Time to Cast an Anti-Magic Shell

Published: February 25, 2008

If you get the D&D reference in the title, you're cool.  Really.  Ignore what people have been saying about you for years.

Tonight the Wizards come to town.  They have just suffered through a 2-8 stretch, stand 3 games below .500 and still hold the 6th seed in the East.

Your screwed up comparison of the day:  The Hornets are 20 games over .500 and are fighting to keep the 5th seed in the West.

In fact, if you take the East 4th seed, Cleveland, and put it in the West, they are a 10th seed.  The East 3rd seed, Orlando, would be fighting for their lives, barely holding on to the 8th spot.  And these teams even get to play other crappy East teams 52 out of 82 games a year.  I think that answers why East-leading Boston and Detroit only have 12 and 15 losses respectively.

Matchup: Wizards(26-29) @ Hornets(37-17)
Off Efficiency: Hornets 107.6(9th), Wizards 105.0(12th)
Def Efficiency: Hornets 101.8(6th), Wizards 105.7(22nd)
Wizzy Blogger: Bullets Forever

On to tonights game.  The reason for the Wizards sudden slide is the injury to Caron Butler.  The man is known as "Tough Juice", which for some reason gives me disgusting mental images of him chewing tobacco and launching black wads of saliva at a spitoon.  Anyways, he's been out, and he'll sit out tonight.  His tough defense and determined offense were vital to this team, which was already missing Arenas and his crazy offense.

The Hornets aren't missing anyone, and they've managed to have one more practice with Bonzi Wells and Mike James.  Yay, I'm sure they know everything there is to know about their teammates now.  I expect big things from them.

There aren't many teams on our upcoming schedule that we can take advantage of, but these wounded Wizards are one of em.  We need to smack 'em.

Positional Analysis
PG: Antonio Daniels vs Chris Paul
Advantage: Hornets
Antonio has always been an underrated player.  He's tough, his defense is great, but he's usually ignored because his offense is efficient but not prolific.  Paul is tough, his defense is good, but he's an offensive monster.  Antonio will have his hands full keeping him out of the paint – especially with big men who are less-than-interested in stepping out on the pick and roll.

SG: DeShawn Stevenson vs. Morris Peterson
Advantage: Wizards
DeShawn is shooting poorly this year, but his defense is solid, his three point shot decent, and his turnovers low.  Morris Peterson would usually match that, and I'm a big defender of his, but he's not playing up to snuff.  C'mon, Mo.

SF: Antawn Jamison vs. Peja Stojakovic
Advantage: Even
I'm slotting Antawn here – but he and Blatche are practically interchangeable at the forward spots.  Antawn is more of a long-range bomber, so the wing position goes to him.  Antawn and Peja have pretty similar scoring skills – with Peja having better range.  Antawn crashes the glass a lot harder.  Even though Antawn gets more shots from his team and therefore has a higher scoring average, I feel this position is about even.

PF: Andray Blatche vs. David West
Advantage: Hornets
Blatche is a nice piece for the wizards.  He's a versatile forward capable of rebounding and scoring a little.  He's also a great help shot blocker.  He's not, however, capable of much more right now.  David West will do his thing, and I doubt Blatche will be able to do much about it.

C: Brendan Haywood vs. Tyson Chandler
Advantage: Hornets
Haywood is having one of his best years ever.  And he still does much less than Tyson does.  He's also not strong like bull, so Tyson should be able fend him off, get in position and clean the glass.

Advantage: Hornets
Even without knowing how Bonzi or Mike James are going to do, the Wizards bench is sorely depleted due to the injuries to Etan Thomas, Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler.  Normally, this would be a strength for the Wizards, but it's not right now.

Hornets win 106-98.

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