Wizards 27-33 vs Spurs 30-29
When: Monday, April 26th, at 7p.m.
Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, DC
TV: NBCSWA, NBA League Pass / Radio: WFED 1500 AM
Wizards: Thomas Bryant (Out/ Left ACL Surgery), Rui Hachimura (Out/ Knee), Deni Avdija (Out/ Right Leg Fracture)
Spurs: Trey Lyles (Out/ Ankle), Rudy Gay (Questionable/ Back)
114.4 - points per game
117.8 - points against
47.0 - Field Goal %
110.1 - points per game
110.6 - points against
46.0 - Field Goal %
Keep an eye on:
DeMar Derozan: has been an issue for Washington to slow down in recent years and that trend will have to end if the Wizards want to make it nine straight wins. We all know Derozan is one of the more lethal mid-range and in scorers the game has to offer, that's a given, however, the bigger issue now is his improved passing. Derozan while averaging 21.2 points per game on 49 percent shooting from the field, is also averaging a career high 7.2 assists per game. To sum things up, he's become a one man wrecking crew, and to make things more challenging, he only turns the ball over two times a game. Great all around execution and efficiency. As Brad Beal stated after last night's win over Cleveland, they will have to be sharper against the Spurs then they were against Cleveland to add another win.
Mental Toughness: of the Wizards will be tested against a well coached, great executing team in the Spurs. Back to backs are always tough, however, this season with it being so condensed, elevates the impact of fatigue on the players even more. Russell Westbrook and Brad Beal played 36 and 39 minutes respectively last night, and while they're as tough as they come, fatigue will obviously become a factor at some point during this game. This is where, as Shaq likes to call them, the others, have to step up and produce so Westbrook and Beal are fresh enough to close the game like they did last night. Washington's bench scored 51 of Washington's 119 points in their win over Cleveland. Finding that level of production again tonight from the others will be ideal to beat a Spurs team who come in having won 4 of their last five games.
Spurs Don't Beat Themselves: is as common a theme as there is. It's been the standard since Popovich became the head coach a little over 20 years ago. They rank second in the NBA in turnovers, only throwing it away 11.6 times a game. In fact, Derozan leads the team in that category and he only coughs it up two times a game. The Spurs are also fifth in the NBA in fouls, committing 18 fouls per game, which means they are sound defensively and they defend without fouling. This is a HUGE deal. Washington thrives off drawing fouls and getting to the free throw line, they are third in the league in free throw attempts (25.9) and third in free throw makes (19.6 ) per game. Washington's free throw shooting has helped them overcome their lack of efficiency shooting 3-pointers (34.9%/25th in the NBA) this season. There is an old saying, styles make fights and this game will be a great example of that. Again, the Spurs don't beat themselves, so if they're successful at limiting Washington's free throw attempts, will Washington shoot good enough from the perimeter , especially from three point territory, to win the game? We shall soon see.