|2011/12 NBA Regular Season
|December 28, 2011
| Jeff Teague
| Joe Johnson
| Marvin Williams
| Josh Smith
| Al Horford
Some extended thoughts below the jump. GO WIZARDS!
Wednesday, Dec 28, 2011, 7:30 PM EST
It is only game two of the regular season and yet the Wizards appear to be in Mid-March dysfunctional form. Like Mike, I don't think that Andray Blatche's comments were so out of line that they inspire a 500 word tirade from WaPo. What does bother me, however, is the timing of said comments. Before the Wizards had completely fallen off the cliff last year, Blatche was still making mention of the team's chances at making the playoffs. Now, we have barely dipped our toes into the regular season, and suddenly Blatche is making comments that sound a lot like his "third option" comments of last year. Hopefully, the team had some sort of closed door meeting to rectify this and put it to bed immediately, otherwise these are the sorts of dustups that can wreck a young team before they get off the ground.
As for game one, we can now safely shovel dirt on that fiasco, but a couple of glaring issues seem to have carried over from last year. The first is that many of the Wizards still revert to what Flip Saunders derisively calls "hero ball" when the team desperately needs a basket. There are two ways to look at this: the first is that the team is still young and learning to curb their individual instincts to "do it all" themselves. The second is that the players still don't buy into Saunders offensive system in year three of his regime. If its the first, then I can afford to be patient. However, I think we need to keep the latter in mind as the season progresses.
Tonight the Wizards take on the Hawks, a team that hasn't changed much from last year. Our old friend Kirk Hinrich is on the shelf, so instead we get to see John Wall face off against Jeff Teague. Otherwise, the Hawks are the same Southeastern foe that we have grown bored of during the past few years. Its Joe Johnson, Al Horford, and Josh Smith ho hum in an half empty arena. Each guy can do some good things, but this particular permutation proven unable to make much noise in the playoffs. Honestly, at this point in the rebuild, I had expected the Wizards to have passed the Hawks, who are still bound to Joe Johnson and his unmovable contract. As it stands, the Hawks have continuity, the one thing the Wizards lack, and as we witnessed in the preseason against the 76ers, cohesion normally means victory.
As it is, the Hawks are on a second night of a back to back and there is a chance that the Wizards could win by running the Hawks up and down the floor. However, the Hawks also didn't work up much of a sweat in destroying a Nets team that beat us on opening night. In order to keep this game competitive, the Wizards need John Wall to play headier ball and dominate his matchup and for the "Captain" to at least pretend to keep Josh Smith in check. It may be a tall order, but I have been pleasantly surprised before.
Key Matchup for Wizards tonight?
This poll is closed
John Wall vs. Jeff Teague
Joe Johnson vs. Jordan Crawford
Zaza Pachulia vs. JaVale McGee
Andray Blatche vs. Josh Smith
Rashard Lewis vs. Marvin Williams
Wizards bench vs. Hawks bench