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Up again, down again

Box Score.
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Highest plus/minus: Antawn Jamison (+19)
Lowest plus/minus: Dominic McGuire (-2)

Going to keep this brief, because there are lots of more important topics to discuss today:

The yo-yo performance of the bench this season reared it's head again tonight.  After providing nothing in Tuesday's loss, they provided everything tonight.  The game probably turned in the third quarter, when all the starters were in, but it was put away in the fourth, thanks to guys like Roger Mason, Nick Young, and Oleksiy Pecherov.  Pech, in particular, was a revelation, scoring 8 points and grabbing 4 rebounds in just 10 minutes of action.  At the very least, his solid play thus far makes for an extremely difficult situation if and when Etan Thomas returns to the lineup (a topic we'll discuss later).

The thing is, these are the types of performances we should see more often.  Yes, the bench is very young, but there's talent there, and more importantly, there's diverse talent.  Suppose we had a full, injury-free team out there.  Off the bench, you have a "pure point guard" (AD), a shooter (Mason), a microwave-type scorer (Young), an athletic shot-blocker (Blatche), two big men who can spread the floor (Songaila, Pech), and an enforcer who can grab rebounds and push people around (Etan).  About all we're missing is a defensive-minded 3.  Even with Arenas and Thomas out, there's still plenty of pieces there for the bench to play like this every night.  They just have to be nurtured more effectively.  A night like tonight, when Jamison and Butler were on the floor with Mason, Young, and Songaila/Blatche/Pech, is more of what we should be looking for as far as rotations.

Speaking of, it's becoming more clear that we don't need both Pech and Songaila.  They both do the same things, and since Pech is younger and (for the moment) cheaper, it's looking more like the Songaila signing made little sense.  Yes, we need a vet in there to fill Pech's role until Pech is ready, but we didn't need that player for five years.  Obviously, the jury remains out on Pech, and I doubt anyone is going to want to trade for Songaila, but it can't hurt trying to explore his market.  

Still, at 4-1 in our last five, and only 1.5 games behind Orlando for the division lead, we're certainly in great shape.  It's a testament to this team's season that the only gripe I have is with the 9th man.