Dec 18, 2013; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets shooting guard Joe Johnson (7) takes a shot against the Washington Wizards during the second half at Barclays Center. The Wizards won the game 113-107. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Wizards vs. Nets preview: Game Time, Key Match Up, Notes and Prediction


The Washington Wizards sneaked out with a road win against the Orlando Magic last night, but they unfortunately lost Bradley Beal to a sprained ankle late in the game. With Nene and likely Bradley Beal both out tonight, the Wizards will have to take on the surging Brooklyn Nets without two key players. The game will tip off at 7:00 PM from the Verizon Center.

Key Match Up:

Brooklyn has won three straight games, including a victory over the Miami Heat on Wednesday night and it’s finally looking like they’re putting the pieces together. Putting up 16+ points in three of the last five games for the Nets, Deron Williams has shown some flashes of his former self since the Nets have begun turning it around. Brooklyn is essentially tied with Washington for the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference and some of it could be credited to Williams’ resurgence.

Although Williams isn’t the same player he used to be a few years ago and hasn’t played at an All-Star level in quite some time, he’s still very capable of getting the job done. Williams has had some explosive games against the Wizards in the past, and John Wall will probably look forward to matching up with another high level point guard. Wall single handedly led the Wizards to a win last night in Orlando after struggling a few games prior to that, so it’s nice to finally see him get back in a groove. If Bradley Beal sits out tonight, and he most likely will, the Wizards are going to need Wall to carry an even bigger offensive load. He’s become complacent with settling for jump shots over the past few games and that can’t be the case against Deron Williams and the Nets. He’s most effective when getting to the basket and he must regain some of that aggression we saw early on. Nevertheless, it should be a fun match up.

Notes:

  • Again, Bradley Beal suffered a sprained ankle last night. He’s listed as day-to-day and I wouldn’t expect him to play tonight against Brooklyn.
  • Kevin Garnett has been suffering through back spasms and I wouldn’t expect him to play tonight either.
  • The Nets have struggled rebounding the ball and that played a big part in their first two losses against Washington. They’re 29th in rebounds per game and Washington’s front court shouldn’t have an issue controlling the boards tonight.
  • Brooklyn has been about average defensively and offensively this season.

Prediction:

Both teams have missed key players with injury this season but they’ve also managed to play through those injuries. Despite starting off on a rather miserable note, the Nets have turned their season around and now it’s looking like they’re bound to make the post season.

The Nets and Wizards are battling for playoff position, so tonight’s game should be important for both clubs. With that said, I can’t see the Wizards winning without Nene or Bradley Beal against the surging Nets. Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Paul Pierce have all played well as of late and the Wizards have struggled to get wins at home.

John Wall should be the best player on the floor tonight, which should give Washington a chance. The Wizards shot just 40% from the field last night and they’ll have to do a better job of knocking down shots. Marcin Gortat and Trevor Booker have to dominate the boards for the Wizards to get the ‘upset’ victory tonight.

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