It's a simple philosophy in basketball, score more than your opposition and you win the game. It's an oldie but a goodie and as Brian Fantana says "60 percent of the time it works, every time".
Much the same could be said for the Washington Wizards this season with new players coming in via trade. The Wizards show flashes of attractive basketball one minute and then seem to lose the plot moments later. It's as if their collective eyes glaze over and they find every conceivable way to lose the game. My immediate comparison to this phenomenon is the actions of Derek Zoolander when the song "RELAX" is played.
I'll break it down here as to why I think Washington will get their first road win tonight. It seems the Wizards, like a lot of struggling teams in the NBA, get to a point where they've given as many good, focused minutes to a game as they can. They are a young team and while they try really hard, the discipline just isn't there. As such, they commit careless turnovers and basically throw games away.
Without the slightest statistical evidence to support my theory, I believe the elite teams in the NBA consistently put in between 40-44 focused, disciplined minutes per game. I think Washington currently puts in about 30 when on the road. Something stops them from focusing for the duration and it's clear that the teams they have visited know that beforehand. The youth of their team alone dictates that they're not always going to be focused, but on the road the Wizards have a bad case of ADHD.
Which brings us to New York, you know, the team that will somehow claim the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference and make a run at the championship? Err, yeah I don't think so either. The Knicks, while impressive early have had a bad run of late, losing their last six games. These losses included two in particular to Sacramento and Phoenix at home, both far more likely to out-score you than out-defend you. I think I see an opening for the Wizards.
Now we know the Knicks can put up big scoring numbers as they currently average 106.5 points per game. This ranks them first in the East and second overall. But the fact I want to focus on here is the Eastern Conference worst 106.3 points per game that they are giving up every night. Call Amar'e the MVP if you want but his team plays no defense and as a result is likely to be eliminated from the playoffs before that MVP trophy is handed out. (I suppose that's how Dirk got his, which was awful.)
Enter: The Washington Wizards.
Tonight sees a golden opportunity for Wizards coach Flip Saunders to throw out the playbook and demand one thing from his troops...Offense, and lots of it.
Let Nick Young off the leash, let John Wall get crazy, demand the jersey number-inspired one-two combination that will kick start the Wizards into gear before their upcoming four game road trip. Put the pressure on Amar'e "MVP" Stoudemire to shoot better than the 15-43 from the field he's put up in his previous two games. Just whatever you do, please don't over-coach this game. Just let the kids play and let them get this King Kong sized monkey of their backs.
And finally, please don't tell them they've been giving up 108.4 points per game on the road. We want to see John Wall get his first career road win, and hearing that won't help.
Thanks for reading.