On the road again
The Wizards are on a two-game winning streak going into tonight's game against the Bulls here at the United Center but this team really needs a road win to get the 0-7 road monkey off their backs. It's hard to believe with some of the lousy teams that have played in DC over the years that no squad in history has opened 0-8 on the road. However, it is interesting to note that the last team to open 0-7, the 86-87 squad, snapped its streak with a quality win at Boston on Dec. 2, 1986 against the defending world champs.
The Bulls aren't nearly as tough as those Celtics but they are on a three-game winning streak and seem to have found some sort of stride after a rough start. The good news for the Bulls is that tonight's game kicks off an eight-game homestand. In all, the Bulls get to play 12 of 17 December games at home.
Last night's win over Charlotte was impressive - on the offensive end. Defensively, it was disturbing to allow the Bobcats to shoot 52.5 percent while scoring a season-high 109 points. While watching the game from my perch above the player's tunnell, I remarked to my fellow sports hacks that anytime an opponent wants to get a quality shot against the Wizards, all it has to do is work the ball around with three or four passes. As long as they don't cough it up, some player will wind up with a wide open shot.
That could be a problem tonight against a Bulls team that loves to play the drive and kick game with guards Kirk Hinrich, Ben Gordon and Chris Duhon and forwards Andres Nocioni and Luol Deng. These guys will regularly pass on an OK shot for a great one and if they happen to be hitting that night as they were last night when they torched the Hornets' zone, you are in trouble.
A few notes to keep in mind before tonight's game: Gilbert Arenas averaged 32.5 points in four games against Chicago last season.....The Wizards have lost three straight regular season games at United Center.....The last regular season win here came on Oct. 29, 2003 and marked Eddie Jordan's first win as Wiz coach....The last win overall was a big one, a 112-110 victory in Game 5 of the 2005 Eastern Conference playoffs when Gilbert hit that memorable jumper over Hinrich and Tyson Chandler....Since he was moved from the starting lineup to the bench 10 games ago, Gordon is averaging 19.1 points in 30.6 minutes for the Bulls....Things haven't gone smoothly for Ben Wallace so far here in Chi-town but he is averaging a league-high 4.5 offensive rebounds per game. That could be a problem for a Wizards team that has been getting killed on the boards all season....Then again, Brendan Haywood did a pretty solid job on Ben when he was a Piston last season.
It's going to be a fun weekend for me. I'm sticking around tomorrow and going to the Bears/VIkings game with a group of friends, including my buddy who just got back from Afghanistan. It's going to be cold but it's also going to be a blast. Anyway, the two of us were sitting around today debating this scenerio (which may be more likely than I think): What if the Bulls were to offer the first round pick they get next summer from the Knicks, Luol Deng and Ben Gordon to the Timberwolves for Kevin Garnett? Would the Wolves do it? Should they? And, what would such a move mean to the Eastern Conference playoff race.
The thing is, the more I see Garnett this season, the more I'm becoming convinced that Kevin McHale has to move him if for not other reason than it would be good for the man's mental health to be on a contender. Trust me, Minnesota's going nowhere. Randy Foye is the future but every other player on that team is either average or well below. Add a couple of nice young pieces in Gordan and Deng plus a lottery pick and that's a pretty good package. Thoughts?
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