The Golden State Warriors and their new addition, DeMarcus Cousins, are in the Nation’s Capital to take on the Washington Wizards tonight. The Warriors are coming in on an 8-game winning streak, including two straight blowouts with Cousins in the lineup. The Wizards are winners of 4 of the 5 games with their only loss coming to the Raptors by 2 points. I think that both teams are playing some of their better basketball of the season, but we all know that does not mean they are of equal standing, as the 10.5 points in favor of the Warriors would suggest.
Warriors Wait for Cousins to Settle In
The Warriors are looking to settle into the top spot in the Western Conference and not look back with the addition of Cousins to the lineup. Cousins has looked good in his first two games considering he is coming off of a year-long layoff and an Achilles injury. He presents a clear issue for the Wizards as they do not have anyone even close to capable of containing him. The issue with relying on Boogie is that he is not in playing shape yet and still needs time to get his feet under him. I expect him to see close to 25 minutes tonight, which would definitely allow him to impact the game.
Wizards Will Give Warriors a Run for Their Money
The Wizards are generally a tough matchup for the Warriors stylistically. The Warriors took the league by storm by running bigs off the court and having elite scorers all over the court. The Wizards can’t really compete with the Warriors in any particular situation, but they are built like a team that is annoying for the Warriors to play, almost similar to Houston or Denver. The Wizards will have Ariza, Porter, and Jeff Green playing a ton of time, and they are all athletic wings that are more than comfortable with playing small ball and running up and down the court.
The biggest issue that the Wizards may have in this game is guard defenders. If I were the Warriors, I would try to use Steph’s speed and shiftiness to get around off-ball screens for open looks when defended by Satoransky. They may move Beal over to Steph if that hurts them, but then Klay will see a lesser guard defender. I think that Boogie and one of the guards will have a big game with the personnel matchups. If you are into narratives, Kevin Durant is from the area, and Kevin Durant can score however many Kevin Durant wants if that is what he wants to do for his hometown.
The Wizards offense will be predicated on how the Warriors decide to defend Bradley Beal. With the recent performances of James Harden, we have seen a few teams just completely sell out to stop a player and force the rest of the team to beat you. I think that the Warriors should do that to Bradley Beal. Now, I don’t think they will, but if they do, it’s lights out for the Wizards. The Wizards are going to need to get scoring from a bunch of different places in this game if they want to compete and I think that comes from the 3-ball in transition. The Wizards will have to get Ariza, Porter, Beal, and Satoransky into open shots after missed shots and then make a lot of them.
Warriors vs. Wizards Prediction
At the end of the day, I just think the number is too short here. Both of these teams are in the top ten in pace, and I expect this game to be really fast, similar to most Wizards and Warrior games of the past few years. If the Wizards don’t execute perfectly, there will just be too much offense on the side of Golden State to withstand. The Wizards could stay close, but I think there will be too much reliance on the 3-ball for the Wizards that will force them into a dry spell at some point, allowing the Warriors to pull away.