Martell will choke out anyone foolish enough to take it to the basket. - USA TODAY Sports
The Washington Wizards look to bounce back from a disappointing loss as they travel to the Valley of the Sun to take on Phoenix. Here's everything you need to know before tonight's game.
Between the debate over whether John Wall deserves a max deal, college basketball fever sweeping throughout the country and fallout from the Washington's humiliating loss to the Bobcats, it's easy to forget that the Wizards have a game tonight. The good news? It's against a Phoenix Suns team that Washington obliterated on Friday, 127-105. The bad news? The Suns must be doing something right, because they turned around and beat the Lakers by 23 points last night, 99-76.
Where and when? Gametime is 10 p.m. in Phoenix.
Are they good? No, not really. Their defense isn't good and Marcin Gortat's absence hurts, although Jermaine O'Neal is still a very savvy defensive player. As far as the offense goes, the team's spacing is good but, without a reliable slasher and pick and roll tandem, defenses have no reason to sag off of the Suns' snipers.
Who's out? Gortat and Channing Frye for Phoenix, while A.J. Price, Trevor Ariza and maybe Chris Singleton are questionable for Washington.
What are they good at? In theory, making threes. Phoenix is 29th in the NBA in three point percentage and 26th in three pointers taken when you adjust for pace. That should not be the case. The Suns have capable shooters on the perimeter in Goran Dragic, Wesley Johnson and Jared Dudley, as well as no less than three power forwards who can step out and make a three. Similar to Washington before John Wall and Nene came back and Bradley Beal found his groove, the Suns have guys who can make spot up threes but no one who can set them up. Kendall Marshall should in theory help with this, but he's been very ineffective as a rookie.
What are they bad at? See above. Phoenix desperately needs a scorer and playmaker who their shooters can play off of, as well as a big man who can scare the buh-jeezus out of defenses when he rolls to the basket. No one on the team can effectively fill either role, so players like Dudley, who struggle to create shots off the dribble, are forced to take many more contested jumpers than they would have during the Nash and Amare years.
Where can I read more about the Suns? Check out the excellent SB Nation blog, Bright Side of the Sun.
What are your thought and predictions for tonight's game? Sound off in the comments and vote in our poll.
Who wins tonight?
Washington (43 votes)
Phoenix (15 votes)
58 total votes