The Wizards are coming off a heartbreaking loss in Oklahoma City, but they’ll have a chance to redeem themselves tonight on the road against the Dallas Mavericks. The game will tip off at 8:30 PM.
Key Match Up:
We all knew that Bradley Beal was due for a breakout game, and that’s exactly what happened on Sunday against the Thunder. Beal didn’t look nearly as good as he did during the preseason after the first 5 games of the season, but he certainly flipped the switch in Oklahoma City. Scoring a career-high 34 points, there were times where Bradley Beal looked nearly unstoppable when scoring the ball at will. He’s obviously known for his ability to shoot from beyond the three point arc, but he did much more than that on Sunday. He displayed his improved ball handling skills by attacking the basket and scoring off the dribble, which we didn’t get to see much of prior to this season.
Beal hasn’t had much of an opportunity to match up against elite level shooting guards since the position tends to be pretty weak around the league, but tonight he’ll face the surging Monta Ellis, who’s currently ranked ninth in the NBA in points per game. Ellis has built a reputation of being an inefficient player, but for the most part, his shooting percentages haven’t been terribly awful this season. For the most part, Ellis has done what he was asked to do in Dallas, which is score the ball. Shooting nearly 48% from the field, Ellis has taken some of the scoring load off Dirk Nowitzki and has given the Mavericks an offensive weapon which they were lacking for the past couple of years. Bradley Beal has to force Ellis into tough perimeter shots, which is probably still the weakest area of his game. As much criticism as he gets, Monta Ellis is still a dynamic guard and he’s certainly capable of playing at a very high level.
- Mavericks head coach, Rick Carlisle, thinks the Wizards are on the rise. Some veteran teams tend to take breaks against competition with sub par records, but the Mavericks aren’t having any of it.
- Speaking of Rick Carlisle, he doesn’t seem to think the Mavericks are as athletically gifted as the Wizards…
- The Mavericks had the fourth highest offensive rating in the NBA, behind the Heat, Clippers, and Trail Blazers. Washington’s defense will have to buckle down tonight.
- Jan Vesely might make his season debut tonight, since he could be the most capable of defending Nowitzki.
The Wizards are coming off their most disappointing loss of the season, and I’m sure they’ll be fired up to face an aging Mavericks team on the road. The Mavericks do have a lot of offensive weapons on their team, namely Nowitzki and Ellis, but their defense remains suspect. With that said, the Wizards are the younger team and they should be able to get up and down the floor with no problem. Jose Calderon isn’t known for his defense and John Wall should definitely get the best of him tonight. If the Wizards tighten up defensively and contain Dirk Nowitzki, I think they should be able to compete tonight.
I’ll be bold by predicting another Wizards road victory tonight. If they don’t find a way to get a ‘W’, then they could potentially go win-less on their west coast road tip, and for a team that’s desperately trying to make the post season, that would be unacceptable regardless of the competition.