The Wizards are coming off a stunning victory over the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden and they’ll have to try and carry over the momentum tonight in Brooklyn against the Nets. The game tips off at 7:30 PM from the Barclays Center.
Key Match Up:
The Nets have certainly underperformed this season, but injuries have been a key factor in their 9-15 start to the season. Without Deron Williams, the team struggled to find it’s identity and now that the All-Star point guard has returned, the Nets have started to climb the standings in the lowly Eastern Conference. Williams is averaging about 19 points since returning from injury, which has definitely helped the Nets win 4 of their last 5 games. He’s not the same player he used to be, but he could still certainly score the ball at a high level once he gets it going. The Nets have played some solid basketball lately and much of it could be credited to Williams’ return.
With that said, John Wall didn’t look too great against the Knicks on Monday. Wall looked terrific early on, scoring 19 of his 20 points in the first half, but he completely fell off in the second half. He still has a tendency to force the issue once he starts struggling and that can’t happen against a talented team like Brooklyn. When he isn’t hitting his shot, it’s important that he starts getting his teammates involved without forcing it. He turned the ball over 7 times against the Knicks, and most of the turnovers were unforced. If John Wall wants to become a top point guard in the NBA, he needs to learn to become effective when he isn’t scoring the ball, much like he was at the start of the season. According to Basketball-reference, Williams has held John Wall to just 37% shooting in their 7 match ups, so he has gotten the best of Wall throughout their careers. If Wall doesn’t settle for jump shots and remains aggressive, tonight should be a fun duel between the two guards.
- Brook Lopez has dominated the Wizards in the past, but he’s listed as questionable for tonight.
- Nene will likely make his return to the lineup tonight.
- Bradley Beal played about 30 minutes against the Knicks on Monday, so look for the Wizards to limit him even more tonight. They held him out of practice for precautionary reasons. I wouldn’t be surprised if Beal played about 20 minutes tonight.
- The Nets are 24th in rebounds per game, so Marcin Gortat has to do a better job on the glass.
- They’re also at the bottom 10 defensively.
The Wizards haven’t been a particularly great road team this season, but they should have the upper hand tonight. Brooklyn is still a bit banged up and if Brook Lopez doesn’t play tonight, Washington should have a major advantage down low. Nene and Gortat have to control the glass if that’s the case.
Joe Johnson is coming off one of the best games of his career, scoring 37 points and knocking down 10 3-point shots against the Philadelphia 76ers in a dominant win. Bradley Beal and Martell Webster have to rotate to Johnson on drive-and-kicks coming from the Nets. Without Lopez, the Nets don’t really have a post presence so the majority of their scoring will be done from the perimeter. John Wall can’t slack off on defense like he’s been prone to doing.
I think the Wizards will pull off the win tonight in Brooklyn. They’ve slipped a bit in the standings and they have to take advantage of games like tonight. They’ve beaten this team in the past with full health so tonight should be no excuse.