So, since I live in the Washington, DC area I am tasked with writing your preview for the game today. That's profiling and we here at The Dreamshake actively encourage profiling because it gets results. Oh, on an actually related note, Houston rolls into the Verizon Center to take on the Washington Wizards, 2-1 in their last three games with their lone loss coming last night against the Indiana Pacers. Washington started their 2-1 stretch by snapping a 3 game skid with a win against Charlotte.
Historically, Houston underperforms mightily (and even lost its franchise center permanently) when they come to the nation's capitol. Interesting side note, in what can only be described as "probably racist", it's "Asian Heritage" night here at the Verizon Center. It's peculiar that they wait for Houston to come to town when the arena is located in Gallery Place/Chinatown here in the District...
Anyway, the Rockets are rolling into Verizon Center riding a one game skid and on a back to back, currently sitting at 6th in the Western Conference. The Washington Wizards are sitting at 6th in the East with a 16-18 record. Gotta love league parity and the CBA's distribution of talent... Oh wait a minute... That didn't happen. Well, the Rockets are looking to keep rolling and we'll just go ahead and jump right into them there matchups.
Jeremy Lin v. John Wall
John is having quite the breakout season. He inked a fat contract in the offseason that I was doubtful of. In all reality though, if you're Washington, the contract is easy. He's the closest the team has had to a franchise player in quite some time. To be fair, he's actually become quite the leader since he signed the deal and he's putting up a gaudy (rounded to the nearest whole number) 20 points, 4 rebounds, and 9 assists per game.
Jeremy Lin is not averaging 20/4/9.
James Harden v. Bradley Beal
Bradley has emerged from an early season funk and has provided the Wizards with exactly what they hoped for when they drafted him, floor spacing and shameless scoring. Beal shoots the 3 at a 45% clip. Beal gets to the line only a couple times a game but he makes good on those attempts shooting 80% from the line. Having said all that, the only thing you need to say to balance this comparison is... LAWL beard.
Considering this preview is being written on the 10th and revised the morning of the 11th (To give you guys all day to banter about and spam this like an off-topic thread) I'm rolling with the assumption that we make the mistake of using Ronnie Brewer again.
Ronnie Brewer v. Trevor Ariza
Ariza has undergone a renaissance of sorts in Washington. He's putting up 14 points, 3 assists, and 6 rebounds a game. He's one assist shy of playing point guard for the Rockets. Ariza has done a quality job locking down opposing players for the Wizards and has found his game within the flow of the offense as a clearly defined lower pecking order player. Basically, Ariza is in Washington what he left Houston as, the third option on offense who will give you a productive night consistently.
Ronnie Brewer does Ronnie Brewer stuff... Poorly.
Terrence Jones v. Trevor Booker
Booker is 6'8" and beefy at 235 pounds. He's putting up 7 points and 7 rebounds a game and producing a bit above average. You'd think, given the eye test, that Jones would have a problem rebounding against a guy like Booker. Instead, Jones is 6'8" and 252 pounds. Deceptive considering he looks lanky. Jones puts up 10 points, 7 rebounds, and 1 block a game at an even more productive clip than Booker. Though Booker shows deceptive speed for his size, his offensive repertoire is... let's say unrefined and unpredictable.
Dwight Howard v. Marcin Gortat
Gortat has been humming along as one of the most well-rounded centers in the NBA since his trade to Washington. Gortat is producing 13 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game (All rounded to the nearest whole number). Considering Omer Asik is considered a top 10 center at 10 points, 12 rebounds, and 1 block per game then Gortat is rightfully in the conversation for top 10 as well. In the Charlotte and New Orleans wins Gortat is averaging 19.5 points, 13.5 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game. Gortat is riding a hot streak...
Against the best center in the NBA. Howard's putting up 18 points, 13 rebounds, and 2 blocks a game. Suck on that.
Rockets (Tend to use 8-9 players, don't buy the propaganda): Garcia, Casspi, Motiejunas, Brooks
Wizards: Martell Webster, Nene Hilario, Jan Vesely, Garret Temple, and Otto Porter
The Rockets have a talented bench but an inconsistent one. The Rockets have two starters, arguably three if they can normalize their production, coming off the bench. Nene's been working his way back from injuries. Given how wildly inconsistent the Rockets bench has been, I'm going to go out on a limb here.
The Rockets are without Chandler Parsons and Omer Asik. The Wizards don't have any outstanding injuries.
If history is any indicator and the bench becomes the differentiating factor in this game, chalk it up to a Wizards win with a LOT of complaining on TDS that totally neglects the fact that the Wizards are an up and coming and underrated team. There's a lot to be said that the Rockets keep choking against Washington. I expect...
Prediction: Rockets 104 - Wizards 110
As always, go ahead and visit the good folk over at Bullets Forever for some great insight and discussion. Tune in on CSNHouston and CSNMidAtlantic at 7:00 PM EST, 6:00 CST