The 7-26 Washington Wizards will visit the 13-20 Milwaukee Bucks tonight in their second of four season meetings. The Bucks crushed the Wizards back in December thanks in part to one of the worst blunders in franchise history, as then Head Coach Flip Saunders failed to write-in Roger Mason, Jr., on a night in which Washington needed guard depth due to early foul trouble.
The Wizards were 2-15 with Saunders, including a big win over the Oklahoma City Thunder which has lasted as perhaps the most significant victory of the season. Since firing Saunders–about a month after that Milwaukee blunder–the Randy Wittman interim Wizards are 5-11, albeit two of those wins came over the hapless Charlotte Bobcats. Bucks big man Andrew Bogut fractured his ankle at the end of January–around the same time Saunders was fired–and he won’t be back until April, if at all. Tonight could provide Wittman and the Wizards a chance at revenge, as a Bogut-less Bucks should allow the Wizards plenty of chances in the paint.
For Washington, the road to revenge has to start with the revival of Nick Young. He scored only 3 points in Milwaukee the last time the two teams met–due partly to foul trouble–and he’s been on a poor shooting trend as of late as well. While Jordan Crawford is out-playing Young off the bench the Wizards wouldn’t get better with a simple starter switch. They need Young to score like the desert needs the rain. The points aren’t going to come from John Wall and Jordan Crawford alone and until Andray Blatche comes back the Wizards do not have another guy who will score 20 points on any given night.
This dry spell, broken up by the All-Star break, could be relieved somewhat by the expected return of Blatche and fellow big Ronny Turiaf. Turiaf looked ready to go last Wednesday and should provide Washington with some much needed stability. Blatche is a bit more mysterious at this point, and some sources list him as “questionable” while the official notes still list him as “out.”
Time: 8:00 p.m ET
TV: Comcast SportsNet+/NBALP
Radio: 106.7 The Fan
Wizards: Ronny Turiaf, Hand (Out); Andray Blatche, Calf (Questionable)
Bucks: Drew Gooden, Wrist (Day-to-Day); Tobias Harris, Shoulder (Day-to-Day); Andrew Bogut, Ankle (Out); Stephen Jackson, Hamstring (Questionable)
Turiaf has been sidelined since January 1st with a broken left hand, while Blatche suffered a calf injury on January 28th. Both are expected to return post All-Star break, but both are still listed as “out” according to Washington’s official game notes.
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