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Warriors vs. Wizards preview: Q&A with Bullets Forever

Albert Lee is someone I've talked quite a bit of basketball with over the years as both a contributor at Bullets Forever and an editor at SB Nation's women's basketball site Swish Appeal, which I co-founded. The following is some insight about what's going on for the Washington Wizards in advance of the Warriors' game in D.C. today and, perhaps, why fans in the nation's capitol are getting a bit restless.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

While the Golden State Warriors' offense was sputtering in Indiana without Stephen Curry, Albert Lee of Bullets Forever asked if I'd like to do a Q&A about today's game against the Washington Wizards.

Needing a distraction, I obliged.

After all, thinking about an upcoming opponent that had lost three in a row, including a 38-point loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers and a 17-point loss to the Detroit Pistons in the first game of the Reggie Jackson Era, had to be uplifting, right?


I've added some context about what was going on during Sunday's game just to help you understand where my head was at.

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Albert Lee: Wiz play Dubs on Tuesday, do you want to do a Q&A with me or would you rather have someone else do it?

Nate Parham: Let me see how I feel after watching a game without Curry... Lol


NP: Let's just start here and let this thing evolve:

Gotta be honest that I haven't been watching the Wizards much at why are you on a nuclear rampage?

AL: The things I am most concerned about:

1. Offense is too slow: way too geared toward mid range shots and not towards points in the paint for foul shots (their FT rate is baaaad) or corner three point shots.
2. Wizards bench doesn't have enough wings who can both handle and pass the ball.
3. Players are now calling each other out after losses and disagreeing on why things aren't going out right.
4. The defense has also started to regress last several games.

NP: Yikes - I missed the news about players calling each other out. Does it feel, as an outsider, like long-standing tensions are being revealed or that players are just blowing off a little steam?

I did read Jake's response to the Pistons game where he mentioned Randy Wittman though: are there fans (or you) back on the #FireWittman bandwagon?

(And this Dubs game is getting ugly so I can use the distraction...)

AL: It could be more of the former with posts. There isn't enough playing time for DeJuan Blair, Kris Humphries, and Kevin Seraphin. After bad games, players will blow off steam, but during a tough stretch like this, it just can't happen anymore.

A growing number of fans are getting on the Fire Wittman bandwagon. Moreso, people are on the Fire Ernie Grunfeld bandwagon. I think Wittman was a great coach to take them past the first hump which was a playoff berth. But now can he really take them to a conference finals or get them a top seed in the East? I don't think he can because the offense he has isn't optimized for that.


NP: sounds like straight up chaos.

My first thought about that is to wonder whether you think Paul Pierce's presence as a championship vet has helped at all this year - has he emerged as a leader for this team or are there guys who have been here before trying to command the ship?

AL: I would say that Pierce has helped the Wizards, and has made some plays to help will Washington to victories (I can think of the Pacers game early this season as one of many examples). In addition, he's not afraid to get into rivalries quickly, like The Boop on Paul Pierce in the preseason. Given his experience, Pierce is a leader for the Wizards, but he's not going to command the ship in DC that's for sure.

NP: So how do you think Bradley Beal's recent injury fits into their struggles? And, since my understanding is that he's expected to be out again on Tuesday, how do you think his absence would affect the matchup with the Warriors?

Not that one player can explain losses like the Wizards have been taking, but we just watched the Warriors attempt to play a NBA basketball game without Steph we know things can get ugly when you're missing a part of the unit.

AL: When Beal's out, defenses pack the paint, which limits Wall's drive and kick game which has been his bread and butter over the past several seasons.

Sure, Garrett Temple had a hot stretch early in the season, and Rasual Butler also had a stellar first half of the season, but they're reserves. Not having a consistent three point shooter like Beal is a huge loss for them.

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Albert then asked me one question regarding this Bullets Forever FanPost comparing Wittman to Mark Jackson in response to Chris Ballard's (outstanding) piece on the Warriors for SI, which I responded to at length for a Q&A that involved one answer from me. Click here to head over to Bullets Forever and check that piece out.

For more on today's game -- and Stephen Curry news -- check out Arno Ferguson's preview here at Golden State of Mind.

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