The Wizards are finally on the winning side of things after picking up their first victory of the season on Tuesday on the road in Philadelphia, but they’ll need to carry the momentum over tonight in Washington against the new-look Nets. The game tips-off at 7:00 PM from the Verizon Center.
Key Match Up:
The Wizards will usually have an advantage from their front court, but that will change tonight as Brook Lopez and Kevin Garnett make up one of the best front court tandems in the league. With that said, we’ll shift our attention to the back courts comprised of John Wall & Bradley Beal, and Deron Williams & Joe Johnson.
Both teams will ultimately rely on their back court for success, but Washington’s guards have been off to a better start after the first four games of the season. Though it’s a small sample size, John Wall has looked like a top-5 point guard in the league and he’s coming off the best three point shooting game of his career, so I’d look for his confidence to carry over in Brooklyn tonight. Beal hasn’t shot the ball particularly well after the first four games, but he did bounce back last game contributing 17 points and a career high 8 assists against the scrappy Sixers.
On the other hand, Williams and Johnson have been rather underwhelming this season, both averaging near career lows in virtually every major statistical category. Both guards have a tendency to look inconsistent, but the Wizards will still have to guard them as if they were in their all-star forms. The Nets haven’t looked great against teams with low expectations this season, losing by 21 points against the Orlando Magic where Johnson (2 points) and Williams (9 points) combined to score just 11 points on the night. Needless to say, this isn’t what Nets fans were expecting out of their back court and if there was any night to flip the switch, it would be tonight’s game against the confident Wizards in Washington.
- John Wall knocked down a career high 5-three pointers on Tuesday. He obviously won’t repeat that performance often, but he will get a lot of open looks tonight. It’s important for him to continue shooting open threes, in hopes of the defense eventually collapsing on him.
- The Nets scored just 26 points in the paint against the lowly Orlando Magic. The Wizards have one of the worst interior defenses in the NBA, so they’ll have to find a way to defend Garnett and Lopez tonight.
- Brooklyn hasn’t won a game away from home, dropping 2 straight match ups on the road. Washington has yet to win a home game, losing to the Sixers on their home opener.
- The Nets’ leading rebounding, Kevin Garnett, averages under 7 boards per game. Although Brooklyn has a big front line, they haven’t always rebounded well and the Wizards could potentially take advantage of that tonight with Nene and Gortat.
- FanSided’s Brooklyn Nets site, From Russia with Dunk, doesn’t sound all too confident in their team since they’re predicting a Wizards victory tonight.
If Washington is serious about making the post-season, they’ll have to find ways to win games they aren’t necessarily expected to win. Virtually everyone watching the nation’s capital tonight will expect their team to lose, but I think we’ll continue to see the “good side” of the Wizards tonight. Although their defense remains suspect and they’ll be facing one of the best offensively powered teams in the league, the Wizards do have a youth advantage and it doesn’t hurt that they’re playing at home.
I think the Wizards will surprise some people tonight by picking up a victory. As I said before, the Nets haven’t looked prepared against teams with lower expectations and that tends to happen with teams that have championship goals. The Wizards could potentially take advantage of that tonight.