Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Are you ready for some basketball this winter?

Jim Williams, The Examiner
Oct 31, 2006 5:00 AM (1 hr 24 mins ago)
Current rank: # 1 of 4,344 articles

WASHINGTON - Opening night of the NBA season is just hours away. If you are a pro hoops fan, be ready to log plenty of time on the couch. Games will air virtually every night with CSN, TNT, ESPN and NBA TV serving up all the action.

TNT gets things started tonight with a doubleheader that showcases Chicago taking on Miami and Phoenix at the Lakers.

The Wizards and the Cavaliers take the national spotlight Wednesday night as part of the ESPN’s opening act. The late game will be the Clippers at Phoenix. Wizards fans can also see the opener on CSN at 8 p.m. after an extended pre-game show.

So how do the national experts think the Wiz will do this season?

I talked to a cross section of experts from TNT and ESPN and here is what they had to say.

» Mike Breen, ESPN lead play-by-play man: I really like the way the Wizards look this season and I have them as a sleeper team in the East. If anyone doubted that Gilbert Arenas is a superstar in this league he put that to rest last season. They have a real chance to go deep into the playoffs.

» Hubie Brown, ESPN lead game analyst: I like the Wizards and to be honest, there is no real dominant team in the East. If Washington wants to contend for an NBA championship — and they have the talent to go far — then there is only one word they need to remember: DEFENSE. Arenas and the guys can score but to be real contenders they must defend.

» Mark Jackson, ESPN studio host: As a former player I can tell you the best thing for the Wizards was to watch Cleveland advance and go deep into the playoffs. You sit there and say that we could have beaten those guys, that should have been us.

Radio for all the Wizards games can be heard on Sportstalk 980-WTEM and SIRIUS.

Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer.

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