The Washington Wizards at last will get a chance to see how the starting lineup Flip Saunders envisioned taking into the season will look as Antawn Jamison is back much to the delite of his fellow starters, Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler, Mike Miller and Brendan Haywood.
And it’s got to be something the Cavaliers, who are without Shaq and Varejao, are not too thrilled about.
“It’s another all-star for those guys,” Cleveland coach Mike Brown said. “He’s just a different type of player for them because he really stretches the floor. He makes it difficult where you cant shrink the floor. Our defensive philosophy is hey, let’s shrink the floor, lets make that paint look crowded. Lets take away dribble drives, make teams shoot contested jump shots. even though you have rules, you don’t want to leave Antawn on the court.
“He puts out of whack defensively, because you’re constantly paying attention to him,” Brown continued. “You’re out of position a lot because he has the ability to shoot the ball and all top of that. He can rebound, he can post up. he can iso. He can put the points on the board in bunches. Hes another dangerous weapon that causes problems, big problems.”
The return of Jamison, in addition to the visit from the rival Cavaliers, has the Wizards fully charged and ready to go, Flip Saunders says, so we should — SHOULD — have a good game tonight.
“I think the energy level’s up,” Saunders said. “There’s no question, and it’s a combination of when you play one of the best teams your energy level had better be up and against LeBron and those things. And then, too, I think any time you get back one of your team leaders and a guy that’s not only been a very good basketball player but also very vocal for you, I think it kind of ignites you a little bit”
The Cavaliers will start Mo Williams, Anthony Parker, LeBron James, J.J. Hickson and Zydrunas Ilgauskas.
And although he’s not as physical as Shaq, Flip says Z actually makes things tougher on the Wizards.
“In some ways he makes it more difficult to defend LeBron because he’s a more perimeter player and will take 15, 16 face-up shots and that opens the floor up more for LeBron to get to the rim,” Flip said.
We’ll see how it goes and if the Wizards can snap this six-game losing streak… .