Washington at Golden State
Time: 7 PM CT (NBA LP)
Spread: GSW -9.5
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Golden State Warriors are heating up and tuning up for the playoffs. Golden State has won its past 10 contests to take a commanding 3.5 game lead over the No. 2 seeded San Antonio Spurs with just six games (including tonight’s) remaining on the slate for the Warriors. Barring some unforeseen disaster, the Dubs should secure the West’s top seed once again. With Kevin Durant making rapid progress on his rehab and recovery, the Warriors are only going to get scarier playing this well without (one of their two) an MVP. Golden State is 9.5 point favorites in tonight’s game against the Washington Wizards.
And indeed, the playoff picture is rounding into shape in both conferences. The Warriors look to likely draw the now-No. 8 Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference, which is probably a good thing since it will allow G.S. to dodge the Denver Nuggets, a team favorably matched with Golden State who has already defeated it once this season.
The Blazers are hot as winners of its past six, and Josef Nurkic could present a major challenge to the post-challenged Warriors, but Golden State is an all-time team and utterly stacked. It will be unlikely to go more than a 5-game series, even if Portland is playing well at the moment and a much more balanced team with the addition of Nurkic, a true back to the basket threat who has averaged 15 points and 10 boards per game since joining the Blazers in February days before the trade deadline.
Golden State has just Zaza Pachulia and JaVale McGee at the 5-spot, but Nurkic is facing a knee issue and his status is in question at this point. That said, the Warriors still are without Durant, so both teams have starters that are trying to get to full health before this (likely) series kicks off in a couple weeks.
Washington has added a couple key bench pieces since the 2017 trade deadline, and Bojan Bogdanovic heads that list as a major performer now that he is on a legitimate team, not the Brooklyn Nets.
Bogdanovic is averaging 15 points and three rebounds per game while shooting blistering percentage since joining Washington. Bogdanovic is good for 40.5 percent of his threes as a Wizard while attempting over five per game. He was a missing piece, but there are others.
Washington still has one of the poorer second units in the league, notwithstanding that Brandon Jennings was expected to provide some kind of lift (he has not). Jennings is seeing just 15 minutes a game through 15 appearances, and really he is not offering much that the Wizards were not already getting from its wildly inefficient second unit.
Second-year forward Kelly Oubre Jr. remains a relative key to the Wizards attack because they are a far better team when he is engaged after coming off the bench. That said, this is a team still so heavily reliant on its starters, all of whom play 32 minutes per game, or more (with Wall topping out at nearly 37 per night).
Can Washington sustain this method? It really depends on if it can keep its star backcourt from burning out. Bradley Beal leads the team in scoring at 23.1 points per game, but Beal is attempting 17.1 shots per night and playing 35 minutes a game. When the rotations tighten up in the postseason, that may increase slightly further still.
Will Beal be able to handle the workload? He has been shown to be injury prone thus far through his career, so betting on it is hardly a sure thing. The only sure thing at this point is that Washington will be in the postseason and at this point represents a tough challenge for any opponent perhaps except the Cleveland Cavaliers.