Flip Saunders continues to tinker with his lineup in an attempt to find the most productive unit, and tonight he will trot out his 10th different starting lineup of the season, and tonight the coach is going retro.
Saunders will start PG Gilbert Arenas, SG DeShawn Stevenson, SF Caron Butler, PF Antawn Jamison, C Brendan Haywood. It’s the first time since April 27, 2008, that those five have started together. That game was in the playoffs against Cleveland, but Gilbert Arenas wasn’t 100 percent and eventually shut it down just before Game 4. So the last time this lineup was completely healthy was the 2006-07 season when the Wizards were briefly the best team in the Eastern Conference.
Can this unit rekindle it’s old magic?
Flip Saunders is hoping so. This collection of players that put the Wizards back in the game Thursday night against Boston, and the coach is hoping that with his three All-Stars, Haywood (who is having a career year) and Stevenson (who fits in nicely with his willingness to do the little things rather than score), the Wizards can finally have the right balance and chemistry needed to succeed.
“We’re going with Deshawn, just to get a guy who’s going to help and do a lot of the little things, give us that aggressive play and do things to try to make those guys better,” Saunders said.
After the Boston game, Saunders said he went with Stevenson over Nick Young to give the Wizards less scorers and force Arenas, Butler and Jamison to step up. We’ll see how this works. It SEEMS like it should, but we’ll know for sure soon.
The Pacers will start T.J. Ford, Dahntay Jones, Brandon Rush, Troy Murphy and Roy Hibbert.