Breaking News FSU suspends Jameis Winston for entire Clemson game ×

February 4, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards point guard John Wall (center) dribbles the ball as Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul (3) defends in the first half at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Game Preview: Washington Wizards vs. Los Angeles Clippers (Key Match Up, Notes, and Prediction)

Here we go again.

The Wizards have found a way to lose three straight games after putting themselves in position to come away with a win in all three match ups, but tonight they’ll have to try and bounce back against the Los Angeles Clippers, which is their second game in as many nights. The game will tip off at 7:00 PM from the Verizon Center.

Key Match Up:

John Wall and Chris Paul are undoubtedly the two best point guards in their respective conferences, but the gap between the two may be larger than expected. Wall is coming off one of the worst games of his career, and it won’t get any easier tonight against Paul, who’s quite possibly one of the top-5 point guards of all time.

Wall has settled for jump shots way too often this season. Although Chris Paul is very good defensively, Wall has to learn how to utilize his size against smaller guards. Paul is definitely a lot smaller than Wall, and even though he’s a good defender, I don’t think he’ll be able to stay in front of Wall in transition. There were too many instances last night where John Wall passed the ball out to the perimeter after successfully driving to the basket, so he needs to get more aggressive when attacking the rim. It’s certainly easier said than done, but we’ve seen John Wall do it before, and settling for low percentage shots just won’t cut it against high level players such as Paul.

Paul has been on an absolute tear lately, averaging about 19 points and over 11 assists per game. The Clippers, led by Paul, were recently beaten by the lowly Brooklyn Nets and after the game, Paul went out of his way to call the Wizards game a “must win” for his team. John Wall has to feel the same way, especially since he’s lost three straight games. Chris Paul is essentially flawless, but John Wall must find ways to contain him. Tonight’s point guard battle should be a fun one.

Notes:

  • Trevor Booker made up for Nene’s absence last night by registering 20+ points and 10+ rebounds. Although Booker has been playing very well, Nene could potentially make his return tonight since he’ll likely be listed as a game time decision.
  • Los Angeles is 5th in assists per game, mostly due to Chris Paul and the plethora of shooters they’ve brought on board.
  • The Clippers have a top-10 offense rating, and they’ve also vastly improved their defense since the start of the season. It could be a long night, Wizards fans.

Prediction:

The Wizards haven’t beaten an elite-level team this season (I’m not counting the Knicks, Nets, or Lakers) and they’ll have a legitimate chance to do so tonight. The Clippers have struggled against Eastern Conference teams for some reason, and the Wizards have constantly talked about having to play .500 basketball on back-to-back games, and they’ll have to win tonight to execute their plan.

Washington hasn’t had much of a problem rebounding without Nene, but they’ll have to find a way to contain the Clippers’ transition opportunities tonight and it all starts with limiting turnovers and defensive rebounding. The Wizards don’t have much room for error, considering how good the Clippers have shown to be at times. Trevor Booker and Marcin Gortat must find a way to negate Blake Griffin and Deandre Jordan’s production. Gortat hesitated way too many times last night, and he has to be able to outscore Jordan tonight.

I think we’ll get another close game and I’ll pick the Wizards to pull out the upset, even though it doesn’t seem very likely.

Tags: Chris Paul John Wall John Wall Chris Paul Nba Game Preview Washington Wizards Wizards Clippers

comments powered by Disqus