Opening Statements: Wizards at Nets, Game 41 | Wizards Blog Truth About

Opening Statements: Wizards at Nets, Game 41

Updated: January 17, 2015

Washington Wizards vs Brooklyn Nets

I’m not a fan of pie. Cobbler, apple, cherry: on the tongue of a man with no taste for such things, it’s just sugar and grain. I’m told others enjoy such things. Unless it’s humble. No one likes that mess. Still, sometimes a bad taste in your mouth is as effective as a textbook. The Wizards are heading to Brooklyn, where at least one good kind of pie (pizza) is made well. With a blowout loss to a bad team burned into their collective subconscious like the appearance of a poison dart frog in a fever dream, the “need” for a win is palpable.

Still, the season is long, even when expectations quicken it with urgency. Chicago was blown out by Utah on January 7. Toronto lost to Detroit on January 12. Atlanta has really never lost and never will again, but that’s the exception rather than the rule. Just as it’s only right to excoriate the Wizards for an awful effort that in a sense negates one of two good wins against San Antonio and Chicago earlier this week, it’s right to appreciate the possibility suggested by Paul Pierce (who looked downright embarrassed on the bench at the end of the game) that “maybe this will be a wake-up call for the rest of the year.”

Especially for players like Bradley Beal, capable of elite play but content to let any given defense on any given night turn him into an average player, these nights are too necessary, for now. Criticizing consistency on a suddenly excellent team seems unwise, but Washington, when you compare performance in wins versus losses, is one of the five most volatile teams in the NBA.

The sun is shining on the Brooklyn Nets after last night, so I asked the TrueHoop Network’s David Vertsberger (@_Verts), editor-in-chief of Brooklyn’s Finest, some questions as we size up tonight’s repeat opponent.

Teams: Wizards vs Nets
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
Venue: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York
Television: CSN
Radio: WFED-AM 1500/WNEW-FM 99.1
Spread: Wizards fav’d by 5.5 points.

Q #1: Brook Lopez has been the talk of the town, or towns, this week, offered up in trade rumors as a possible casualty of Brooklyn’s renewed interest in cost reduction.

And then he made Marcin Gortat look like the Polish Machine was worth a dime on every dollar, working Gortat inside and out (and sometimes Nene, too) en route to 26 points. Why, exactly, does Brooklyn want to trade him?

@_Verts: Because those games have become rarer and rarer by the season. I’m tougher on Lopez than most, but the gist of it is he’s an overpaid low-post five that doesn’t hit the open man and is an underwhelming defender and rebounder with health concerns. Playing his same position is Mason Plumlee, who has a bright future.

Q #2: Lionel Hollins and Randy Wittman walk into a bar. What’s a good shot for each of them?

Wait, don’t answer that one. They both drink Liquid Steaks. Let’s start here: If you had to pick, after they sober up, who do you want coaching your team?

@_Verts: That’s tough. Both are very traditional in their basketball mindset, with defense coming first and 3s somewhat being considered a gimmick. I’m going to go with Wittman only because he makes some fantastic in-game facial expressions that Hollins simply can’t compete with.

Q #3: The Nets may have sold their future down the river, but they seem interested in clearing out the boat traffic. Who from this current team can be a permanent fixture?

@_Verts: Remember that Plumlee guy I mentioned? He’s got the potential to be a solid starter, which is more than I can say about any other young Brooklynite. Great roll guy to the rim, improving rebounder and has all the athleticism. Not that he has much competition in the “young guy to build around” on this team, but there’s a lot to like about him.


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Conor Dirks
Reporter / Writer / Co-Editor at TAI
Conor has been with TAI since 2012, and aids in the seamless editorial process that brings you the kind of high-octane blogging you have come to expect from this rad website. The Wizards have been an assiduous companion throughout his years on the cosmic waiver wire. He lives in D.C. and is day-to-day.