Here to provide the DC Council Opening Statements for Washington’s 17th game of the season at home against the Golden State Warriors are TAI’s Rashad Mobley (@rashad20) and guest Jordan Ramire (@JRAM_91), who writes about the Warriors for the ESPN True Hoop blog Warriors World
Wizards Starters (2-14):
A.J. Price, Bradley Beal, Martell Webster, Chris Singleton, Emeka Okafor
Warriors Starters (12-7):
Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry, Harrison Barnes, David Lee, Festus Ezeli
Q #1: What have you done for me lately?
(What’s the status of the Warriors over the past week?)
@JRAM_91: The Warriors are 3-1 in the past week, beating the Pacers (home), Pistons and Nets (both on the road) while losing to the Orlando Magic (home). But, despite the disappointing loss to the Magic, the Warriors are playing their best ball of the season. Stephen Curry has been on a complete tear averaging 23.75 PPG and 9.25 APG during that stretch. While being a liability on the defensive end, David Lee is once again putting up his usual offensive numbers (17.6 PPG, 10.7 RPG). More importantly, Mark Jackson has shown a new-found willingness to make substitutions based on defensive performances. While Lee is still getting major minutes, the likes of Carl Landry, Jarrett Jack and Draymond Green are also getting minutes, making this a very balanced Warriors team. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are still what make this offense go, but it’s no longer a do or die situation if neither are feeling it. But now, they’re feeling it on the offensive end and becoming a force on the defensive end, and this Warriors team is playing their best basketball in years.
Q #2: Who threw out my alarm clock?
(Which player(s) are we sleeping on?)
@JRAM_91: Draymond Green has seen increased minutes lately with the injuries to Brandon Rush and Richard Jefferson. When facing Brooklyn, Mark Jackson preferred the defensive minded Green over touted rookie Harrison Barnes, and it paid off. Green was very active on the defensive end, flashing hands, facing up Joe Johnson and forcing turnovers. Green is also tough to handle in the rebounding department, grabbing 10 against the Nets (playing a season high 28 minutes) and being the all-time leading rebounder in Michigan State history. Don’t be surprised to see a lot of Draymond Green tonight, especially if Barnes struggles with his shot or defense early.
Q #3: What game-within-the-game counts most?
(What matchup between two players or between each team in a particular statistical category is most important.)
@JRAM_91: Wizards centers vs. Warriors “centers” is the matchup to watch. With the well-documented absence of Andrew Bogut, it’s come down to Festus Ezeli as the only pure center getting major minutes out there for the Warriors (Andris Biedrins is a walking corpse). When Ezeli is off the floor, Mark Jackson likes to play Carl Landry with David Lee, even if that means some defensive lapses. Ezeli is the Warriors’ best frontcourt defender but isn’t giving the team much at all on the offensive end, nor is he asked to. With an admirable center combination of Emeka Okafor and Nene awaiting Ezeli and Co., the Warriors can’t let the Wizards frontcourt get going in any way. The Warriors are always prone to the “Where has that guy been and why is he killing us!?” game, and Warriors fans would love it if that didn’t include the likes of Okafor and Nene.
Q #4: How it’s going down?
(TAI’s general key to the game.)
@rashad20: For the Wizards, the key to victory falls into the lap of Martell Webster. After playing a prominent role in the victory over Miami with his hustle plays, Webster completely disappeared in his first start of the season against the Atlanta Hawks. As Phil Chenier alluded to during last night’s telecast, A.J. Price and Shaun Livingston should make a concerted effort to get Webster the ball in the first five minutes of the first quarter, just to get him going. A made shot here, a trip to the free throw line there, and all of a sudden Webster’s energy level on both ends of the floor will increase, which can only be infectious. Jordan Crawford will score, Nene and Seraphin will find ways to get their points and rebounds, and the bench has been stepping up all season. But a strong game from Webster could be the nudge the Wizards need.
The Warriors simply need to beware of a letdown. Last night, they went into Coach Mark Jackson’s home of Brooklyn, New York, and defeated the Nets in an emotional victory to go 2-0 on their current, brief road trip. Tonight, they will enter the Verizon Center, which will be half-empty at best, and face a scrappy Wizards team that has absolutely nothing to lose. One of the few players who did not play well for Golden State last night was Harrison Barnes, who will most likely be guarded by Martell Webster. The rest of his teammates may still be a bit winded from last night’s game, which gives Barnes the opportunity to lead his team during this challenging game.
The Warriors are favored by 4.5 points and the over/under is 195.5 points (via USA Today).
@JRAM_91: Sure, the Wizards beat the Heat and put up a decent fight against the Hawks on the road, but the Warriors are hot and the Wizards are still 2-14. After coming off their best win of the season, the Warriors take the win by a score of 102-91.
@rashad20: Stephen Curry will have a rough shooting night, Harrison Barnes will have a strong game, and Jarrett Jack will have a big homecoming game off the bench. For the Wizards, Jordan Crawford will have a big night, as will Nene, but they’ll drop a close one at the buzzer. The Wizards will lose, 97-98, in a ragged game.
This video of Stephen Curry working out filmed by TAI’s Adam McGinnis before Curry played the Wizards in Washington as a rookie in April 2010 still gets a lot of views.