By: Jeremy Hyman
The Wizards are back in action tonight as they look to sweep this three-game homestand with a win tonight vs. the Brooklyn Nets (7:00 pm | TV: CSN | Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM). The Nets beat the Wizards, 115-113, in double overtime back on January 4th at Verizon Center.
The Wizards started the week with a win over the division-leading Clippers and followed that with a win over the division-leading Knicks on Wednesday night. They now have a chance to beat another playoff team tonight when they host the Nets for the final home game before the All-Star break.
It would be difficult to forget the last game these two teams played as it was one for the ages. Unfortunately, the Wizards came out on the wrong end of that one as they let an eight point lead slip away at the end of the first overtime and fell 115-113. It was Joe Johnson who hit the game-winner in that one and he will once again be a focal point for the Wizards tonight. Bradley Beal could return from his wrist injury and will likely matchup with Johnson, which should be one of the key matchups to watch. Beal has missed the last five games, but if he can return it gives the Wizards another option to spread the floor and another shooter who will knock down shots from long range.
Johnson's backcourt mate, Deron Williams, has seen his numbers drop this season. After averaging 21 points per game last season, he is now averaging 16.7 per game and his 7.7 assists per game is the lowest mark since his rookie season. With that said, those are still not numbers to be ashamed of and he still can be a dynamic player who will need to be accounted for at all times.
The Wizards had great success shooting from long range on Wednesday night and Martell Webster was a big reason for that. Webster has now hit five three-pointers in consecutive games, which makes him the first Wizard to do that since Deshawn Stevenson did it in 2007. With John Wall back in the lineup, it has opened the floor for Webster and given him plenty of open looks from the corners. Look for the Wizards to try and get Webster involved early and keep his hot steak alive.
The action kicks off at 7pm.
Since John Wall's return, the Wizards are 8-7 and their scoring and offensive efficiency have increased as Wall has opened up the floor for his teammates. The Wizards played the Nets last month without Wall and played an epic double-overtime thriller. With Wall, they should be able to do even more on the offensive end and look for him to play a big role in helping them go for their third straight home win.
As mentioned earlier, Williams' numbers are down this year, but he is not someone the Wizards can sleep on. He had 12 points and nine assists in the Nets win over the Pistons on Wednesday and the offense still starts with him. If the Wizards can force him into tough shots and keep him out of the paint, they will give themselves a good chance to win tonight.
In this clip, John Wall gets the block on one end and goes coast to coast for the bucket.
In this clip, John Wall talks about the team's positive attitude.