Bullets Fever

A blog and community website for the Washington Wizards and their fans.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Open Thread: Game 8

Regular Season Game 8
Wizards (3-4) vs. Pistons (3-5)
The Palace at Auburn Hills
8 PM

Despite winning 64 games last year, the Pistons curiously struggled with the Wizards last year. Of their 18 losses, 3 came against Les Bullez. Granted, one of those games was a late-season contest where Detroit rested all their starters, but it's still very interesting that the Pistons struggled so much against the Wizards last season. There was that double overtime thriller early in the year where Gilbert Arenas scored 39 and Caron Butler and Chucky Atkins had 27 and 20 each. Hopefully, the success carries over this time around.

Pistons Blogs: Detroit Bad Boys, Need4Sheed, Motoring, The Detroit Pistons Today

Last year, the Wizards had success against Detroit because they were able to turn the contests into perimeter battles. Without a real inside threat to play against, Ben Wallace wasn't his usual self last year in the three games. He fouled out of the first one, was rendered useless in the second matchup, and barely played in the third one. Wallace, obviously, is gone, and Nazr Mohammad is there in his place, meaning conventional wisdom should dictate that the Wizards are going to have similar success.

Of course, conventional wisdom doesn't always work with this team. The Wizards outshot Detroit from the line in every game last year, and that should continue again. This means that as long as the Wizards make some shots, they should have at least a fighting chance. Arenas has to have a big game tonight from the field if the Wizards are going to win.

On the other side, the Wizards need to keep Detroit in jump-shooting mode and focus on contesting every shot. Richard Hamilton is back in the lineup tonight, and he has the ability to work off screens for open shots. Caron Butler and DeShawn Stevenson have to be able to fight through the picks and prevent open jumpers. That's not an easy task, but the Wizards did hold Hamilton in check last year. On the ball defense on Chauncey Billups is key as well.

The other major problem is that Detroit is going to be desperate and they're playing at home. The Wizards have the ability to win this game, but they must match Detroit's desperation. This is a major game for the Wizards too. They have to play like it.

Go Wizards!

Prediction: Wizards 102, Pistons 99

If you're here during the game, post your thoughts!

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