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Wizards vs. Heat preview: If ya can’t stand the Heat, get out the building


Preseason game #3
Washington Wizards vs. Miami Heat
October 15, 2013
Verizon Center, Washington, D.C.
TV: CSN Washington, NBATv
Radio: 106.7FM The Fan


Projected starting lineups:

Washington Wizards
C- Nene, PF- Jan Vesely, SF- Trevor Ariza, SG- Bradley Beal, PG- John Wall

Brooklyn Nets
C- Joell Anthony, PF- Chris Bosh, SF- LeBron James, SG- James Jones, PG- Mario Chalmers

Key matchup:

Bradley Beal vs. James Jones (if Jordy Nelson is out…just kidding)

While Dwyane Wade tries to get back to 100%, James Jones is trying to take advantage of the opportunity. He’s been afforded that because Mike Miller isn’t on the team anymore. Wade has played in a limited role this preseason and Jones is trying to ensure his days of limited minutes are over in the regular season. According to RealGM.com via Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Jones worked hard on his game this past summer with Ray Allen and also enhanced his entire training and nutrition regimen. This is not your daddy’s James Jones, he’s looking to change his game. Bradley Beal will have to make sure he stays home on Jones when he’s camped out downtown, and will also have to take advantage of Jones off the dribble to create some chaos in the teeth of the vaunted Miami D. Beal has been solid for the Wizards thus far in the preseason, and it seems like he is getting better with every game. Seeing what he can do against the Miami defense should be noteworthy.


John Wall. He struggled against the Bulls after a solid all-around game against the Nets. It seems that there are so many expectations from Wall this year that we are expecting some sort of dominant performance from him in every game. However, his version of a dominant game just might be different than what ours is. Wall has the ability to fill the stat sheet up across the board in a way that Lebron has and Jason Kidd did. Although he may never become the true dominant force Lebron is, or be a better passer than Jason Kidd was, you can foreseeably expect him to put up a 18, 9 and 9 on a very consistent basis if he hones his skills properly. He will score more as he gets comfortable, continue to rebound with his size advantage, and become a better passer as the talent around him evolves or enhances. Those box-score filler statlines are underappreciated but are probably necessary right now for a young team like the Wizards. He put up a similar statline against the Heat last year (albeit against the Heat without the Big Three), and put up a solid 16-8-5 against the Nets earlier this preseason. The difference is he needs to do it in a winning effort, otherwise those numbers won’t mean much.

The X-factor:

Bench scoring. Although the Heat boast one of the best starting lineups in the NBA, the stars will likely all play less minutes. The Heat bench is not known for its , but it has been well trained in putting games out of reach with their touch from downtown, and experienced in maintaining leads that the starters have built up. The Wizards haven’t had any consistency in their bench besides Martell Webster, who when he was paired with Nene, Okafor, Beal and Wall, was a great combination for the Wizards last year.

What happened last time they played?

It was Game 7 of the Eastern Conference…okay, sorry. It was there for taking. The last time these two played, the Heat pulled out a narrow victory at the Verizon Center in what was a meaningless game for both teams. The Big Three did not play a minute, and John Wall nearly had a triple double. The Wizards had a three point lead going into the fourth, but Miami outscored them by 8 in the 4th quarter to win by a handful.

Who’s hurt?

The Wizards will be without Chris Singleton, Emeka Okafor, and now Nene, who stayed in Brazil for personal reasons according to Michael Lee of the Washington Post. Otto Porter was expected to play but has not practiced whatsoever, so his hopes for tonight look dim. Al Harrington is still on the fence as well as he tries to recover from a strained quad. The Heat will likely be without Greg Oden. Dwyane Wade might not start but will play limited minutes. Apparently Michael Beasley punched himself in the face this past week so his status is up in the air. I cannot make this stuff up.


The Heat will not get many minutes from their starters in order to prepare for the regular season. The Wizards will likely do the opposite. However, with Nene out in an already depleted frontcourt, the Wizards could struggle early in this game. The Heat have a clear weakness at center and point guard (in relativity to the stars they have at other positions). If John Wall can’t take advantage of his matchup with a stout but occasionally left behind Mario Chalmers, the Wizards have no other positions to take advantage of early. I’m at the end of this preview and I haven’t even mentioned the best player on the planet is on the Heat. I’d usually fear for Trevor Ariza but I’m assuming Lebron will spend most of his time setting up shop for others. Their challenge will be not getting behind early against Lebron and company. I think this game stays within reach for the Wizards but ultimately I feel like Miami takes this one. They did it last year without the Big Three and history does have a tendency to repeat itself. Miami by 4.

we are Hoop District

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