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Wizards begin homestand with Rockets
The Wizards return home for a Friday night matchup with the Houston Rockets.
Capital One Arena | 7:00 p.m. | NBCSW/NBATV | 1500 AM
Wizards (19-16): G - Wall, G - Beal, F - Porter Jr., F - Morris, C - Gortat
Rockets (25-8): G - Harden, G - Gordon, F - Ariza, F - Anderson, C - Nene
Wizards: Sheldon Mac (Achilles - Out)
Rockets: Clint Capela (Orbital Fracture - Out), Luc Mbah a Moute (Shoulder - Out), Troy Williams (Knee - Out), Chris Paul (Adductor - Questionable)
Wizards Looking for Consistency
The Wizards' roller coaster season has been exemplified in the past two games. At the beginning of the week, the Celtics were in first place in the East, while the Hawks were in last place. The Wizards went into Boston and beat the Celtics on Christmas and followed that game with a loss in Atlanta on Wednesday. It's been hard to explain how the Wiz can play so well on one night and beat a top team in the league, and then lose to a team at the bottom of the conference on the next, but that's been the story of the season. The Wiz have been playing to their competition's level, something that they'll need to straighten out if they want home court in the playoffs. The good thing about that for tonight is that the Rockets enter with one of the best records in the league, so if the trend continues the Wizards will put forth one of their better efforts of the year.
Rockets Could Get Paul Back
Chris Paul, who has missed the last three games with an adductor strain, could be back in the Rockets' lineup tonight. He'll either return tonight or on Sunday when the Rockets host the Lakers, but Houston has gone 14-1 when Paul is in the lineup and the All-Star point guard gives the Rockets two excellent ball handlers when he is paired with James Harden. Houston suffered a tough loss last night in Boston, blowing a 26-point lead to the Celtics, which marked Houston's fourth straight loss. This came on the heels of a 14-game winning streak, which included an eight-game road win streak. The Rockets are now 12-3 this season on the road and 3-1 on the second night of a back-to-back, and after last night's frustrating loss in the final seconds, they'll likely be hungry to bounce back tonight.
Houston shoots almost 43 3-pointers per game, which is far and away more than any other team in the league. They score over 114 points per game, which is second in the NBA only behind Golden State and they shoot the second most amount of free-throws in the league, which is largely in part due to James Harden's ability to get to the line, but also from their offensive philosophy to either shoot from the perimeter or attack the rim.
Nene and Ariza Back in D.C.
Two former Wizards will play a big role in this one tonight as Nene and Trevor Ariza return to D.C. as members of the Rockets. Ariza has scored in double figures in 11 straight games and is shooting 39% from 3-point range this season. Nene may only play about 15 minutes per game, but he can be a force in the paint, scoring or passing out of the post. He also finished in double figures last night and with Clint Capela out, he may play a bigger role in the Rockets' attack.
Up next, the Wizards host the streaking Chicago Bulls on New Years Eve. (3:30 p.m.)