After a long Brazil trip, the Wizards return home to face ... the Miami Heat. Welp.
Where, when and how to watch? Tip off is at 7 p.m. at the Verizon Center. This one will air on Comcast locally, NBA TV nationally.
Are they good? Obviously, the Heat are very good, but realistically, the guys who have made the team that way - LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh -- aren't going to play much tonight. Nonetheless, this is still a good team with a very weird mix of cocky youngsters (Mario Chalmers, Norris Cole, Michael Beasley) and crafty veterans (Chris Andersen, Shane Battier, Ray Allen, Greg Oden) coming off the bench.
Who's out? Washington will definitely be missing Chris Singleton, Emeka Okafor and Nene, who is still in Brazil dealing with a family issue. Trevor Booker had been nursing a knee injury, but played against the Bulls so he should be good to go today. Otto Porter was supposed to play, but still hasn't even practiced yet, so it's unlikely we get to see him in action.
Miami's veterans are more or less healthy, with the notable exception of Greg Oden, who was just cleared for five on five practice, and Dwyane Wade, who's active, but has been so beaten up over the years that he might sit out. It's also worth mentioning that, even though he's going to play tonight, Michael Beasley punched himself in the head so many times last week that it required medical treatment.
Did Miami get better? Miami lost Mike Miller over the offseason, but they added Beasley, Oden and Roger Mason, Jr. From a basketball perspective, this is trading a quarter for three nickels, but Oden and Beasley could become big time contributors off the bench if everything breaks their way. At the same time, people have been saying that about both players for half a decade, so it's far from a guarantee that they're productive.
What are they good at? Miami is good at almost everything, but where they particularly excel is from behind the arc. Pretty much everyone on the team who doesn't play center can make 40 percent of their three pointers. James Jones in particular should have a big opportunity with Miller gone. Battier could also become more important now that Miller is gone due to how much better than Jones or Beasley he is at making the extra pass around the perimeter.
What are they bad at? The Heat play a lot of small ball and, other than Oden, no one on the team is equipped to deal with large big men who play in the post. Unfortunately for Washington, no one on the team fits that bill, so the Wizards are unlikely to be able to to beat the Heat using the same methods that were so effective for the Pacers and Spurs in the postseason last year.
Who's going to win? The Heat starters aren't going to play much, so Washington has a great opportunity to get a win. It doesn't matter that much, since it's preseason and their opponents will barely try, but a W's a W. Hopefully, the first quarter will be brutal and the rest of the game will be one of the easiest the team plays until April. Hopefully.
What are your predictions for tonight's game? Sound off in the comments and vote in our poll!