By: Jeremy Hyman
The Wizards look to win their fourth game in a row as they begin a five game road trip in Sacramento to take on the Kings on Wednesday night (10:00 pm | TV: CSN | Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM). This is their first meeting of the season and they will meet again in two weeks at Verizon Center.
For a team coming in at 7-28, the Wizards are suddenly a team to be reckoned with as they are now playing their best basketball of the season. John Wall's return has brought a new found energy to this team and has everyone playing at the top of their game.
The Wizards are coming off their best game of the season on Monday night, where they scored a season-high 120 points and beat the Magic 120-91. The real tangible difference one could see came in the third quarter, after the Magic cut a 19 point lead into a six point lead heading into the half. Instead of panicking or letting that breakdown affect them, the team came out and put up a season-high 37 points in the third quarter and set the tone for the second half. This was a welcoming sight to see for a Wizards team that now looks to build on this momentum.
The Kings are a team that struggle with consistency, but have a lot of talented players that can be a real threat to the Wizards tonight. It starts with their young big man DeMarcus Cousins. A former teammate of John Wall back from their Kentucky days, Cousins is one of the more talented young big men in the game today. A big body with an array of post moves, his athleticism sometimes gets overlooked because of his size. He has all the talent and tools to work with, but sometimes similar to his team, the consistency is not always there. However, he is on a roll averaging 21.8 points and 12.5 rebounds per game in the month of January and should be a force to deal with tonight.
The Kings are an interesting statistical team in that not one player averages more than 3.3 assists per game, rather it is a group effort to move the ball around. Their backcourt of Isaaiah Thomas and Tyreke Evans can be dynamic and Jimmer Fredette can be a lethal 3-point shooter off the bench. If the Wizards continue to play defense the way they have, (4th best OPP FG% in last 10 games) look for them to get their 4th win in a row tonight.
The action kicks off at 10pm.
Bradley Beal is averaging 17.7 points in the month of January and has started to show the nation why he was taken #3 overall in the 2012 NBA Draft. He now is looking for his shot and being more aggressive on the offensive end. The game is slowing down for Beal and sometimes he makes you forget that he is only 19 years old. Tonight will be a good test for Beal as he goes up against the Kings' Tyreke Evans as will this entire road trip. This will be the first long west coast trip for the rookie and should test him both physically and mentally.
Evans is the ultimate combo guard who presents great size and skill. Although his scoring has gone down each year since his sensational rookie season in 2009-10, he is still a duel threat when the ball is in his hands. He has battled some injuries and is trying to get back to 100% both physically and from a conditioning standpoint, but he is still a player the Wizards will need to be focused on tonight.
In the below clip, John Wall feeds Beal for the jam.
In this clip, Bradley Beal talks about beating the Magic and playing with John Wall.