The Miami Heat (12-3) head to our nation's capital to take on the Washington Wizards (1-13). Tip-off is set for 7 PM ET.
The Miami Heat are well rested and coming off a big win against the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday night. Dwayne Wade scored a season high 34 points and added seven assists, while LeBron James chipped in with 21 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Wade had been dealing with migraines, but the only headache Saturday was the one he gave Brooklyn. Wade has been hot lately, averaging 24.8 points per game during Miami’s four game homestand, and has reached the charity stripe 7.3 times per game over that span.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra had this to say after Miami’s recent win over the Nets:
"This was a step forward game for us. It was good to see our guys connected again. We didn't necessarily play great basketball in the first half but in the some ways this was our best win. This was our best game in terms of connection, communication and commitment to each other." -SB Nation Tampa Bay
Miami is currently tied with Memphis for the best win percentage in the league at .800 and will be aiming to improve upon that record after tonight’s visit to the Verizon Center. Miami is riding a 6 game win streak and is 6-1 against the Eastern Conference.
Washington was fortunate enough to get their first win Friday night against the Charlotte Bobcats after starting the season off as losers of 12 straight. The Wizards followed that up with a 21 point blowout loss to the Knicks, and now rank dead last in the NBA.
Much of the blame for the Wizards slow start has fallen upon the injury to point guard John Wall, who is sidelined at the very least until mid-December with a lingering knee injury. His progress has been excruciatingly slow for Washington, who has relied solely upon a slew of backup guards to fill in at the point. Their current leading scorer is Jordan Crawford, who averages a mere 13.1 points per game. To make matters worse, Jan Vesely, their sixth pick in the 2011 draft, has accumulated more personal fouls than he has points this season.
Though they sit in last place in Southeast Division, the Wizards are confident they can beat the first place Heat. The Wizards went 2-1 against Miami last season and will try to make that three in a row against the defending champions tonight. A win against the Heat would do wonders for the Wizards, who are desperate for confidence. It would make a nice birthday present for Wizards small forward Martell Webster, but it won’t come easy given the current state of these two teams.
What to Watch for:
The Wizards defense has been respectable to this point, allowing teams to score just 97.7 points per game thus far, that’s more than the Heat can say as their defense gives up 99.5 points per game to opposing teams.
Most notably, the Wizards have a strong advantage over the Heat in rebounding. The Heat are 29th in the league in team rebounding while the Wizards sit at 10th with 43.1 boards per game. The return of center Nene has given Washington a strong presence inside, and I fully expect him to be utilized in the post-game against Miami's smaller frontcourt.
In the end this should prove to be an easy victory for the Heat. Without starting point guard John Wall, Washington's chances are slim. Don't be suprised if this results in another blowout loss for the Wiz, with the Heat looking to stretch their winning streak to a season high 7 games in a row.
Prediction: Miami Heat 110, Washington Wizards 90
Where To Watch Online: Miami Heat at Washington Wizards