John Wall, Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards battle Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and the Golden State Warriors on Friday night.
Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch…
WASHINGTON WIZARDS AT GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
Where: Oracle Arena
Tip-off: 10:30 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (coverage begins at 9:30 p.m. with Wizards HangTime)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM
Three things to watch...
It may sound cliché, and some Wizards may not publicly admit it, but any time a team faces the Golden State Warriors these days it represents a good test of where they are at. That is true every year for every defending champions, but the Warriors are an even more extreme case. With Kevin Durant in stow, they are one of the most talented teams in NBA history and are favored in essentially every matchup.
Some may say the Wizards are catching the Warriors at a good time, if there is such a thing. They are 3-2 with losses to the Rockets (at home) and the Grizzlies. They just beat the Raptors, but by only five points. Clearly, the Warriors haven't hit their stride yet and the Wizards could capitalize. That said, the Wizards haven't played their best basketball, either. None of their three wins left them completely satisfied and they just lost to the lowly Lakers. Now they have to bounce back against the NBA's best team.
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Wall's chance to shine
All summer John Wall talked about improving on the defensive end. He even set the goal to make first-team All-Defense this season after Kobe Bryant chimed in. Now Wall gets a shot at a two-time MVP and one of the best guards in the NBA in Stephen Curry.
Last year Curry averaged 33.5 points per game against the Wizards, so the recent history hasn't been great for Wall in the defense department. But what better way to set a tone for his new defensive self than to shut down Curry? If Wall is to truly push for All-Defense, these are the matchups he needs to look forward to and rise to the occasion for.
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Frontcourt is banged up
The injuries are really piling up for the Wizards' frontcourt. Markieff Morris remains out following sports hernia surgery, though he should be back relatively soon. Jason Smith returned last game but had his sprained right shoulder taped up. He is a right-handed shooter and makes his money setting screens, two things that his shoulder will affect. And now Ian Mahinmi is dealing with a sprained left ankle. We don't know yet if Mahinmi will play.
The Warriors aren't a frontcourt-heavy team, but those are the guys that help protect the rim for the Wizards. Durant and Green will be tough to cover with those guys out and/or limited, putting extra pressure on the Wizards' wing defenders to stop the ball.