Matt from Hardwood Paroxysm recently posed some questions to a round-table of Wizards and Cavs bloggers. Here are my initial responses, stay tuned for the rest.
1. How is this time around going to be different from the other times you’ve met the Cavs in the playoffs? Last year was obviously a joke with the injuries, but the year before that was a pretty entertaining series. How confident do you feel right now going into this matchup?
Yea, I’m not counting last year. For the Wizards, injuries and lack of depth sealed their fate. So, I’ll compare this year to what happened in 05-06 when the Cavs took out the Wizards 4-2 in a thrilling series:
In the 05-06 playoffs, the Wizards struggled to field even a seven man rotation. Arenas, Butler (before he really came into his own) Jamison, Haywood, and Jared Jeffries were the series starters. We all loved the defense of Jeffries (at times), but that dude was soft like goo and couldn’t finish a layup to save his life…..not to mention that he wasn’t opening a damn thing inside with any sort of outside presence. Insert DeShawn Stevenson, the Lock Smith. Not only has DeShawn been a warrior, playing through a multitude of injuries this year, but he’s played great defense against some of the toughest match-ups in the league. Did I mention that Stevenson has drained 157 threes this year…only about 30 more than DeShawn made in his previous seven NBA seasons combined.
Bench please. In 06, it basically consisted of Antonio Daniels and several square pegs trying to fit into round holes: (total series minutes played in parens) — Billy Thomas (13:55), Etan Thomas (18:20), Michael Ruffin (69:36:), and Donell Taylor (3:12). You’re putting yourself behind the 8-Ball when Michael Ruffin is your key 7th man. And yes, I do realize that the bench time shortens during the playoffs, but that should not detract from the need to have kick-ass relief.
This year, you have Roger Mason Jr. aka Mase-ON, aka The Potomac Rainmaker, aka Dr. Trey, coming off the pine to confidently make buckets son. You also got your Darius Songaila, the Lithuanian Brawler, hitting jumpers, driving to the hoop, getting boards, and helping the offense tick. If up and coming Andray Blatche can stay out of foul trouble, he can contribute with energy, rebounds, blocks and passing. Oh yea, that Gilbert Arenas fella….Eddie Jordan has said that he’ll continue to bring Arenas off the bench during the playoffs — we’ll see if that lasts. I’m all for severely limiting the minutes of Nick Young, Dominic McGuire and Oleksiy Pecherov in the post-season.
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