Jan 5, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry (30) dribbles the ball as Washington Wizards point guard John Wall (2) defends in the fourth quarter at Verizon Center. The Warriors won 112-96. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Wizards at Golden State Warriors preview: Road back to .500 begins

After dropping another winnable game on the road against the Utah Jazz, the Washington Wizards might not get an opportunity to get above the .500 mark in a while. They begin a tough stretch against western conference foes tonight at the Golden State Warriors. The game will tip off at 10:30 (EST) from the Oracle Arena.

Key Match Up:

Like John Wall, Stephen Curry was overlooked for much of his career, getting snubbed out of the All-Star game this past season despite having a breakout year. Curry has quickly gained popularity around the league, and he’ll be featured in the starting lineup in the All-Star game, a much deserved recognition Curry has gained from leading his team in the brutal Western Conference. Curry is on his way to becoming one of the best shooters the NBA has ever seen, but unlike a lot of other players that top the list, Curry possesses a lot of weapons in his arsenal. Making Curry take tough shots is nearly impossible since he’s capable of knocking down anything from the perimeter. It’s important that Wall runs Curry off the 3-point line, forcing his teammates to step up. Klay Thompson, David Lee, and Andre Iguodala are all capable of putting up some big numbers, but I’d rather have them lead the way than Curry.

Wall is coming off one of the worst games of his career, and things didn’t quite go his way the last time the Wizards met the Warriors on the road. He needs to find a way to regain his aggression, especially since he looked so out of it against the Utah Jazz. Curry is a great offensive player, but his achilles heel has always been his ability to defend opposing guards. Wall is one of the biggest point guards in the league and Curry will undoubtedly have trouble stopping him in transition. The Wizards rely on John Wall too much for him to take nights off occasionally and he can’t take any games off against Western Conference teams. If Wall plays like we all know he’s capable of playing, the Wizards should be able to compete. After all, the Wizards are so inconsistent you just really never know which team will show up to the Oracle Arena tonight. Wall led the way against the Miami Heat and Phoenix Suns, and I’m sure he could lead a surge against the Warriors.

Notes:

  • Both the Warriors and Wizards are 6th in their respective conferences.
  • Golden State is probably the most exciting team to watch, but their defense is a bit unheralded. They have a top 5 defensive rating in the entire league.
  • They’re also pretty good offensively, as you could imagine. The Warriors are top-10 in points per game, 3rd in rebounds per game, and top-10 in assists per game. Yeah, this could get ugly pretty fast if the Wizards aren’t prepared.

Prediction:

A lot will have to go right for the Wizards to get the win in Golden State tonight. Washington is outmatched at virtually every position. Marcin Gortat and Nene have struggled against teams that crash the glass, while the David Lee and Andrew Bogut frontcourt will inevitably dominate the boards. To make matters worse for Washington, both Lee and Bogut are able to mix it up offensively, making them difficult match ups for virtually any frontcourt in the NBA.

Steph Curry and Klay Thompson are the best shooting backcourt in league history. John Wall and Bradley Beal have to find a way to get them off the 3-point line or contest every shot they could. Thompson got way too many open looks in Washington in their first match up this season and if that happens again, the Wizards are almost guaranteed to get the loss tonight.

Washington has to play a near perfect game to win tonight. I just don’t see them pulling off an upset. Let’s just hope they make it a competitive game.

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