clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Paul Pierce practices, Nene doubtful vs. 76ers

New, comment

As you've already heard, John Wall is out for Wednesday's game, but he's not the only player who may be out.

Paul Pierce and Nene have both missed the last three games and it appears like Nene is likely going to miss at least one more:

It's interesting that Pierce could return tonight, even while Wall and presumably Nene sit out, but not surprising. Here's what Randy Wittman had to say when asked about his approach to resting starters last month:

"It's a trend. You got to have a pulse of your team and understand where it's at, age, injury and all that. It's something that's kind of crept up here. Back in the day we never thought about asking for rest," said Wittman, who added he'd prefer to stagger rest for starters rather than four at a time and that he's not jeopardizing seeding. "I can't answer that question for what Memphis did. Obviously the fans are going to be disappointed, I'm sure."

To Wittman's credit, the Wizards fared well last week when they rested Pierce and Nene, but they're facing a bit of a different situation with Wall and Nene out of the equation.

With Beal, Pierce and Gortat available, the Wizards will have three of the four best players on the court tonight, and that should be enough to get the Wizards the win tonight. But odds are, you'll need a full night's work out of all three of them to make sure you get it. Even if the Wizards race out to a big early lead like they did when they played last week, you're relying on the bench to hold that lead, which they weren't able to do last time. And this time around, it won't be Sessions trying to pilot the second unit, it will be Will Bynum. Forgive us if we're not optimistic about Beal, Pierce and Gortat avoiding playing time in the fourth quarter.

And that doesn't even take into account that the three starters who are staying in tonight can be exploited without Wall. Pierce is going to have some rust after sitting out last week, Beal will have to take on more ballhandling duties, which will limit his chances to get open for threes, and Gortat won't get those sweet dimes from Wall on the pick and roll. Can they still win despite this? Absolutely, but it may not be pretty, and most likely won't be decisive.

Games like this are where the risk of staggering starters comes into play. If Beal, Pierce and Gortat play 30 plus minutes and still wind up losing, you're wasting their time in a very literal way. Honestly, I wouldn't have any problem with resting all the starters given the circumstances. Grabbing homecourt advantage at this point is a longshot anyways, why not just get yourself in the best shape possible to pull an upset?. But since that probably won't happen, let's just hope the Wizards don't overextend the arm that isn't already tied behind their back with Wall and Nene resting tonight.