Heat (27-10) at Wizards (17-19)
January 15, 2014 at 7:00 PM
Verizon Center, Washington, DC
TV: CSN Washington
Radio: 106.7FM The Fan
Projected starting lineups:
C- Marcin Gortat
PF- Trevor Booker
SF- Trevor Ariza
SG- Bradley Beal
PG- John Wall
C- Chris Bosh
PF- Rashard Lewis
SF- LeBron James
SG- Dwyane Wade
PG- Norris Cole
Washington’s front court v. Miami’s front court
Everybody knows the Heat’s weakness is at point guard and their center. Wall will have a hard time getting into the teeth of Miami’s defense as it is given the style of Miami’s swarming attack. Mario Chalmers is no slouch as it is, and guys like LeBron/Battier/Birdman are quick to help the team recover from small defensive lapses. That leaves the Wizards with a clear advantage in strength and power in the front court. That same advantage for the Wizards plays into Miami’s advantage in the front court.
He tends to run out of gas when he has to post and box out stronger guys inside, but Bosh can still bang inside with the best of them. Bosh becomes dangerous when he can step out 10-15 feet from the basket and hit the midrange. Defenders will usually give him those baskets early, but if he starts hitting a couple they are forced to play up. When they start to press him he can drive right past them with ease and get easy buckets or draw fouls.
Bosh becomes deadly when Miami decides to attack larger lineups by spreading 5 guys out who can all score from downtown and defend. Bosh can find spots along the three-point line on fast-breaks and when the defense breaks down. By hitting open threes from the corners and top of the arc he punishes his defender and teams who have no chance of stepping out that far to cover him. Rashard Lewis shares all of these perimeter characteristics.
Although Rashard Lewis can step out and hit some of the shots that Bosh can hit, he doesn’t have the power or the savvy to cover bigger guys inside. Lewis will get eaten up quickly trying to box out guys like Nene and Gortat. They could put Lebron on one of these guys and counter all of this, but Nene and Gortat will still find times that they are covered by Bosh or Lewis. I’ve seen Bosh hold his own against much larger guys than Gortat, but Gortat can’t let a few strong defenses by Bosh hold him back. Gortat and Nene have bigger frames than Bosh and they can draw a couple defensive fouls and wear Bosh down. The only team that gives Miami a problem is the Indiana Pacers. Why? Because they put Miami’s interior guys in a crux.
Rooting for Nene to succeed on this Wizards squad is tough. The impact he has on the games he plays in can only be measured in wins. I suppose there aren’t many better barometers to describe what he brings to the table. However, everytime he posts a column-filling stat line, he follows it up with something detrimental. He’ll get injured. He’ll miss free throws. He’ll be passive. He’s missed 15 of his last 22 free throws for example. A strong performance tonight against a team like Miami will win a lot of his prior supporters back. Does it really matter though? He’s not just prone to injury. He expects to get injured. He expects to miss time. Let’s hope his recent quotes about self-evaluation mean he will put in a little extra effort to either..
1. Play through pain and injuries he know will not get worse
2. Take better care of his body through extra conditioning
3. Aiming to improve his free throw shooting percentages drastically by practicing them more or improving his form
4. Attacking the rim at will when he knows he has an advantage in strength and ability
Turnovers. Last time out the Wizards turned the ball over 21 times. This directly led to 25 points for the Miami Heat. If the Miami Heat were superheroes or mutants, they’d eat turnovers for energy. You can not turn the ball over to Miami or they will turn a two-point lead into a 20-point lead quicker than you can say “The Decision.”
Attitude. I was going to put “Rebounding” but that’s no fun. I want Wall and Beal to come out in this game with the attitude that nobody on the Miami Heat can guard them. I want Gortat and Nene to get “nasty” inside. Not like freaky nasty, but Gregg Popovich nasty. I want the unheralded Wizards bench to look at the Heat bench and say “We are going to crush those guys.”
What happened last time they played?
The Wizards turned the ball over 21 times and the Heat capitalized. Miami moved the ball crisply all night and won the contest with a final score of 103-93.
Al Harrington and Glen Rice remain out. Mario Chalmers is ruled out with a right Achilles strain.
The Miami Heat have lost their last two road games. The Wizards stink at home. Do I have to spell it out for you? Hypothetically speaking, if the Wizards were to have a chance in this game I have some ways they can pull out the win.
Now, once again, this is all hypothetical. Garrett Temple has to do a good job defensively in backup duties. Trevor Booker will need to get scrappy and make two to three plays that don’t show up in the box score. Gortat and Nene need to have double-doubles. Wall and Beal don’t need to score a large amount of points, but they do need to be efficient. Trevor Ariza or Martell Webster have to convert multiple three-point attempts.
It’s going to be #SoWizards when Wall and Beal put up gaudy point totals but on less than 45% from the field. It’s going to be #SoWizards when Nene and Gortat muster up six rebounds each but Ariza pulls down 13 boards himself.
It would be #SoWizards that the “horrific at home” Wizards, who’ve lost to the Cavs, Bucks, and other assorted mediocre teams in Washington, would beat the defending champs at the Verizon Center.