By: Jeremy Hyman
The Wizards return home and look to extend their home winning streak to 10 when they host the defending champion Miami Heat tonight at Verizon Center (7:00 pm | TV: CSN | Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM). The Heat lead the season series, 2-1.
One of the storylines tonight will be who Miami decides to suit up as they have already secured the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference. Last night, both Chris Bosh (flu) and Dwyane Wade (knee) sat out in their win over the Bucks and LeBron James has publicly stated that he will see limited time in the final week of the regular season. There is a chance Miami could sit their "big 3" tonight, but the Wizards will need to prepare for their best and then adjust from there.
Over the last month, the Wizards have been unbeatable at home and unable to win on the road as they enter tonight on a nine game home winning streak and a six game road losing streak. The good news is that the next two games are at home as the Wiz wrap up their 2012-13 home slate with the Heat and Sixers.
The last time the Heat came to Verizon Center, the Wizards took them down without John Wall, beating them 105-101 on December 4th. They were able to get up and down the court and score constantly in transition. They will need to do more of that tonight and have John Wall continue his stellar play as he takes on the Heat for the first time this season.
In their last battle in Miami, the Wizards season may have rock bottom as they fell to 4-28 which was their lowest mark of the year. Since then, they have gone 25-21 and have looked like a different team. They have not lost at home since March 1st and with a win tonight they would tie their streak from the '06-'07 season when they also won ten games.
Trevor Ariza missed last night's game in New York and will be questionable tonight with a sore knee and ankle.
The action kicks off at 7pm.
Although the Wizards struggled defensively last night in New York, John Wall had another spectacular game, scoring 33 points to lead the team. Wall joins Kobe Bryant and LeBron James as the only three players who are averaging at least 22.0 points, 7.0 assists and 4.9 rebounds per game since March 1st.
Tonight, Wall will likely go up against Mario Chalmers, who may be relied upon to play a bigger role if some of their top scorers sit out. Chalmers is a very capable point guard who will knock down shots from the outside if left open. He's shooting over 40% from three-point range for the first time in his career and could be one of the big threats for the Heat tonight.
In the below clip, John Wall drives in for the monster slam.
In this clip, Wall gets the steal and the slam.