These two teams are struggling to find their footing early in the season – the Miami Heat are up-an-down, while the Washington Wizards have been mostly down. Who will come up big?
Catch this game tomorrow, January 10, at 8:00 AM (Manila time).
HOME TEAM: Washington Wizards (2-7, 0-4 at home)
The Wizards will play host and are supposed to feel confident heading into the game. However, they are simply not getting the job done and still winless at home this season. They’ve also lost back-to-back after winning the previous two.
As always, Bradley Beal’s continuous valiant effort on the offensive end is going down the drain. He has scored 60 and 41 points over their last two defeats (35 PPG on the season), and they were steps behind the opposition both times. The same goes for his co-star, Russell Westbrook, who’s putting up a near triple-double (19.2 PPG, 9.7 RPG, 11.2 APG), and secondary weapons Thomas Bryant, Rui Hachimura, and Davis Bertans, who scoring nicely as well.
Washington’s pressing problem, just like last year, is defense. Though the team is able to score 119.2 PPG, it gives up a league-worst 122.1 PPG and allow over 49% shooting.
ROAD TEAM: Miami Heat (3-4, 0-2 on the road)
The Heat are showing a lot of fatigue from the deep playoff run and short off-season they had. Despite all the momentum and talent, they’re below .500 and have alternated wins and losses for seven straight games.
There’s a good chance that we’ll see things turn around tomorrow, though. All-Star Jimmy Butler has missed two games due to injury, but he’s now looking good and may be picking up some steam. Though his season averages are down (13.8 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 4.6 APG), he has scored 18 and 26 points over his last two.
Also, team structure-wise, Miami is still looking pretty stout. Seven Heat players are averaging in double figures – outside of the primary scorers Butler, Bam Adebayo, Goran Dragic, and Tyler Herro, there’s Duncan Robinson, Avery Bradley, and Kelly Olynyk. All can score 20-plus points on any given night.
The Heat are averaging 105.7 PPG this season.
The Beal-Butler match-up should be entertaining as it is a clash of offense and defense, so expect a dog fight. We may also see the same down low between Bryant, a rising big man, and Adebayo, a two-way All-Star looking to further his mark in the league.
I expect a fast-paced, high-scoring affair. Though I don’t see the Heat slowing down the Wizards’ offense, they’re more than able to engage in a shootout. Also, Beal are on the second night of a back-to-back, and that will factor into the flow of the game. The Heat got this, 115-105.