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Regular Season Game 57
Hawks (22-36) at Wizards (31-25)
Previous Results: Wizards 97, Hawks 96.
The Wizards start a fairly easy stretch over the next three games, playing host to Atlanta, Golden State, and a Toronto team that might be missing Andrea Bargnani. With Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison back in the lineup, the Wizards really need to get these three wins.
Atlanta is one of those teams that has talented players, but they don't fit well together. Their biggest problem is that they don't have a point guard. Now, of course, you could say, 'Well, the Wizards don't have a point guard either,' but the Wizards do have Gilbert Arenas, a spectacular lead guard. Atlanta has no point guard, and their lead guard, Joe Johnson, isn't a guy you can play at the point. This means that they rarely get their best 5 out there, because either Josh Smith, Josh Childress, or Marvin Williams has to sit on the bench.
Don't get me wrong though, Atlanta has talent. Joe Johnson is one of the most underrated players in basketball, and he's exactly the type of go-to-guy any team can use. Josh Smith is somehow both underrated and overrated, because he's overrated in that he's not an all-star player, but underrated in that he does a lot of things well and is not just a leaper. Josh Childress is incredibly underrated, and Marvin Williams shows promise. But the parts don't fit well, and they're underachieving.
The last time these two teams played, the Wizards were struggling, and they gutted out an ugly win at home. This time, the Wizards are struggling as well, but they have all their players healthy. The key will be getting Arenas to go to the hoop, because none of the Atlanta point guards are strong or quick enough to stop his drives. If Arenas doesn't shoot at least 12 free throws, the Wizards are in trouble.
The good news (hopefully), is that, apparently, he's "figured out" the problem with his shot.
"He said it was pushed in and that' s why I didn't have my normal range of motion," Arenas said. "So he messed around with it, popped something back into place and now I feel a lot better."
Whatever. I'll believe it when I see it.
Your lines for tonight:
Hawks at Wizards: Wizards by 8.5.
Over/Under on Big 3 (finally!): 68.5 points.
This is an open game thread, so any comments about Unsilent Majority's favorite player, Salim Stoudamire, go here.