underrated athletes in the NBA. His ability to distribute the ball and command the offense has been the sole reason he has averaged close to a double-double during his time in Detroit. As noted, Detroit isn’t a very good shooting team, but Calderon does help from that perspective of the floor. John Wall will without a doubt have the advantage over Calderon, especially since his athleticism and size has been overwhelming for most guards to deal with. Wall, who made five of his six shots on Monday night, needs to be more aggressive in penetrating into the basket. Calderon doesn’t have the speed or size to keep up with Wall, so Wall needs to make is a point to push the ball in every opportunity he gets.
With that said, Washington has the edge in virtually ever aspect of the game. This isn’t the same team Detroit has faced in their prior meetings.
I expect the Wizards to win in convincing fashion.