Preview: Wizards look for bounce-back win Thursday night in Miami
FTX Arena | 7:30 p.m. | TV: NBCSW | Radio: The Team 980 & Wizards App
The Wizards are back in action on Thursday night, taking on the Heat at 7:30 p.m. at FTX Arena in Miami. Washington is looking to bounce back from a loss last night in Charlotte, its first in the last six games, while Miami comes in having won three games in a row.
The team announced pregame that Daniel Gafford (right thumb sprain) would not play. Montrezl Harrell will start in his place.
|G||Aaron Holiday||Kyle Lowry|
|G||Bradley Beal||Tyler Herro|
|F||Kentavious Caldwell-Pope||Jimmy Butler|
|F||Kyle Kuzma||P.J. Tucker|
|C||Montrezl Harrell||Bam Adebayo|
WIZARDS: Davis Bertans (left ankle sprain – out), Thomas Bryant (left ACL injury recovery – out), Spencer Dinwiddie (right knee injury maintenance – out), Daniel Gafford (right thumb sprain - questionable), Rui Hachimura (not with team – out)
HEAT: Bam Adebayo (left knee bruise – probable), Dewayne Dedmon (right groin strain – probable), Tyler Herro (right wrist bruise – questionable), Caleb Martin (right ankle sprain – questionable), Markieff Morris (neck – out), Victor Oladipo (right knee injury recovery – out)
Dinwiddie out as part of recovery plan
Washington will be without starting point guard Spencer Dinwiddie on Thursday night, who will rest as part of the team’s pre-established injury recover plan set before the season. Dinwiddie missed most of the 2020-21 season with a knee injury and rested on the back end of the Wizards’ one previous back-to-back earlier this season. Dinwiddie is averaging 15.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game this season.
It won’t be the first time Washington plays without one of its key backcourt members this season. Including Dinwiddie’s one prior missed game and the three games that Beal has not played, the Wizards are 4-0 when playing without one of their star guards. Their depth and resilience will be put to the test Thursday night against the Heat, one of the most physical, defensive-minded teams in the league.
Wizards searching for shooting touch
Washington’s loss on Wednesday in Charlotte came with an easily identifiable root cause – a 8-42 (.190) shooting performance from 3-point range. Long-range shooting has been a weakness for the Wizards all season – they rank bottom-five in the NBA in 3-point percentage – and a throughline in their four losses. Washington is 8-0 this season when they shoot at least 34.0% from deep and 2-4 when they don’t meet that threshold. Miami will present a viable challenge in getting back in rhythm from deep. The Heat are tied for seventh in the NBA in opponent 3-pointer percentage (32.6).
Butler-led Heat coming off Wednesday-night win
Like the Wizards, the Heat will be playing Thursday night in the second game of a back-to-back, coming off a 15-point win over the Pelicans on Wednesday. Miami, playing without starting point guard Kyle Lowry (rest), was led by a 31-point triple-double from Jimmy Butler, who shot 10-18 (.555) from the field and was 10-12 (.833) from the free throw line. Butler has been a rock for the Heat all season, averaging a team-high 24.3 points per game on 53.0% from the field to go along with 5.8 rebounds and 5.5 assists. Lowry is expected to make his return to the lineup on Thursday night and comes in averaging 12.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and a team-high 7.3 assists per game.
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