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Oct 15, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) dribbles the ball as Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal (3) defends during the first half at the Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Game Preview: Wizards at Heat (Key Match Up, Notes, and Prediction)

The Wizards have had quite the disappointing start to their season thus far (0-2), and it doesn’t get any easier tonight when they meet the defending champions Miami Heat (1-2) on the road. Oh yeah, the Heat have also lost two consecutive games, including a major upset to the somehow undefeated Sixers. If the Heat want to get another ‘W’ in the win-column, it could get pretty ugly for the Wizards tonight. The game tips off at 6:00 PM from the American Airlines Arena.

Key Match Up:

Bradley Beal is coming off one of the worst games of his career, and he’s certainly not living up to the Bradley Beal 2.0 label he earned during the preseason. If there’s any indication of Beal taking unnecessary tough shots during these past two games, it’s his 28% field goal percentage. Beal is usually very methodical in his approach to scoring, since he doesn’t rush shots like other two-guards in the NBA, but he hasn’t looked like himself so far in the season. I’m sure that once his shots start falling, everything will be alright, but he has to stop forcing the issue.

Dwyane Wade will inevitably miss some games this season, and Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra will definitely rest him for quite a few games this year, but it doesn’t look like he’ll miss tonight’s match up against Beal and the Wizards. The Heat have lost two consecutive games, and they certainly need Wade to take some of the offensive load off LeBron James. Even though he’s not the same player he was a couple years ago, I think his decline has been severely overstated and he still has some fuel in the tank. Beal had trouble defending aggressive guards in the past, and he hasn’t had the chance to play against an elite-level shooting guard yet, so this will be the first time we get to see him match up with another great two-guard. If the Wizards want to somehow pull out a victory tonight, it might depend on Bradley Beal and his effectiveness against Wade.

Notes:

  • John Wall is suffering from back spasms, but he’s apparently ready to play tonight. On the other hand, Nene is dealing with a “sore calf” and probably won’t suit up. Well, he will suit up, but he’ll literally be in a suit on the sidelines…
  • Greg Oden is listed as “day-to-day” for tonight’s game. Will we possibly see some action from the former No.1 overall pick?
  • I’d keep my eye on Kevin Seraphin’s minutes tonight. Even though the Heat’s frontline is pretty thin, Seraphin hasn’t done anything to deserve minutes over Jan Vesely, who would certainly have the advantage over Seraphin running with Wall and Co. in transition.

Prediction:

Both teams have lost two pretty disappointing games in a row. The bad thing is: the best player in the world plays for the opposing team. Washington has to step it up defensively. They gave up over 70 points in the paint against Philadelphia (!!!) and it won’t get any easier with LeBron James attacking the basket. The Wizards don’t have one single player who could elevate their game, so they definitely need to rely more on a collective effort. Washington won’t win this game purely on talent, but they do have some advantages over Miami. John Wall and Bradley Beal will probably get the upper hand on Miami’s back court, and depending on if Nene plays, the Wizards could have a serious advantage down low. The Heat will struggle to defend opposing bigs, and the Wizards need to take advantage of Gortat’s size down low.

Stranger things have happened, but I don’t see the Wizards beating a motivated Heat team in Miami tonight.

Tags: Bradley Beal Dwyane Wade Miami Heat Nba Preview Wade Beal Washington Wizards Wizards Heat

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