By: Jeremy Hyman
Fresh off their 119-113 win over the Nuggets last night, the Wizards are back at it tonight as they host another Western Conference foe in the Houston Rockets at Verizon Center (7:00 pm | TV: CSN | Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM). The Wizards dropped their previous game with the Rockets, 99-93, back on December 12th in Houston.
The Wizards are winners of nine of their last 11 games at Verizon Center, with the only two losses coming against the Kings and Raptors, two teams outside of the playoff picture. During this stretch, they have wins against some of the top teams in the league including the Thunder, Knicks, Clippers, Nets, Bulls, and Nuggets.
Tonight, another playoff caliber team enters the building as the Rockets are in town. The Rockets reshuffled their roster in the off-season and have built an offensive juggernaut. They are second in the NBA in points per game (106.4) and second in three point attempts taken (28.4). They love to play at a fast pace and get as many shots up per game as possible.
Other than Chandler Parsons, the Rockets starting lineup has gone through a transformation since last season. The headliner is now James Harden who they acquired just before the season started from Oklahoma City. While Harden went from being a 6th man in OKC, he is now one of the elite players in the NBA and is currently 5th in the NBA in scoring, averaging 26.4 points per game. He's not just a scorer, but contributes in many ways as he is 2nd on the team in assists (5.6 apg) and grabs almost five boards a game. The Rockets also added point guard Jeremy Lin who is having a solid year running the show for the high octane Rockets. Besides reshaping their backcourt, the Rockets also added center Omer Asik who now in a starting role is 3rd in the NBA in rebounding (11.5 rpg).
Besides all of the roster movement the team made in the off-season, they were also busy at the trade deadline, as they acquired D.C. native and #5 overall pick Thomas Robinson from the Sacramento Kings along with Francisco Garcia and Tyler Honeycutt. This will provide them with more depth and the trio should be available tonight.
The Rockets are coming off two impressive wins, as they beat the Thunder in a thriller earlier in the week in Houston and then went to Brooklyn to take down the Nets last night at Barclays Center.
The Wizards continue to be giant killers as they knock off one playoff team after another. Last night, their victim was the Denver Nuggets as they scored 119 points (2nd most all year) to grab their first win after the All-Star break. They received contributions from many guys, having a season-high seven players score in double figures. They also had three players attain double-doubles, Emeka Okafor (17p/13r), Bradley Beal (17p/12r), & John Wall (14p/10a).
Tonight should be another high-scoring affair with the Rockets in town. A sell-out crowd is expected as Verizon Center looks to see the Wizards win their second game in as many night.
The action kicks off at 7pm.
Beal continues to impress in his rookie campaign, last night doing it by attaining a new career-high in rebounds with 12 and picking up his 2nd career double-double (17p/12r). He once again will be asked to play a big part in the Wizards offense tonight as there will be plenty of points put up in a fast-paced game with the Rockets.
Opposite Beal will be one of the young stars in the league in James Harden. On Wednesday, Harden had a career-high 46 points against his old team and he is capable of going off like that on any night. He scores in many ways and contributes to his team in many ways. He is first in the NBA in free throws attempted (470) so one thing the Wizards will need to do is keep him off the line and avoid fouling him. That may be easier said than done, but the Wizards have made defense their staple all year and it will be tested tonight.
In the below clip, Bradley Beal talks at an NBA Rookie Roundtable.
In this clip, John Wall feeds Bradley Beal for the slam.