After a successful road trip, the Washington Wizards will be back home tonight against the Memphis Grizzlies, looking to win their seventh straight game. The game will tip off at 7:00 PM from the Verizon Center.
Key Match Up:
The Wizards have made up for their lack of size in Nene’s absence by playing ‘small ball’ lineups in stretches, but they might have a difficult time doing that tonight against one of the league’s most formidable frontcourts. Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph are trying to lead their team to the postseason in a very tough Western Conference and they can’t afford to drop games to middling teams like the Wizards. The duo scored a combined 45-points and grabbed 22-rebounds against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday night.
Without Nene in the lineup, Washington has relied on Trevor Booker as the starting power forward, and he’s responded well for the most part. Although he’s not as skilled offensively as Nene, he’s still contributed on the boards and Washington’s offense hasn’t stagnated as a result of him sliding into the starting lineup. In fact, the Wizards have increased their scoring with Nene out which was certainly unexpected. With that said, Trevor Booker and Marcin Gortat are going to have to bring it defensively against Memphis’ frontcourt. Both Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol are versatile offensive players, since they’re both capable of scoring in the post as well as the perimeter. Booker and Gortat have to force them away from their sweet spots, and although they’re able to knock down the 15-foot jump shot, I’m sure they’ll live with any shots Randolph and Gasol hit from the outside. Washington can’t allow Randolph and Gasol to get second chance shots.
- Kevin Seraphin missed his second consecutive game against the 76ers on Saturday and I wouldn’t expect him to play tonight. We’ll probably see more of Drew Gooden, who grabbed 6 rebounds and 8 minutes last game.
- Bradley Beal scored a career-high 37 points against the Grizzlies earlier this season. He’s struggled over the past few games, so let’s hope he has a repeat performance.
- Memphis has historically been a good defensive team, but the Wizards surprisingly have a better defensive rating than them. To make it more interesting, the Grizzlies have been better offensively than the Wizards this season.
- The Grizzlies take the least amount of 3-point shots in the NBA.
Washington has the momentum on their side and they’re coming back home tonight trying to win their seventh straight game. Their winning streak will end at some point, but I don’t think it’ll come to an end tonight.
Although Memphis will have an advantage with their size, Marcin Gortat have been playing some outstanding basketball since Nene went out and I think he’ll give Marc Gasol some fits. Trevor Booker isn’t a great defensive player, but I think he’s good enough on the boards to compete with Randolph.
John Wall and Bradley Beal should be able to get some easy baskets in transition tonight and that will probably lead Washington to victory.