The Wizards will look to put an embarrassing loss to the Orlando Magic, which featured a 52-point scoring outburst from John Wall, in their rearview mirror as they host the Denver Nuggets Thursday night. Washington is very fragile right now and a home loss to the Nuggets who’ll be playing on the second half of a back-to-back might be the tipping point for a season that feels like it’s ready to spiral out of control.
The Nuggets enter the game as the second-best offensive rebounding team in the NBA corralling 12.7 misses per game. They’re the best in the league when it comes to grabbing boards on both ends, grabbing 53.7 percent of all rebounding opportunities. There isn’t a dominant rebounder on this team per se, but they share the wealth as Kenneth Faried, Jusuf Nurkic, and Wilson Chandler all average at least seven rebounds per game. That’s bad news for the Wizards who rank in the bottom third of the league in rebounding.
Remember, it was a home loss to the Nuggets late in January last season which prompted the infamous “players only meeting” after the game. Let’s hope we don’t have a repeat this season.
When: Thursday, December 8th at 7 p.m. ET
Where: Verizon Center, Washington, D.C.
TV: CSN Mid-Atlantic
Radio: 1500 AM and Wizards Radio App
Wizards: Ian Mahinmi (Questionable, Knee)
Nuggets: Nikola Jokic (Game Time Decision, Wrist), Gary Harris (Out, Foot)
What to watch
Do the Wizards have any fight left?
We’ll know in the first five minutes whether the Wizards have any fight left or not. For the first time since the rumored Bradley Beal and John Wall tensions on the court, the Wizards received national media attention for all of the wrong reasons. If this team has any pride left, hopefully, they’ll be able to jump on a not-so-great Western Conference team who should have tired legs early on.
And if they don’t, expect this game to look like Tuesday night’s where they fall behind early but have that players only meeting at halftime (kidding, I think?).
Will anyone aside from Wall, Beal, Porter, or Gortat step up?
The four players mentioned are just a small piece of the Wizards’ problems. The rest of the roster makes up for a majority of the Wizards early season woes. The Wizards need a big game from someone not named Wall, Beal, Porter, or Gortat. The starters can’t continue to play 35-40 minutes per game night after night if this team is ever going to bounce back. Currently, Marcus Thornton is the best scoring option off of the Wizards’ bench averaging 7.5 points per game. The Wizards are going to need a big scoring effort from him or someone else if they’re going keep pace with the Nuggets, the 9th highest scoring team in the NBA.
Most likely Wizards killer: Jamal Murray
Murray is currently averaging 10 points per game in his rookie season. But, he’s never played against the Wizards porous defense yet. For as great as Wall and Beal have been on the offensive end, the defensive end has been a different story. Don’t be surprised if Murray goes for 20+ on Thursday.