After winning three straight games, the Washington Wizards will return to the Verizon Center, where they will try to avoid a season sweep to the Detroit Pistons.
Key Match Up
Despite having John Wall back in the lineup, Washington still struggles to defend the opposing point guard. Detroit acquired Jose Calderon from the Toronto Raptors in the deal which sent Rudy Gay to Toronto. The last time the Wizards met the Pistons, Calderon scored 24 points, shooting over 50 percent from the field. I can’t place the blame largely on Wall, but the Wizards need to do a better job in containing point guards as a whole. Detroit is ranked 10th in the league in three point percentage, so the Wizards obviously need to do a better job in getting to the shooters. Calderon shoots nearly 48 percent from beyond the arc, but he’s also very capable of getting his teammates involved. If Washington wants to pick up their fourth straight victory tonight, they’ll need to find a way to stop one of the most underrated guards in the league.
John Wall will be a big factor in tonight’s game. Not only will he get the John Wall get the defensive assignment on Calderon, but he needs to contribute more on the offensive floor if Washington wants to continue their win streak. Wall has done a great job in getting his teammates involved and has even cut his turnovers down significantly during the past couple outings. In my opinion, Wall is becoming a bit too passive. I realize that Wall doesn’t get as many foul calls as he would like, which certainly affects his confidence in getting to the basket, but he has passed up numerous layup opportunities in the past couple games. Wall needs to play with the same kind of aggressiveness we witnessed when he made his return to the Wizards lineup. Again, I like the fact that he’s doing a good job getting his teammates involved, but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t look to shoot in transition. After all, Wall is regarded as one of the best transition players in the NBA.
- Expect a battle of the boards tonight. Both Detroit and Washington are in the top ten in rebounds per game.Detroit big man, Greg Monroe, added 18 rebounds in their last match up.
- Bradley Beal has been great this year, to say the least. He’s averaged nearly 19 points during the past five outings. Look for Beal to make a legitimate splash in the Rookie of the Year run.
- When asked about what Detroit has been doing to consistently beat the Wizards this season, Randy Wittman simply told stated “I don’t know.”
- I asked Wizards fans on Twitter, who they’d like the Wizards to draft, assuming they don’t trade their pick. Virtually every Wizards fan wants them to draft Georgetown’s, Otto Porter. I’ll be interested to see if this catches steam, since the Bradley Beal decision seemed imminent by this time of year.
- Great piece on SBNation on how Bradley Beal broke out. Hop on the bandwagon, folks. This kid’s a star.
As I mentioned before, the Wizards have looked very good over the past several weeks. In fact, they’ve won seven of their last nine games. With that said, they’ve had a very difficult time beating Detroit this season. Despite beating playoff team after playoff team, Washington just can’t put it together against Detroit.
Detroit isn’t the type of team which has one superstar on their roster which might will his team to victory. They’re made up of a plethora of guards which includes Jose Calderon, Rodney Stuckey, and Brandon Knight. Knight, who has missed the last three games for Detroit due to a knee injury, will be a game time decision tonight. Any of their available guards are capable of getting it done on any night, so Washington can’t focus on just one player.
At just 22 years old, Greg Monroe has already established himself as a legitimate big man in the NBA. Averaging nearly 16 points and 10 rebounds per game, Monroe is capable of knocking down the 10-15 foot jump shot, but his quickness and ability to score the ball as a Center has really separated himself from the rest of the league. Despite struggling as of late, Monroe is part of a Pistons team which has had Washington’s number all season. Nene and Emeka Okafor’s performance will be essential in the outcome of tonight’s game. Nene suffered a minor shoulder injury last game, so I’ll be interested to see how Washington will insert him into the offense.
I think it’s time for Washington to finally end this losing streak to Detroit. The Wizards have had one of the league’s top defenses for quite some time, but for some reason, they’ve had trouble against Detroit, who have been one of the league’s worst teams.
I expect Washington to pick up their fourth straight win tonight.