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Riding the Wizards Bench November

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PREVIEW: Wizards Try To Rebound Against World Champions

Tonight should be an interesting test for both teams - the Wizards and the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls lost last night at Cleveland, a rather disheartening loss for them. I can only imagine that it will help focus them for tonight's matchup. That's not good for the Wizards.

They need to do a little soul-searching of their own. They have been failing to make the hustle plays against the good teams, and whether their opponent is good or bad, they still allow too many transition baskets, and they also are not defending the outside shot too well. Against teams like Denver, that's fine as they don't shoot too well out there; but against teams like Charlotte and Miami, that's playing with fire. And the Wizards are getting burned.

Who's going to step up and be responsible? Who's going to provide any help beyond the big 3 (i.e., Howard, Strickland, CWebb)? Questions the Wizards need to answer soon before they lose too many games this month and have to play catch-up on their record the rest of the season.

I'm not just referring to Cheaney (though he does need to get more touches). The bench needs to start being accountable - NOW! With Terry Davis now manning the starting lineup (with Lorenzo Williams out trying to determine what's up with his sore knee), someone else needs to provide the hustle. Tracy Murray is obviously still affected by his wrist surgery, but if it's not going to be him, who will it be?

I hope it's Tracy; I still remember fondly how he abused Toni Kukoc during the playoffs last year, and he should be able to do it again.

But expect a fired up Bulls team tonight. Rodman will not be lackadaisical tonight, unlike in recent road losses in Atlanta and Cleveland; he usually relishes playing CWebb. And the rest of the Bulls crew should be equally up.

This is the test of the Wizards. Can they beat a team that's struggling, just like they did when they beat the Jazz last week? Tune in tonight (on HTS, if you're local) to find out.

wtf 12 November 1997

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