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Golden State Warriors Forward Draymond Green laughs after the official makes a call during an NBA game. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)
March 14th, 2022
Tonight’s matchup between the Washington Wizards and Golden State Warriors features a pair of teams moving in decidedly different directions.
The 29-27 Wizards could use a spark of magic after losing three straight games and seeing their play-in hopes go up in smoke. Injuries have played a big role in Washington’s downward spiral, as leading scorer Bradley Beal has been out since Jan. 29 after tearing a ligament in his left wrist, and is expected to undergo season-ending surgery shortly. The Wiz have also gotten less-than-stellar returns from new big man Kristaps Porzingis, who has appeared in just three games since being acquired from the Dallas Mavericks on Feb. 10.
It’s a different story in the Bay Area, where the 46-22 Warriors have won three straight games and are set to welcome Draymond Green back this evening. The four-time All-Star has been MIA with a back injury since Jan. 13, and should provide stability at both ends of the court. Golden State struggled to stay above .500 in Green’s absence, and saw its defensive rating plummet from first to 10th while he was sidelined. “Dray” will be on a strict minutes restriction tonight, but his presence alone should give the Warriors a big lift.
Wizards vs. Warriors tips off tonight at 10 p.m. ET, and we have the three best player prop bets below.
No one suffered more in Green’s absence than Stephen Curry, whose scoring average decreased from 26.8 to 24.0 points per game while his playmaking partner was out. That may not seem like a precarious drop, but Curry struggled mightily at times to get clean looks without the aid of Green’s pinpoint passes. That was especially evident in his last outing against Milwaukee on Saturday, when Curry scored a season-low eight points in 33 minutes.
Green won’t log a lot of court time tonight, but he’ll make the game significantly easier for Curry by orchestrating Golden State’s offense and setting the kinds of bone-rattling screens that lead to easy 3s. Expect a splashy, carefree game from the Warriors’ two-time MVP.
Klay Thompson’s return from injury has been admittedly rocky, as the five-time All-Star has struggled at times to recover his mojo after two years away from the game. However, we may look back at last Saturday night as being the turning point in his season.
Thompson looked every bit like one of the league’s most lethal scorers against the Bucks as he dropped a game-high 38 points on 15-24 shooting from the floor and 8-14 from beyond the arc. It was a vintage Splash Brother performance, and it may be the start of something special as Green returns to the fold.
KLAY THOMPSON 🔥He's got 36 PTS. pic.twitter.com/C4DtxmGF97— NBA TV (@NBATV) March 13, 2022
KLAY THOMPSON 🔥He's got 36 PTS. pic.twitter.com/C4DtxmGF97
Thompson is averaging three made 3-pointers per contest, and has gone Over tonight’s projected total 12 times this season. Count on another barrage of treys tonight as Klay lights up Washington’s 24th-ranked defense.
Washington hasn’t had much to celebrate this season, but the team should take some measure of pride in the improvement shown by Kyle Kuzma. The former Laker is averaging 4.5 more points and 2.5 more rebounds in his first season in the nation’s capital, and has emerged as one of the league’s best rebounding forwards. "Kuz" is presently averaging 8.6 boards, and has pulled down seven misses or more in 65% of his games this year.
It could be a slog tonight for the Wizards, but bettors can bank on Kuzma’s ability to pad his stats by cleaning the glass at both ends of the court.
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