Brooklyn is looking for a bounce-back win as two point favorites over Washington on the road
The Brooklyn Nets will be traveling to our nation’s capital tonight to face off against the Washington Wizards for the second time this season. These teams first faced off at the beginning of February at Capital One Arena. The Wizards came out on top in that game by a final score of 113-107. Bradley Beal was sensational in that matchup as he scored 34 points on a night where he shot the ball over 47% from the field. The game was tied in the fourth quarter at 106 a piece with a little over three minutes remaining. However, the Wizards finished the game on a 7-1 scoring run to lift them to victory. I think the results could potentially be similar again in tonight’s matchup.
Despite being in the middle of a three-game losing streak, Bradley Beal has been playing out of his mind. The former number three overall pick has gone off in his last ten games, averaging 36 points while shooting the ball at a 46.9% clip. His numbers have gotten a huge boost recently though as Beal exploded in his last two games. On Sunday, Bradley Beal put up 53 points on over 55% shooting in a game that the Wizards lost to the Bulls 126-117. How did Beal follow up that performance? He scored 55 points the very next night while shooting the ball at a rate of 57.6% from the field against the best team in the NBA! That valiant effort was not rewarded though as Washington ended up falling to the Bucks in overtime 137-134. I believe Brooklyn will have no answer for stopping Bradley Beal, but they still might be able to win this game.
The key for the Nets will be containing the other players on this lackluster Wizards team. This will not be an easy task. Even though the Wizards have a 20-36 record, they are the sixth best scoring team in the NBA right now. Furthermore, the Wizards roster has nine players that average over ten points per game so far this season. This list includes sharpshooter Bradley Beal who is second in the NBA in points per game this year (30.1 PPG). The first time these teams played, the problem for the Nets was that they weren’t able to contain Washington’s other scorers. Four other players finished the game with at least 11 points. If Brooklyn hopes to have success tonight, they will need to keep the Wizards’ other players in check.
The Nets will also have to score a lot of points themselves, but that shouldn’t come as too much of a problem. Brooklyn is a middle of the road scoring team that averages 110.6 points per game. That is more points per game than the Magic, Pacers, and 76ers. In the absence of Kyrie Irving, other players have managed to step up and fill up the box score for Brooklyn. Over the last ten games, Spencer Dinwidde is averaging 18.3 points, Caris LeVert is averaging 19 points, and Joe Harris is averaging 14.1 points. It will be key that these three find the bottom of the net tonight against Washington, but that shouldn’t be much of an issue. The Wizards are dead last in scoring defense, as they allow their opponents to put up over 120 points per game. During Washington’s three-game slide, that number has been even worse as the Wizards have allowed their last three opponents to average over 125 points per game!
In the end, I worry that Bardley Beal will be too much for the Nets to handle. The man has been playing lights out and is likely very frustrated that his back-to-back 50+ point outings have not resulted in wins for the ninth place team in the Eastern Conference. The Nets can score, but I think Bradley Beal will go full 2015 LeBron James and drag his team to victory by any means necessary. Bradley Beal will not be denied a win in the third straight game where he goes for 40 points or more. I think the Wizards win this one outright.