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Wizards at Heat Pregame: In John We Trust

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Regular Season Game 54

Wizards (25-28) at Heat (30-24)

February 20, 2016 at 7:30 PM
American Airlines Arena, Miami, Florida
TV: CSN Mid-Atlantic
Radio: 99.1FM


Last time they met was..

January 20, 2016 – Verizon Center, DC: Wizards 106, Heat 87
Game Notebook 41, Wizards vs. Heat: Turning Up The Heat


What to watch

A winning streak!! Maybe the Wizards should petition the league to keep playing back-to-back nights until they lose. So far, they’ve knocked off a hot Jazz team, dominated a huge game against Detroit, and now catch an injury-depleted Miami squad on a back-to-back themselves.

The optimism is high right now. John Wall is playing like a superstar. Bradley Beal is channeling his inner Manu Ginobli (in his prime). Marcin Gortat is playing like he’s Polish Thor. And Markieff Morris hasn’t fought any teammates yet. The Wizards needed to finish their final 31 games somewhere around 6-8 games over 0.500. A win tonight would get them to 3-0 to start their playoff push, and leave the rest of the East feeling the Heat.

Oh, and a 3-0 start out of the All-Star break is something the Spurs and Warriors can’t even boast. Take advantage of that while you can!


Key Matchup

John Wall vs. Goran Dragic

First off: Prayers up for Chris Bosh. For the second time in two years, Bosh is dealing with a systemic blood clotting issue, and is currently trying to treat the condition with blood thinners. The Heat have said he will not play while on the medication, and there is no time frame for his return.

No matter how much you like or hate Chris Bosh, that’s not the type of condition you want to see opponents missing games for. Sprained ankles? Sure! Broken finger? Don’t mind if I do? Knee soreness? Absolutely! But blood clots? Nah..

Speaking of knee soreness…Dwyane Wade should also miss tonight’s game, as he is scheduled for an MRI today to get a second opinion on his sore left knee.

Enter Goran Dragic. With Wade and Bosh sidelined with injury, and Hassan Whiteside suspended, Dragic picked up the slack in a win over the Hawks last night. Dragic scored 17 points, dished out 10 assists, grabbed 5 boards, and got to the free throw line 5 times. Although Luol Deng led the Heat with 30 points and 11 rebounds, it was Dragic who ran the show.

Don’t sleep on Goran Dragic. There’s a reason he earned the nickname “Dragon,” and at his best, he’s an All-Star caliber player.

Then again, John Wall at his best is a superstar caliber player, and he’s been at his best since the ball was tossed on All-Star Sunday. He followed up a 17-11-6 game with a 22-8-8 game. There’s no reason to think he can’t keep it up.


X-factor

Fatigue. Okay. So maybe there is a reason to think he can’t keep it up. The second night of a back-to-back late in the season is bad enough. The third night of a back-to-back-back, on the road? That’s BAD.

Then again…the way the Wizards have been playing, they probably want to just keep on playing. Maybe the less time between games Randy Wittman can “coach,” the better.

A good start will be key. See a few shots drop, build a little lead, get a little extra bounce in their step, and it can carry them through to the finish line. Fall behind quickly, and they might get burned.


Fun Factor:

Here’s a few clips of Hassan Whiteside:

vs. Alex Len:

vs. Kelly Olynyk:

Here’s the most recent, vs. Boban:

Here’s what Nene does to people like Hassan Whiteside:


Prediction

In John We Trust.

we are Hoop District

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