By: Jeremy Hyman
The Wizards return to the floor tonight as they host the Denver Nuggets at Verizon Center (7:00 pm | TV: CSN | Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM). The Wizards upset the Nuggets back on January 18th in Denver and will be looking to get the season sweep with a win tonight.
The Nuggets will certainly remember that loss they suffered to the Wizards back in January when the two teams square off tonight, mainly because they have lost just three times at home. Their 23-3 home record is tied for second best in the league, trailing only Miami, and they will have revenge on their mind tonight as they come into Verizon Center. While their home record is outstanding, they are just 11-18 on the road, and with the Wizards winners of eight of their last 10 at home, this could be another game for the Wizards to come out on top.
The Nuggets are a team that can score points in a hurry and love to play an up-tempo style of offense. They will run for the full 48 minutes and the Wizards transition defense will be one of the keys to their success. Similar to the Wizards, they don't rely on one main scorer, but rather get contributions from a lot of different players. They have a strong starting unit and a lot of depth coming off the bench with veterans like Andre Miller, Wilson Chandler, Corey Brewer, and former Wizard JaVale McGee.
They have been streaky of late, as their win over Boston on Tuesday night snapped a three-game losing streak. Before that, they had won a season-high nine consecutive games, but seven of the nine came at Pepsi Center in Denver.
The Wizards had been playing some of their best basketball of the season, but have a hit a bit of a speed bump in the previous two games. Heading into the All-Star break, they let one slip away in Detroit and then dropped a home bout with the Raptors on Tuesday night coming out of the break. They have a chance to get back on track with two tough Western Conference opponents coming to town tonight and tomorrow as the high scoring Nuggets and Rockets make their yearly stop in D.C. These are two of the highest scoring teams in the league (Nuggets 3rd, Rockets 1st) and will be a good test for the Wizards defense. The Wiz have held 11 straight opponents under 100 points for the first time in 14 years, but that will be put to the test this weekend.
For whatever reason, the Wizards seem to play better against the teams with better records, which should bode well for them this weekend as both the Nuggets and Rockets are currently playoff teams.
The Wizards made a deadline deal, sending Jordan Crawford to Boston for Jason Collins and Leandro Barbosa. While Barbosa is out for the season with torn ACL, Collins will be available off the Wizards bench once he arrives. There is no word if he will be in D.C. in time for tonight's game, but stay tuned to @WashWizards for the latest news and updates.
The action kicks off at 7pm.
Beal is coming off an impressive 25 point performance on Tuesday night, and scored a career-high 28 last week in Milwaukee. The 19 year old rookie is starting to assert himself as one of the go-to scorers on this Wizards team. Back on January 18th in Denver, Beal lit up the Nuggets for 23 points in the Wizards 112-108 win. What makes it more impressive is that he did it against a veteran and a good defender in Andre Iguodala. He also held Iggy to just two points in 30 minutes of action.
Iguodala is someone the Wizards are familiar with from his days in Philadelphia and is a guy that can fill up the stat sheet. He's not quite the scorer he once was, but he is still a threat who can score from the perimeter or more so from his slashing ability. If Beal is able to replicate his performance on both offense and defense that we saw in Denver, the Wizards will be in good shape to come out on top.
In the below clip, Bradley Beal talks at an NBA Rookie Roundtable.
In this clip, John Wall feeds Bradley Beal for the slam.