The two best backcourts in the NBA square off tonight in Oakland in what should be a thrilling matchup (8 p.m. ET, Sunday). Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson of the 62-14 Golden State Warriors will look to outplay John Wall and Bradley Beal of the 46-30 Washington Wizards in the squads’ second head-to-head matchup of the season series.
These teams last met on February 28, when the Wizards won 112-108 behind Beal’s 25 points and Wall’s 19 assists. That was the game in which Warriors’ superstar Kevin Durant injured his knee. Golden State slumped for a bit after the injury, but has now adjusted well and is now on a 10-game winning streak.
Washington has cooled off from its torrid pace over the past few months, but it is still a formidable team. Not many teams have a stronger starting lineup than the Wizards.
Let’s break down some important questions that will define Sunday’s matchup between these teams. At the end, this preview will make picks and betting predictions on both the spread and total points scored in the contest.
Which Hot Superstar Point Guard Wins the Individual Matchup?
The point guard position is so deep in the NBA right now that almost every game features an exciting matchup at that spot. However, the prospect of Stephen Curry and John Wall going at it for four quarters should make any sane NBA fan absolutely giddy.
Last season the Warriors took down the Wizards in a game where Stephen Curry dropped 51 points (including 11 three-pointers), while John Wall went off for 41 points and 10 assists. We could be in for another barnburner between the two, considering both guys have been on fire recently.
Curry has averaged 26.6 points and 9.2 assists per game over his past five contests, outplaying a top MVP candidate three times (James Harden twice and Kawhi Leonard). Wall has put up 30.0 points and 9.4 assists per game over the same span.
With both guys so important to their teams’ offenses, their performances against each other will be huge determining factors. Considering both teams also have strong offensive weapons at the shooting guard position (Klay Thompson for the Warriors and Bradley Beal for the Wizards), it seems likely there won’t be cross matchups. Curry and Wall should guard each other most of the game.
Can Bojan Bogdanovic Regain His Shooting Touch?
The Wizards’ bench was utterly toothless until they acquired Bojan Bogdanovic (pictured) at the trade deadline. He quickly injected some life into the unit with his sweet three-point shooting stroke and offensive creativity.
Bogdanovic started his tenure in Washington by shooting 23-of-40 (57.5 percent) from three-point range, but he is just 12-of-51 (23.5 percent) in his last 14 contests and 2-of-19 (10.5 percent) in his last six games.
Even with Kevin Durant on the sidelines, Washington does not have enough offensive firepower to stick with the Wizards if its bench lays an egg. Bogdanovic needs to set the tone with something like a 3-of-5 performance from three-point range, if not better.
Can the Wizards Generate Clean Three-Point Looks?
With the NBA’s growing interest in three-point shooting, defending the long-distance shot has become more and more important. The Warriors might do it better than anybody in the league, allowing just 9.1 made threes per game (ninth in the NBA) and a league-low 32.6 percent success rate from downtown.
They have been especially stingy in their running 10-game winning streak, allowing just 8.3 made threes per game on 29.9 percent shooting.
The Wizards aren’t extremely dependent on the long ball for their offense, but they will need to fare better against the Warriors’ defense than most teams have recently. Guys like Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, John Wall, Bogdanovic and Markieff Morris all shoot their fair share of threes, and shooting a combined percentage worse than 30 percent won’t cut it.
Our Preview’s Washington Wizards vs. Golden State Warriors Betting Picks & Predictions
The Wizards won the last game between these two teams, but they were hot, playing at home and the Warriors had not adjusted to life without Durant yet.
We are really looking at a matchup between a 17-20 road team and a 32-4 home team, both of which are trending in the direction of those records. The Warriors’ superior depth and defensive focus recently will make them the easy winners here.
- The consensus with all the top USA online betting sites is to make the Warriors 10-point favorites. That may be a large deficit for them to overcome at first sight, but I would still advise sticking with them to cover that spread. They have been in the zone recently and Washington doesn’t scare many teams on the road. Bet on Golden State Warriors -10pts @ -110 with Bovada, 5Dimes, BetOnline or MyBookie
- The over-under for this game is 223 total points, and again there is no division currently between the betting firms. While there are explosive offensive backcourts in this game, the Warriors have only topped that number once in their last 12 games because of their stingy defense. The Wizards have only gone above that number three times in their last 10 games. Recent trends say betting the under is smart. So go below 223pts @ -110 with 5Dimes, Bovada or BetOnline.