Wizards (38-35) at Bobcats (35-38)
March 31, 2014 at 7:00 PM
Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte, NC
TV: CSN Washington
Radio: 106.7FM The Fan
Projected starting lineups:
C- Marcin Gortat
PF- Trevor Booker
SF- Trevor Ariza
SG- Bradley Beal
PG- John Wall
C- Al Jefferson
PF- Josh McRoberts
SF- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
SG- Gerald Henderson
PG- Kemba Walker
First meeting since..
March 12, 2014 @ Verizon Center
Al Jefferson admitted to Marcin Gortat that he’d been waiting to have his vengeance for the previous game in which he got shut down. And earlier this month he certainly got it as he feasted on Washington’s front court, scoring 26 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Ultimately, a 4th quarter outbreak for the Bobcats helped them pull away with a 98-85 win in Chinatown.
Bring tha mothaf*ckin’ ruckus!
Albus Ricardo (yes, that is his real name).
Tough-nosed, gritty, helter skelter, hoopla in the paint.. just a few surface scratching descriptions of what’s become of this powerful matchup down low. And this battle royale between big man barbarians will be the main event once again when the Wizards and #SlowBigCats square off in Charlotte tonight. The two have become competitively fond of one another through two games so far this season. Earlier this year, in a 97-83 win for the Wizards, Jefferson was shackled by Gortat’s interior defense and held to just six points to the tune of just 3-for-9 shooting. Conversely, Gortat had himself a splendid evening with his 18 points, 13 rebounds, 3 blocks and a steal. He also said the hors d’oeuvres were excellent and the rum punch had a perfect kick to it.
Regretfully, round II was less succulent for Gortat. This time it was Jefferson who had a heftier helping of appetizers while Gortat was left with soggy fruit tarts. Jefferson accounted for 18 of the Bobcats’ 44 points in the paint and as evidenced in the shot chart below, he PWNED the paint to the extent of the key.
Quite simply, Jefferson is a fucking load. His 6’10, 250 pound frame is the shape of a vault and quite simply, he’s almost as immovable as one. His presence in the post has been destructive to defenders; his efficiency from midrange distances stretch the floor; and his mobility around the rim just wear you down. He must be smartly gameplanned for or else he’ll chew you up.
Luckily, the Wizards can gameplan with a smart player in Gortat who, if anything, realizes stakes and acknowledges responsibility as seen in his post-game presser below. His work tonight will be cut out for him.
The Magic Number: 1
Champagne on ice. Hookah’s on deck. We’ve got nine games left with just one win required to earn that playoff clinching asterisk in the league standings. Unfortunately, these are the type of facts that relaxes a team and infuses an unwanted sense of complacence within them enough to limit them to “just showing up” for games. Gortat has badgered about it. Randy Wittman has reiterated it. Maybe it’s our fault. But maybe also we can’t help ourselves.
The time will come when all of the turned corners, the milestones, the first times, the career highs will be the transcription of an elusive playoff berth. It will be a feat that hasn’t been accomplished over the entire stretch of the 72-month term you financed your car for back in 2008. A feat that hasn’t been accomplished since Stephen Strasburg was tossing 100 mph fastballs as a 19 year old at Stanford. A feat that sung to the tune of “Yes, we can” as Obama campaigned for his first Presidential term. Must I go on?
To the dismay of the world, these types of pressures are what the Wizards are prone to fold under. To the best of any withheld basketball wisdom, these types of games should be properly managed and prepared for by the locker room brass, coaches and players alike. To the fear of the Wizards faithful, it could all tumble downwards if the team feels they can “just show up.” Or… if they succumb to the likes of…
So grab a brew, and grab a boo because the Wizards are in Charlotte, and the playoffs are due.
/end shitty poetry.