The Wizards are the worst 7-3 team in the NBA, if you listen to the narrative around the league. After feasting on the lower rungs of the Eastern Conference (Milwaukee, notwithstanding), Washington dropped a closely contested game on Wednesday to the Dallas Mavericks. There were highs (Bradley Beal’s return) and lows (John Wall’s poor play; bad shot to close the game), but ultimately, they just couldn’t hang with the better team.
But you know what?
There’s a certain team in town, ready for a major matchup on a certain network, and the city’s buzzing.
Wizards fans’ favorite rivalry has returned, and it’s going to be more contentious than ever.
• There’s the Kyrie vs. Wall narrative: individual accolades meeting team success.
• There’s Anderson Varejao vs. Nene for Brazilian hair supremacy (but really, can Andy compete with Nene’s beard?)
• And finally there’s Lebron vs. Paul Pierce, which leads me to . . .
Remember: Paul Pierce Doesn’t Like Lebron James.
In D.C., we like to boast that we hated Lebron James before it really became a thing. So it’s fitting, then, to import some of that malcontent in the form of a grizzled veteran. Paul Pierce hasn’t been silent about his disdain for the James. On the court, their matchups have been heated and close, but the jawing never stopped there. Recently, Pierce went on record to speak out against the current era of the league’s superstars. While successful and flashy, Paul just plain doesn’t like their harmonious nature, which presumably was a shot at James’ Miami team construct, as well as rumors of other triumvirates.
“I still can’t stand none of these guys,” Pierce told ESPN’s Mike and Mike in October.
Similar to the preseason Joakim Noah scuffle, I expect Paul to try to get under Lebron’s skin early in Friday’s game. I just hope he doesn’t get tossed.
B R A D B E A L B A C K
Playing with a void in your starting lineup is difficult in any sport, but especially basketball. Thankfully for the Wizards, they were able to get solid contributions from Garrett Temple and others on the roster to lead Washington to a 7-2 record coming into Wednesday’s game with the Dallas Mavericks.
What happened that night? Brad Beal saw some nice floor time– and he hasn’t missed a beat. Beal scored 21 points on 9-17 from the floor, including 3-6 from three point range.
As the Wizards graduate from the cupcake portion of their schedule, they’ll rely on Beal’s scoring lift against the likes of Cleveland, Miami, New Orleans, and other tougher contenders.
Yesterday, Monumental Network tweeted a picture of Nene and Otto Porter playing FIFA 15 on the Verizon Center’s jumbotron. Nene looked relaxed, but Otto looked stiff and cold – almost like he’d accidentally sat under a vent and there was air blowing on the back of his neck. Was he nervous? Was Nene talking trash to him in Spanish, but all Otto could make out was “bola”?
Whatever. It was a good gesture of team comradery and hopefully easy on Otto’s eyes. We need his points off the bench.
— Monumental Network (@MonumentalNtwrk) November 20, 2014