Miami (27-33) at Washington (34-27)
Verizon Center, Washington, DC
March 6, 2015 at 7:00 PM
March 6, 2015 at 7:00 PM
Tale of the Tape
[ezcol_1third]WIZARDS[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third][/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]HEAT[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]34-27[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]TEAM RECORD[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]27-33[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]98.6[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]PPG (own)[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]94.1[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]98.0[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]PPG (opp)[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]96.7[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]Lost 1[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]W/L STREAK[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]Won 2[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]Lost at Bulls 97-92[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]PREVIOUS GAME[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]Won vs. Lakers 100-94[/ezcol_1third_end]
Last time they met was..
December 19, 2014 @ American Airlines Arena, Miami – Wizards 105, Heat 103
What a glorious time December was. The Wizards had arrived in Miami on the evening of the 19th winners of 10 of their previous 11 games, high off tokes of the franchise’s best start since their star point guard was shitting his diapers back in 1990. The Wizards matched their milestone of a 19-6 start by beating the Heat that night behind John Wall’s 20 and 10, Nene’s 20 off the bench, and 33 trips to the free throw line. Johnny Big Shots struck late in the game with a clutch crossover dribble and 18-footer over Norris Cole (seen above) to put the Wizards up by four, and for good.
But oh, the ill repute of tide turning. The Wizards have gone just 15-21 since that glamorous start. An offense that was once passable at best has now become not only unsustainable, but too predictable. The evidence of this, as depcited in my friend Conor Dirks’ column, is glaring through the team’s absurd month-to-month regression in offensive rating. Then you’ve got a head coach who was once riding the sails of first-time playoff success and exalted for being ingeniously defensive minded, now being clobbered with calls for his head (figuratively speaking, of course. I think). The Wizards are plummeting at a fast pace, along with their position in the Eastern Conference standings. They’ve dropped 12 of their last 15 games and there’s not even a spec of promise for any resolve.
Inversely, the Miami Heat are working their way back into a competitive mold in the East. A slow start to February along with the loss of Chris Bosh fopr the season was somewhat reciprocated with the trade for Goran Dragic and now slowly but surely the Heat are regaining some ground. Winners of six of their last 10, the Heat are steadily closing the gap between them and the 6th seed Bucks, who’ve lost four straight. They stand 5.5 games behind the Wizards.
Tonight marks a matchup of the important variety for both teams as mid-April looms nearer and playoff implications become stronger. In order to extend the content of this preview and offer you more takes on tonight’s game, here is my Hoop District comrade Irfan K with some key points and a cool idea for a drinking game to help liven up a potential #SoWizards Friday night..
What to Watch: Miami Heat basketball? That’s a question. As in, as the Heat integrate Goran Dragic, will they start to resemble Eric Spoelstra’s Miami Heat Basketball? The other night, the Heat lost to the New Orleans Pelicans after D-Wade missed a last second three. In that game, Dragic scored 20 points, with a +/- of 10, the highest of any Heat player by far. All nine of his made FGs came on shots at the rim.
However, in the final two minutes, Dragic was at best a decoy, and at worst, a statue. He was just camping out in the corners (the very thing he was sick of doing in Phoenix), while Wade and Chalmers ran their sets. It resembled the early days of LeBron and Wade, when they would just take turns at the end while the other watched, except in this case, Dragic never got a turn. If this is still the offense the Heat are running when they come to DC, they will be much easier to guard, and the Wizards should have a solid defensive performance. But if Dragic has gotten more comfortable in Spoelstra’s “pace and space” offense, look out. The Heat may start to look like a much better team than their record indicates.
Key matchup: Wizards backcourt vs. Heat backcourt. Look at the combined stats of the Wizards starting backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal: 32.1 points, 13.2 assists per game.
Look at the combined stats of the Heat backcourt before and after the Goran Dragic trade:
- Wade and Chalmers: 31.6 points, 9.4 assists per game.
- Wade and Dragic: 34.5 points, 10.6 assists per game.
Now, before you say, “well Dragic hasn’t played with Wade yet,” remember that Dragic had been sharing the ball with TWO other point guards in Phoenix. Last year, when he had only one other guard to share with in Bledsoe, he had a career year.
The Wizards are going to need to get the best of this match-up. Wall needs to put the pressure on Dragic, and force him to wear himself out defensively. Wade will never wear himself out defensively in the regular season, so Beal needs to take advantage. He should get a number of easy looks if he just keeps moving without the ball. He’s got to knock them down. Defensively, Beal HAS TO STAY DOWN! Wade pump fakes ALL THE TIME. He barely shoots anymore without pump faking first. But you can’t blame him. Everyone seems to bite, it gets him to the foul line, it gets his team in the penalty, and it gets his man in foul trouble. We’ve seen recently how badly the Wizards need Beal on the floor, and how badly they struggle without him. Beal can’t afford to let Wade goad him into fouls, and onto the bench.
X-factor: Hassan Whiteside.
If you haven’t heard about Hassan Whiteside yet, you’re not watching enough SportsCenter, PTI, Around the Horn, First Take…basically you don’t watch ESPN. The guy came out of nowhere and he’s been annihilating the league.
- November: DNP
- December: 3.1 pts, 3.9rebs, 1.1 blocks
- January: 13.0 pts, 10.6 rebs, 3.4 blocks
- February: 14.5 pts, 13.2 rebs, 2.5 blocks
Within the last 5 weeks, Whiteside has had the following games:
- 16 pts, 24 rebs vs. Dallas
- 24 pts, 20 rebs vs. Minnesota
- 14 pts, 24 rebs vs. Atlanta
- 14 pts, 13 rebs, 12 blks vs. Chicago
- 18 pts, 25 rebs, 4 blks vs. LA Lakers
Maybe Pat Riley left a bloody horse head in his bed to motivate him. I don’t know. But he wreaks a lot of havoc. The Wizards need to limit this havoc, particularly on the offensive glass, or they will be on the wrong end of another ESPN highlight.
Fun factor: Dwyane Wade drinking games! Take a drink every time Wade ends up on the ground. Take a drink every time Wade flops. Take a drink every time Wade pump fakes. Take a drink every time Wade is the last man to get back on defense. Then take a cab straight to the hospital for a liver transplant.
Prediction: Wizards lose. But it’s ok because you won’t remember if you play the Dwyane Wade drinking games.