The Indiana Pacers did something unique vs. the Wizards. They rolled out two true centers, Al Jefferson and Kevin Seraphin, and had good success with it on the offensive end. With Ian Mahinmi seemingly getting back to form, would he share the floor with Marcin Gortat?
It's difficult to imagine such a lineup since both are true centers and lack the face-up game to play as the power forward (Jefferson did it in Friday's loss to the Wizards). There wouldn't be enough spacing on the floor for the guards and defensively a small lineup would be able to counter it.
But having two starting quality bigs available is still a step up for the Wizards (32-21) going into tonight's game with the Oklahoma City Thunder. It'll be the third game for Mahinmi since returning from platelet-rich plasma therapy he received in December. His presence allows Jason Smith to play more as the power forward where he's best.
“Every team has one or two big guys that can score. March has done a great job and Jason (Smith) has filled in for Ian in a huge way," Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. "What Ian brings, he brings us another defender. March is playing a lot of minutes. This gives us a chance to maybe lower his minutes down to 31-ish, 32. I like what he’s done. It’s only been two games, not a lot of practices and shootarounds, but we’re excited to have him back.”
Gortat, 32, is averaging 11.9 points and 11.6 rebounds in a career-high 34.7 minutes. Mahinmi is being restricted to 12-14 minutes per game that'll likely last until the All-Star break that begins after Feb. 16.
"I want to establish myself on the defensvie end first," said Mahinmi, who had surgery to repair cartilage in the left knee before develping tendinitis in the right one. "I'd say the right is the one that concerns me just a little bit more but so far everything heading in the right direction."
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