Here to provide the DC Council Opening Statements for Washington’s 15th game of the season against the Miami Heat in D.C. are TAI’s Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It) and guest Surya Fernandez (@SuryaHeatNBA), who writes about the Heat for the SB Nation blog Hot Hot Hoops.
Wizards Starters (1-13):
A.J. Price, Bradley Beal, Trevor Ariza, Chris Singleton, Emeka Okafor
(More changes to the starting crew in consideration? We will see.)
Heat Starters (12-3):
Mario Chalmers, Dwyane Wade, Rashard Lewis, LeBron James, Chris Bosh
Q #1: What have you done for me lately?
(What’s the status of the Heat over the past week?)
@SuryaHeatNBA: The Heat lately have been content enough to coast through large portions of games and can count on LeBron James (or at least one of the Big 3) to have a solid game, along with a big fourth-quarter performance from a reserve like Ray Allen, to pull out victory after victory. They still haven’t lost at home and they’ve sparingly played over the past week, so they’re nice and fresh for a single-game road trip to play the Wizards before they head right back home.
Q #2: Who threw out my alarm clock?
(Which player(s) are we sleeping on?)
@SuryaHeatNBA: The addition of Allen and Lewis has lessened the role of sharpshooters Mike Miller and James Jones, but it’s not like they’ve forgotten how to shoot the ball. For Miller, this is actually a blessing, since the injury-prone swingman won’t be playing major minutes during the regular season as the Heat try to stay on top of the Eastern Conference standings. Once the postseason comes around, Spoelstra will have plenty of options from his bench who can provide instant offense while Miller stays fresh. How good can even a hobbled Miller be for the Heat when his shot is falling? No Heat fans will forget his 7-for-8 performance from beyond the arc for 23 points off the bench in the decisive Game 5 victory against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2012 NBA Finals.
Q #3: What game-within-the-game counts most?
(What matchup between two players or between each team in a particular statistical category is most important.)
@SuryaHeatNBA: Emeka Okafor vs. Chris Bosh will be an interesting matchup in the battle of the boards. Many Heat games this season have featured an impressive performance from a big man playing for the opposing teams, and Okafor could be the next player to benefit. Kenneth Faried of the Denver Nuggets had 20 rebounds, Anderson Varejao of the Cleveland Cavs grabbed 15, and Marcin Gortat of the Phoenix Suns had 13 rebounds against the Heat, for example. Bosh will have to match the physicality of Okafor and try to put a body between him and the rim to protect against offensive rebounds, which is definitely something to keep an eye on for tonight.
Q #4: How it’s going down?
(TAI’s general key to the game.)
@Truth_About_It: How scrappy will the Wizards be in defeat? That’s for Randy Wittman to find out. The coach’s team is inching closer to a more set rotation of nine players, mostly determined by who’s injured or who’s playing the absolute worst. Still, the cream has to rise to the top somehow, even when dumpster diving.
The Wizards have been apart of one win, 10 moral victories, and three blowout losses this season. If they are lucky, they’ll achieve moral victory No. 11 tonight, putting their overall record at 1-14.
I leave you with this interesting statistical tid-bit: On average, the Miami Heat attempt 5.2 fewer field goals per game than the Wizards, who are ranked 7th in the NBA at 84.1 shot attempts per game (Miami’s 78.9 FGAs/G ranks 26th). BUT, curiously enough, on 5.2 fewer attempts, the Heat make, on average, 5.2 more shots per game than the Wizards—the Heat’s 39.1 makes per game ranks first in the NBA, Washington’s 33.9 ranks 28th. Thus, the Heat are the second-worst offensive rebounding team in the league, but probably because they sink their shots at a league-leading 49.5 percent. The one-win Wiz, meanwhile, shoot a league-worst 40.1 percent from the field. It all adds up to a disparity that would’ve led even David to concede victory to Goliath.
The Heat are favored by 10.5 points and the over/under is 195.5 points (via USA Today).
@SuryaHeatNBA: In a game between two teams on the opposite ends of the NBA spectrum, I expect the visiting Heat to win by 15 points while benchwarmers Terrel Harris, Dexter Pittman and Josh Harrellson get a chance to shake some rust off in the final quarter while the Big 3 look on.
@Truth_About_It: The Wizards will lose, and they will lose by at least 16 points, 101-83, as hometown fans are treated to appearances by Cartier Martin, Earl Barron and loud, irrelevant cheers when a member of the Heat, probably Dexter Pittman, attempts to win the crowd over with free chicken sandwiches as he misses two consecutive free throws in a blowout.
- Two out of three say that this is a “trap” game for the Miami Heat.
- Bradford Doolittle on ESPN Insider has written an article called: “Fix the Wiz: Grunfeld’s got to go.” One of the highlights: “That puts the Wizards on pace to go 6-76 this season. Of course, they really aren’t at that level of awful. Washington’s point differential (minus-8.4) — nearly three points worse than any other team in the league — is that of an eventual 18-64 team.”
- Jan Vesely is like a sniffle for the flu that is Washington’s roster construction. I think.
- John Wall aims to get better while injured… or something like that. Also, he reads T.I.’s “novels” and modeled his handles off Jamal Crawford.
- Kevin Love dresses up as an old man sort of looking like his dad and interacts with this dad, Stan, who used to be a member of the Baltimore Bullets.
[Ball Don't Lie]