On to Boston

Just got off a plane in Boston, grabbed a little cup of heaven (are there many things better in the world than Dunkin' Donuts coffee? Why aren't there more of them in this country? Why am I turning into Peter King) and sat down in my room here at the Boston Copley Place Marriott to write some Wiz stuff. Didn't really blog much after last night's big win so I wanted to drop in and share a few observations/anecdotes:

-Don't know if you guys could tell from the broadcast and I'm kind of kicking myself for not getting into in my game story but Eddie Jordan REALLY wanted that win last night. That was as intense as I've seen him since the playoff series with Cleveland last spring. He was about one bad word away from grabbing a T a few times last night (did you notice the timeout when Jarvis went and got get the ball out of Jordan's hands just in case Eddie thought about tossing it?) and at one point during the third quarter, after one of Detroit's finest yelled at him to sit down from the stands, Eddie turned, looked at the dude and said something that can't be repeated here. I also think that's why he shortened his rotation last night. Etan and Jarvis played 8 minutes each and Jordan stayed with Antonio Daniels, who shook off a couple of uncharacteristic turnovers and made 4 of 5 shots. Eddie was not happy at seeing this team get blasted by the Suns the other night and wanted to send a message.

-Detroit fans have earned their rep. Look, I respect any town that can deal with the Lions for so many years but some of those folks need help. Late in the game, when things were getting tense, I was standing up so I wouldn't miss anything going on at the other end. That's sort of important when your job is to wrap out a story detailing the game on deadline. Anyway, our seats were one row behind the main scorer's table over towards the Wiz bench and when I stood up, a few of the beer-soaked folks behind me started giving it me, screaming at me to sit down and yelling other, not so nice things. (I think one of them was like, 8 years old so at least Detroit's future is solid) Now I know how Stephen Jackson and Ron Artest felt.

-I'm not stupid enough to discount the Pistons in the eastern conference because they still have too many guys with championship experience and the east is obviously up for grabs but there is no mistaking the fact that.....something....is.....just....missing on that team.

Actually, I noticed it last season. I covered the playoffs and NBA Finals the year the Pistons beat the Lakers and that team had serious, as Gilbert would call it, "swag." They overwhelmed you. This team doesn't play with the same passion and while some of that can be attributed to Ben Wallace being in Chicago, they didn't have it last year either. Chauncey, Rip, 'Sheed -especially 'Sheed - all appear to be going through the motions a little bit, as if they think they can cruise to the playoffs and then flip (yeah, that's intentional) it on. Doesn't happen.

Wasn't that what got those Lakers into trouble against them in the 2004 Finals? That Lakers team was falling apart faster than the Republican party. It was obvious that Kobe and Shaq had reached a point of no return and it was just as obvious that Phil Jackson no longer had the zen energy to keep them focused on what really mattered. It's hard not to sense some similar discontent between the Pistons and Flip Saunders. Prediction: After the Pistons flame out in the playoffs - and it could be against the Wizards - Saunders will step down. He'll be coaching the University of Minnesota next season (and I'm not just saying that because I grew up a huge Gophers fan either).

This became obvious to me late in the game, when after a timeout, Saunders had to walk over to the scorer's table and fill 'Sheed in on the information he'd just dispensed to the rest of the team. He had to do this because 'Sheed left the huddle early and walked over to the table where he sat down. Now, I know folks will say that was just 'Sheed being 'Sheed but that's not a good sign. Perhaps Saunders' message was: "Don't drift away from Antawn Jamison because he'll pull a three-ball and kill us." Wait, that's exactly what happened.

-The unofficial champion of last night's "swag" olympics was Andray Blatche. There's no scoring system or anything but judging by the reaction of the fellas when he put on a cream-on-cream suit after the game, Blatche scored some nice swag points:
Antonio Daniels: "Ohh weee, look at that! We can't say nothing to you now. That's big time swag right there."
Haywood: "Are those gators? Man, that's nice."
Gilbert: "Now that's swag!"

By Ivan Carter |  January 27, 2007; 1:50 PM ET
Previous: BIg win in Detroit | Next: Pistons in DC

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As ever, thanks Ivan for taking the time out to write these blogs - it's really great stuff that I for one have never seen before about a team I root for. I haven't posted much recently b/c they have been playing well and don't need a release for my wiz angst. Also the blog has gotten so much more popular , it takes long enough to read all the posts. What happened to the days of b king and ray posting every other post, and the constant angst?

Anyway, I do have one substantive comment/thought and it dovetails with your comment on flip/rasheed. It seems like during timeouts every other team gets in a group with their coaches - at least half the time during wiz timeouts, eddie and his coaches will get together a couple of feet into the court, while the players go to the bench area. Seems kind of odd. What's the deal with that?

I posted it here a while ago, and I am sticking with it. I really think with the opponents they will be playing v the opponents the central teams have to play (i.e., themselves) the wiz have a reall good chance to have the #1 seed for the season. Things are starting to gel:

1) we are winning games when they don't gil doesn't play particularly well.
2) they are winning crunch games that they in previous years folded on (like last night's - when the pistons tied it up with 2min left, who among the readers of this blog didn't feel their heart sink?
3) i am not an eddie hater - I think he has some strength's and some weaknesses. One thing that has NOTICEABLY improved is timeout management. . .he finally is calling them in the right flow - not stopping wizards runs, and calling a timeout BEFORE an opponent run gets out of hand.

Big question mark for me is Songalia - don't get me wrong - if he is healthy he will be a nice addition, but seems like folks are expecting him to be some kind of revelation. The guy is a decent european player - he isn't the second coming of Nowitzki tho, and I think we need to ratchet our expectations down appropriately.

GO WIZ

the secret weapon

Posted by: charles jones | January 27, 2007 3:07 PM

IC - I absolutely love the "inside the locker room" posts you provide - it definitely gives the reader a feel for how the team behaves from a chemistry standpoint. Since you mentioned Blatche's fashion sense - I believe he is currently the same age as a college sophomore? That means he's approximately 19 years old.

Was he able to get into Zero's birthday soiree? Just wondering if the bouncers carded him.

Posted by: Bullets Fan in L.A. | January 27, 2007 3:49 PM

Ivan, I too love you "inside the locker room" postings - Keep up the great work!

Posted by: Lisa | January 27, 2007 4:49 PM

"That was as intense as I've seen him since the playoff series with Cleveland last spring."

I agree with everything you said Ivan(Saunders and all) and I think it was definately a playoff type game last night. It sure had that feel and I think the Wiz can take them in a series. It's a good match-up for sure.

Good to see Jordan put a foot up Jarvis's butt instead of coddling him for a change. I hope it continues. Makes me think there's hope for him yet. ;)

"One thing that has NOTICEABLY improved is timeout management."

Agreed CJ, I have noticed it also. Again, hopefully it will continue so I can't stop bashing him on here. It's nice to see Jordan get serious with his rotations also, that's my big beef with him really. Most of the time they don't make sense, lol!

At the beginning of the year I was worried about the Wiz, but it seems like they are taking that next step. There's a lot of season left though.

Keep it coming with the insider stuff Ivan, makes me feel like I'm there with you and I get a good laugh out of it all. :)

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | January 27, 2007 6:24 PM

Errr, stop bashing him. ;)

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | January 27, 2007 6:26 PM

"The guy is a decent european player - he isn't the second coming of Nowitzki tho, and I think we need to ratchet our expectations down appropriately."

Sorry about the spam...

I think you'll see Songaila get a lot of time to get him ready for the playoffs. The problem is that it will take away other peoples minutes. We'll see how Jordan handles it.

I never told you all one time I saw the real "CJ" at a local 7-11 here in Laurel after the Bullets won a game like 15? years ago. It was late and he came out chowing down on a hotdog. :)

We were like "Hey that's the Secret Weapon" and he was a real nice guy. Felt bad because all he wanted to do was eat a dog and we were cornering him and stuff, lol!

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | January 27, 2007 6:34 PM

Well Ivan maybe the thing the Pistons are missing is a real coach. Never been a big fan of Saunders and it isn't surprising that Sheed has tuned him out. Of course he may prove to be an excellent recruiter for the Gophers, but coaching them might be a challenge.

Posted by: George Templeton | January 27, 2007 6:35 PM

Hey Ivan,

Echoing the other comments, nice to see a blog entry on a Saturday evening. I don't comment alot but I always read it. Keep channeling your inner Peter King.

Looking forward to this week, Detroit coming in to VC Tuesday, and Gil vs. Kobe II on Saturday night.

Posted by: Tom | January 27, 2007 6:36 PM

if this was one of those "choose your destiny" books, how would you play it?

scenario A: last game of the season, wizards win and they get the #1 seed, only to play against the #8 seeded Miami heat.

scenario B: last game, a loss and they fall to #2 and have to play against a crappy 7 seed, but sacrifice home-court in case they go to the East Finals (against #1 Detroit).

what would you like?

i say we fight the demons, win the #1 seed and beat the crap outta the Heat.

Posted by: k-man | January 27, 2007 6:51 PM

I wish I could agree K-Man. But I would rather avoid the #)(*$)#@$#@ Heat as long as possible. Lets hope that if the Heat keep playing crappy enough they might miss the playoffs.

Posted by: George Templeton | January 27, 2007 7:11 PM

Secret Weapon:

I can honestly say, for the first time in years, I had no doubts we were going to win that game, and never had that empty feeling in my stomach. Even when they took the lead.

That's saying something, because I've had that feeling pretty much the entire time I've been a Bullets/Wizards fan.

Posted by: Gack | January 27, 2007 8:27 PM

And yeah, IC -- the "fly on the wall" locker room reporting is great, and the best thing (IMO) about this blog. Let the guys know how rabid we blog faithful are, and how much we're pullin' for 'em ;)

Posted by: Gack | January 27, 2007 8:28 PM

Hi Ivan, I am a big Etan Thomas fan from my days in grad school in Syracuse. I live in CT and will come to Boston with my 4 year old son to see him play. I have a Cuse jersey I would like to ask Etan to sign. Where do they stay in Boston? Would appreciate your help.

Posted by: CuseFan | January 27, 2007 10:02 PM

. . . when do we start to discuss EJ as CotY and EG as EotY????????

I know we have all questioned Eddie's small-ball lineup (it did work for a stretch against the Pistons), but this team has the best record in the East right now!!!!!!!

Last time those awards came to town - the '81-'82 BULLETS (my favorite team, as I have mentioned before). This is great stuff, and regardless of what happens, this is a GREAT, GREAT ride.

Now, go BEAT DOWN the Yankees of basketball!

Posted by: Shotgun | January 27, 2007 11:59 PM

Ivan, just saw your article on Jamison and I disagree to a certain extent.

He can easily be exploited defensively because he has no lateral movement what so ever. I don't think anyone questions his offensive abilities, or ever has on here.

My only worries are how can he hold up on those second nights of the back to backers and as the season progresses.

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | January 28, 2007 12:18 AM

Right on Gack - I am still feeling that drop in the stomach, but hey, I know with certainty that if I don't feel it, they will lose :)

Posted by: charles jones | January 28, 2007 12:55 AM

Ivan - What does Gil have to do for AJ and BH after the beatdown his Wild(shooting)Cats got handed?????!!!!!!!!

For all of us who hate jesse helms' tar heels (yes, lower case), let Gil (and Lute) know we expect more!

Go Terps! Go Cavs! . . . any other team but Duke (Clemson got jobbed)!

Posted by: Durham District Attorney | January 28, 2007 12:58 AM

Hey guys, I'm new to your insider and have a question. When was the last time the Wizards/Bullets were the conference leader after 42 games?

Posted by: thewiz | January 28, 2007 1:31 AM

Ivan - thanks for the inside info. I want to second what someone else wrote - that they had no doubt that the Wizards were foing to win the game with Detroit pushing hard late. The Wiz seemed to be in control and Detroit in a desperation mode. I had this same feeling watching the Terps in 01-02. They could take the other teams' best punch and then counter with a little more. The Wiz are doing the same.

Posted by: graham | January 28, 2007 9:25 AM

Halfway through the season and this blog, and the Post's Wizards and NBA coverage has been outstanding.

Thanks Ivan and Michael for being so engaged and thanks Washington Post sports editor for making this a priority.

Posted by: Wei | January 28, 2007 9:58 AM

Jamison and a second rounder for Kevin Garnett, I've got a five year old chevy(good condition) that I'd like Ernie to send along and see if he could me a NEW BEAM'R in the deal while we're getting greedy!
I agree that Antawn isn't a Karl Malone/KG type at power forward, but just how many of them are out there? And when they hit the market look at what they bring. Gasol isn't that much of a defensive upgrade and it looks like Jerry West wants two good young starters plus two FIRST ROUNDERS from the Bulls for him.
Ernie is a great GM he's been accoumulating chips(Blatch, Pechy, Taylor)and expiring contracts(Booth, Ruffin)and has some useful players to offer in a deal but I don't think it will come this year. You don't try and make a blockbuster trade when the chemistry is going this good.
It's been a long time coming, sit back and enjoy the ride! This may not be a championship caliber team, but in the east who is? With a little luck and alot of swag this team could go further than anyone expects. Heck, they already have! who would have thought two weeks ago we'd have a starter in Vegas? Or in early Dec. we'd have 24 wins at the half? GM

Posted by: GM | January 28, 2007 10:50 AM

So we beat the Pistons 1 time finally and you guys get cocky? You guy slook gay in your pictue up top there too. Props.

Posted by: Steve R. | January 28, 2007 1:16 PM

Stevie has a short memory. Wiz beat Detriot 3 times last year. Of all the top teams in the east, the Wiz matches up well with Det.

Posted by: anon | January 28, 2007 2:00 PM

Steve R. - go jump off a bridge.

Thanks.

Posted by: Aaron | January 28, 2007 2:01 PM

Glad to escape with the win, but Ivan's assesment of the Pistons is spot-on. The Pistons looked out-of-sync and generally looked more poorly coached than the Wizards. Glad to get the win though.

Posted by: Wizzy | January 28, 2007 2:41 PM

Wizzy,

That's why we play the games, baby! Consider that Hibachi was playing pass-first basketball and Tough Juice had undoubtedly the worst game of his red-hot season, and we STILL won.

Sure, Detroit is gelling more and will be tougher down the stretch, but so will we. We're playing better D, getting more production out of the bench, and not relying on astronomical games from Gil every night.

Even though we lost to them twice already, both games were during our horrible November funk, and both of those were close games. Add that to last year, when we took 3 out of 4 against them when they were playing much better basketball, and I really don't think anyone can claim that the Pistons have our number. If anything, just the opposite is true.

Posted by: Gack | January 28, 2007 3:28 PM

I think the last time the Wizards led the conference this late was 78-79.

Posted by: George Templeton | January 28, 2007 4:38 PM

Good stuff! Love to hear the "insider" opinions.

Posted by: Sean | January 28, 2007 4:57 PM

"So we beat the Pistons 1 time finally and you guys get cocky? You guy slook gay in your pictue up top there too. Props."

Com'on guys, this isn't the Redskins forum.

We've gone half a season with everyone pretty much acting civil towards one another.

This is a good blog, let's keep it that way. :)

And it's not Detroit I'm worried about, it's the teams in the West.

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | January 28, 2007 5:26 PM

Since it's the off-season for me I love to watch the Wiz. I taught E Jordan everthing he knows about coaching. Interestingly, the clowns on ESPN.com all have the Wiz losing in the 1st rd no matter who they play! They all say that Mia,Det,Cle, and Chi are better than the Wiz and will have NO problem beating them.

Posted by: Brian"The Brain"Billick | January 28, 2007 5:40 PM

Brian,

The Clowns at ESPN also had the Skins going to the Super Bowl before the season began....along with Carolina and Miami.

Posted by: Lisa | January 28, 2007 5:52 PM

jamison - 15 pts in 13 mins....talk about phenomenal swag....

not liking the tie score in the second qtr....we should be up by 20 by now.

Posted by: k-man | January 28, 2007 6:44 PM

do you guys know any way to listen to the game online without having to pay for the stupid nba league pass? thanks guys.

Posted by: k-man | January 28, 2007 6:51 PM

Nope K-man, if you don't have the League pass than you can't listen. Might not want to if Delonte West and Ryan Gomes keeping whipping the Wizards ass.

Posted by: George Templeton | January 28, 2007 7:23 PM

32 for AJ 5 mins into 4th.....yeah baby. wizard for life. all i gotta say is...he's gotta get re-signed.

Posted by: k-man | January 28, 2007 8:05 PM

Missed the game, I guess I don't get CSN+ after all, LOL.

But a 29-20 3rd quarter and 24-10 4th? Yeah, that's how you step on the neck of a bad team and put them to bed...

Posted by: Gack | January 28, 2007 8:17 PM

Here here Gack, nice to see the Wizards run some out of the building and have a last 2-3 minutes that is not a white knuckler!

Posted by: George Templeton | January 28, 2007 8:28 PM

the next 10 games look pretty favorable for our beloved Wiz....all tough games (Pistons, Lakers, San Antonio) are at home....i'd love to see this team kick it up to the next level these next 2-3 weeks and show the league what they're made of by running away with the #1 seed.

Posted by: k-man | January 28, 2007 8:31 PM

Jamison with almost identical statlines in back to back games. This is great to see. He has definitely been more fluid working inside and outside in the last 2 games and it shows. Our offense goes to completely different level when he is able to do this, as opposed to camping on the perimeter, which I feel was due to fatigue. I think the Phoenix game woke him up.

This was also a great win against a bad team. It was important to come out and step on their throats, especially after the win at Detroit. You could tell we were just cruising for 3 quarters, until we turned it on late. That is the sign of a good team.

It's nice to come back home, get a day to get the legs back, and go out against Detroit in yet another big game on Tuesday night. Verizon is going to be rockin'. I love it.

1st place in the East, congrats fellow fans!

Posted by: AV | January 28, 2007 8:39 PM

As a native son of the NorfEast let me say: Dunkin' Donuts is the stuff.

Starbucks is some nasty, bitter, 5 dolla stuff.

BUt I won't make any analogy to Steve R's mom. Since we're trying to keep it decent in here.

Nice win tonight.

Posted by: doclinkin (realgm.com/forums) | January 28, 2007 8:52 PM

The first half looked ugly, but on balance another very good win.

Posted by: JP | January 28, 2007 9:16 PM

For awhile, DeShawn Stevenson couldn't miss a jump shot. For the past few games, he can't make one. He needs to find his touch again.

Another big game on Tues night at the Phone Booth vs. the Pistons.

Posted by: Bullets Fan in L.A. | January 28, 2007 9:17 PM

"Jamison with almost identical statlines in back to back games."

Depends on what you consider "back to back." :)

The best thing about his game is that they won a Sunday game. I know it sounds silly but the Wiz NEVER do well on Sunday.

At least they started playing D for a quarter, I was about to post my "I told you so!" blog but then they separated in the 4th.

They are supposed to win these games, Detroit is a bigger challenge. Expect them to come with thier "A" game on Tuesday. I expect nothing less then a "playoff" type game.

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | January 28, 2007 9:37 PM

Ivan/Michael I like the rest of the regulars enjoy your posts, but the question is, will you get to be in Vegas for the whole All-Star weekend so we can the real inside word on all the partying and other activites of the Wizards and others superstars.

Posted by: George Templeton | January 28, 2007 9:43 PM

Ray,

You must stop with "They NEVER win games on Sunday" - I've repeatedly mentioned that they won Sunday games last season and they won today so obviously NEVER should never be used.

Posted by: Lisa | January 28, 2007 10:05 PM

Sure, they win on Sun evenings...but a Sun at 1pm? Might as well mark it down as a loss.

Posted by: Aaron | January 28, 2007 10:35 PM

Good call, Lisa.

In fact we are 2-2 in Sunday games this year, and were 4-3 in Sunday games last season.

Posted by: Gack | January 28, 2007 10:36 PM

Wiz have held two opponents under 100. It does appear they are hustling more on defense. What's good now is they are starting to win games when they are not having there best shooting nights-that's what the elite teams do. Nice work by Haywood and Thomas on the boards tonight.
Go Wiz!

Posted by: PTP23 | January 28, 2007 10:41 PM

Interesting fact: Antawn has been our leading scorer for 4 of the last 5 games. The lone game in that span where he wasn't the high scorer was the Phoenix game, where he only scored 9.

Posted by: Gack | January 28, 2007 10:45 PM

Ray,

To be precise - they are just about 50/50 on Sundays since the 2004-2005 season.

2004-2005 they went 6 Wins vs 7 losses
2005-2006 they went 5 Wins vs 4 Losses
This year they are 2 and 2

Rook

Posted by: Anonymous | January 28, 2007 10:56 PM

(I didn't count the preseason Sunday game last year)

Posted by: Gack | January 28, 2007 11:05 PM

AJ is showing why he deserves more respect on this blog.

Just like BHay, where would we be without him.
We're not getting KG & I sure don't want Gasol esp. with Blatche & Oleg on the way.

So we're hitching ourselves to AJ & riding him long & strong into the playoffs.

Btw: another strong effort by BHay. Man he had lots of energy on both end.

Posted by: Victor | January 28, 2007 11:42 PM

I don't have much to say except that those unis are hideous. Abe, just take those gold/black abominations out back behind the Phone Booth and lay them to rest. We'll just pretend they never happened (like the Michael Jordan era)...

Posted by: Essex | January 29, 2007 1:00 AM

I disagree Essex. I mean, I agree that the unis look ugly, but maybe they're so ugly that opponents get destracted by them. The Wiz keep winning in them.

The MJ era was pretty bad from a GM perspective, but MJ deserves credit for helping to give the Wizards some credibility again. Two consecutive seasons of packed houses, if I remember correctly--and a few more plays for the highlight reel.

Posted by: JP | January 29, 2007 3:21 AM

For the people that keep wanting to trade AJ, keep trying! It really seems to be spuring him on lately! When he plays at this high of level it really makes the offense click.
I agree he looked a little beat up and fatiqued for a few games. I know he banged up his knee a couple of times, but everybody goes through that in 82 games, look at Gil right now. Though I'd like to see the big three all at the Allstar game they could use the traditional rest that Wiz players got for years.
What is the status on Ruffin? Any time table on his return? We need him and Darius to get in game shape by the playoffs. As the roster stands now Eddie has been making due without a backup power forward. It's really alot of wear and tear on Butler gaurding bigs and logging heavy minutes.
I'm not a fan of small ball, but sometimes Eddie Jordan has been getting by on smoke and mirrors to steal minutes when he can. We need help at the 4 so AJ and the Butler can get some rest. GM


Posted by: GM | January 29, 2007 8:21 AM

First time on the blog and I am quite curious as to whether Ray is a real Wiz fan or someone from another NBA team that uses the blog to put down the Wizards. The Wiz are playing just as good if not better then the other top teams in the Eastern Conference, so why all of the put downs. Especially where Jamison is concerned. I don't get it. I have never read a blog that is supposedly for "Wizard Fans" that find nothing much to do other than to put them down. I mean constructive criticism is one thing but if left up to a lot of these posters, they would trade away most of the team! I think I will find a blog that is a little more on the positve side. I know the Wiz are not there yet, but, they are progressing each game they play!

GO WIZARDS! I am with you through the good and the bad. And right now I love all of the team. You guys are still young and are only going to get better! Beat the PIstons on Tuesday and let's show the "doubters" what you are about.

Posted by: TruBluWizFan | January 29, 2007 8:23 AM

Hey TruBlu. Give Ray a break. I doubt whether a fan of another team would spend as much time following the wiz and posting on this blog as he does. Yes, he does tend to be a bit critical, but he also gives the wiz credit when credit is due. I suspect that the deal is that he is a serious fan who wants the wiz to do well, but isn't so much of a homer that he is blind to their weaknesses. Ray - don't worry man, keep posting....

Posted by: PK1 | January 29, 2007 8:46 AM

Heh,

Ray, taking some deserved heat in here.

:)

If we can dish it out to the players, I think we should be able to take it too. But they can't trade their fans, which Ray clearly is.

Posted by: greg | January 29, 2007 10:01 AM

"But they can't trade their fans, which Ray clearly is."

Nice Greg!
The 1 thing I have to say about this blog is the basketball knowledge is top notch AND the dialogue balanced.

But most of all the personal attacks & sniping are non existent. This isn't the Caps blog and shows why basketball isn't a 2nd tier sports (& I luv hockey too!).

Credit definitely goes out to the people who contribute here & to IC & ML.

Posted by: Victor | January 29, 2007 10:55 AM

So the Celtics have cheerleaders now? That is just so wrong. No wonder they stink this year -- Red 's ghost is probably playing D for the visitors.

Although I guess if you're going to blast artificial crowd noise into the arena to hinder the other team, why bother even pretending to have class.

Posted by: burke | January 29, 2007 11:04 AM

This is the week that will determine whether EJ gets to coach the east all-stars.

By my count, if the Wiz win 2 of 3 - the three games are at home against Detroit, on the road the next night in Toronto, and back home against the Lakers with plenty of rest and a motivated Kobe - they clinch the best non-Pistons record as of Feb. 4th.

The two teams that can catch the Wiz are the Cavs and the Bulls. The Bulls are a game back - 26-17 vs. 26-19 - and have 3 games between now and Feb. 4th - at Clippers, at Seattle and at Portland. If they win all three, that leaves them at 29-19, which I believe would leave them percentage points behind the Wiz if the Wiz are 28-18 at that point. I don't know if that would be considered a tie.

The Cavs are 1.5 games back at 25-19, with four games left on or before Feb. 4th, so the best they can do is also 29-19. Their games are at home against Golden State, at Miami, home against Charlotte and home against the Pistons.

As long as 28-18 is considered better than 29-19 for this purpose, it seems to me that the Wiz can clinch EJ's first all-star coaching gig by taking care of business against the Pistons and Raptors tomorrow and Wednesday night.

Posted by: AC | January 29, 2007 11:38 AM

Ray is too critical for stating the bluntly obvious?

Jamison couldn't guard Shaq with 4 months off on the wing if his life depended on it, let alone any other professional baller. Anyone that truly knows basketball can see the defensive liability that Jamison is and has been the past few seasons. He has almost zero lateral movement on D and for the most part on Offense as well.

Maybe if you listen to half of what Ray has to say you'd learn something, oh but thats right you've read one post so far. That's probably not what you do want to hear Trublue. What have you been a Wizards fan for a season or two?

Posted by: dc | January 29, 2007 12:58 PM

"You must stop with "They NEVER win games on Sunday""

Ok, just for Lisa then...the Wiz LOSE HALF OF THIER GAMES ON SUNDAYS!

Or is RARELY WIN better? ;) ;)

I'm kidding Lisa, I know how much you love negativity. :)

Rook is right about the Sunday wins/losses.

"First time on the blog and I am quite curious as to whether Ray is a real Wiz fan..."

I could say the same thing about you, post some more and we'll see. :)

Thanks for sticking up for me PK and greg. I do criticism them A LOT, but as I've said before I want them to win a championship, not just make the playoffs.

My only gripe right now is thier defense still needs improvement. Otherwise, I'll give Jordan some credit on his rotations. Some of the last few games have been "playoff" type games because people are taking the Wiz seriously now. He's really trimmed his rotations and it's showing on the floor.

I think when they have to the Wiz can play defense which is what frustrates me watching them sometimes. I'm also going on record as saying if they stay healthy they will be in the Finals. Beyond that, all bets are off.

I don't think anyone in the East can beat them, seriously.

Someome please tell me why Jordan isn't plugging the Wiz players to be in the All Star game?????

Ivan, smack him in the head!

Detroit had 4 players last year if I remember correctly.

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | January 29, 2007 1:05 PM

Thanks DC :)

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | January 29, 2007 1:06 PM

IC, you mentioned at the top of this blog post the drama that EJ got into Friday night with a fan in Detroit.

How often does this happen? We hear so much about the taunting between players and fans, but do coaches and fans get into it as well?

And as for players and fans: Last night, did Gilbert give his jersey to the girl he fell on while chasing a loose ball out of bounds?

Posted by: iceberg | January 29, 2007 1:12 PM

iceberg,
i was looking for that too... but gil looked like he left teh court early before the game was over... and i think the kid and father might have left too cuz i didn't notice them behind the bench near the end of the game

Posted by: hmmmmm | January 29, 2007 1:19 PM

"Someome please tell me why Jordan isn't plugging the Wiz players to be in the All Star game?????"

Seriously, if you are an NBA coach, are you really going to vote for some player because George Karl calls up and says, "vote for my guy"? Of course not. But the story gets back to the players, and presumably Georgie scores some brownie points.

Credit Eddie with enough class not to get into this b.s., and also for having enough respect for his player's intelligence to know that they won't fall for it.

Posted by: burke | January 29, 2007 1:25 PM

Gosh those gold uniforms are atrocious!

But have they lost yet wearing them?

Posted by: charlie | January 29, 2007 2:04 PM

I'm a little concerned at what seems to be a gameplan change in defending Gilbert. Teams are trying to force him into taking jumpers and are living with his difficult makes. I don't know how many more 10/27 games we can take. He needs to adjust and find a way back to the rim/free throw line with greater frequency.

Posted by: Bernard King | January 29, 2007 2:39 PM

I'm a little concerned at what seems to be a gameplan change in defending Gilbert. Teams are trying to force him into taking jumpers and are living with his difficult makes. I don't know how many more 10/27 games we can take. He needs to adjust and find a way back to the rim/free throw line with greater frequency.

Posted by: Bernard King | January 29, 2007 2:41 PM

Hey Charlie,

I remember the Wiz lost to the Rockets at home wearing the (Solid Gold dancer) alternate unis.

Can't remember any other losses in them -- maybe to Denver at home last month?

Posted by: iceberg | January 29, 2007 3:07 PM

"He needs to adjust and find a way back to the rim/free throw line with greater frequency."

Exactly the same think I was considering. If they are going to double him up then he should drive to the hole. He has the quickness to do it.

"Credit Eddie with enough class not to get into this b.s."

So if Caron deserves to be there, which he DOES, and the coaches do not vote him in then it's up to EJ to make sure he's there.

What happens if Caron doesn't make it because Jordan didn't say anything? That's lame.

Don't tell me other coaches aren't going to be pushing thier players. If Jordan is my coach and he's coaching the East and doesn't put a voice up for me then I'm pretty annoyed.

It's like that All Star link that put up since way back in the preseason. I voted for ALL of the Wizards in the East. Do all of them deserve to be there? Probably not. But I know where my loyalties are and so should Jordan.

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | January 29, 2007 3:10 PM

Hey Charlie,

I remember the Wiz lost to the Rockets at home wearing the (Solid Gold dancer) alternate unis.

Can't remember any other losses in them -- maybe to Denver at home last month?

Posted by: iceberg | January 29, 2007 3:12 PM

"He needs to adjust and find a way back to the rim/free throw line with greater frequency."

Exactly the same think I was considering. If they are going to double him up then he should drive to the hole. He has the quickness to do it.

"Credit Eddie with enough class not to get into this b.s."

So if Caron deserves to be there, which he DOES, and the coaches do not vote him in then it's up to EJ to make sure he's there.

What happens if Caron doesn't make it because Jordan didn't say anything? That's lame.

Don't tell me other coaches aren't going to be pushing thier players. If Jordan is my coach and he's coaching the East and doesn't put a voice up for me then I'm pretty annoyed.

It's like that All Star link that put up since way back in the preseason. I voted for ALL of the Wizards in the East. Do all of them deserve to be there? Probably not. But I know where my loyalties are and so should Jordan.

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | January 29, 2007 3:14 PM

"He needs to adjust and find a way back to the rim/free throw line with greater frequency."

Exactly the same think I was considering. If they are going to double him up then he should drive to the hole. He has the quickness to do it.

"Credit Eddie with enough class not to get into this b.s."

So if Caron deserves to be there, which he DOES, and the coaches do not vote him in then it's up to EJ to make sure he's there.

What happens if Caron doesn't make it because Jordan didn't say anything? That's lame.

Don't tell me other coaches aren't going to be pushing thier players. If Jordan is my coach and he's coaching the East and doesn't put a voice up for me then I'm pretty annoyed.

It's like that All Star link that put up since way back in the preseason. I voted for ALL of the Wizards in the East. Do all of them deserve to be there? Probably not. But I know where my loyalties are and so should Jordan.

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | January 29, 2007 3:16 PM

Yikes sorry guys/girls. My ISP burped or something.

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | January 29, 2007 3:16 PM

Grrrrrrrrrr.

Sorry 'bout that!

Posted by: iceberg | January 29, 2007 3:23 PM

ray: (1) Caron is IN. Mark it down (and unlike your "wizards always lose on Sunday" prediction, this one will actually come true (2) No coach is going to change his voting based on another coach pushing his players.

And I don't think EJ can put anyone on the team (assuming that he's the coach). As far as I know, all of the reserves are picked by the coaches' vote, and the commissioner replaces any injured players.

Posted by: burke | January 29, 2007 3:30 PM

Can't remember any other losses in them -- maybe to Denver at home last month?

Posted by: iceberg | January 29, 2007 03:12 PM

Nope. Just the one loss.

Posted by: charlie | January 29, 2007 4:11 PM

Chattanooga, TN




Jan 29 Tonight
Cloudy intervals. Low 27F. Winds light and variable.
Jan 30 Tomorrow
Cloudy skies early, then partly cloudy in the afternoon. High 47F. Winds W at 10 to 15 mph.
Jan 30 Tomorrow night
Clear to partly cloudy. Low around 20F. Winds NNW at 5 to 10 mph.
Jan 31 Wednesday
More sun than clouds. Highs in the low 40s and lows in the low 30s.
Feb 1 Thursday
Cloudy with rain. Highs in the low 40s and lows in the mid 30s.
Feb 2 Friday
Rain and snow showers. Highs in the mid 40s and lows in the upper 20s.

Posted by: loco mullin | January 29, 2007 4:26 PM

I for one am happy to see new fans. ;)

That said, just because you don't post doesn't mean you don't care.

I'm wondering if Gilbert might possibly be saving himself a bit, seems like he has proven enough for the time being. But I do like to see that he has been passing out of the double teams quickly. I think that has been a big part of Antawn's recent scoring.

Antawn can do some damage when he has some room. And when the opposing teams start to adjust to that gil can do his thing. Come playoffs I think he will be going to the rim more. (i hope)

Makes me feel good to see the suns keep schooling everyone, the heat keep losing too. Now if the cavs and bulls could just choke a bit. We'd be set.

Posted by: greg | January 29, 2007 5:16 PM

Um...... thanks loco mullin..

I was wondering what the forecast was.

Posted by: Rook | January 29, 2007 5:16 PM

greg

I'm not worried about the Cavs, they just don't have enough firepower. Larry just doesn't look like the same player as when he played here - and Ilgauskas is starting to look old. He was always slow, but now he looks even slower. Drew Gooden, Varejao and Damon Jones are nice role players; but they definately need more - otherwise Lebron will be out in the first round.

The Bulls on the other hand are a scary team. Especially if they can trade for a consistent scorer. They are too inconsistent on offense. They do play good defense, so in the playoffs they may make some hay.

And finally - sup wit Detroit? They just don't look like they're really trying. I've watched some of their games this year, and Sheed looks like he's done and wants to move on. Ben Wallace does not look as intimidating as he did in Chicago. Billips, Prince and Hamilton are all playing well; but Flip Saunders does not seem to have an answer for their up and down play. I predict they'll fade in the second half and miss the playoffs.

Posted by: Rook | January 29, 2007 5:30 PM

Ok, so how many of you all voted for ALL of the Wizards possible on the ballot?

*raises hand*

"ray: (1) Caron is IN."

Ok, if he's not you're the first person I'm coming to Burke. :)

"(2) No coach is going to change his voting based on another coach pushing his players."

Then how does 4 Pistons make last years squad? Flip Saunders was the coach I believe and NOT ONE Piston was voted in by the fans last year. Strange how that happens isn't it?

I looked it up so you don't have to.

http://www.nba.com/allstar2006/allstar_game/east_roster.html

Jordan is being too nice about it because Gil only made it last year due to an injury to someone else. He might never have the chance to coach another All-Star game, he should push for his players. I would think REAL Wizards fans would want that. I know the several times that I voted this year, I voted for as many Wizards as possible.

At least the people I voted for played. Shaq made it as a starter, what a crock. There should be a minimum game or attempted shot for someone to be considered an "All Star." This way fans can vote for someone, but if the guy isn't playing then he doesn't make it. Simple.

Geeze, I never thought my Sunday prediction would cause so many of you all to lose so much sleep. Get over it.

They don't play well on Sunday's(only God knows why)and after three quarters it looked like they were going to lose. Good thing they decided to show up for the 4th and play some defense.

This is the Wiz's problem, they don't want to play defense. Sorry but I call it like it is. Expect Detroit to come out firing on Tuesday, the Wiz better be ready.

They barely beat them the last time.

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | January 29, 2007 5:34 PM

i don't want to offend anyone, but I 'm trying to figure out why babarro is getting headlines...

Posted by: greg | January 29, 2007 5:35 PM

TruBluWizFan,

If you think this blog is negative, you should have visited the Redskins blog during the season. So negative it could drive you to drink!

Speaking of Skins blog, loco mullin was a regular with the weather report there...seems he/she has decided to forecast for the Wiz as well.

Posted by: Lisa | January 29, 2007 6:09 PM

Ray,

First, thanks for your link to the All Star ballot. Every time I read your posts, I voted for Gil, Twan, and Caron. Without your posts, I doubt I would have voted nearly as many times as I did.

Second.. Although I respect your opinion about EJ campaigning for his players; I disagree. I think it's cheezy to campaign and I applaud Eddie for taking the classy approach. Players should make the squad based solely on their merits; not whether their Coach called in favors.

Now, having said that...We know that Caron is having an All Star year, and should be selected. Assuming that there are three reserve forwards, and that Caron is one; a case can be made to include Antawn. At 20pts and 8reb a game, only Jermaine O'Neal (19/10) is having a statistically better year than AJ. I think that Dwight Howard is having a great year and should be included - but some coaches may look at the records and reward the Wiz for being First in the East.

Just my 2 cents

Posted by: Rook | January 29, 2007 6:12 PM

Posted by greg: "i don't want to offend anyone, but I 'm trying to figure out why babarro is getting headlines..."

Yeah, what's up with that - there's even a post in the Wizards Insider blog!

Posted by: Rook | January 29, 2007 6:32 PM

Gilbert chipped his tooth last night - which is why he left the bench before the game was over. I understand he was excused from practice today to get his tooth fixed.

Posted by: Lisa | January 29, 2007 7:58 PM

Been out of the loop the last few days, but aren't Shaq and Wade back? Still losing? I told you they are not to be feared. Been saying it for a long time!!!!

Guys the size of Shaq go down hill quickly especially when they have knee problems and the rest of the team is OLD too.

By the way, I like Jamison a lot and his arrival started the turnaround in the organization. But, his recent scoring outburst is not exactly the vindication people are making it out to be. If he scores 30+ and grabs 8 rebounds he is not the liability he usually is, but how often has he done such????

Posted by: Rob P | January 29, 2007 8:40 PM

Rob P,

Shaq did not play their last game....supposedly they have decided he will not play back to back games.

Posted by: Lisa | January 29, 2007 8:51 PM

Hey, for all you posters that want to trade Jamison.

I like that fact that he put up some big numbers in the last couple of games, but what's wrong with his usual 20 and 8?

Show me someone else in the East that is putting up at least 20 and 8 from the Power Forward spot... Then see what you would have to give up to get them... You're talking franchise players like LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Jermaine O'Neal. (Oh.. and by the way, Caron Butler is also putting up 20 and 8) - It's a pretty short list.

Now put those numbers together with the fact that he's the team captain, a great community service guy, and apparently, from everything I read, a really good teammate. AND, he is also one of the major reasons for the Wizards turnaround over the last several years.

Posted by: Rook | January 29, 2007 9:47 PM

Rook, I'm a fan of Jamison for the reasons that you pointed out. His value in the locker room, on the court, in the community, and in practice has been undeniable. He isn't a great defender, but he is the type of healthy veteran presence that a team like the Wizards needs.

Hopefully Jamison's influence--and that of Arenas, Daniels, and Butler rubs off on some of the young guns like Blatche, Taylor, and Mason. Those factors are the type of thing that aren't obvious when looking at just a raw stat line.

I don't think there's any question though that Dallas got as good as it gave (Josh Howard now being something close to All-Star caliber, Stackhouse a solid 6th man). The trade worked out well for both teams.

Posted by: JP | January 29, 2007 10:35 PM

AJ: has 5 30+ GAMES THIS YEAR & 2 NEAR MISSES (29PTS).

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/gamelog?playerId=385

Posted by: Victor | January 30, 2007 12:04 AM

Rook here is what the Pistons are missing. Ben Wallace, a real bench and a good coach. Other than that they are fine.

Posted by: George Templeton | January 30, 2007 1:05 AM

And for those of you who want Jamison to play in the all-star game, don't you think the Wizards would be better served by Jamison taking 3 or 4 days off.

Posted by: George Templeton | January 30, 2007 1:06 AM

Not sure of AJ's averages, but I know I just read that Caron is the only forward in the East averaging 20+ points and 8 rbds. So, there is some number inflating there with AJ's numbers. Anyway, I acknowledge all that AJ brings to the table. I simply don't see a championshiop team with a starting finesse 6' 9" POWER forward. Hey, I hope I am wrong and I have not suggested trading him either.
Next year or the year after if he is coming of the bench as the sixth man, I think that is a sign we are a serious contenders.

Lisa, still don't fear the Heat! Shaq can't play back to back? Is that why everyone is trembling in their shoes? The Heat are going to struggle to make the playoffs!!!! The MDPE is no longer!!!!

Posted by: Rob P | January 30, 2007 3:41 AM

greg: >>>i don't want to offend anyone, but I 'm trying to figure out why babarro is getting headlines...

Rob P: >>>Guys the size of Shaq go down hill quickly especially when they have knee problems and the rest of the team is OLD too.

Shaq has laminitis.

He'll prob'ly have to be euthanized.

Posted by: doclinkin (realgm.com/boards) | January 30, 2007 7:37 AM

JP, actually I think the trade for Jamison pretty much was Stackhouse and the 1st round pick, which turned out to be Devin Harris. In either case, it has worked out pretty well for them as you said. Harris is not the making quite as much of an impact as Howardd is, but he's very young and I love his play on defense as well as the slashing. I really liked him coming out of college. But as they say, you have to give up something good to get something good back. And Jamison is that good, it's just sometimes so frustrating to see him play defense on his heels when the offensive player hasn't even made a move yet...

Posted by: Going G.A.G.A. over Gilbert | January 30, 2007 9:09 AM

Oh one thing, I don't think anyone mentioned about the Boston game, was how surprised I was to see that quick jumpshot from Haywood. Buck mentioned that, and if I didn't see it for myself, I wouldn't have believed it was Hay who shot it. It was a quick DECISIVE shot, something Hay at times lacks. It went in and the form even looked good. I didn't even know he had that in his arsenal! lol

Posted by: Going G.A.G.A. over Gilbert | January 30, 2007 9:14 AM

George Templeton said "the Pistons are missing. Ben Wallace, a real bench and a good coach. Other than that they are fine."

Funny, some people are saying the same things about the Wizards - but I still think there's something wrong in the club house in Detroit. Something is missing. Call it chemistry, in-your-grill attitude, or swag. Whatever it is, they just don't seem to have it anymore.

Rob P said "Caron is the only forward in the East averaging 20+ points and 8 rbds. So, there is some number inflating there with AJ's numbers."

Ok Rob, you're right. Antawn is actually ONLY averaging 19.7 and 8.1....
Caron is at 20.8 and 8.1

Posted by: Rook | January 30, 2007 9:20 AM

Exellent point from the Examiner today:

"Jamison has not only been shooting more three-pointers lately, he's been more active getting to the free-throw line. In the past five games he's attempted 24 free throws. In his previous nine games, he had attempted just 12."

When Jamison mixes it up in the post w/ all the other types of perimeter shots he takes, the Wiz are really hard to play against. Opposing defenses and forwards in particular can't keep up w/ him when he does this. He gets in a rhythm pretty good and also draws a lot of fouls due to his unorthodox moves in the paint. That gives the Wizards 3 or 4 guys that draw a lot of fouls. Those are a lot of free points that most jump shooting teams like the Bulls don't get.

I hope he continues mixing it up like that, it'll lessen those occasions where Gil has to take those last minute winners only vs. really tough competition (when they really needed it).

Posted by: Going G.A.G.A. over Gilbert | January 30, 2007 11:38 AM

I hear ya Rook. I did not claim to have looked up the exact numbers I was just going off what I just read about Caron.

Still I don't consider Jamison an allstar the way he has played this year. He is a level below. Caron is a much more complete player with slightly better averages i.e. Jamison plus a little more toughness and defense.

Posted by: Rob P | January 30, 2007 1:13 PM

I should say a lot more toughness and defense.

Posted by: Rob P | January 30, 2007 1:14 PM

Rook, maybe some would say that, but I think our bench has more potential than the Pistons bench (their lack of bench is self-inflicted).
And I don't know about you but even though I have question Jordan's tactics at times, he in my view is a much better coach than Saunders.
It is my opinion that Saunders is one of the main reasons Ben Wallace left for the Bulls and you can see Rasheed Wallace starting to tune him out. Something like that hasn't occured with Haywood.

Posted by: George Templeton | January 30, 2007 1:25 PM

Big game tonight. Plus if we win we have a chance to get the tie-breaker over the pistons at the end of the season. You have to figure Detroit will bring their A-game after beating them on their home court, much like the Suns did.

unfortunately I'm in Alabama and have no idea how to catch the game (even the sports bars dont have the NBA package here - WTF). Does anyone know if there is a way to watch the game online, besides using the ESPN gamecast????

Posted by: Ray Chris. | January 30, 2007 2:10 PM

recommendation: cbs.sportsline gamecenter is much much better than espn gamecast. granted gamecase looks flashier, but if you want instant up-to-minute stats, it's all sportsline. espn takes ages to update at times. sportsline is faster than nba.com gamecast.

check it out.

Posted by: k-man | January 30, 2007 2:58 PM

Memphis' Eddie Jones just got waived. If he could still contribute a little, I might rather have him than Taylor coming off the bench especially as an outside shooter. If he still has some legs, he could definitely help defensively too. I haven't seen him play at all this year, so I don't know if he has anything left in the tank. From the pic on release article, he definitely looks heavier than I've ever seen him during his career. Thoughts?

Posted by: Going G.A.G.A. over Gilbert | January 30, 2007 3:50 PM

Memphis' Eddie Jones just got released. I haven't seen him play this year at all, so I don't know if he has anything left in the tank to help the Wiz off the bench. If he has any outside shot left and his previously excellent defense, he'd be a good veteran for cheap. Any thoughts???

Posted by: Going G.A.G.A. over Gilbert | January 30, 2007 4:02 PM

Memphis' Eddie Jones just got released. I haven't seen him play this year at all, so I don't know if he has anything left in the tank to help the Wiz off the bench. If he has any outside shot left and his previously excellent defense, he'd be a good veteran for cheap. Any thoughts???

Posted by: Going G.A.G.A. over Gilbert | January 30, 2007 4:04 PM

Memphis' Eddie Jones just got released. I haven't seen him play this year at all, so I don't know if he has anything left in the tank to help the Wiz off the bench. If he has any outside shot left and his previously excellent defense, he'd be a good veteran for cheap. From the pic, he certainly looks heavier than I've ever seen him in previous years. Any thoughts???

Posted by: Going G.A.G.A. over Gilbert | January 30, 2007 4:06 PM

Memphis' Eddie Jones just got released. I haven't seen him play this year at all, so I don't know if he has anything left in the tank to help the Wiz off the bench. If he has any outside shot left and his previously excellent defense, he'd be a good veteran for cheap. From the pic, he certainly looks heavier than I've ever seen him in previous years. Any thoughts???

Posted by: Going G.A.G.A. over Gilbert | January 30, 2007 4:09 PM

Memphis' Eddie Jones just got released. I haven't seen him play this year at all, so I don't know if he has anything left in the tank to help the Wiz off the bench. If he has any outside shot left and his previously excellent defense, he'd be a good veteran for cheap. From the pic, he certainly looks heavier than I've ever seen him in previous years. Any thoughts???

Posted by: Going G.A.G.A. over Gilbert | January 30, 2007 4:12 PM

Horribly sorry for the multiple posts, very bad network or server connection.

Posted by: Going G.A.G.A. over Gilbert | January 30, 2007 4:30 PM

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