Looking at the composition of the Washington Wizards roster, D.C.’s finest might not seem like the obvious choice to become a defensive juggernaut. But it’s taken more than just a splash of stardust to make them a good bet to keep points at a premium.
In the very wide-open Eastern Conference, the Wiz go into tonight’s clash with the Boston Celtics conceding the fourth-lowest number of points in the NBA at 96.9 per game – enough to produce a franchise-best 20-8 start that has them on the coat tails of the Atlanta Hawks in the Southeast Division.
In fact, Washington has only given up 100 points on nine occasions – and only once twice gone for 110, of which one was a mammoth 133-132 double overtime victory over Boston three weeks ago.
That’s their plus side. But scratch a little deeper and such resistance may be hard to keep up.
The schedule has been kind to the Wiz, with only eight of their 28 outings so far against an opponent with a current .500 record or better (nine if NO beat SA). In those, they’re a miserly 2-6 (3-6). With that kind of showing, the Hawks, at 2.85 for the division, remain great value to stay ahead.
Yet Saturday should be straightforward business for the hosts.
Boston, with three straight defeats in the wake of Rajon Rondo’s trade, figure to fall fast and hard in the months ahead and an offense which has been averaging 103.7 per is already dropping back.
That all suggests a likely points total of about 193.5 with John Wall able to take full advantage of the C’s point guard void.
Despite his MVP-like form, we’re not yet believers in the Wizards ability to challenge. The New Year will provide the real proof of whether they’re a real magic act or just an illusion.
Best bet: Back Washington on a handicap of -10.5 over Boston at 1.98