The Wizards are facing two old foes from the season opener. They are facing the Miami Heat, a team that robbed them on opening night and Kelly Olynyk. The last time these two teams played, Washington lost their season opener 113-112 off a last-second put-back by Kelly Olynyk. Washington was without Dwight Howard during that meeting so who knows what might happen tonight. Also, who knows what might happen if the Wizards choose to play smallball more often. With that, here are the things to watch for in tomorrow’s game.
Josh Richardson can score
There’s no doubt that Richardson is Miami’s go-to guy nowadays. While it is a new role for the shooting guard, he is settling in with a team-high of 20.7 points per game. During the Wizards’ season opener back in October, he led the Heat with 28 points, 4 rebounds, and 5 assists. Richardson is taking 17.7 shots per game, so the Wizards need to make sure they are contesting as many of his shots as possible. This means the smallball lineup has to play actual defense.
This probably won’t happen given the Wizards terrible defending. The best they can hope for is to try to limit the amount of times he takes it to the rack. If they can put a hand up when he is shooting on the perimeter, then that’s probably the best they can do.
The center matchup
The Wizards were without Dwight Howard in the season opener. With Dwight being back, maybe having a true center will allow the Wizards not to fully rely on playing smallball against the Heat. Hassan Whiteside will not be easy pickings for Dwight though. He went off with 29 points, 20 rebounds, and 9 blocks against the Spurs earlier this week. In addition to containing Whiteside, the Wizards have more work to do if Dragić returns for Saturday’s game. He’s averaging 18.1 points per game but if he does play, he will be coming off of a knee injury so he may not be on his regular workload.
A possible bigger feature of smallball
Hey, it could happen. Scott Brooks found a lineup combination that worked against the Magic and stuck with it. Maybe the Beal, Wall, Rivers, Oubre and Green lineup gets used more often against Miami. Just hope that if it goes down to the wire, Brooks goes back to Otto. Hopefully the Wizards rebound in this one although it does not look very likely.