Wizards (25-26) at Rockets (35-17)
February 12, 2014 at 8:00 PM
Toyota Center, Houston, TX
TV: CSN Washington
Radio: 106.7FM The Fan
Projected starting lineups:
C- Marcin Gortat
SF- Trevor Ariza
SG- Bradley Beal
PG- John Wall
C- Dwight Howard
PF- Terrence Jones
SF- Chandler Parsons
SG- James Harden
PG- Patrick Beverley
Al Harrington (knee)
Greg Smith (knee)
Al Harrington (knee)
Greg Smith (knee)
First meeting since…
Dwight Howard dominated. The Houston Rockets poured in 114 points and shot 52.1% from the field. The Verizon Center roof leaked. The Rockets won.
Dwight Howard v. Marcin Gortat
In his last six games, Howard is averaging 24.8 points and 11.5 rebounds while shooting 65% from the field. He’s also hitting his free throws at an impeccable rate. Okay fine, it’s only 66% from the stripe but that’s a personal achievement. Last time he squared up against Gortat he put up 23 and 7 before Gortat fouled out early, playing only a total of 20 minutes.
Dwight Howard hasn’t been as unstoppable as he seemingly was early in his career, but he is too athletic for someone like Gortat. You’ll probably say that Gortat is athletic himself, but those types of players are what Howard feasts on. The reason that players like Kendrick Perkins always play well against Howard is because of his brute strength and body frame. It’s hard for Howard to use his body at the angles he likes because of the Perkins’ girth and width. Dwight Howard has a very thin core and he does well posting up and using body to contort against players with a similar frame like Gortat.
Gortat’s speed and power means nothing against Howard because Howard is stronger and faster and much more athletic in nearly all facets. Gortat will have to avoid falling for Howard’s pump-fakes at the rim, while also trying to force him into using more of his arsenal. When Howard gets easy dunks and putbacks, the stat sheet fills up quickly and the defensive rotations become more spotty.
Gortat has to make Howard work for his points early with an array of hook shots (that Howard has historically shown he has a difficult time in aiming towards the basket without using the backboard or back of the rim) or take advantage of the film on Howard. Dwight decides on his move before he even attempts his shots which can make it easy to get in his path and draw offensive fouls. Everyone knows this. Not everyone can keep up with the speed and power that Dwight holds. The game-plan for defending Dwight is pretty clear though. Marcin has the “Blueprint” but if he shows up with “Kingdom Come” then all Hell could break loose.
Watch it. Love it. Bathe in it.
Trying to get in a shootout with the Houston Rockets? Not a good idea.
Not only do the Wizards rank in the bottom third of the league in shooting percentage defense, they’re going up against a team that when is hot, is more unstoppable than they are. Chandler Parsons can shoot the three just as well as Ariza, and James Harden is likely what we want Bradley Beal to become (on offense).
Speaking of that, Harden has shown flashes of abysmal defense, with more constant showings of lackluster effort. His specialty is ball-watching and sagging off shooters.
Considering that Bradley Beal just came off of a 37-point outburst, this matchup is coming in at good time for the Wiz. Wittman needs to do a good job of getting Beal to move without the ball tonight in order to expend Harden’s effort. Harden is lazy enough as is on defense, now he has to chase around Beal? Beal will already have his work cut out for him on defense if he is assigned to cover Harden, so he might as well punish Harden on the other end to even it up.
This team has been on a six-game winning streak and in that time frame they’ve had five players at or above 13.7 ppg – showing their depth. Houston has won 13 straight games when scoring 100 or more points.
Martell Webster v. Jeremy Lin/Omri Casspi/Omer Asik/Donatas Moteijunas/Wittman rotations that will work in favor of Houston.
I think the Rockets bench has an advantage…I think.