Drew Gooden has a suggestion on how to take care of Al Jefferson. “We can’t allow him to go left shoulder, period. We've got to cut his arm off. I don’t mean literally, but I mean literally."
He laughed heartily. But he knows that Jefferson, who has been playing at an MVP level since the new year, is the last person they want to have to contend with in the low post.
"He’s playing phenomenal," said Gooden, a 6-11 combo player who has been solid on the boards and can stretch the floor to pull Jefferson away from the basket. "You let him get to that left shoulder, it’s up to him to miss the shot."
In a 98-85 victory on March 12, the Bobcats rode Jefferson to victory in Washington. He made 13 of 20 shots for 26 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. This is Jefferson's most productive month of the season, producing 25 points and 56.3% shooting in 15 games.
"It's going to be a huge challenge for me," said Wizards center Marcin Gortat, who held Jefferson to six points when they first met in January. "I stopped this guy one time over there in Charlotte. I want to do this again. I want to bring it. I have to be ready to play. He’s a great big."
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Gortat won't have to do it all himself. The Wizards were able to contain Paul George of the Indiana Pacers when he played here last week with Gortat's rim protection. Whenever he got around the defense of Trevor Ariza, Gortat was there. George shot 6-for-22 and the Wizards were triumphant in that game.
"Al Jefferson is huge for them. I don’t think any one person can really guard him," Ariza said of the 6-10, 289-pound center. "We have to help Marcin stop him. That’s a tall task. We just all got to be on the same page."
Point guard John Wall will have his hands full with Kemba Waller, but he echoed the same sentiment.
"It’s tough to guard anybody one-on-one in this league and we know that," Wall said. "We got to do a better job helping Marcin out and containing the other guys down the stretch."