The Wizards are coming off an impressive win on the road against the Chicago Bulls, but they’ll have to find a way to put it together at home. Washington’s five-game homestand begins tonight against the defending champion Miami Heat. The game tips off at 7:00 PM from the Verizon Center.
Key Match Up:
Dwyane Wade, who rested last game, is expected to be back in Miami’s lineup tonight. Although Wade isn’t the same player he was a few years ago, at least in terms of athleticism, he’s found a way to remain very productive for the Heat. Wade is averaging about 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists per game this season, but his efficiency makes it even more impressive. He’s shooting a career-high 54% from the field, while knocking down over 42% of his three-point shots, which is also a career high. Wade has obviously benefited from playing along side LeBron James and it’s evident in his increased percentages. He’s not forced to carry the offensive load like he was in the past, making it much easier for him to play the game where he’s most comfortable.
Needless to say, Bradley Beal will have to find a way to play well against Wade if the Wizards want to stay competitive tonight. Beal’s shot selection hasn’t been very good as of late and the Heat will certainly try to take away the 3-point shot from Beal. Beal has been settling for long two point shots and his field goal percentage has suffered as a result. When his shot isn’t falling, Beal has a tendency to fall asleep defensively and that can’t be the case against the Heat tonight, or else the Wizards are going to get obliterated at home again. Beal needs to do a better job at mixing it up from the floor, because he hasn’t gotten to the rim nearly enough this season. There’s no better time to turn it around than against the Heat, so Beal’s impact will definitely play a big role in a win or loss tonight.
- The Heat have lost two straight games. We might be in for a long game tonight.
- Miami has the second highest offensive rating in the NBA, but they also have a top-10 defense. Yeah, they’re still a pretty good regular season team despite winning back-to-back championships.
- The only glaring hole in Miami’s game is their lack of a dominate rebounding big. They’re last in rebounds per game, so the Wizards have to find a way to beat them on the boards tonight.
- LeBron James told the media to “see the numbers I’ll put up on Wednesday. Just watch.” Basically, he’s promising a big game against the Wizards tonight. Yikes.
- Mario Chalmers is out tonight. Washington will need a dominate game from John Wall against Norris Cole.
A lot has to go right for the Wizards to pull off an upset tonight.
Even though LeBron James will inevitably put up some monster numbers tonight, the Wizards still have some advantages against the Heat. Nene is coming off his best game of the season, scoring 19 points against Joakim Noah, and he needs to remain aggressive against the Heat tonight. Marcin Gortat has also been better as of late and he could potentially dominate the glass against Miami. Chris Bosh averages under 7 rebounds per game, yet he’s still Miami’s leading rebounder. Gortat has to have a big game tonight, especially considering the lack of front court depth the Heat have. Trevor Booker has also put up some great rebounding numbers this season, so the Wizards will need his contributions tonight.
Besides their front court, Washington’s only other advantage comes from their point guard position. John Wall has been the best point guard in the Eastern Conference and the Heat will definitely do their best at closing lanes tonight, forcing Wall to settle for shots. Like Beal, John Wall has a tendency to settle for jump shots after missing a few layups in the half court. He has to remain aggressive by penetrating the basket, especially since the Heat don’t really have an enforcer underneath the basket.
Washington only has 1 victory against a winning team this season, so tonight will obviously be a challenge. I think they’ll stay competitive, but LeBron James might be too much to handle. I expect the Heat to sneak out of the nation’s capital with a win.