The Wizards, losers of four of their last five games look to get back in the win column against the Denver Nuggets tonight. I hate calling games a “Must Win” but this is as close to that as it gets. Things are already testy in Washington and if the Wizards are unable to beat a struggling Nuggets team playing on the second half of a back-to-back; it might spiral out of control.
The Nuggets are led by the Manimal, Kenneth Faried who averages 12.3 points and nine rebounds a game usually accompanied by a highlight type block. The Wizards will face the big athletic rookie point guard in Emmanuel Mudiay for the first time this season. The Wall-Mudiay matchup will be interesting to watch as Mudiay is a big and long point guard.
Denver is just as desperate for a win as they have also lost four of their past five games.
When: January 28 @ 7 PM EST.
Where: Verizon Center
TV: CSN Mid-Atlantic
Injury Report: For the Wizards, Kris Humphries remains out. Bradley Beal is questionable with a broken nose and still undergoing NBA concussion protocol. Alan Anderson is getting closer to recovery but will claim his semi-permanent spot here for now. For the Nuggets, Wilson Chander is out for the Nuggets. Darrell Arthur, Nikola Jokic, Joffrey Lauvergne and Jameer Nelson are all questionable.
What to Watch:
Will Wittman Start Nene and Gortat Again? The Nuggets have a big frontline in Kenneth Faried and Nikola Jokic so one can only assume that Wittman will start Nene and Gortat to match them. The Nene-Gortat frontline has been ineffective and has not made the Wizards a better rebounding team; something Wittman was looking for when he shook up the starting lineup. The only thing it has done is slow the pace down and clog the paint on the offensive end. I really hope this experiment is over but something tells me we’re going to see it again tonight.
Outside of Wall and Porter, who is going to step up? It’s a shame that John Wall’s All-Star season has been all for not so far. Wall’s scoring numbers are up and he’s averaging just a hair under 10 assists in 9.8 per game. Otto Porter missed four games due to injury but has been rock solid averaging 15 points and seven rebounds in the two games since coming back.
Outside of these two, someone has to step up. Garrett Temple’s offense is regressing back to the mean since the calendar flipped to January. All of a sudden, Gary Neal doesn’t like taking three-pointers anymore. And who knows what you’ll get from the rest of the team as the rotations switch on a game-to-game basis. With that said, someone outside of Wall and Porter have to provide a spark. Gortat has been solid as ever but it seems like his cap is around 15 points a night. Either Temple or Neal have to start being aggressive again as the Wizards are missing consistent scorers.