[D.C. Council: setting the scene, rating the starters, assessing the subs, providing the analysis, and catching anything that you may have missed. Unlike the real DC Council, everything here is on the table. Game No. 70, Washington Wizards vs Memphis Grizzlies; contributors: Adam McGinnis and Kyle Weidie from the Verizon Center and Conor Dirks via television broadcast.]
The main pregame, whiteboard key for the Wizards against the Grizzlies on Monday night? Pace. According to NBA.com, Memphis is the third slowest team in the NBA (91.31 possessions per 48 minutes). The Wizards play at the NBA’s 14th fastest pace (94.37); with John Wall on the court, that pace number jumps to 96.75.
So, the Wizards want to run and take Memphis out of their comfort zone. But to run, you need horses. The Wizards only have nine healthy horses tonight. Who you gonna be without, coach?
To recap: No Nene (weak knee), A.J. Price (groin), Martell Webster (abdomen strain, which is better than the previously reported sports hernia), Bradley Beal (ankle), and Trevor Ariza (flu).
This theme would also rear it’s inconsistent head in the fourth quarter, as my Truth About It colleague, John Townsend beautifully broke down. Even though Kirk Hinrich and Gilbert Arenas were having excellent shooting nights, McGee tried to take the ball to the hoop (via the dribble), was picked by Zach Randolph (not exactly a quick handed, nimble fellow), and Mike Conley picked up the ball and dashed full speed toward his basket. Luckily for the Wizards, McGee was able to zoom from one end of the court to the other and block Conley’s shot, immediately exonerating himself from his earlier sin. Substance and style in less than 30 seconds.
The Grizz don’t know what they want to do. ESPN’s Ric Bucher tweeted that Grizzlies scouts want Hasheem Thabeet, GM Chris Wallace wants Ricky Rubio, and Coach Lionel Hollins wants Stephen Curry. However, according to reports, Thabeet (insinuated by a cancelled workout) and Rubio might not want Memphis back. Wallace says he could care less about a ‘Spanish-Stay-Away’ order, but probably really does.
During his meet-n-greet with fans, Flip Saunders said, “I still think [Rubio] is going to get taken two. I think someone will make a trade when it comes down to trying to get him because he has that type of impact.”