10 Most Spellbinding Games of the Washington Wizards' 2009-10 Season
The Washington Wizards have had an eventful offseason, acquiring Randy Foye and Mike Miller from the Minnesota Timberwolves for the fifth pick of the draft, Etan Thomas, Darius Songaila, and Oleksiy Pecherov.
The Wizards had a down year last year, thanks to injuries to Gilbert Arenas and Brendan Haywood.
Coming into the 2009-10 season, there are many questions about the Wizards. How will Foye and Miller do? Will Gilbert Arenas be back to his 2006 form? What will be the everyday starting lineup? Will Flip Saunders finally lead the Wizards past the second round?
With all of these questions, there are several interesting games on the Wizards' schedule. Here are ten of the most intriguing games going into the season.
Tues. Oct. 27 @ Dallas Mavericks (8:30 PM ET)
Opening Night is the first time the new Wizards will appear on the court in a game that counts. While one game doesn't necessarily show what the entire season will be like, it would be nice to see Foye and Miller mesh with the rest of the team and to see Flip Saunders display a good hold over the team.
This is one of the games most Wizards' fans are looking forward to this season.
Wed. Nov. 18 vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (7 PM on ESPN)
The Cavs and Wizards hate each other, and rightfully so. Between Lebron's childish antics and constant traveling and DeShawn Stevenson's hard fouls on him, it's not hard to see where this hatred comes from.
The Cavs beat the Wizards in the first round of the playoffs in 2006, 2007, and 2008. Both 2006 and 2008 were hotly contested match-ups ridden with bad calls, while 2007 saw the Cavs sweep a depleted Wizards team missing Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler.
If the Wizards start off strong, this will be a greatly-hyped game. Two powers in the East + ESPN = big game.
A win here would go a long way towards announcing to the rest of the league that the Wizards are a power this year.
The Wizards are at Cleveland on November 3rd and January 6th as well.
Fri. Nov. 27 @ Miami Heat (7 PM on ESPN)
Three years ago this would have been an early-season matchup between the two premier teams in the Southeast. Now, the Orlando Magic are the team to beat, while the Wizards and Heat are good teams that have something to prove.
There are several good matchups in this game, notably Gilbert Arenas/Caron Butler vs. Dwyane Wade. This is another game that the Wizards can use to prove that they are one of the teams to beat in the East.
Thurs. Dec. 10 vs. Boston Celtics (8 PM on TNT)
This is another important game for the Wizards, as they will be matched up against another one of the premier teams in the East. In 2007-08 when the Celtics won the championship, the Wizards won three of four games against them, with the only loss coming in the opening game of the year.
The Wizards matchup well with the Celtics, and could cause some damage against them again. Plus, the matchup of Paul Pierce vs. Caron Butler is always riveting, as both players seem to push each other to go harder, constantly trash-talking throughout the entire game.
Mon. Dec. 14 @ LA Clippers (10:30 PM)
I know this sounds surprising, but this will be a very important game for the Wizards. It is the first game of a West Coast roadtrip, and a win here could start the trip off right.
Even if this game weren't the beginning of a roadtrip, this could still be a big game. According to Vincent Thomas of NBA.com, the Wizards and Clippers are the two breakout teams this season. Laugh all you want, but Thomas makes some very good points. If these teams live up to the hype this could be a very good game.
Sat. Dec. 26 @ Minnesota Timberwolves (8 PM on NBATV)
While this may not be a very competitive game, we do get to see the teams that completed the blockbuster trade go head-to-head for the first time.
Will Foye or Miller drop 30? Or will Darius Songaila shock everyone and drop 20 and 10? Or will there be a fight between Brendan Haywood and Etan Thomas?
Either way, it should be entertaining to see how the players act towards the team that traded them.
Fri. Jan. 8 vs. Orlando Magic (7 PM)
This is the first matchup between these two teams who figure to contend for the Southeast Division title. Following their trip to the NBA Finals last year, the Magic look to be a contender again.
However, they are a drastically different team. They let Hedo Turkoglu go, traded Rafer Alston for Vince Carter, signed Marcin Gortat to a $34 million deal, and will miss Rashard Lewis for 10 games due to a positive test for performance-enhancing drugs.
I think they have gotten worse. Turkoglu was a key player on their team, and his loss will definitely hurt the team. Add in trading away Rafer Alston and the suspension of Rashard Lewis, and this team is missing three of its best players.
The addition of Vince Carter will help, but not by much. Orlando is not as good a team this year, and the Wizards will try to get advantage of it.
Sat. Feb. 20 @ Toronto Raptors (7 PM)
With the addition of Hedo Turkoglu and the drafting of DeMar DeRozan, the Raptors have the ability to cause some damage in the East. Add in some of the recent classics between the Wiz and the Raptors, and this could be a great game.
Sun. Mar. 21 @ LA Lakers (9:30 PM)
This is a huge game for the Wizards. Hopefully by this point in the season they have proven that they could make a run in the playoffs. A game at the defending champions could prove that they could win the championship.
The Lakers are once again a juggernaut, with the return of Lamar Odom and the signings of Ron Artest and DJ Mbenga improving an already impressive team. Add in the improvement of young players like Andrew Bynum and Jordan Farmar, and you've got a team that looks unstoppable.
However, no team will win 82 games, so they are susceptible to a loss at any time. If the Wizards bring their A game, they might be able to knock off the mighty Lakers and let the league know that they are here to stay.
Wed. Apr. 7 @ Orlando Magic (8 PM on ESPN)
With only a few games left, the Magic and Wizards are likely to be in a heated battle for the Southeast Division crown. This game will be huge for both teams, and expect the Orlando crowd to be extremely hostile.
With everything on the line, the Wizards have failed in recent memory, other than in the first round in 2005. Hopefully, they can pull this one out and knock off the Magic.
A win here would also be extremely helpful because two nights later the Wizards are at the Celtics, another Eastern Conference power. With a tough end to the schedule (7 of the last 11 teams they face made the playoffs last year), a win in Orlando would help keep the Wizards near the top of the standings.
The Wizards will be back in the playoffs again this year, and will challenge the Magic for the Southeast Division title. If they do get it, they will be the 2nd seed in the East behind the Cavs. If the Magic beat them out, they will finish as the 4 seed, leading to yet another second round matchup with the Cavs.
It should be an interesting season.