Preview: Wizards Take On Heat In Home Opener
Game 1- Miami (0-1) at Washington (0-0)
TV: 8pm NBC Sports Washington
Projected Heat starters: Richardson, Jones, Whiteside, Dragic, McGruder
Projected Wizards starters: Wall, Beal, Porter Jr., Morris, Howard
What’s new with Miami: Miami lost a tough one in Orlando last night, 104-101, despite a great effort by Goran Dragic, in which he scored 26 points on 9-14 from the field, and 3-7 from 3-point range. Miami led mostly every stat in the game against the Magic, but the difference was that Orlando shot 42 percent from the field, while Miami shot only 39 percent from the field. The Heat will being playing the second of a back-to-back, and they are coming into the season as a banged up squad. Guard Dion Waiters, who was second on the team last year in scoring (14.3 ppg), will not make the trip due to an ankle injury. Also, forward James Johnson will be a game-time decision for the game. Johnson missed the opener against the Orlando Magic with an illness. Also, forward Justise Winslow, who just signed a 3 year, 39 million dollar deal on October 3rd, and is supposed to play a major role for Miami as he will be a game-time decision for the Heat, as he has a tight right hamstring, and like Johnson missed the opener against Orlando. Finally, backup guard, Wayne Ellington, is out for the game against Washington with an ankle injury. Whiteside, who averaged 14 points a game in 2017-18, led the Heat last year by averaging 54% from the floor, and pulled down 11 rebounds a game. Dwyane Wade, who is the Miami Heat franchise, is playing in his final season. He did score 9 points in the loss on 3-13 shooting.
What’s new with Washington: The Wizards have added more depth this offseason, so they are not running Bradley Beal and John Wall into the ground. First, the Wizards went out and got center Dwight Howard in the free agent market. Howard, who is playing for his sixth NBA team, averaged nearly 17 points and 13 rebounds per game last year. The 14-year veteran, however, will be a game time decision on Thursday, as he is dealing with a back issue, although at practice on Tuesday he felt no pain. Another new Wizard, is former Georgetown Hoya and forward Jeff Green. Green, who played with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2017-18, mostly came off the bench to average about 11 points a game. Green should get between 20-25 minutes a game, and can give players like Morris and Porter Jr. much needed rest. The last acquisition that the Wizards made, was acquiring guard Austin Rivers from the L.A. Clippers for Marcin Gortat. Rivers averaged a career high 15 points a game last season for Los Angeles, and if Beal or Wall get hurt, the guard can easily fill their role, and expect him to provide help from long distance. Last year, Rivers averaged nearly 38 percent from the 3-point line. Besides the new Wizards, expect the bulk of the scoring coming from Beal and Wall, who averaged a combined 42 points a game in the regular season, and nearly 50 points a game in the postseason.