The Miami Heat are struggling, having dropped three in a row to the Rockets, Spurs and Bulls. They have traditionally seen the Wizards as their get-well game, especially on their home court. But these, my friends, are not your same old Wizards. Right? Right!
This is one of a handful of remaining games on the Wizards' schedule that actually involves a strong opponent. Let's get to it:
Where and when? 7:30 p.m., CSN+. Yes, a LeBron James game is on CSN+. That's what Penguins-Caps will do to you.
Are they good? Yeah.
Who's out? I suspect Kevin Seraphin is out again, and Nene is of course not suiting up. The Heat are healthy, though it's possible Dwayne Wade sits because this is the second game of a back-to-back.
What are they good at? This is still a terrifying offensive club that whips the ball around and creates space galore for LeBron and Wade to exploit. Chris Bosh has stretched his range out to the three-point line (38 percent on 2.3 tries per game), making it even more difficult to cover all three superstars.
What are they bad at? Their defense has been leaky at times, but that's happened in the last two regular seasons too. It's just hard to sustain the kind of pressure they bring on the pick and roll for 82 games a season. Still, John Wall will have opportunities to swing the ball and find open shooters if he's willing to give it up quickly when trapped. The Wizards will miss Nene tonight because the power forward occupies an important playmaking against Miami. The Heat will surrender a 4 on 3 advantage if the point guard passes the ball up quickly, but that closes very fast. A good passer is needed to take advantage.
That's why I would almost exclusively involve Marcin Gortat in pick and rolls tonight. He can make those reads. Trevor Booker can't, at least not as easily.
Who's going to win? This is as good a time as ever to play Miami, but I still think the Wizards are the underdog.