home 2013-14, Blogs, Game Coverage Gameday: Wizards vs. Warriors – Swing away

Gameday: Wizards vs. Warriors – Swing away

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Wizards (21-22) at Warriors (27-18)

January 28, 2014 at 10:30 PM
Oracle Arena, Oakland, CA
TV: CSN Washington
Radio: 106.7FM The Fan

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Projected starting lineups:

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C- Marcin Gortat
PF- Nene
SF- Trevor Ariza
SG- Bradley Beal
PG- John Wall

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C- Andrew Bogut
PF- David Lee
SF- Andre Iguodala
SG- Klay Thompson
PG- Steph Curry

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Spotlight

Wall v. Curry

What else did you expect?

Last time out, both of these guys had below average games for players of their caliber. This time I expect both of these guys to lead the way for their teams. This matchup is intriguing in many ways that you are already aware of, and in many ways that I can’t even describe. Their skill sets contrast in so many ways, that if you combined them into one player they’d likely be one of the most dominant players of all time.

Imagine John Wall with a cross-over step-back three.

Imagine Steph Curry getting a screen at the top of the arc with anything less than a dominant athletic power forward to go over or under it.

John Wall and Steph Curry on the floor at the same time is just something you enjoy first and talk about later. Let’s just leave it at that.

Spotlight

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Jan Vesely and Garrett Temple

Jan Vesely had a very productive game for himself the last time the Wizards played the Warriors. In a blowout loss, he had eight points, six rebounds, and three blocks. His statline wasn’t overwhelming, but he filled up the stat sheet pretty well for a guy who hasn’t really been given consistent minutes since he first entered the league. Granted, he isn’t as good as the Wizards were hoping, and will likely go down as another bust in the long list of names of Wizards that the Washington brass has taken in the NBA Draft. Vesely does have his moments of making impact plays with his hands and his hustle. He can make key steals on the defensive end, and also run the floor to finish fast-breaks.

Garrett Temple is important to the Wizards in the sense that he is a solid defender that can somewhat limit guards in production. Beal and Wall aren’t slouches defensively, specifically Wall, but they find themselves shouldering the load on offense so much that exerting an exorbitant amount of energy on defense isn’t worth their while. The Wizards need Garrett Temple to make life hell for Curry and Thompson whenever he gets a chance, time permitting.

The X-Factor

3-point shooting. If chicks truly do dig the long ball, there could be an orgy tonight at Oracle Arena. The Wizards have three players who are shooting above 40% from behind the arc. In line with those percentages, the Wizards and the Warriors are both in the top five teams in the league in terms of shooting from downtown. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson are first and second in the league respectively in three-point attempts. If the Warriors get hot from behind the arc, this game is a blowout. The Wizards need to get hot from downtown to keep this game competitive.

What happened last time they played?

Just a few weeks ago, the Warriors topped the Wizards 112-96 in DC. In this most recent contest, John Wall and Nene lead the Wizards in scoring with 14 points apiece. The game was somewhat competitive until a 34-15 advantage in the 3rd quarter for the Warriors put it completely out of reach for the Wiz Kids.

Who’s hurt?

Wizards: Al Harrington.

Warriors: Jermaine O’Neal – out (wrist), Festus Ezeli – out (knee), Nemanja Nedovic – out (hamstring)

Outlook

The Warriors have a decided advantage at home at the Oracle Arena. The Wizards are much better this year on the road. The Wizards are in shambles. The Warriors dropped two straight at home, but they just destroyed the Blazers in a game where nearly every player in the starting lineup had All-Star caliber numbers. Both teams sport young talent – but there’s a big difference. The Wizards have the potential to go to the playoffs and play a competitive first round. The Warriors have the potential to go to the NBA Finals.

The Wizards don’t deserve any faith at this point against any team. If they play a poor team at home, you can depend on them to sink to the level of competition. If they are on the road against a good team, you can always expect it to be competitive until a few rotational decisions and bad turnovers make the 2nd half look like an AAU game. I can’t even remotely believe that the Wizards can pull an upset here against a team that has completely owned them at home the last five years. You can throw the #SoWizards theory out of the window.

It would be #SoWizards if they won this game against an upper echelon team that resides across the country. It would also be #SoWizards if they lost and continued to settle for mediocrity in a league where only the big swingers hit the homeruns. The Wizards and their level of talent are just content to get on base. Swing away Wizards. Swing away.

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