Friday, December 7, 2007

Cruisin Down the Freeway With the Hot, Hot Suns

Tonight the Washington Wizards play host to one of the hottest teams in the league. The Phoenix Suns (15-4) come into Verizon Center riding a four-game win streak and having won 12 of their last 14. Meanwhile, the Wizards (9-9) have won their last two, most recently a 105-86 blowout against Cleveland on Wednesday in D.C.

Steve Nash, Amare Stoudemire, Shawn Marion and company will provide a much tougher test for a team that is starting to develop some consistency on the defensive end. That they've held four of their last five opponents below the century mark shows how far they've come after being one of the league's worst defensive teams a season ago. Tonight they'll likely be exposed for how far they have yet to go before they can be considered a legitimately talented defensive group. No one on Washington's roster can contain a point guard with Nash's penetration and passing ability. No one on the Wiz can handle a load like Stoudamire on the block. And no one on the team is quick enough to keep the human form of Gumby, aka the Matrix, off the boards and away from the rim.
Don't bother looking for much defense at all in this one. The Suns gave up 123 to the Raptors in their last game and still won by 13. For the Wizards to keep pace, they'll need another 25+ point showing from Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison, a double-double from Brendan Haywood and lots of scoring off the bench. With the way they've played recently, a win certainly isn't out of the question for Washington. They'll just need to play a near-perfect game to pull off the upset. That said, I like the West's best offensive team by 12.
-- The Tar Heel

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