Wizards season schedule breakdown: Part V
GAMES (Home, Road, Back-to-backs): 15 (7,8,3)
OVERALL: The Wizards will open the month with five of their first six games at home, then end the month with five of six on the road, including their longest road trip of the season -- a five-game West Coast trip. Eight of their games are against lottery teams from last season, but John Wall will likely feel as if he's taking a month-long course at point guard university this month, as he faces Deron Williams, Derrick Rose, Baron Davis (twice), Russell Westbrook, Andre Miller, Chauncey Billups, Devin Harris and Stephen Curry (twice).
GAMES TO WATCH
March 2 & 27, Golden State: Stephen Curry thought he was headed to Washington in the 2009 NBA draft -- until the Wizards dealt the fifth overall pick to Minnesota to acquire some veteran help. Curry scored 27 points in the each game that the rookie of the year runner-up faced the Wizards last season. The Golden State Warriors were extremely active in the offseason, as Joe Jacob took over as owner and they acquired David Lee from the New York Knicks. With Don Nelson still around and Monta Ellis sharing the backcourt with Curry, the Warriors should continue to be one of the highest scoring teams in the league and help Wizards players produce season-high performances. Gilbert Arenas had a triple-double against his former team last season and JaVale McGee had a career-high with 25 points and 15 rebounds.
March 12 & 23, Los Angeles Clippers: John Wall is looking forward to a reunion with Eric Bledsoe, his backcourt mate at Kentucky. But since Bledsoe might get limited action behind Baron Davis and former Wizard Randy Foye, the key matchup will be the duel between the past two No. 1 overall picks in Wall and 2009 top choice Blake Griffin. These two late-season games could possibly influence voters' decisions on rookie of the year. Griffin missed all of last season with a knee injury, but he has recovered and is expected to provide an interior presence for the Clippers. Foye had an up-and-down season and never seemed to find a comfortable role under Coach Flip Saunders, so it will be interesting to see how he responds against his former team. Al Thornton will also get a chance to face his former team for the first time since he was dealt at the deadline last February.
March 14, Oklahoma City: Kevin Durant, the league's newly minted superstar, and former Georgetown star Jeff Green, will make their lone visit to Verizon Center. Durant torched the Wizards last season in Washington, prompting Saunders to go on a rant about his team's porous defense that set the stage for a roster implosion. It is the first end of gruesome back-to-back set for Wall, who will have to face Westbrook then chase around Rose the next night in Chicago. While Wall will have his hands full with the incredibly athletic Westbrook, another intriguing matchup involves young big men McGee and Thunder center Serge Ibaka, who had a strong playoff performance last season. McGee and Ibaka are incredible athletes and high flyers. Both are also under age 23.
March 22, at Portland: Brandon Roy shuffled his feet a bit before making his game-winning shot with 0.9 seconds remaining in a 76-74 win the last time the Wizards were in Portland. But it doesn't matter since traveling wasn't called at the time. The Wizards will look to get some payback, while Arenas gets a long-delayed opportunity to make good on his post-Team USA snub promise to scorch Trail Blazers Coach Nate McMillan for 50 points. Because of injury and bad decision-making, Arenas has not played in Portland in more than three years. McGee will have to tussle with Marcus Camby, but do you remember Greg Oden? Injuries have made him somewhat of an afterthought since he was taken No. 1 overall in 2007. Oden has faced the only Wizards twice, averaging 14 points and 12 rebounds in those games. He will likely go head-to-head against McGee, which should be another exciting matchup of young big men.
March 25, at Denver: On the third game of a season-long five-game West Coast road trip, Saunders will re-unite with one of his favorite point guard pupils, Chauncey Billups. The soon-to-be 34-year-old Billups is the sage of Team USA, providing stability and composure, and his strength and intelligence have allowed him to remain effective and relevant the past few years. Wall will get tested against Billups, who will look to overpower him and slow him down with physical defense. Billups can also show him how to be an efficient leader on the floor, engineering offense for his team.
March 28, at Utah: Andray Blatche's promising finish to last season was credited largely to the lack of viable options on a decimated roster. But what if it wasn't a fluke? And if his production were legit, would you take Blatche over Al Jefferson right now? This could be an interesting matchup of two of the last power forwards to enter the NBA directly out of high school. But Jefferson hasn't made it to the playoffs since his rookie season in Boston. Wall will finish the month in Point Guard U against Deron Williams, who has the combination of speed, strength, floor leadership and shooting that rank him among the best, if not the best, in the league.
March 30, Miami: The schedule maker didn't do the Wizards any favors, forcing them to face the Miami Heat just two days after leaving Salt Lake City and a grueling road trip. The Wizards will get their last look at the SuperFriends, as Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh visit Verizon Center. It could also possibly be the final time that Juwan Howard, who will be 38 at the time, faces the franchise that awarded him $105 million in 1996 after the NBA voided the contract he signed with Miami. Hard as it may seem, Howard is the last Bullets/Wizards draft pick to represent the organization in an all-star game.
September 8, 2010; 10:32 AM ET
Categories: Wizards 2010-11 schedule breakdown
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