In doing my preparation for tonight's Wizards game against the Sacramento Kings, I could not help but notice a lot of the similarities these two teams have in common. Very rarely will we go through the season and find teams that are statistically worse in most categories than the Wiz Kids, however tonight is one of those games. So bust out the fireworks and pop some champagne because I expect this to be a close game and we all knows what happens in close games!
Kevin Seraphin doesn't play!
Moving forward, this is a big game for The Wizards on many fronts. First and foremost, it's their first home game in 12 days and for what it's worth, four of the team's seven wins have come at Verizon Center. Hopefully facing a team that's 3000 miles away will actually help the Wizards have an advantage at home.
After winning the first two on the team's road trip and following it up with 3 sub-par/bad performances, it's important for this team to come out hungry, motivated and energized as they head in to the All-Star break.
Starting with tonight's game against the Kings, the Wizards begin a stretch where they play six of their next seven at home. If this team wants to build any momentum heading towards the end of the season, it's important for them to come out and be competitive in this stretch of games.
I hate watching my teams lose, especially a team like the Wizards who've suffered for many years, but as my fellow WE colleague Abdullah Sharif pointed out to me the other day, "this team is finally starting to lose games the way we expected them to lose games."
What does that even mean? "lose games the way we expected them to lose games."
Well, it's pretty simple. For the most part, this team is not getting blown out of the water every game. They're in almost every game up until midway through the 3rd quarter and sometimes even make it a game in the 4th. At the end of the day, it's no secret that the lack of talent and depth on this team is holding them back. With that said, if the Wizards want to build on anything, it's going to have to start tonight.
Tonight, more so than ever, the Wizards are going to have to attack the basket aggressively. The Kings enter tonight's game giving up the most points in the NBA at 101.94 while only scoring 93.5 a game. While they have a great foundation in Demarus Cousins, Tyreke Evans and Marcus Thornton, their -8.41 ppg scoring differential is the 3rd worst in the league behind the Wizards and Bobcats. So even though they have the ability to score, they still give up a lot of points on defense.
Sounds a lot like a team here in D.C. doesn't it?
Opponents shoot 47% from the field against the Kings (4th worst) and they're also last in the league in opponents assists per game giving up an average of 23.13 assists per game. For a few minutes, let's look past the fact that our beloved Wizards are right behind the Kings in most of these statistics and focus on what this means in terms of how Washington can win the game!
For a team that loves to push the ball up the court in a hurry like the Wizards do, it shouldn't be hard to generate offense in the low post. Look for JaVale McGee to continue to build on his recently rejuvenated play as he battles Demarcus Cousins down low.
With Sacramento’s horrible FG% defense, John Wall will have plenty of space to showcase his much improved jump shot that he's developed over the last 10-12 games.
Look for the Wizards perimeter guys to be open and actually be able to MAKE their shots tonight. Let's face it, it's been happening to the Kings all year so let's assume that the Wizards will be able to generate the same looks at the basket.\
Finally, the 23.13 assists per game that Sacramento gives up should come as an early All-Star game present for John Wall as he heads to Orlando. The former #1 overall pick has had to adapt in to being more of a scorer this season because of the lack of offense from other contributors, but tonight should showcase the best part of his game, his passing and vision.
As a fan of the NBA, I'm really looking forward to seeing the two Kentucky stars in John Wall and Demarcus Cousins playing head to head against each other. It's no secret that these are two of the league's brightest stars and both are desperate for help on their respective teams. Earlier in the year, Cousins demanded a trade from the Kings and almost instantly, trade rumors linked him to come here in Washington. Since then, there hasn't been much talk but it would be amazing for Wizards fans to see what Cousins and Wall could do together on the same NBA team.
Will it happen? Probably not, but hey, if you told me Jeremy Lin would have an NBA career after this season, I'd tell you that you're insane.
Saam's prediction: Wizards 108, Kings 97