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Wizards vs. Nuggets game preview: “So what was all that one in a million talk?”

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Denver (12-8) at Washington (9-10)

December 9, 2013 at 7:00 PM
Verizon Center, Washington, DC
TV: CSN Washington
Radio: 106.7FM The Fan

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Projected starting lineups:

Washington Wizards
C- Marcin Gortat, PF- Jan Vesely, SF- Trevor Ariza, SG- The ghost of Gilbert Arenas? or Garrett Temple, PG- John Wall

Denver Nuggets
C– J.J. Hickson, F- Kenneth Faried, SF– Wilson Chandler, SG- Randy Foye, PG- Andre Miller

Key matchup:

Gortat v. Hickson? Vesely v. Faried? Ariza v. Foye? What kind of sick joke is this?

Wizards fans have silently been pleased with Vesely’s “production” lately. However, if Vesely’s game has been hustle lately, how is it going to matter against Kenneth Faried? This is a complete mismatch. As if Vesely v. ANYONE wasn’t already one. Vesely v. Popsicle stick? Popsicle stick is too strong in the post. Vesely v. banana peel? Banana peel is a much better rebounder.

I won’t discuss any matchup regarding Foye since the trade for him way back when brings up bad memories for me. Maybe Wall v. Hickson is the most intriguing matchup (jk lol).

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Ty Lawson is a game-time decision and if he plays then well, we have our marquee matchup. If not, Wall will go up against the crafty veteran Andre Miller. Miller isn’t the most athletically gifted guard in the game, but he makes up for it in smarts and savvy. He doesn’t have the best crossover but he can get find space with calculated footwork, and find his way into the paint with his aggressive post-game. Every time Andre Miller is up against someone much faster and bigger than him, he somehow finds a way to put up points. Wall needs to get out on the break early and often and push the pace. Miller has some tricks in his bag but lets be serious. This is John Wall we are talking about here. Wall will be able to have his way with Miller in many scenarios; he just needs to focus on not offsetting it by letting Miller get easy buckets throughout the course of the game.

Spotlight:

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John Wall. I was covering the Wizards-Bucks game for our Hoop District team and was in awe of John Wall. In addition to being mesmerized by the amount of skill Wall was putting on display, his body language never changed throughout the process of the whole game. Even after time expired and the Wizards lost another easily winnable game at home, Wall dapped up his teammates and walked to the locker room with his head held high.

Wall racked up 30 points with eight assists and made timely plays for the Wizards when they needed them. He did his part in trying to get the Wizards the W but unfortunately it did not work out that way. Either way, he communicated with his teammates like a leader should. The only sense of discontent I sensed in Wall was when a reporter mentioned that Randy Wittman thought the Wizards lost the game in the first half when they came out flat. Without mincing his words, Wall correctly and respectfully squashed that notion. Wall said that opinion belonged to Coach Wittman, but he felt differently, that there are two halves to a game. Wall was right. Now that the starting lineup and the Wizards in general have been dealt some pretty tough blows, the adversity continues to stack up against Wall. I have full faith that he will progress as a player and leader as the season goes on.

The X-factor:

Bench play. The Wizards are one of the worst bench teams in the league. In fact, they are the worst in the league averaging 19.3 ppg. The Nuggets reserves are second in the NBA with 45.3 ppg. The Nuggets already have a large advantage in this area, and the Wizards missing two of their starters and a couple of their key reserves doesn’t bode well for them. Brian Shaw has a tendency to go 11 deep in games thus far. Can you imagine if the Wizards consistently played an 11-man rotation? Yikes.

What happened last time they played?

The Wizards edged out the Nuggets in a shootout at the Verizon Center. It was one of the higher-flying and fast-paced games that have taken place at the Verizon Center in recent memory. The Wizards spent most of the game with the lead until the Nuggets had a strong 4th quarter to bring them within striking distance. John Wall hit the biggest shot of the game to give the Wizards a four point lead with roughly a dozen seconds left in the game and the Wizards eventually won 119-113. They scored more than 30 points in three of four quarters. Wall, Beal, and Okafor all finished with double-doubles as the Wizards had a season-high seven players score in double figures. That victory completed a season sweep of the Nuggets.

Who’s hurt?

Al Harrington had a setback so he will remain out with the knee injury. Nene is also out for tonight. If the band-aid turns the red part of his boo-boo into a shade of pale white by game time then perhaps things could change. Martell Webster was improving over the weekend but did not participate in shootaround, meaning he will likely be out also. Kevin Seraphin is questionable with a knee injury. For the Nuggets, Ty Lawson is a gametime decision with a hamstring injury.

Outlook:

If losing to talent depleted Milwaukee was the basketball version of watching “Dumb and Dumber,” then Wizards fans are like Lloyd Christmas’ puzzled reaction to feeling duped by Mary Swanson.

“What was all that third seed in the Eastern Conference talk?”

We should have known better.

Third seed in the East? Playoffs? Beating teams we should beat and competing in games against elite competition? Yeah. RIGHT. Since the Wizards always win when I predict them to lose and lose when I predict them to win handily, I am going to go with the former. Wizards missing Webster and Nene will be too much to overcome a deep team like Denver. Nuggets roll.

we are Hoop District

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