After going 2-2 last week, beating the Magic and Nets while catching losses to the Heat and Bobcats, the Washington Wizards will head out West and play four games on the road this week.
The Wizards will face the Kings tonight, the Trail Blazers Thursday, the Lakers Friday, and they cap off the road trip with the Nuggets Sunday.
The Wizards have faced the Kings once this year. The Wizards beat the 93-84 Feb. 9 at the Verizon Center. In the contest, the Wizards used a balanced attack to beat the lowly Kings. The Wizards had five players in double figures. They were led by Nene and Marcin Gortat, who scored 18 and 17 points, respectively. Isaiah Thomas led the Kings with 30 points. He consistently found the gaps in the Wizards defense after getting past the first line of defense. Thomas is a crafty point guard who can get buckets in a hurry, despite his lack of size. In the game tonight it will be important for the Wizards to not let Thomas get going early. Point guard John Wall must set the tone from the tip and lockdown Thomas. Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins missed the Kings’ last game because of right knee tendinitis and is listed as day-to-day. Cousins is extremely talented and can dominate a game down low, but if he is unable to play, the Wizards will have a significant advantage in the paint. The Wizards should win this game, but anything can happen in the NBA, especially on the road. It is going to be important for the Wizards to slow down Thomas early last time and make someone else beat them if Cousins is out.
Next up are the Trail Blazers, who started off the season as one of the hottest teams in the league. They are still a solid team, sitting at the fifth spot in the Western Conference with a 43-24 record, but they are not in the same rhythm as they once were. The Wizards beat the Trail Blazers on Feb. 3 110-90 at home. The Blazers were led by their duo of LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard in that one. The two combined for 45 points. The Wizards may catch another break down low in this one as Aldridge is listed as doubtful for the game. He suffered a back injury in their game against the Spurs last week and has missed the last few games. The focus again must be for the Wizards to stop the point guard on the other side. This time Lillard because he is capable of getting 30 points in a hurry. They also must defend the three-point line because Portland has wings like Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum, who can get hot from deep. Even without Aldridge, this will be a tough game for the Wizards on the road. The Trail Blazers are 24-9 at home and have players who can step up and fill Aldridge’s void.
The Wizards will finish up the road trip with the Lakers then the Nuggets. The Lakers are, well, they are the Lakers and if the Wizards play hard they should be in good position to get the win. The Lakers are 3-7 in their last 10 games and have all but packed it in for the season. The Nuggets are a below-.500 team and have failed to find their identity all season. However, the last game of a four game road trip is tough, especially in the Denver altitude. It will be a test for the Wizards mindset heading into playoff time.
The Wizards could very easily get all four games of this road trip. With Cousins and Aldridge potentially missing games and the Lakers and Nuggets just not being that good, sweeping the road trip is certainly a possibility. In all likelihood it won’t happen. Four games on the road in the NBA is tough, but if the Wizards come out 4-0 or 3-1 from this road trip, it would be huge for their playoff seeding (a strong week could keep pushing them to the four seed and possible home court advantage in the first round) and confidence moving forward.
Tags: Washington Wizards