Regular Season Game 25
Wizards (12-12) vs. Kings (10-14)
It may not seem like it, but the Wizards and Kings have a lot of history. You may remember the Chris Webber for Mitch Richmond trade that kick-started their mini-dynasty. (Anytime you want to return the favor Kings fans, feel free, we're still waiting). Last year, the Wizards got one of their biggest wins of the season in Arco, winning a huge 97-84 contest in late March during the playoff push. Now, the Wizards desperately need a win tonight, with a trip to red-hot Phoenix looming on Friday.
To help us preview this game, I talked to Tom Ziller from fellow SBNation blog Sactown Royalty. We exchanged e-mails and questions about our teams, and you can see my answers to him later when he posts his open game thread.
Here's what we discussed.
Sactown Royalty: Now I'm upset. At first, I was worried Kevin Martin would be part of the deal, and I was so against that. I also had some issues with stunting our young players' growth, and giving up all our trade chips for a guard when it's help up front we need the most. But I resolved all that in my head, and started really hoping something would get done, just to shake things up and cut Bibby free. Also, now Denver is virtually assured a playoff spot, which is one less available for the Kings. I'm worried.
Bullets Forever: Mike Bibby's struggled with his play all year, even though he's potentially playing for a new contract. What do you think has been the problem with him?
Sactown Royalty: He injured his wrist in preseason, and though he says that's not the problem, I don't buy it. He was supposed to miss the first three weeks of the regular season while it healed, yet he miraculously came back on opening night. Now, six weeks in, he's shooting 35 percent, by far the worst of his career. And we're supposed to believe he's not hurting? Right.
Bullets Forever: I know you were a huge Kevin Martin guy all offseason, but be honest. How surprised have you been with his rapid development this year?
Sactown Royalty: Anyone who says they aren't surprised at how fast he's come along was either unrealistically optimistic or a liar. I think I pinned him at 16-17 ppg this season coming in - he's over 20. And he's maintained the shooting pace no one thought he could keep up last season. He's like an efficient Jerry Stackhouse. He's amazing to watch.
Bullets Forever: What do you think is a key X factor for the Kings in tonight's game? What's an intriguing subplot Wizards fans should be following throughout the game?
Sactown Royalty: The play of the bigs is key. This will obviously be a guard-oriented matchup, so I think whichever team gets the most out of their frontline should be successful (unless Gil decides to go off for 60 again). Brad Miller has sucked this season; he's not close to comfortable in the new offense. Kenny Thomas has been a cadaver on wheels for all but four games, and Shareef Abdur-Rahim has been consistently average with spurts of grandeur. Those three, and perhaps some Corliss Williamson, need to produce to allow the Kings to outscore D.C.
Bullets Forever: Finally, you, like me, are a blogger for a team featuring a notoriously crazy personality in Ron Artest. What are some of the wierdest things you've blogged about with this guy?
Sactown Royalty: Hmm... The Kings were eight games under .500 and he predicted a championship. He took the Maloofs to his neighborhood in Queensbridge, and one of the Maloofs had to urinate, so they knocked on a random person's door and used their loo. He said if he could have any three people over for dinner, Celine Dion would be one of them.
As for the game itself, here are your lines.
Wizards at Kings: Kings by 3.5
Over/Under on Big 3: 67.2 points
This is an open game thread, so if you have thoughts on the game itself, be sure to post it here.