Pre-Game Jitters: Wizards

Hey, the Warriors are a 3 point favorite tonight!  Say what?  Well, the Warriors are facing the Washington Wizards, a team ridden with dissension, beset by trade rumors, and the proud owners of a nearly identical record to the Warriors. And they’re on a 6-game losing streak.

All of which gives me a sinking feeling.  Why?  Well there’s the simple fact that the Warriors are again down to a simple 6 or 7 man rotation, and have no front line.  Chris Hunter, Anthony Randolph and Vlad Rad are not a front line, despite the protestations of Adam Lauridsen to the contrary.  Over the past several games, not one of those players has been consistently playable.  And even if they were, fatigue and foul trouble will require Nelson to reserve them at center, and play Corey Maggette and Anthony Morrow at power forward.

Then there is the fact the Wizards are not actually playing that poorly.  Their biggest losing margin in their 6 game losing streak was by4 points, at Detroit.  They lost to the Celtics by 2 at home.  And they lost their last two road games by 3 and 2 points.

And then there’s this quote from an interview with Gilbert Arenas:

Arenas said making drastic roster changes wouldn’t be wise, and he believes the Wizards – who have lost those six straight by a combined 14 points – are close to stopping their slide.

Uh, oh.  Did he take a glance at the schedule?  The Wizards will be taking aim at this game, and doing it with a real front line.

Matchup madness:

Nellie has owned Flip Saunders over the years, but in a game with only 6 or 7 pieces, there’s not a whole lot of matchup options.

Brendan Haywood is the Wizard’s monstrous starting center.  Will Nellie try to run him off the floor immediately with Vlad Rad, or start with Chris Hunter?  This might be a game in which Hunter gets considerable time, because he tends to match up better with bigger, slower players (Oden, Howard) as opposed to more mobile players who stretch the floor. But I’m guessing Nellie tries to force the Wizards to match up small by running with Vlad.

Gilbert Arenas is the head of the Wizards’ snake, but Caron Butler is a lethal scorer on the wing as well.  I would love to see Monta guard Arenas, but Nellie may opt to keep him on Butler to save his legs.

Antwan Jamison against Corey Maggette could me the key matchup of the game.  Jamison has been on fire for the Wizards lately.  He is very good at torching bigger, slower power forwards.  Maggette will give him a different look.  Can he keep him out of the paint?

Light some incense, pray for chocolate rain.  The Warriors will have a tough time winning this game unless either Vlad Rad or Anthony Morrow gets hot.

5 Responses to Pre-Game Jitters: Wizards

  1. CURSE OF MULLIN

    Felt: Curry was so hot last night. It was frustrating to me to see him open so often on the wing in the second half when Monta had the ball and Monta just totally ignoring the guy. Whatever happened to going with the hot hand? Monta was very selfish with the ball last night. I had the sense that he wanted to get his numbers and he’d be damned if Curry was going to outscore him on national TV. Disappointing, particularly since Curry is so unselfish with the ball.

  2. As the resident Nellie-basher of late, I’ll put it out there: I had no beef, whatsoever, with the game he coached last night. That’s not to say that we played well… everybody made tons of mistakes. After a great game against the Spurs, Monta was back to his sloppy, forcing ways. Morrow is completely spooked right now. As great as Curry was offensively, Arenas slaughtered him on the other end. And my boy Randolph had a couple of the worst moments you’ll ever see on an NBA court.

    But our most useful players got plenty of time, we almost never went cartoonishly small, and we played hard… the result was an entertaining, edifying performance from a young team. I am totally okay with losing a game like that, and good on Nellie for tweaking the lineup as he did.

  3. COM, I tend to agree with your analysis of the Monta/Curry interaction, at least earlier in the season. In the last few games, though, I have seen the Warriors and Monta actually defer Monta’s offense for large stretches, as they run plays with him off the ball. He’s clearly no longer the point guard anymore, with the responsibility of getting everyone involved.

    As a result, I think when Monta “finally” gets his number called he thinks its incumbent on him to look for his shot aggressively. He’s now in a similar role to Corey Maggette: a finisher, not a facilitator.

    Having said that, I think it will be a cold day in hell when Monta lets Curry outshine him on this team.

  4. onxln, I agree with your recap in sentiment and in particulars.

    But I did like what I saw from Vlad Rad in his limited minutes. Clearly Nellie got in his ear!

  5. Yep, nice to see better play from Vlad. I don’t think he’s good enough to start, but he’s definitely better than what he’s shown lately, and I was glad, for his sake, to see him play well.