Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images
Wizards host defending champs tonight in D.C.
The Wizards host the defending champion Golden State Warriors tonight in D.C.
Capital One Arena | 8 p.m. | NBCSW/ESPN | 1500 AM
Wizards (36-25): G - Satoransky, G - Beal, F - Porter Jr., F - Morris, C - Gortat
Warriors (47-14): G - Curry, G – Thompson, F - Durant, F - Green, C - McGee
Wizards: John Wall (Knee - Out)
Warriors: Patrick McCaw (Wrist - Out)
Wiz Get to Host Champs
Tonight will be the Wizards' greatest challenge yet as they'll play host to the defending champion Golden State Warriors. While the Warriors aren't chasing history and going for the best regular season record of all time, they still have four All-Stars in their starting lineup and are the favorites to win another title this June. They are the team that every other team measures themselves against and for the Wizards, a team that has won 10 of their last 13 without their All-Star point guard in the lineup, tonight will be the ultimate test to see how this roster stacks up against the very best.
In their last meeting, the Wizards built up an 18-point lead, but couldn't hold on in the fourth quarter as the Warriors rallied to beat the Wiz, 120-117 in Oakland back in October. Otto Porter Jr. led the Wiz with 29 points and 10 boards, including seven made 3-pointers. One year ago today, the Wizards beat the Warriors 112-108 in D.C., but Golden State is 12-2 against the Wiz over the last 14 games in the series. The Warriors have twice this year overcome 20+ points halftime deficits, becoming the first team in the shot clock era to accomplish that feat twice in one year.
Wizards Continue to Impress
The Wizards have pulled off back-to-back wins over the Sixers and Bucks, winning last night's game on the road in Milwaukee. The team jumped on the Bucks early last night, opening on a 14-0 run and led by as many as 21 when they took a 26-5 lead midway through the first. The Bucks would rally and got as close to one late in the game, but the Wiz hung on for a wire-to-wire victory, their second time beating the Bucks in Milwaukee this season. The team once again recorded 30 assists in the win and they are averaging just over 30 assists in the last month, the highest mark in the league. Golden State ranks second in that time, averaging 29.7 assists per game. The Wiz have now recorded at least 25 assists in seven straight games, the longest active streak in the NBA.
Warriors Can Shoot It
While it seems the Warriors are good at almost everything, the area they most excel in would be shooting, where they rank atop the league in points per game, field goal percentage, 3-point percentage, and free-throw percentage. They also share the ball better than any other team and lead the league in assists. The Warriors average over 116 points per game and can score from so many spots on the floor and in so many ways, it makes things difficult for opposing defenses. For the Wizards to have a shot tonight, they'll have to defend the 3-point line and make sure they defend in transition, an area Golden State can really make teams pay.
Up next, the Wizards host the top seed in the East, the Toronto Raptors on Friday night. (8:00 p.m.).