Former teammates going head to head, again. I think Payton will win this matchup, because he will know what makes Cassell tick and how to stop him, since he played with him...he should have used this to his advantage last time, but not having #34 made it a little more difficult to do so, but this time around look for it to be a different story. Also Cassell is going to get tired, because he has to play almost this entire game, because they have no one to back him up, unless you think they are seriously going to give the guy they signed to a 10 day much time against the Lakers. I mean, they can put Hoiberg or Hassell in for him for a little amount of time, but that wouldn't be too effective against Payton. So, Payton has to run so he can get Cassell tired fairly early on. Payton has to look to score more tonight, but not by forcing the shot, he need to take it to the hoop as often as possible and not shoot as many jumpers. He needs to play good defense too, because Cassell is their second leading scorer, and if he can be stopped, then we will have a lot better chance of winning this game. Look for Payton to get a lot of easy buckets when Cassell goes out and when Shaq is in the game.
Rush/Hassell & Hoiberg:
Rush should have an easy night against the T-Wolves, just look at who he's guarding, maybe we should give these defensive assignments to George. Rush shouldn't have many problems stopping this 11 ppg combo. Look for Rush to have a solid night, stepping in the starting line up in Kobe's place who is now on the IR. Rush's shots should come easier with Shaq in the game, so I expect the points will come easier for him.
George & Fox/Spree:
their third option going against our weakest starter...doesn't sound too good does it?. For us to win, George has to play D, and try to limit Spree's shots and force him to take it to the basket, because with Shaq in there Spree won't get many inside shots off. Hopefully George can give us some scoring and rebounding too, but I think he is going to be outdone by Spree, hopefully he won't score too much, even though he will probably be their leading scorer.
This is where we are going to realize how nice it is to have Shaq back. Now Slava won't have to worry about getting killed by KG, because if KG gets past Slava, he still has to go through Shaq. Sorry KG, no 20, 10, & 10 for you tonight. I think Shaq's presence will be felt a lot more tonight, he will use a lot of his energy on stopping KG, and we will see if Slava can knock down some big shots for us and make KG come out and guard him, which will leave Shaq basically open for a shot, unless you consider Shaq's opponents adequate defenders. So it's KG vs Shaq and Slava, KG will be pulling double shift tonight, hopefully that will tire him out. We need for Slava to have a better game than he did against the Sonics. Look for the Shaq/Slava tag team to win this matchup, sorry KG, but your presence won't be felt so much tonight.
Shaq/Johnson, Madsen, & Miller:
Shaq should just double Kg all night, because these guys aren't even worth guarding. Look at what Shaq gets to go up against (I bet he's happy)--Johnson, he still plays
, no but he is rather old to be playing Shaq. Miller is slow and fat, hopefully he will encourage Shaq to get into even better shape, because who would want to be the next Oliver Miller. And Madsen, the human can of red bull, and that's about all he is...a whole lot of energy. Shaq will destroy all of these guys...I don't care if he is only 1%, these guys shouldn't even be considered a matchup. None of the them are scoring threats, so that makes it easier for us on defense, and none of them are very good defenders either, so Shaq and Rush have it easy tonight...enjoy guys.