Wizards vs Miami Heat preview: Meet the defending NBA champions

Rob Carr

The Washington Wizards travel to Miami to take on the Heat today. Here's everything you need to know.

The Washington Wizards last game, a double overtime loss to Andray Blatche and the Brooklyn Nets, was frustrating, to say the least. Ideally, the team would be able to take a couple of days off to reflect on the loss, rest up and beat up on a bad team, not have to go down to South Beach and take on the defending NBA champions. The Miami Heat should be extra sharp, too, as the team attempts to come back from an embarrasing loss to the Bulls in which Miami was outrebounded 48-28.

Can Washington pull off the upset? Will Trevor Ariza come back? Will anyone in DC actually watch basketball this weekend? These questions and more will be answered tonight.

Where and When? Tip off is at 6 p.m. in Miami.

Who's Out? Washington will be without John Wall, Trevor Booker and A.J. Price. Trevor Ariza is still out, too, but there's an outside chance that he returns to the court today. Miami will have their entire team available.

Are They Good? Yes, although maybe not as dominant as they've appeared in the past. Miami is 22-9 this year and on pace to win about 58 games, but for a team with as much firepower as Miami, this seems a little disappointing.

Why Should I Care? It's the Heat and the Redskins game should be over by the time the second half starts. Maybe?

What Are They Good At? Miami has the third best offense in the NBA on a per-possession basis, largely on the strength of their three-point shooting and the ability of Lebron James and Dwyane Wade to get to the basket and kick the ball out to shooters.

What Are They Bad At? Rebounding, guarding anyone who's really tall, guarding anyone who's really strong, guarding quick point guards, and playing conservative defense. These are all problems that Miami struggled with during the first two years of the Big Three Era, and their solutions (Jamal Magloire, Eddy Curry, Carlos Arroyo, etc.) were rarely pretty. Rather than continue to give burn to horrible players, Miami has truly embraced small ball this year, and the results have been mixed. The Heat have been better, especially defensively, since re-inserting Joel "All I Can Do Is Guard Pick and Rolls and Block Shots" Anthony into the starting lineup, but the undersized big man hurts the team's spacing and is a non-factor on the boards.

What's Up With Rashard Lewis and Mike Miller? They're both hitting a good percentage of their three pointers and little else. They'd be at-best marginal rotation players in Washington, but with James, Wade, and Bosh drawing defenses' attention, they've been able to get far more open shots than they normally would.

Where can I talk about the Redskins game? Right here.

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