Preview: Washington At Miami
When: 7:30 PM ET, Monday, December 7, 2015
Where: American Airlines Arena, Miami, Florida
The Miami Heat have taken advantage of a boatload of home games to rise to the top of the Eastern Conference standings. The Heat will try to make the most of another contest at AmericanAirlines Arena on Monday when they host the Washington Wizards.
Behind a balanced attack led by Dwyane Wade and Tyler Johnson (19 points apiece), Miami coasted to a 99-84 win over Cleveland on Saturday, improving to 10-3 at home. The 13 home games are the second most in the NBA and the Heat ultimately will play 19 of their first 28 games in Miami through Christmas. The Wizards are beginning a stretch in which they play five of six on the road and enter the difficult time on a sour note after losing star guard John Wall to a right leg injury late in a 116-104 loss to Dallas on Sunday. Wall was seen walking around the locker room and told reporters after the game he wants to play against Miami.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, CSN Mid-Atlantic (Washington), FSN Sun (Miami)
ABOUT THE WIZARDS (8-10): It would be a bad time for Wall to get hurt, as he has really picked up the production over the past week after a slow start to the season. The former No. 1 pick is averaging 28.5 points and 10 assists while shooting 53.8 percent in four games this month. The Wizards dressed only 10 players against Dallas as center Nene (calf) missed his fifth straight game while forward Kris Humphries was out with an ankle issue and starting center Martin Gortat attended to a personal matter.
ABOUT THE HEAT (12-6): Miami has put together its solid start despite some occasional shaky play by point guard Goran Dragic, who is sporting several of his worst numbers since becoming a full-time starter three seasons ago in Phoenix. However, Dragic has shown some signs of life recently, posting 31 points, 15 assists and a 13-of-22 effort from the floor during the club’s two-game winning streak. “It’s a work in progress, and it takes time,” Dragic told reporters Saturday. “I was in a little bit of a slump, but now it’s over. I’m enjoying it right now. Even my body language is a little bit different; I’m smiling on the court.”
1. Wade is averaging 19.9 points and 4.8 assists at home, compared to 15.6 and 3.2 on the road.
2. The teams meet again Jan. 3 in Washington.
3. The Wizards won the final three matchups of the four-game season series in 2014-15.
PREDICTION: Heat 106, Wizards 96