After pulling off one of their best wins at home against the Brooklyn Nets to move back up to the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference, the Washington Wizards will start their four game west-coast trip tonight against the Sacramento Kings. The game will tip off at 10:00 PM (EST) from the Sleep Train Arena.
Key Match Up:
The Sacramento Kings haven’t had much to be proud about this season, but Isaiah Thomas has pleasantly surprised everyone as he’s emerged as one of the best young point guards in the NBA. After getting picked last in the 2011 NBA Draft, I’m not sure anyone expected Thomas to stick around in the league, but not only has he done that, but he’s become a candidate for the Most Improved Player of the Year award this season. Thomas is averaging over 20 points and 6 assists per game this season while shooting over 45% from the field.
John Wall has struggled against smaller guards since his rookie season, and Thomas is arguably the best “small guard” in the NBA. At 5’9″, Thomas possesses an uncanny ability to score the ball inside and out at a high rate and Wall has had trouble guarding him in the past. Thomas scored 30 points and dished out 8 assists this season in a loss against the Wizards, but I think it’s safe to say that he got the best of the match up with Wall. Even though Thomas is capable of scoring from the outside, Wall has to do a better job of staying in front of him, making it harder for him to create for his teammates inside. With that said, Wall has also stepped up his aggressiveness over the past few games and he should be able to get to the basket whenever he wants against Thomas and the Kings. He can’t settle for jump shots tonight, especially since he’ll be defended by a smaller guard.
- DeMarcus Cousins sat out of his last game with knee tendinitis and he’s listed as day-to-day for tonight’s match up. Considering that Sacramento could use another high lottery pick, I wouldn’t expect Cousins to suit up tonight.
- The Wizards have lost three straight games to Sacramento on the road, according to ESPN.
- Sacramento scores over 101 points per game, which is above average, but they allow 103.5 points. The Kings are the 7th worst defensive team in the NBA.
- The Kings average the least amount of assists per game.
The Kings have a number of players on their roster that are capable of scoring 20+ points on any given night. Isaiah Thomas, Rudy Gay, DeMarcus Cousins (if he plays) and even players like Derrick Williams are more than capable of keeping their team in the game just off scoring.
If DeMarcus Cousins doesn’t play, and all signs are pointing to that he won’t, the Wizards really shouldn’t have a hard time getting a double-digit road win tonight. John Wall and Bradley Beal should be able to overwhelm the Kings on the offensive side of the floor, while Marcin Gortat could have himself a bounce back game tonight.
I think the Wizards will get the victory, as long as they come prepared and don’t play down to their competition. Every game counts for Washington and they can’t afford to lose games to sub par lottery bound teams like the Sacramento Kings.
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