Game On: Wizards' starting lineup likely to remain static

Game On: Wizards' starting lineup likely to remain static
March 28, 2014, 11:30 am
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Although coach Randy Wittman has considered changing up his lineup, it appears that won't come in Friday's game vs. the Indiana Pacers. 

The obvious adjustment would be inserting backup Drew Gooden into the starting lineup at power forward, but after a film session the Wizards seem pretty confident that's not necessary as long as everyone is healthy. Gooden wasn't wearing the starters' practice jersey Thursday.

They won't have shootaround Friday morning because they need to recharge before playing three games in the next four days. The Wizards are in danger of falling to a No. 7 seed in the East with 11 games left in the regular season.

"A lot of guys have never been in this position. Up to this point, they've been playing for the summer. The last 11 games then its summertime. You've got to think differently. You're tired, you're beat up. We're playing for something more than the summer. Mentally, you got to be stronger," Wittman said. "There's a lot of guys right now tired. Hell, there was a guy knocked out (Wednesday) night in a game. You think he's feeling good today? Got a game tomorrow? Be there. That's a mental thing. If you're like, 'Oh, I'm tired,' then you're going to play tired."

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That player Wittman referenced about being KO'd was Roy Hibbert, the Pacers's 7-2 center who took a vicious elbow to the chin from LeBron James. If the Wizards play what Wittman calls the right way, he'd like to deal the Pacers another blow. They're trying to hold the No. 1 seed ahead of Miami.  

"We talked, watched the difference in how we got to play," Wittman said of revisiting Wednesday's troubling loss to the Phoenix Suns when his team trailed by as many as 25 points at home. "It was very evident."

TV: The pregame show Wizards Central is on CSN at 6:30 p.m. ET. Tipoff is 7 and Wizards Postgame Live immediately follows the conclusion. Radio: 106.7 FM. 1500 AM. 

Last game: Wizards (36-35) lost vs. Phoenix Suns 99-93 on Wednesday; Pacers (52-20) beat Miami Heat 84-83 on Wednesday.

Last meeting: Pacers won 93-66 on Jan. 10, the lowest points output for the Wizards in 10 years. Season series: Pacers lead 2-0. 

Projected starting lineups: Wizards –- PG John Wall, SG Bradley Beal, SF Trevor Ariza, PF Trevor Booker, C Marcin Gortat. Pacers –- PG George Hill, SG Lance Stephenson, SF Paul George, PF David West, C Roy Hibbert.

X-factors: Beal will be playing with a hip pointer. When he returned in the second half of Wednesday's game, he was visibly limited and missed all five of his shot attempts. ... Gortat went for an MRI on his back that the team has called "precautionary." 

Around the bend: The Wizards didn't shoot around before Friday's game and likely won't do so before Saturday's vs. the Atlanta Hawks at Verizon Center (CSN, 8).