Time to use ‘Expelliarmus’ on the Wizards
Matchup: Hornets(39-23) @ Wizards(15-49)
Off Efficiency: Hornets 106.9(9th), Wizards 101.4(26th)
Def Efficiency: Hornets 103.4(9th), Wizards 110.6(29th)
The Wizards are 3-7 in their last ten, which is pretty much the same winning percentage they’ve put up all year. Four out of every five players on their team isn’t interested in defense, and unlike the previous two years, their offense is unable to overcome that indifference.
The Hornets are 7-3 in their last ten, but just had a seven-game winning streak broken and are looking to commence another winning streak so they can stay in the mix for those all-important top seeds out west. The Hornets are feeling the pressure, and I expect that they will continue a recent tendency to punch teams in the mouth in the first quarter and race out to 8-10 point leads.
Of course, that lead will be gone halfway through the second, but hey, what can you do? Peja should play – and I’ve heard nothing about Byron’s planned lineup tonight. I’ll assume he’ll go back into the starting five and Julian will return to the bench.
Hornets: Peterson may or may not be injured. He also may or may not play if healthy.
Wizards: Etan Thomas is out
PG: Chris Paul v Mike James
Advantage: I don’t think “Advantage” is the word.
Mike James will play hard in this game, like he did the last time the Hornets played the Wizards. Unfortunately, Mike James at his best is CP3 missing an arm – and maybe a leg too.
SG: Rasual Butler v Caron Butler
Caron and Rasual came into the league in the same year, drafted by the same team: Miami. Both were shipped out during the great clearance that netted Miami a championship. Rasual has played very well this year, and even more so over the past month, but Caron has bettered the numbers Rasual is producing right now pretty much his entire career. Butler is a solid player, and will be fairly fresh since he just came back from injury two games ago, and seems to be playing with focus.
SF: Peja Stojakovic v Dominic McGuire
McGuire apparently tries to defend people, which is why he plays. That’s good because he’s a very limited offensive player. He’s a decent rebounder and passer, but scorer, he’s not. Peja is a scorer, and he usually comes back from injury with pretty strong games. Fresh legs and all that.
PF: David West v Antawn Jamison
David West and Antawn Jamison have pretty much the same skillsets. The difference between the two is that West does more damage in the post, Jamison does more from the perimeter, West gives defensive effort, and Jamison does not.
C: Tyson Chandler v Darius Songaila
Songaila has a beautiful midrange shot. Unfortunately for the Wizards, who are playing him at center, my granny gets more rebounds, and tissue paper provides more resistance to penetration. I fully expect repeated Crescent City Connections this game, and doubt the Wizards will provide much resistance to them until McGee and his twenty-foot long arms check in for Songaila to try and break it up.
Javaris Crittenton, JaVale McGee, Andray Blatche, and Nick Young round out the Wizards bench. Based on the research I did yesterday about benches, they are the fourth least productive bench in the league. That doesn’t particularly surprise me. Crittenton is an athelete with no basketball skills, McGee is a freak of nature trying to learn basketball skills, Andray Blatche has skills but no discipline or focus, and Nick Young is a scorer who scores very inefficiently.
But really, I didn’t need to say all that. I should have just said “The Wizards bench is so bad, Mike James starts for this team.” That would have been enough.
Enjoy the game.