By: Jeremy Hyman
After taking down the Nuggets last night in Denver, it gets no easier tonight as the Wizards take on one of the NBA's best in the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center (10:30 pm | TV: CSN | Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM). The Wizards have now won four of their last five games.
The Wizards were resilient last night in Denver, battling back from a seven point fourth quarter deficit in a hostile Denver environment to get the road win. There is no doubt they are playing their best basketball of the year, and bearing a late collapse in Sacramento on Wednesday could easily be on a five-game win streak.
While the whole team is playing well, the difference John Wall has made since being back has been tremendous as he now has two straight double-doubles coming off the bench. His minutes are still limited, but his impact on the floor is not. Last night, he made the play of the game with his block on Ty Lawson to seal the win for the Wizards.
We don't know if Chris Paul will play tonight, but even if he can't go Wall will see a familiar face across the way as his former Kentucky teammate, Eric Bledsoe, has been filling in for Paul while he sits out with a knee injury. The Clippers have won all three games with Paul out of the lineup, so the Wizards can't relax if he is unavailable.
The Clippers have been one of the best teams in the NBA all season, partly because of their stars but also because of the great production they get off the bench. Jamal Crawford may be their most dangerous offensive player, averaging 16.7 points per game, and he comes off the bench. The Wizards have gotten great production from their bench this season as well, so this game could come down to a battle of the benches to determine the outcome.
The action kicks off at 10:30pm.
Nene is coming off an emotional night in Denver where he returned for the first time since being traded. He was held to just seven points and four rebounds and the Wizards still were able to win which is a good sign for this team. The Nuggets sent double teams at Nene all night, which forced him to give up the ball more often then he would have liked. If the Clippers decide to play him straight up, look for Nene to be more aggressive tonight on the offensive end.
On the other side will be the Western Conference starting PF in the upcoming All-Star Game, Blake Griffin. Known for his spectacular dunks, Griffin has developed a solid post game and is the team's leading scorer. The key will be to limit his dunks and force him to make shots from outside the paint. If the Wizards can get him out of his comfort zone it will go a long way in helping them get another road win.
In the below clip, Nene talks with Dave Johnson about playing in Denver.
In this clip, Nene draws the contact and finishes with a 3-point play.