Mar 16, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Phoenix Suns point guard Goran Dragic (1) drives to the basket as Washington Wizards small forward Martell Webster (9) and guard John Wall (2) defend during the second half at the Verizon Center. The Wizards defeated the Suns 127 - 105. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA Today Sports

Phoenix Suns (23-45) vs. Washington Wizards (23-43) Preview

The Suns beat the team that they needed to. Now they don’t have to win the rest of the season. As the off-season approaches, Phoenix just needs to focus on being a spoiler for the Lakers, by losing to teams that are vying for that final playoff spot, especially the Utah Jazz, Houston Rockets, Golden State Warriors, and Dallas Mavericks, while getting the occasional win to boost team morale.

There is another goal in mind, however. They have already started, and need to continue to get the young guys some minutes. This has worked for one player already: Wesley Johnson. When the Suns traded for him in the off-season, he rode the end of the bench for a while, but when given the chance has played well, including that clutch three-pointer to send the San Antonio game to extra minutes.

Wednesday night is another opportunity to see who can shine. For the rest of the season it doesn’t matter if they win or lose so the young guys need to show their worth against the Washington Wizards.

ESPN favors Phoenix by a single point tonight. They are basically saying both of these teams are so bad that it’s totally a toss-up who wins; whoever has a good shooting night will prevail.

Other than the Marcin Gortat foot injury and the Channing Frye enlarged heart issue, the Suns are clean on the injury report.

For the Wizards, the rotation players Bradley Beal and Trevor Ariza are dealing with minor injuries, but should play. Fringe players A.J. Price (groin) and Chris Singleton (personal) probably won’t play, but their absence won’t make a difference at the moment, they were signed in case of injury. Price played much more when John Wall was out.

Keys to the game: Suns

  • Don’t let Martell Webster get hot like Saturday in their victory over Phoenix when he went 7-10 from behind the three-point line for a career-high 34 points in the Wizards win in Washington.
  • Don’t let John Wall penetrate the lane, giving the third-worst offense (92.9 points per game) in the league, easy dunks off of a drop-off pass.

Keys to the game: Wizards

  • If they can put points on the board they will probably win. Phoenix is 22nd in the NBA in opponent’s points per game, giving up just more than 100 per game.
  • Washington needs to let one Suns player go for a certain amount of points, but not let everybody go off. In Phoenix’s game against the Lakers, six players scored in double-figures and Markieff Morris was one point away. The Suns are pretty “formidable” (comparatively) when they are able to share the ball and everybody is able to score. If Michael Beasley goes for 30 points inefficiently, the Wizards have a good chance to win.

X-Factor!

Shooting percentage is the essential key to this game. Whichever team can efficiently score, rebound well, and cut down on their turnovers will come out victorious. This game is just to see which team has better fundamentals.

Match-up to watch:

Goran Dragic versus John Wall is the match-up that will be the most interesting. Wall is back from injury and playing well. He even got the Eastern Conference player of the week award in the last couple days for his play. Dragic just beat his mentor in Steve Nash as the Suns vanquished the Lakers Monday.

Tags: Basketball NBA Phoenix Suns Sports Washington Wizards

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