The Washington Wizards will host the Brooklyn Nets in a crucial match-up between two playoff hopefuls Saturday night at 8:00. The Wizards (16-31) stand just 5 games behind the current seventh-seed Nets (21-26).
The Wizards won their last game against the Charlotte Hornets by a score of 121-107. Bradley Beal had a stellar game, filling the stat sheet with 34 points, 9 rebounds, and 9 assists. Beal’s near triple-double was fueled by the news he received minutes before tip-off that he had not been selected for the 2019-20 NBA All-Star game. Isaiah Thomas also provided a much-needed spark in a game the Wizards needed to continue their playoff push.
The Nets have benefitted from the return of star Kyrie Irving, who scored a whopping 54 points in last night’s 133-118 win against the Chicago Bulls. Irving became just the third player in NBA history to score 50+ points while shooting 82% from the field or better, joining Hall-of-Famers Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain as the only players to accomplish the feat.
Bradley Beal and Kyrie Irving are two of the most polarizing players in the league, dividing fans on where they deserve to be placed among the stars. Beal is averaging 28.7 points per game and Irving is averaging 28.3, making them both the clear number one option on their team. Neither player will be playing in the upcoming All-Star game despite both having the talent worthy of a spot. They both will have a chip on their shoulders coming into this game, and it will be interesting to see which player takes control as they fight for playoff positioning.
- Spencer Dinwiddie has been playing well despite his new role as the Nets’ sixth man. Dinwiddie has averaged 20.3 points and 5.8 assists per game since being relegated to the bench. Ish Smith will have the tall task of covering the talented guard and leading the Wizards’ second unit.
- Some other Sunday night match-ups that could have an impact on Eastern Conference playoff positioning include: 76ers vs. Celtics, Knicks vs. Pacers, and Heat vs. Magic.
- The Nets are coming into this game on the second night of a back-to-back. The Nets are 2-4 on the second night of back-to-backs so far this season.
- Players on both teams, especially Kyrie Irving and Bradley Beal, are still coping with the loss of NBA great Kobe Bryant. Irving missed the Nets’ game on January 29 while grieving the death of his friend and mentor. Following last night’s scoring outburst Irving stated that he channeled “Mamba Mentality” in a touching post-game interview.
Wizards: Rui Hachimura (groin) – QUESTIONABLE. Jordan McRae (ankle), Moritz Wagner (ankle), John Wall (Achilles) – OUT.
Nets (predicted): Kevin Durant (Achilles) – OUT.
Spread: Wizards -1.0
Money Line: Wizards -113, Nets -105