D.C. Council Opening Statements: Wizards vs Pistons, Game 39
Once again the Wizards stand upon the precipice of .500 staring down at the beautiful lush valley of a winning record. The last two times they assailed these heights (against these very Pistons), the team immediately stubbed their toe on a pebble and went tumbling back down the mountain to start the entire process anew (against the Dallas Mavericks on New Year’s Day).
Not to get all Greek or anything, but this Sisyphean-like season has taken a toll on both the fan base and the team. The gatekeepers standing in the way of the Wizards entering the “promised land” are the Detroit Pistons, whose problems make the Wizards’ look trivial in comparison. Yet the Wizards tend to play down to the level of the competition (I’m looking at you, Milwaukee) and no one would be terribly stunned if the Wizards somehow slipped on the proverbial banana peel and fell back down. That, in and of itself, is statement enough on the team.
Teams: Wizards vs Pistons
Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
Venue: Verizon Center, Washington, DC
Radio: THE FAN-FM 106.7
Spread: Wizards fav’d by 5.5 points
Wizards tickets … anyone?
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Q #1: How big is your bench?
@McCarrick: During the recent three-game win steak, Randy Wittman shortened his bench to eight men, reinserted Nene into the starting lineup, and produced the most surprising win of the season in which the Wizards steamrolled the defending NBA champions, Miami. The turd in the punchbowl came during last night’s game in which young naif Otto Porter received five unearned minutes at the expense of guys who have been playing better, namely Jan Vesely. While the shortened bench has produced the big results, the risk to running their more fragile players into the ground (HAI, NENE!) will eventually force Wittman’s hand in turning back to his bench to give his starters some rest. On the second game of a back-to-back, expect to see Jan Vesely reintroduced to your television screens and if you’re lucky maybe a bit of #KSLIFE just to drive you up the wall.
Q #2: What the hell, Detroit?
@McCarrick: So Josh Smith managed to get himself benched for the second half for the second game in a row and the finger pointing has begun in earnest in Motown (he was also bench for the second half last time in D.C.). Smith asserts that people “don’t understand his game,” but it’s fairly hard to misinterpret the game of a guy who is content to take terrible jump shots and look disengaged rather than do the things (play with insane energy and intimidation) that got him the second fat contract in the first place. To make everyone feel old, Josh Smith and his contemporary Gerald Wallace were featured in FreeDarko’s first book, the “Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Player’s Handbook,” as two players who excelled in voids (Atlanta and Charlotte respectively), and whose talents would never be properly appreciated. Now Smith is doing his one-man circus act in Detroit and burying the team in the process while Gerald Wallace rots on the bench in Boston. (Wizards fans should never read this book because the Gilbert Arenas chapter might make them a bit teary.)
Q #3: No seriously Detroit, what the hell?
@McCarrick: When you are talking very seriously about shopping Greg Monroe because your spacing is terrible and your team is trapped on a burning boat with Captain Brandon Jennings cackling madly, you know you are in trouble. Andre Drummond is a a very nice piece to build around, but this current rebuild might be the final nail in the coffin of Joe Dumars’ long and storied run as Piston GM. The Jennings trade and Smith signing are certainly not as terrible as signing Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva to the combined GDP of Uruguay, but the latest grand experiment has proven to be just as disastrous. The good people of Detroit and League Pass aficionados were promised dunks and more dunks and instead are treated to one of the most boring offenses in the Association. The worst part is with their size and physicality, the Pistons should be winning games on the simple basis of out-muscling their opponents. Instead, those wins are coming from random Smith or Jennings hot streaks which are neither desired or sustainable.
Your Wizards Crystal Ball For the Evening
@McCarrick: Who will be the council chair? Trevor Ariza will continue his maddening push to a new contract and induce a classic Josh Smith shooting performance.
Over/Under blocks for Andre Drummond: 4
@McCarrick: Take the over. Or maybe the under if Bradley Beal decides that slashing to the basket is anathema to his game.
Over/Under minutes for Jan Vesely: 7
@McCarrick: Unfortunately, I am going to disagree with myself and take the under.
Will the Wizards win tonight?
@McCarrick: Magic 8-Ball was shaken three times with all three results being “Outlook not so good.” So our best technology has the Wizards being upset tonight after Brandon Jennings goes nuts.
Previously, in Detroit…