It's probably best to get this out of the way now because the Golden State Warriors, the most entertaining team in the NBA, last year's champion and winners of 44 of 48 games, are here for the first and only time this season. The Wizards will feel like they're playing a road game tonight at Verizon Center (CSN, CSNmidatlantic.com and NBC Sports Live Extra, 7 p.m. ET).
"It's going to be an intense game. We know it's going to be an exciting game. We know it's going to be sold out with everybody anticipating because it's the only time they come here for the year," said Wizards point guard John Wall, who has voluntarily brought up being booed while shooting foul shots late in a close game against the Boston Celtics in his own building.
The Wizards (21-25) are struggling. Part of it has to do with injuries, but just as much has to do with their lackluster defense. They're 10-15 at Verizon, only better at home than the L.A. Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves and Philadelphia 76ers.
Who can forget how during a Dec. 2 loss to the Lakers, Kobe Byrant's last appearance before he retires, Verizon Center morphed into Staples Center East? Name a game for which the expectations have been high and the Wizards have fallen woefully short.
"The way we've been playing in this arena, just about every game feels like a road game," Wall said. "We haven't been giving (support) back to our fans. They've been supporting us all year and we've been playing like you know what at home. We can see why they'd be upset. That's something we got to get better at because you should feel like you're at home, feel like you're comfortable. We've had games this year where we felt it was like road games. I think it'll be like that."
The Wizards have gotten used to it and recognize how to minimize the noise.
"It don't effect us at all. If you're playing well and you're into the game, your crowd will be into it," Wall said. "If you're not doing well and you're getting beat 30 they're going to cheer for the other team more, especially if they were here to see them also."