The Wizards are back under .500 after a disappointing loss against the Cleveland Cavaliers, but they continue their homestand tonight against the Sacramento Kings. The game will tip off at 6:00 PM (EST) from the Verizon Center.
Key Match Up:
Like Washington, the Kings are coming off a loss in a game that they should’ve won, given the lack of talent on the Celtics. Sacramento has played better basketball since acquiring Rudy Gay from the Toronto Raptors. but DeMarcus Cousins has emerged as a top young player this season, and probably would’ve made the All-Star team if the Kings weren’t struggling to get wins. Averaging nearly 23 points and 12 rebounds per game, Cousins has not only stepped up on the floor, but he’s become a leader off the floor. He’s had a reputation of being a loose cannon, but he’s managed to stay under control this season and had a breakout year as a result.
Cousins is one of the most talented big men in the NBA, especially on the offensive side of the floor. There aren’t many bigs his size that are capable of scoring the ball like he can, especially in the amount of ways he typically gets it done. Cousins’ size allows him to create space in the paint, but he’s also worked on his mid-range game which makes him an even tougher cover. Marcin Gortat has been solid defensively, but the Wizards are really going to need his effort tonight. Sacramento has plenty of scorers on their team, but none could hurt the Wizards like Cousins. The game might be decided on that match up.
- The Kings are 29th in assists per game, largely because they depend on a lot of scoring options on their team. Isaiah Thomas, Rudy Gay, and DeMarcus Cousins all average over 20 points per game.
- Sacramento has the second worst defensive rating in the NBA, just above the lowly Utah Jazz.
- Rudy Gay and Marcus Thornton are both listed as questionable for tonight.
Washington really needs a bounce back win tonight. Prior to the game against the Wizards, the Cavaliers were sporting just 5 road wins on the season, but completely dominated Washington on their home floor. Sacramento only has 6 wins away from home, and the Wizards have to do a better job at protecting their court.
John Wall has always had trouble defending smaller guards, and there is no better small guard in the NBA than Isaiah Thomas. Bradley Beal was awful last game and will definitely have lots of open looks tonight against a poor Sacramento defense.
With all that said, Sacramento is probably a lot tougher match up for the Wizards than it should be. Washington has struggled against scoring teams and the Kings are certainly capable of putting the ball in the basket. They’re going to have to regain momentum heading into the All-Star break and there’s no better place to start than tonight at the Verizon Center. I think they’ll get a close win over the Kings, but their games have been so difficult to predict given their inconsistency, I wouldn’t be surprised if it goes the other way around.