Wizards 0-0 vs Heat 0-1
When: Thursday , October 18, at 8 p.m.
Where: Capital One Arena in Washington D.C.
TV: NBC Sports Washington / FSSUN/ Radio: 1500 AM
Wizards: Dwight Howard (Game Time Decision, Buttocks)
Miami: James Johnson (Out, Hernia), Wayne Ellington (Doubtful, Ankle), Dion Waiters (Out, Knee), Justice Winslow (Day to Day, Hamstring)
N/A - points per game
N/A - points against
N/A - Field goal %
101 - points per game
104 - points against
39.2 - field goal %
Keep an eye on:
Pick & Roll Defense: Last season, Washington ranked 15th in the league in defense, allowing 106 points a game. The Wizards struggled especially in defending the pick & roll throughout the 17-18 season and with the personnel the Heat is bringing to town, Washington must be on a string defensively. It starts with the all-star back court in John Wall and Brad Beal. Throughout the preseason, they brought strong on ball defense to the floor taking the pressure off the bigs to have to defend guards out on the perimeter for numerous possessions throughout the game, which is a disadvantage for Washington. Add in versatile defenders in Austin Rivers, Jeff Green and Dwight Howard and you have the ingredients to be formidable defensive team.
Dwight Howard Available? Howard has yet to play a game, sitting out preseason action with minor injuries to his back and buttocks while also leaving fans curious as to how the chemistry would be between Howard and the rest of team. Whenever Howard returns, I don’t expect it to take long for the chemistry to be on point. Howard’s shot blocking, rebounding, pick & roll defense and finishing ability is exactly what the doctor ordered for Washington. His impact in those areas are the reason why Washington is a dark horse team to make a lot noise this season. Against Miami, he would have a nice match-up against their formidable center Hassan Whiteside who routinely gives Washington the blues and is coming off a 12 points, 18 rebound performance in an opening day loss to Orlando. Dwight may not be the same player from Orlando, yet, he’s still a force at center and he would provide an immediate impact if he is available to play.
Goran Dragic:. Dragic for some reason has had Washington’s number when they’ve played. He’s a very, very crafty point guard who is deadly efficient. When Washington beat the Heat in their first game last season, he went off for 21 points and 4 rebounds on 52 percent shooting from the field and 50% shooting from deep. He’s a master at creating off a pick and roll and if it’s any mistake defensively, he will make you pay. In a season opening loss to the Magic on Wednesday night, Dragic posted a team high 26 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assist on 64 percent shooting from the field and 42 percent shooting from deep. In other words, Dragic is coming to town angry and hot, a bad combination. Look for Wall, Austin Rivers and at times Beal to apply pressure defensively and keep Dragic in check.