It may not be the most intriguing matchup of the night on paper, but today’s tilt between the 2-1 Houston Rockets and 1-2 Washington Wizards should be an entertaining one (8.05pm ET Wednesday).
Both teams are offensive-minded and have amazing offensive shooting guards in James Harden (Houston) and Bradley Beal (Washington). However, Harden and Beal have struggled with their shots to start the season and will be eager to bounce back.
How will these teams fare against each other in the United States capital city today? Below are some key questions surrounding the game’s outcome as well as a few Houston Rockets vs Washington Wizards predictions.
Which Star Shooting Guard Will Regain Shooting Touch First?
Both of these teams have failed to reach their offensive potential in the early portion of the season. A big reason for that is because each squad’s top offensive player has yet to find his outside shooting touch.
For the Rockets, James Harden is just 6-of-40 from three-point range. For the Wizards, Bradley Beal is 7-of-30 from three-point range and 2-of-12 on two-point jump shots further than 15 feet from the basket.
Who will heat up first? It may come down to which of their team is able to play the better defense on the opposing superstar.
Will Russell Westbrook Keep Emphasizing Penetration?
Westbrook has clearly been the Rockets’ best player so far. In addition to his 12.7 rebounds and 9.7 assists per game, he has also shot efficiently on offense, putting in 24.3 points per game on a true-shooting percentage of 59.8. That second number would be a major career high for him.
What is Westbrook doing right? Instead of settling for half-court possessions and lots of mid-range jumpers, he is attacking early in the shot clock and using his quickness to get to the rim. That speed is also opening up easy finishing and outside shooting opportunities for the Rockets’ role players.
The All-Star point guard has a relatively easy matchup ahead of him, as he will likely see lots of Isaiah Thomas and Ish Smith across from him for Washington. Both guys are majorly undersized against Westbrook and both are known for playing poor defense. There’s no reason for Westbrook for settle for jumpers with such poor defenders likely seeing significant court time for Washington.
Will Someone on Rockets’ Bench Besides Eric Gordon Produce Significantly?
For the past several seasons, one of the Rockets’ weaknesses has been their depth of offensive options. James Harden and usually a couple of other players are pretty consistent, but the bench often lacks consistent offensive punch.
This season is a similar story for Houston. Harden and Westbrook are great scorers, and Clint Capela and Eric Gordon will usually chip in double figures, but the rest of the roster is shaky in terms of scoring. Losing Gerald Green to injury for most of the season doesn’t help things on that front.
Houston’s bench is averaging just 25.7 points per game this season, with 11.3 of those coming from Gordon. The Wizards’ bench is pumping in 38.3 points per game led by Davis Bertans, Isaiah Thomas and Mo Wagner.
If the Rockets get significant production from one of Austin Rivers, Tyson Chandler, Thabo Sefolosha or Ben McLemore, that could be the difference between a narrow win and a total blowout.
Our Preview’s Houston Rockets vs Washington Wizards Betting Picks & Predictions Verdict
This is one of those games where the Wizards will really miss injured star point guard John Wall. He could have helped even out the backcourt matchup somewhat by providing a lift on both ends. Instead, Bradley Beal will have to turn in a truly Herculean effort against two guards better than him if the Wizards are to have a chance in this game.
Harden and Westbrook should find their stride together against a terrible Wizards perimeter defense and cause a high-scoring game.
- The Rockets are an 8-point favorite with all our major U.S. legal and recommended betting outlets. Houston -8pts @ -110 with Intertops, BetOnline or Bookmaker is your best bet due to the Rockets’ superstar backcourt.
- Houston’s backcourt will go nuts on offense against Washington’s backcourt, but the Rockets could relax the defense once they get out to a lead. Take the over 230.5 total points @ best odds of -107 with BetOnline.