The 3-1 Washington Wizards travel to the 3-2 Golden State Warriors today in the third game of a four-game Western Conference road trip (10:30pm ET Friday on NBA TV).
Washington has had two very close games thus far on the trip against the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Lakers, beating Denver and losing to Los Angeles.
The defending champion Warriors have had a somewhat disappointing start, but are still in good shape moving forward. Their shooting looks to be in postseason form already, but their ball security and defense has plenty of room for improvement.
Can Washington pull off an upset at Oracle Arena? Before deciding this preview’s betting predictions and picks for this matchup, we will delve into a few important storylines for this game.
Can the Warriors Clean Up Their Sloppy Play?
The Warriors are easily the most talented team in the league. Often times, the only way they lose is if they beat themselves. Golden State has a bad habit of committing silly turnovers by trying to be too fancy. This season, they’ve committed 17 turnovers per contest, which is the fifth-highest mark in the NBA.
That number is far too high for a team with the Warriors’ collective dribbling and passing ability. It’s completely on their players to make the smart play, whether it’s the flashy one or not.
If Golden State lets its miscues creep up into the 20s, Washington will have a bunch of extra possessions to work with. That could be just what the Wizards need to pull off an upset in this game.
Will John Wall Stay Aggressive After Two Straight Bad Shooting Performances?
The Wizards’ best player, Wall, has not been himself on the offensive end in the past couple of games. Against the Nuggets and Lakers, two poor defenses, the speedy guard combined to shoot just 10-of-35 from the field (28.6 percent). His jump shot wasn’t falling, and he had trouble finishing inside.
A basketball players’ performance following a poor stretch of play often depends on how well he’s able to block out the past and focus on doing what he does best. Against the Warriors, Wall needs to keep his foot on the gas pedal by attacking the rim every chance he gets.
Nobody on the Warriors is fast enough to consistently check Wall one-on-one, so it’s imperative that he is aggressive. If the defense collapses on his drives, he’ll need to stay alert to complete the sweet assists he’s known for.
Will At Least One Wizards Reserve Make a Significant Impact on the Game?
The Warriors’ starters are better than the Wizards’ starters, but not by a landslide. There is a big difference between the benches, though.
Golden State has established reserves like Andre Iguodala, David West, JaVale McGee, Nick Young and Omri Casspi to call upon in this game. Meanwhile, Washington’s top options are Mike Scott, Jodie Meeks, Tim Frazier and Jason Smith (Ian Mahinmi is nursing a sprained ankle).
The Wizards need at least one of those guys to make a significant positive impact for a change. If they continue to play poorly, the team will continue to over-rely on its starters, which is a bad thing. A fresh Warriors starting lineup against an overworked Wizards starting lineup is not even close to a fair fight.
Our Preview’s Wizards vs. Warriors Predictions & Betting Picks
Golden State is much stronger at the top and deeper than the Wizards. This game could get close (or even be a Wizards win) if the Warriors aren’t in it mentally and the Wizards come totally focused.
However, the Warriors just played a sloppy game against the Raptors where their effort and execution was subpar. It’s rare that they play like that twice in a row.
- The Warriors are 10.5-point favorites in this game with the bulk of the major sports betting websites. This preview’s prediction is to take the Warriors -10.5 @ -110 with Bovada or MyBookie.
- Not surprisingly, the over/under for this game is very high. These are two of the highest-scoring teams in the league. However, the Wizards successfully slowed the game down against the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday to take the Lakers out of transition (even though Washington lost a close one). I think the Wizards will do a similar thing against the Warriors. Most sportsbooks are at the 230.5pts mark, so the best value betting pick is to go under 231pts @ -110 with Bookmaker.