The Washington Wizards will pay a visit to the New Jersey Nets tonight in Newark. The Wiz have yet to come out on top away from home this season and are currently on a 5-game losing streak. The Nets are winless in 8 and trail behind the Wizards with the worst record in the East. One thing is for certain tonight – one of these squads will pull out of their early-season tailspins and walk away victorious.
The Wiz, playing without first overall pick PG John Wall and sixth-year PF Andray Blatche, fell to the visiting Los Angeles Lakers Tuesday night 103-89 in D.C. Both of these leading scorers are expected to be out of action again this evening, as well as Yi Jianlian, who will miss 2-4 weeks with a sprained right MCL.
The Nets also have to contend with some major adjust-ments to their roster. SG Anthony Morrow, who ranks third on the team in scoring with 12.8 ppg, will be sidelined for the next 2-3 weeks due to a hamstring injury he suffered during warmups before Tuesday’s 82-77 loss to the Sixers. Meanwhile Sasha Vujacic, who was sporting yellow and purple at the Prudential Center just a few days ago, might debut his new red, white and blue duds tonight.
New Jersey acquired combo guard Vujacic and two first-round picks yesterday in exchange for Terrence Williams, Joe Smith and two second-round picks. The former Laker and NBA champion should bring some needed energy on the defensive end and top-notch outside marksman-ship on offense. The Nets can certainly use his scoring abilities as they currently rank 29th in the NBA in points per game at 92.7. And veteran Vujacic’s championship experience will be valuable to this young Nets franchise that is in the throws of rebuilding and learning how to win.
This game is the first of three meetings between these Eastern Conference teams this season. The Wizards have bested the Nets the last 5 times they’ve played and beaten them 4 consecutive times in New Jersey. A bright spot for New Jersey is seveth-year PG Devon Harris, who has averaged 23 points in his last four meetings with Washington.
Tonight Ian and I go up against Steve and fellow YES announcer Marv on TNT. Should be interesting to see how the ratings compare. You can help out Bird and the Czar by tuning into Wizards @ Nets at 7:00 PM ET on YES.