Blatche to start

Andray Blatche is going to get the starting nod again tonight against Portland. As noted before, Zach Randolph is out for Portland and so is center Joel Przybilla. Eddie said he likes the matchup involving Andray's length and size going up against young LaMarcus Aldridge who KILLED the Wiz in Portland's 94-73 win at Verizon Center on Feb. 11 with a then career-high 18 points and 10 rebounds. The Blazers also held a 41-32 edge in rebounding and a 19-8 advantage in assists.
The Wiz made 1 of 15 threes and Gilbert Arenas - he of the 50-point prediction -finished with 9 and memorably threw his coach under the bus with a weird post game interview during which he somehow linked his poor play with Jordan's insistence on playing D. That may have been the most hideous loss of the season.

By Ivan Carter |  March 20, 2007; 9:12 PM ET
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Woo-hoo! :)

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | March 20, 2007 9:25 PM

Let's hope for Gil to have a huge game and then deny that it was at all his doing, but rather praise EJ for opening the offense up to him :)

Posted by: Gack | March 20, 2007 9:31 PM

Sorry I've been away for awhile but i'm back now. Hey Ivan, the other night when Eddie said he was going with the vets and Blatche was going to be inactive for the rest of the season, you wrote that all the vets told him (dray) to "stay ready". Do you think the vets didn't agree with that decision? And if he was to be inactive, was he going to be reactivated for the playoffs?

Posted by: C.Bell | March 20, 2007 9:39 PM

C'mon, Bulletproof. Make it do what it do tonight!

Posted by: iceberg | March 20, 2007 9:56 PM

Three really good signs so far.

1. Both D-Steve and Twan have hit treys.

2. A beautiful drive-and-dish from Gil to BTH.

3. Great box-out, rebound, and full-court pass by Bulletproof that perfectly leads D-Steve for a fast break dunk.

Posted by: Gack | March 20, 2007 10:21 PM

The way Antawn's jacking up shots so far, you'd think HE'S trying to get 50. The fans here are all over Gilbert by the way. Booing every time he touches the ball.

Posted by: Ivan | March 20, 2007 10:33 PM

Brandon Roy made Twan look like a statue on that last bucket. Ouch.

How come every time Arvis takes more than a few steps it looks like he's about to take a face to the parquet? And dude has taken some truly Hall of Shame shots.

14 dimes in the half!

Posted by: Gack | March 20, 2007 11:09 PM

Halftime already and Blatche is looking kind of lost. He's definitely not the focus of the offense, nor is he getting any touches, so he's just hanging out there.

Gilby had some nice assists, but his shot is off. Maybe feeling "pressure to perform" as he dismissed any pregame questions about his remark last time about hittin' 50 on Nate. Blazers way too disjointed to take advantage of off shooting by Les BouleS. Huge FT discrepancy (12 atts vs 4 in favor of Wiz).

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 20, 2007 11:18 PM

Second time tonight one of our guys has gone to the rack hard, been clobbered and sent to the floor without a whistle. That's fantastic.

It's not our fault we're attacking and the Jail Blazers are content to shoot jumpers, good Lord.

Posted by: Gack | March 20, 2007 11:28 PM

It was a shame to see Blatche pick up those two quick fouls.
Except for that lull at the start of the second, the Wizards have played ok out there. And yet the Blazers are hanging around so that's not good.

Posted by: George Templeton | March 20, 2007 11:34 PM

Two horrible passes by D-Song. He looks lost at the moment. And can we please get SOMEONE in there who can bang in the paint? I've seen like 5 shots come off the rim and nobody with hands, heart, or any kind of body be able to get any put-backs or even rebounds.

This is how you define infuriating.

Posted by: Gack | March 20, 2007 11:43 PM

Songaila has made some shots for the Wizards though. All these missed free throws are what hurts. 5 of 11 from the FT in the third quarter. Dammit.

Posted by: George Templeton | March 20, 2007 11:53 PM

Roger Mason over jarvis Hayes any day...

Posted by: wesh | March 21, 2007 12:00 AM

Maybe Roger's best game to date? He doesn't look intimidated or nervous at all.

I really cannot understand why we have no hands whatsoever when it comes to loose balls. I know sometimes they don't bounce your way, but I'm just stunned at how poor-handed we are.

If I'm EJ I just pull Gil from the game right now as he's colder than stone cold and is just a liability at this point.

Posted by: Gack | March 21, 2007 12:08 AM

Wesh, I cosign that statement.

So Ivan, would this be the second most hideous loss of the season? Typical Wizards. A team's best player out, as is its starting center, and the Wizards play like a bunch of dogs.

Posted by: Colin | March 21, 2007 12:08 AM

That's just great. Don't make Roy actually work for it or anything.

You know, I've never complained much about our utter lack of defense, but good grief fellas. At least get a freaking hand in someone's face.

This is disgraceful.

Posted by: Gack | March 21, 2007 12:25 AM

This is painful to watch, and ALL on Eddie Jordan as far as I'm concerned. I had been supportive of the job EJ has done until Jamison went down to injury. He's been nothing short of schitzo with his substitution patterns ever since and the team has reflected that schitzo persona.

He has badly misused his entire frontcourt and Blatche looks confused as to what he's supposed to be doing. How do you start and then not play more than 2 more minutes?

How come the only person who DOES have a concrete role is Jarvis Hayes playing the 4 in crunch time and how come that's CONSISTENTLY led to us losing games.

Tonight, for example, small ball cost us 5 points in the last 2 minutes on second chance rebounds and points and Jarvis didn't help on Roy who drove uncontested down the lane.

Why did we say we were going to shorten the rotation and now we've played 13 players (including Butler) in the last 3 games?

Just ridiculous. How is it that EJ can't seem to figure out his rotation yet he's by far the longest tenured coach in the East?

The team has officially gone backwards and it's on the coach.

Posted by: JJ | March 21, 2007 12:33 AM

Well, that was appropriate.

Posted by: Gack | March 21, 2007 12:34 AM

JJ, I don't know who it's on but the team has definitely gone backwards and the only thing I can think of is that without CB3, this team is softer than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

I haven't been this pissed in weeks.

Posted by: Gack | March 21, 2007 12:36 AM

I am giving up on EJ....

Posted by: wesh | March 21, 2007 12:36 AM

an airball wow

Posted by: Jeff | March 21, 2007 12:37 AM

How can they consistently loose over sorry teams.. How they do that?

Posted by: Loosers | March 21, 2007 12:38 AM

I've held off saying this for most of the season, but it needs to be said now: EDDIE JORDAN MUST BE FIRED. His rotations are nonsensical. His love affair with Jarvis Hayes is sickening. He hates his most effective post player, Brendan Haywood. He continues to go small ball, as he did at the end tonight, it keeps costing us games (witness the crucial rebounds Portland got at the end because we had such a small team out there), and he KEEPS DOING IT OVER AND OVER. He won't play Blatche, who is twice the player, right now, that Hayes is. Eddie Jordan simply cannot coach. He must, must, MUST go. And I'm not a guy who uses caps much. I can't take it any more.

Posted by: Keithinator | March 21, 2007 12:40 AM

It starts with the coach. It starts at the top. Everything lands on EJ's lap in this instance. I don't care if the season is almost finished, I wouldn't be unhappy if he were fired tomorrow.

Posted by: Colin | March 21, 2007 12:40 AM

Gil and EJ should present their excuses to this city!!

Posted by: DCFan | March 21, 2007 12:40 AM

I'm livid.

Jarvis Hayes 24 minutes
Etan Thomas 15 minutes
Ruffin/Booth 11 minutes

Brendan Haywood 20 minutes
Andray Blatche 11 minutes

That's the game right there. Misuse of the personnel. It's that simple.

Posted by: JJ | March 21, 2007 12:41 AM

DCFan, you're right. EJ and Gil have a lot of explaining to do regarding this team. Gil is the most aloof of all the players. This team's complacency is sickening, and it's why they'll never be more than first-round fodder.

Posted by: Colin | March 21, 2007 12:42 AM

Ivan the next time you think about writing the words "Well this one should be a win for the Wizards. . ." or any approximation there of slap yourself or hopefully someone will drop an anvil on you. What the [expletive deleted]. How do you lose to a team that basically fielded a lineup completely under 23 year olds at the end of the game. That's [expletive deleted]. Gilbert when your shot is not going, how about just driving to the basket everytime. Is that so hard. Wizards' big men, how about getting a key defensive rebound instead of letting Aldridge rebounding a miss. Another loss to an undermanned team, this is so [expletive deleted] frustrating! You are fighting for a DIVISION TITLE you [expletive deleted]heads! And you lose a game like this, to THAT team! What a bunch of [expletive deleted].

Posted by: George Templeton | March 21, 2007 12:42 AM

Gilbert Arenas is just not all that...Sorry!!!

Posted by: Blazers | March 21, 2007 12:42 AM

Gack,

This loss had nothing to do with CB3 out. They were missing their ONLY decent player. We are consistently giving up too many rebounds when we go to small ball.

EJ, Etan and Jarvis need to go.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 21, 2007 12:44 AM

Gil is frustrating me the most because I don't know if he cares if the team wins. It's like his whole career to this point has been to market himself, make himself a viable produce in the league and score a bunch of points. Team play and wins are secondary. He's gained his mass appeal, so it's almost like he figures he's achieved all he needs to achieve. He's gotten his recognition, so who cares about 0-for-8 3-point shooting nights and losses to teams without their best players? Until his attitude changes -- and until the coach is gone -- this team will never evolve into a true contender.

Posted by: Colin | March 21, 2007 12:44 AM

Yeah, plainly, EJ sucks royally. A lot of us has been saying it all season; just watch this game and you must conclude he's royally incompetent if you're not hopelessly blind. Suckiddysuckiddysuffer'in suckotash, how can we continue to employ this suckmeister????

Posted by: DC | March 21, 2007 12:44 AM

On that last drive Gilbert, Antwan was open under the basket...

Posted by: DCFan | March 21, 2007 12:46 AM

Is it EJ's coaching or the talent level on the Wizards? Ivan/Michael, it would be great to see what your league sources think. I am thinking Eddie has limitations as a coach, but what do I know.

Losses like this and I keep reminding myself that EJ has a realistic contract - just two guaranteed years after this one, meaning if things aren't going well, a firing/buy out could happen after next season, so the team has some flexibility at the head coaching position.

Posted by: Wei | March 21, 2007 12:49 AM

Damn it hurts, for info Portland is that one team Gilbert has never score 30 to..

Posted by: Wesh | March 21, 2007 12:50 AM

I'm starting to truly wonder if Eddie Jordan understands basketball. He clearly can't separate effective players from scrubs. He doesn't know how to adjust his personnel to what's happening on the court. Game after game, Jarvis gives him nothing, but Eddie doesn't notice. Whenever Brendan's in, the Wiz are tougher inside, they get more rebounds, etc. Eddie doesn't notice. He thinks playing Ruffin at center is a really good idea. Songaila doesn't play at all the first half, then starts the second half. I just don't know what's going through EJ's mind, but he's off on another planet somewhere.

Posted by: Keithinator | March 21, 2007 12:52 AM

Portland got FIVE points on second chances from offensive rebounds in the last 1:20 because EJ went small ball....and Hayes is the one who didn't help on Roy.

It's EJ's lineups. Period,

Posted by: JJ | March 21, 2007 12:52 AM

Thank you 4 that Wizards.

Posted by: Miami Hombre | March 21, 2007 12:53 AM

Keithinator,

Exactly. It's very clear to see too.

Posted by: JJ | March 21, 2007 12:54 AM

You are right about the small ball JJ, but ultimately rebounding is about doing your fundamentals and since I was listening to the game on Sirius on my way home from work, I assume that those offensive rebounds were product of that, but I could be wrong.
It doesn't matter who is doing the rebounding, if you execute a good boxout you should get the rebound.

Posted by: George Templeton | March 21, 2007 12:56 AM

"We are consistently giving up too many rebounds"

My point exactly. I'm not blaming the loss on Caron being out, I'm saying we have zero toughness without him. Where's the fire? Where's the intensity?

Did anybody catch the loose ball scuffle where we knocked it loose down at Portland's end and AD just stood there and watched it roll around when it was literally a foot away from him?

@JJ: I am with you there, although I don't mind The Poet's minutes, he was fairly effective offensively. I don't think any of our "bigs" (term used loosely) was on much of a roll defensively.

For that matter, I don't know that we've ever been ON a defensive roll.

Posted by: Gack | March 21, 2007 12:58 AM

Colin:

"Gil is frustrating me the most because I don't know if he cares if the team wins..."

He had a horrendous night for sure, and clearly made a number of bad decisions, but I'm not sure you can hang the blame on him for anything more than a really poor decision on the last shot.

For one thing, even though he was drawing sometimes 3 defenders, he was playing pass-first, drive-second once he established the Hibachi was way the hell off tonight. And the assist numbers back that up.

The other thing I'll say on this is that you WANT a guy who believes that no matter how cold he has been, he can and will hit that game-winner. Nothing worse than a guy who has no confidence to take the big shot and certainly Gilbert has had that in the past, and should have had the confidence to take it tonight.

I'll tell you exactly what happened, though -- there were a handful of really, bad no-calls from Bennett Salvatore on drives that put Gil and D-Steve on the floor tonight. In fact, Gil felt he got contact on the last drive he attempted before he took the final shot. (Eddie was politicking about this a lot, too, during the final Blazers timeout) If you watched him, he was doing all this talking to Salvatore and I had this feeling Gil was essentially trying to say, "I'm going to take it to the hole, you better call it when they hit me", and it's not a surprise to me that it wasn't whistled.

Sometimes you get the feeling that the refs feel that one team is taking too many FT's and things magically start to balance out. I felt that seemed to be happening tonight on a few occasions.

That said, you can't put the game in the refs' hands or you deserve to lose. And you can't miss that many FT's, especially from big-time players like Twan and D-Song, or you deserve to lose.

Posted by: Gack | March 21, 2007 1:06 AM

WOW (with a capital dubya)!!!

Can't laugh or cry this time, because I'm too stunned to see how Agent Gilby choked! When he shot that airball, the look on his face afterwards was almost like he was in shock...about to cry. I thought it was money in the bank when he got time and got the ball, but 180 degree result!

I can't believe that Gilby, with the ball in his hands and time on the clock drove to the hole and shot an 8 ft. airball. It wasn't even close! He positioned his body to try to get the foul, but WHY? They were down by only 2, and he didn't need the foul!!! He had a clear look at the basket and elevated!!!

* As I predicted, Blatche did nothing (0-3, 0 pts). He went 11 minutes, had zero points, and was ineffective, so EJ pulled him. Reason why I said it was a BAD idea to start him because he's used to getting the ball, and when you have AJ, Gilby, and DS who look for their shots, Blatche is the odd man out in the starting lineup. Dude will drift. Even Brendan gets more touches b/c he's the big man.

Blatche was so desperate to score early on that he got the ball and tried to split the double team to go to the hole and ended up with a charge. EJ saw enough of that and it was pine time for Blatche. I hope it doesn't hurt his confidence too bad. He'll be up against Rashard Lewis, Al Harrington, Maggette, Elton Brand, and AK47 if he continues to start. Scary huh?!?!

* People here who were happy that Zach Randolph did not play and thought this was going to be an easy win. What now?

* Jarvis did nothing, but he did't lose the game for Les BouleS. Once EJ pulled Blatche, he couldn't put anyone else in but Jarvis b/c Jarvis is the only other SF guy who's got some size (6-8) and athleticism.

* If you look at the stats, Les BouleS did almost everything right, except Gilby couldn't hit the side of the barn unless he was standing on the free throw line (4-16, 0-7). His 10 assists were great, but this team cannot win unless he scores outside of just the charity stripe.

http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/boxscore?gameId=270320022

* This goes back to what Wilbon said, in his quote from Shaq, that the players know that Gilby is rattled easily and not mentally tough. I think his previous prediction of hitting 50 on Portland, and then only scoring 9 pts was a cloud over his head and weight on his shoulders. The pressure from his big talk came crashing down.

The crowd this time was definitely in it, booed him everytime he touched the ball, and went bezerk when Gilby missed the last shot badly. Gilby is just lucky he can't go play Duke and have to live up to his prediction that he would hit 80 on Duke. Cameron Crazies would eat him alive.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 21, 2007 7:32 AM

Oh yeah, I did see one positive during the game. EJ was going small ball and Brendan was sent to the bench. As he was sitting down, Etan extended his hand as a gesture to tap hands. Too bad Brendan didn't notice, b/c he was too busy fuming b/c of the bench time.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 21, 2007 7:43 AM

Well we shouldnt be surprised that they found a way to lose this game. This team is extremely SOFT. You mean you dont have enough fire in the belly to beat Portland after the smackdown they gave you in your own building.

This team is what it is. This team will make the playoffs as a 6 seed (I think there is no doubt now that they will most likely lose the division to the Heat) and play a somewhat close series against the Heat but will ultimately lose because they cant (or wont) play defense. It is deja vu all over again. Didnt we see this same sorry story two years ago against the Heat and last year against the Cavs. Shame shame. I guess that emphasis on defense didnt take.

Posted by: setonmj | March 21, 2007 7:44 AM

"Wizards Coach Eddie Jordan was clearly annoyed by the distraction created by Arenas's mostly playful prediction saying: "It affected how they played. Defensively, they double teamed him and switched off on him. I think it really jacked them up twice to play to us. I don't know how it affected Gilbert, you'll have to ask him that but it really jacked them up."

Jordan reserved his real anger for his team as a whole and its collective inability to come up with a crucial stop, grab a key rebound or make the necessary clutch play down the stretch.

"There were 24 minutes when we played hard and played together and then there were 24 minutes when we didn't play the right way, didn't protect the rim and didn't play good defense," Jordan said. "I'm going to find the guys who will play for 48 minutes the right way. And if I've got to sit some people, I'm going to sit some people but I'm looking for the right mix. This is the time to play with each other, to play good solid basketball. Protect the rim, rebound, execute and share the basketball. And I'm going to find the guys to do it." "

Ouch.......

On the next to last possession where Arenas scored on the layup, to me, he was clearly not touched, but fell because he drove and shot the ball off balance. I think Arenas wanted the superstar treatment, but Salvatore didn't give him the "And 1." I mean c'mon, Arenas went to the foul line 12 times already during the game, and wasn't going to get another mystery foul at the end.

Eddie jawed with Salvatore also, but tried to get Arenas away from him, but Arenas ignored EJ and just followed Salvatore around. EJ gave up and walked away. I don't think this team respects EJ, b/c if they did, there wouldn't be so much insubordination. Although Jamison did well with 27 and 12, there was little on court leadership. The guys on this team have their own agenda.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 21, 2007 8:22 AM

When you think about it we really learned nothing last night except this: We do not have the ability to turn it up when we need to. What we saw is the same frustrating stuff that we have seen all year. We saw matador defense. We saw Jarvis at the 4. We saw Gil whining about not getting calls when he should be focused on the next play. We saw Jamison giving his all on offense. We saw players who were producing on the bench at crunch time and players with reputations on the floor. We saw rookies and servicable players on the opposition turned into all stars.

All of us know that this team has talent enough that this should not be happening. But like Dorothy's scarecrow we don't have heart. I thought that our talent would take over down the stretch. But we may be too weary from the starters playing long minutes in December. The bottom line is that despite our personnel deficiencies the coach must be held accountable for most of where we are. If we had just won the 4-5 games against undermanned teams jut think of where we would be? This really, really, really, really stinks.

It will be interesting to see who gets minutes tonight. We will learn a lot about Coach Jordan tonight: who will start and why? How will he adjust his rotation and why? How will he adjust to who is hot for us or hot for the Sonics. Will he once and for all abandon small ball? Will he play Mason more and 'Arvis less? The Sonics have athletic Wilcox down low. I think he should try Blatche on him and hope he stays out of foul trouble. But will he instead start Mason and play Antwan at the 4? I hope not.

If EJ was as mad as he sounded in the post game interview last night, then who starts and who plays major minutes will show us if EJ is really concerned about defense or just saying that he is. But I am not holding my breath for him to do the right thing. I expect to see lots of Sonic layups and lots of 3's jacked up by us. If we are on fire we might win. And Gil just might come out scorching the twine after last night's fiasco. But ultimately, this offense only strategy is going to cost EJ his job.

Posted by: BmoreRev | March 21, 2007 9:16 AM

"It will be interesting to see who gets minutes tonight. We will learn a lot about Coach Jordan tonight: who will start and why? How will he adjust his rotation and why?"

If EJ's statement holds, that means Ruffin will start. Brendan was the guy who gave up the driving layup by Roy at the end, although it was not his man. Brendan just held up his hands. If it was Charles Oakley or Dennis Rodman, Roy's skull would have been cracked.

On a side note, I'm not surprised actually that Gilby missed the last shot badly. If you watch his game, he's either driving to the hole for the foul/layup, or taking a set shot from the outside. He's not a drive, stop, elevate, and pop kind of guy, nor does he do a Jeff Malone, Ginobli, Kobe work off the pick jump shot. For sure, if Kobe took the last shot, he would have made it.

Also, the Blazers' player from Spain made an impact towards the end of the game. Sergio Rodriguez ended up with 9 pts and 9 assists. Where's our Spanish player?

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 21, 2007 9:38 AM

Final Dagger:

Arenas stoked the flames earlier in the day, claiming at a shootaround interview that with Portland out of the playoffs and struggling, his presence gave fans a reason to come to the game.

He stayed in character during the game, raising his hands and smiling when he was booed during pregame introductions. He talked back to fans who booed each time he touched the ball, smiling all the while.

"It felt great," Arenas said. "The crowd was energized. I've never really been booed like that in my career. The only other time was my first time back at Golden State (his former team). They were loving it more than anybody."

http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/recap?gameId=270320022

Is this guy's head in the game, or is he busy acting goofy? Back in the day when Bernard King played, it was always commented that King had on his game face. I know this game is supposed to be fun, but you gotta get the win.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 21, 2007 9:40 AM

Eddie Jordan MUST go. This is an ABSOLUTE joke. Hayes in at PF in crunch time? Where am I? What is going on??

Now, we are going to see Ruffin in for 30 minutes a game soon, watch.


FIRE EDDIE

Posted by: AV | March 21, 2007 9:47 AM

Hmmmmmm why did Jarvis play 25 minutes, only because he Jordan boy.

The basketball IQ on this blog is pitful. Blatche gave Jordan zero,zippy, nil last night. Jamison had zero chance of guarding Roy last night. Butler is out for at least another week.

What opition did he have at small forward last night? Etan Thomas? Haywood? Daruis?

OH man I think some of you have only been Wziards fan and forgot how truely bad this team used to be before Jordan got here.

Posted by: dc | March 21, 2007 10:00 AM

Eddie Jordan is clearly not a really defense-minded coach. He didn't want to bring in a defensive assistant after last season, I think he was sort of forced into doing so, and it seems pretty obvious by now that no one is all that much on-board with being serious about defense with the Wizards. Sure, they'll TALK about it once in a while, how they need to be better on defense and close out on shooters and not give up the lane and such, but watching the games, I can't see any evidence that they mean it.

Yeah, that's on the coach and his personality informing the team's personality, but it's also somewhat on the players; as people have said before, two of the Wizards best players (Jamison and Arenas) can't play good D or don't want to. That's what this team is, and it's what EJ has hung his hat on too - winning games with offense, not defense. But when your star's shots aren't falling, you're going to lose some games with that strategy. No two ways about it. And hopefully EJ will be perceptive enough that after he calms down, he'll realize that this isn't just on his players, because it's his strategy they're using, isn't it?

I mean, maybe he did TELL his players that he wanted them to go out there and D up like manly men last night. But I find it hard to believe that he SHOWED his players that that's really what he wants.

Posted by: Josh | March 21, 2007 10:01 AM

Unbelievable. So to salvage this trip, they have to turn this around tonight on the back end of a back-to-back (we know how they do there), hold their own against GS and LAC, and beat Utah.

Frankly, I'm seeing 1-4 on this trip: the inconsistency will lead to a blowout at Utah when everyone least expects it.

This trip is a chance to solidify the #3 seed in the East, put some heat on the Cavs for #2 (because they lost to Charlotte last night) and keep Miami at bay. Judging from the second half last night, THEY JUST DON'T SEEM TO CARE!

Put these scrub teams away and keep them down, especially when they're missing their best players. 'Cause if they can't do that, so what if they beat Dallas, Phoenix, the Lakers, Utah, etc?

That's three times this season...
@NO/OKC (minus Chris Paul and Tyson Chandler);
@ATL (minus Marvin Williams, Josh Childress and one other starter); and now
@POR (minus Zack Randolph).

Some may say it's EJ's fault, and I agree to a point. A coach can only do so much -- the five he sends out there gotta have some heart and pride in what they do. How else can you explain that move Roy made on DeShawn late in the game where he was forcing Roy to the left? Roy (1) got by DeShawn and (2) NOBODY rotated to stop the ball! Roy drove the lane like he was in a pregame layup line.

WTF!?!

Posted by: iceberg | March 21, 2007 10:06 AM

Iceberg, don't forget Deshawn was brought on, and as he called it, to be the "defensive stopper." I think he likened himself to Bruce Bowen.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 21, 2007 10:15 AM

So much for those 50 . . .

Posted by: 761-091 | March 21, 2007 10:40 AM

Jamison needs to score 50 to make up for what we give up with him in there. Did anyone else know that Martell Webster was the best in the whole league at getting to the rim for key AND 1s late in games? Oh, you didn't? It's because he's not. Jamison just let him go. He plays D like I did in high school against Roger Mason.

The wizards sent out an open letter to the NBA. Here is the transcript.

Dear League,

Hi, it's the Wizards. We feel that we owe something to the league. So, for this season only, if you have a PF who needs confidence, play him against us. Look what we did for Chris Bosh! He'll have a career night and everyone will feel good about themselves. If that's not enough, as a special offer, if you have a guard that can penetrate, play him too. We'll make sure that you're Brandon Roy looks like Clyde Drexler even though Roy's jumper is like farted on macaroni in saran wrap: unappatizing and stinky.

See you on the court!

-Wizards

Posted by: Bernard King | March 21, 2007 10:47 AM

Iceberg I fully agree with you. This team has shown little heart lately. Most of the past month they have been playing scrub teams and letting them hang around and ulitmately beat them. I'll take your three games you listed and raise you these gems.

@ NJ (minus Kristic & Richard Jefferson)
Home vs Knicks (minus David Lee)
@ Minnesota (they stink when healthy)

I am not as hard on EJ as some of the others because you are telling me that at this point in these players careers that they cant play some sort of effective D. They have been playing basketball for how many years (including junior hig, high school, college). They have been playing basketball for at least 15 or more years. How hard is it to at least stop the man with the ball or box out for rebounds. They should know it by now. If the need to be taught this in the pros then they are in trouble. Come on. I didnt see Portland exactly bring out reincarnated versions of Bill Walton, Buck Williams, Clyde Drexler, Rasheed Wallace, Jerome Kersey or Rod Strickland. They basically put out a step above D Leauge team out there and made Brandon Roy and Aldridge look like all stars but why are we surprised they made such luminaries such as ZaZa Pachulia and Jared Jeffries look as good.

It is so bad that even decent defenders such as DeShawn has even been corrupted and looks lost on defense at times.

EJ's defense looked fine when he was with NJ because he had people who was WILLING to defend (i.e Jason Kidd and Kenyon Martin). He has been trying to get into these players skulls for 3 years about defense but it goes in one ear and out the other.

Posted by: setonmj | March 21, 2007 10:48 AM

DC, excellent point on Deshawn. It's funny how a dude who until this year couldn't shoot, by defualt, somehow becomes a 'defensive' guard.

Posted by: Bernard King | March 21, 2007 10:48 AM

I blame IVAN for last night's loss!!!!

What did I tell you man.....

Today's blog by Ivan:

"What's up everyone? Wow last night was a killer loss, the Wiz didn't even show up for this one. I don't know what happend, I thought for sure they would walk away with this one. Blatche got two quick fouls and never stepped back on the court. The guys seemed real upbeat before the game. Gil was getting "AAA" tattooed across his butt, DeShawn was spraying Old Spice on his hand. Even Brendan and Etan were hugging on each other. Well, they were on the floor flopping around but it looked like hugging to me. Anyway, I don't really know what to say.

The Wiz should win tonight's game easliy against Seattle however. I hear the entire team is going to be suspended including the coach so this one should be cake. Eddie Jordan couldn't even blow the coaching job on this one. He's so confident that Jarvis Hayes is the only one who's going to see time on the floor. That's right you read that right, only his main man Jarvis Hayes. Something about wanting to give the rest of the fellas the night off because they they played so darn hard last night. This is one the Wiz should get tonight."

Com'on Ivan, tell us how they are going to win. The Wiz played like THEY were the ones not making the playoffs. There's no sense of urgency in this team...no killer instinct. None.

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | March 21, 2007 10:51 AM

That was more information that anyone needed to know about Gilby's new tattoo. Last night, we played like a triple A team (aka D league).

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 21, 2007 10:56 AM

Colin & DCman88 & everybody else, I gotta agree w/you except the part about EJ having to go. I wrote time & time again he is shady in his rotations but I truly believe this is a diffucult team to coach.
Agent Zero's attitude is one main reason. As man88 & Colin said: He's all about promoting his program, product. Its all about PR for Zero. Running his mouth for pr, practice, pre-game & post game. Doesn't respect EJ one second - that was clearly obvious. Hate to say it but man88 called it. "This team is showing signs of a ship without a rudder. Without a doubt, the reason EJ keeps using Jarvis the Arvis, Jamison, Mason? They listen to him...pure & simple. The rest are following Agent Zero. They want their ESPN hi-lites!

The post game show was very clear - They stunk up the joint. This is not a team ready for the playoffs. Wiz walked in looked unprepared - not ready to play but gave lots of interviews! Weren't listening to Jordan who was feverishly trying to get their attention. Everybody wants their Sports Ctr. Highlites!

They all talk a good game FOR THE CAMERA!! I read, Agent O called the T.V. stations - tells ABC to show HIS game(not the Wizards) He'll be droppin 50. Then gives these pregame predictions & makes contrary statements. Its all $$$$$.

And I gotta say - all this evaluating & prognosticating about the last shot.....be honest..He lobed it up like a ballerina - on one foot- like he was scared to go to the hoop-and didn't look for an open man.

It looked to me like he just 'THREW THE BALL AT THE BASKET!" No conscience thought whatsoever. I was so stunned!! I just knew they would win easy! Blazers had no Ctr, no Randolph! Pathetic.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 21, 2007 11:13 AM

Sorry, I forgot to sign my name to last post. P.S. Lets hope the next game gets better.

Posted by: Robin | March 21, 2007 11:15 AM

No question, when your game plan is to run the other team out of the building, and you get into a bricklaying contest with another team full of masons, you are going to lose.

Is it just me or when Gil is cold do we have nobody with a reliable shooting touch? Let's break it down:

-- Twan: love the guy, but he's good at two things -- set shot from behind the arc, and wild, off-balance junk shots in the lane. This is why he can't sink FT's reliably.

-- CB3: the only dude who has any kind of mid-range game on this team, and he's out.

-- D-Steve: can hit the triple when he's got all day, but his confidence tends to drift past his range or ability.

-- Arvis: we don't even need to talk about Arvis.

-- AD: has gone from serviceable and sure-handed to sloppy and terror-inducing in 20 games or less. What's he doing shooting the ball, ever?

-- D-Song: had looked good until last night, but he's just too beat up to be relied on night in and out, because he can't go 100%.

-- Bulletproof: good finisher at the rim, but still making boneheaded rookie mistakes (two charges last night, several extraordinarily bad jumpers way outside of his range, etc.) -- it's like he thinks he's playing street ball and is trying to jack up as much highlight reel material as possible before he gets yanked.

-- Roger Mason: needs a nickname, because he may be the only guy on this team who can come in cold and hit jumpers right now. Let's hope his emergence is for real and we don't see any more of Nervous Roger who was throwing up bricks the first half of the season.

-- BTH, The Poet, The Ruffian, and Cal Wilkes Booth: um, yeah. Moving on.


When the Hibachi is off, this team is incredibly frustrating to watch. All the things you like to see when a star is struggling, like putback dunks, fast break / high percentage shots, nifty ball movement for dunks, alley-oops, etc.... we do NONE of that.

Hell, even box-outs and sound basics of team defense like switching and calling out cutters, sealing off the lane on backdoor plays, etc... not things we do.

There was a sequence last night when we somehow disrupted Portland's offense enough that the clock was winding down and an attempted strip ended up going out of bounds back to them, with like 2 on the shot clock or something, and Phil and Buck are like, "only 2 on the clock, this should be a great stop, just make sure you don't give up anything easy..."

Then one of Portland's All World players does a 5th grade degree of difficulty backdoor cut right to the hoop, catches the ball and takes the shot, and you hear Phil go: "... like that right there."

You could hear the disgust in his voice.

Posted by: Gack | March 21, 2007 11:28 AM

I agree w/this guy DC88..GA was a ridiculous publicity hound. Not focused on the game or his team. I understand his coach kept trying to get his attention but it didn't happen.

Arenas stoked the flames earlier in the day, claiming at a shootaround interview that with Portland out of the playoffs and struggling, his presence gave fans a reason to come to the game.

He stayed in character during the game, raising his hands and smiling when he was booed during pregame introductions. He talked back to fans who booed each time he touched the ball, smiling all the while.

"It felt great," Arenas said. "The crowd was energized. I've never really been booed like that in my career. The only other time was my first time back at Golden State (his former team). They were loving it more than anybody."


He's getting on my nerves with all this LOOK AT ME!! crap..Talk is cheap..play ball!!

Posted by: Wiz Fan1 | March 21, 2007 11:29 AM

"It looked to me like he just 'THREW THE BALL AT THE BASKET!" No conscience thought whatsoever."

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!

I couldn't have said it any better. He looked like he was at a carnival and was throwing a sandbag to knock down some stacked blocks for a stuffed animal. The cameraman quickly got in his face after time expired. Gilby had a dumbfounded look as if he was in a time warp. It was totally surreal.

I mean, if they're going to make us East Coast people stay up until almost 1am to watch this, then they need to get a win at least! Tonight, another 10pm game to watch, and this time, the Sonics have Rashard Lewis back.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 21, 2007 12:12 PM

The only thing that made me happy last night was seeing Walt Williams and Ed Tapscott ripping the Wizards for their poor play and then loudly proclaiming at the end of the post game show that Roger Mason should get more playing time than Arvis. I hope your listening coach Jordan!

Posted by: George Templeton | March 21, 2007 12:33 PM

Like that people are waking up to EJ's weak coaching. I've been posting about it all season even in December. This team has the talent level to be better than it is currently that is for sure. Besides just unexplainable rotations etc..., I will add that EJ is not much of a motivator. The level of intensity this team plays with is pretty weak at times to say the least. The fun loving jack it up team will not win anything when games really matter, period (hear that Gilbert?). This team is a first round loser.

In his defense, while the Wiz have a lot of talent, there are some strange pieces here. Guys that can play D, but can't play a lick of offense - Ruffin. Players that can play O, but can't play a lick of defense - Jamison/Arenas. Centers that are very unrealiable offensively and when given touches the ball freezes - H'Wood/Etan. Shooters who can't shoot and are bad ball handlers - Arvis.

The best all around player is Tough Juice, but overall this team has below average passing ability. The kid Blatche has the best passing instincts on the team. Not kidding! He is not the best passer yet, but he will be when his instincts and experience meet.

Posted by: Rob P | March 21, 2007 12:39 PM

If Abe and Ernie weren't patient men, EJ might have been let go by now. Right now, they are in danger of letting this season go to waste. It's common in this town (re: Norv's 5-1 start one season). All the momentum and notoriety they built up early in the season is in the toilet now.

I think EJ is saying and pushing the right things, but the players are tuning him out and doing whatever their instincts tell them to do on the court. A lot of this could be attributed to EJ's out of whack substitution patterns and starting lineups, but I think it's mainly because there's no outspoken leader, so everyone's got their own agenda and no one's taking ownership.

They've had their team meetings, they've had their injury excuses, they've had their taste of bitter defeat. So, what now? I know it's a bit extreme, but that's why I said a long time ago is that if they're not going to take advantage of their abilities, play seriously, and do some damage in the playoffs, then they're better off being in the lottery to get the help that the need, and the help the won't get through free agency.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 21, 2007 12:59 PM

Gack, Songalia is not too beat up. He is a hard working banger with a nice shooting touch and sound fundamentals, but he is slow. A team like Portland with young quick big guys will expose this weakness.

This is why last night when Chenier said at halftime, "I don't think we saw Songalia in the first half" - I was thinking for once Eddie Jordan's personnel decision made sense. Then, of course, Songalia started the second half.

"The basketball IQ on this blog is pitful. Blatche gave Jordan zero,zippy, nil last night." - dc

dc, really? He only hustled, played nice team D, kept his man in front of him, rebounded, had a couple of decent passes, etc.... He did get in foul trouble and it was not his best outing, but he was a presence. I would have rather seen him in the second half than Songalia who hit a couple of jumpers, but was otherwise a complete liability out there. Is EJ afraid Blatche is going to foul out? lol

Posted by: Rob P | March 21, 2007 1:01 PM

DC Man88, I agree with your last post for the most part except that if the team is tuning EJ out then he must go. If he can't get the team to play harder or play together as a team or play better defense - defense that will get them past the first round - then he must go. What other job does a coach have other than in game tactical decisions???

Posted by: Rob P | March 21, 2007 1:09 PM

If EJ has truly lost this team, then there's no recourse. Coaches always go, as people buy tickets to see the players, not the coach. Abe hired EJ due to his local ties, to repair the franchise's image after the MJ fiasco. EJ said himself that he wanted the NJ job, but took this one since it was on the table and he was a local product.

The only question is who should or would be the leading candidates? Abe is not going to pay big monies for a big name, although Larry Brown is available and would probably love to coach Agent Gilby.

If he wants Larry Brown and is willing to open up his pocket book, he'd better do it fast before MJ hires him in Charlotte. Also, Abe would have to throw megabucks at Larry Brown in order to get him to come here b/c those UNC alums stick together. MJ will tell him what a tightwad and liar Abe is. A much cheaper route would be someone like Darrell Walker, who has local ties, and did win a championship with da bulls/MJ.

Question to Abe once again...how badly do you want to win, cuz it's gonna cost you.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 21, 2007 1:19 PM

Ok - so the wiz are playing rather poorly, and tho I respect EJ for what he has done along with EG to get this team to where it is at, we may be at a Peter Principle point. Nonetheless, we are stuck with Eddie so we might as well cope with it.

Now to Eddie bash - in general agreement with most of the above posts, tho I don't think the team has tuned Eddie out. Strategically, as everyone on here agrees, Eddie's love of small bal is the problem. Why does he love it? I think it is because Eddie is an offensive coach, and so he matches up with the team that he thinks will be most effective on the offensive end, at the expense of defense. I am not sure small ball is even better at offensive end, but I think that is what Eddie's thought process is.

Tactically, end of game last night was perfect example of bad coaching. You know what it looked like to me? It looked like Gil wasn't sure whether he should take the three or take it to the whole. You notice how slowly he brought it up court, and then sort of panicked with a couple of seconds left? I think he was still deciding on whether to go to the hole or take the three for the win. His indecision resulted in a compromise in terms of where he shot the ball between the two options, and what you got was that horrendous shot selection and horrendous shot. My bet is Eddie told Gil to take the three if it was open, and if not take it to the hole. That doesn't work - he needed to tell Gil to do one or the other, with an option to another player, if necessary. I'm sorry but that doesn't work. You have to set up the offense for one play or the other, AND you cant' put the guy who has to make the shot in the position of figuring out what BIG Question thing to do as he runs the full length of the court with not a whole lot of time.

Some perspective:

Wiz on the season - .562

Wiz in last 10 games - .500

Admittedly that is against some soft teams and with some games that we should have won, but let's keep in mind that since AJ went down the team has not had the big three healthy at once. Even when all three played recently, Butler was clearly not himself. So in defense of Eddie, only so much he can do b/c this team lives and dies by those three, and you need the three playing to win consistently.

Why are we all so panicked right now? It has little to do with the play of the Wiz, tho gosh would be nice if they responded; it has everything to do with the fact that Detroit, Cleveland, and particularly Miami have REALLY turned up the heat.

Posted by: charles jones | March 21, 2007 1:40 PM

Sorry - Want to correct a blog statement:

Whitfield and Tapscott did NOT say: "Roger Mason should get more playing time than Arvis." They said they were glad to see Mason getting more playing time. period. Nothing about Hayes.

Whitfield commented Wiz "didn't even look like they came to play when they walked on the court. Looked disjointed" Didn't look like a playoff team"

I personally think they look that way as they enter because certain players are deciding their own strategies and not Jordan's. They have their own ideas and allegiance. Most of us have made that observation.

Stevenson uses Zero to motivate him. Challenge him to shoot the 3. Daniels wants some playin time behind Zero. Butler(CB3)is now star struck - but will follow as much of Jordans guidance as possible til Zero gives a different directive.
He tends to follow Zero's lead.
Mason: Just hopin to hold a spot in the NBA period.(been waived 4+times in 5-6 yrs)Ruffin, Hayes, Songalia, Thomas..Try to follow Jordan's directives.

Sadly, as Zero's attention to the team goes - so goes the team. An over active EGO is a hungry beast-Can never be satisfied.

Notice: When Spurs, Popovich, Avery Johnson stops a player from speaking w/ref.- They stop immediately-walk away.
Arenas never does - shows disrespect & the other players notice & see no repercussions from it.

Eddie Jordan is battling that beast. Phil Jackson and Pat Riley know too well how to coach that beast. He's scared to "sit the beast - cuz they will prob. fall. So...he has almost option but to play his hand.
He's partly to blame for establishing stronger disciplines early on. He let Arenas run amok & this is the result.

If Arenas decides to fall in line mentally & physically - Wiz move forward normally. If, things don't feed his ego - Wiz are in trouble. They'll have to bring his dad back in - to get him more team minded.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 21, 2007 1:44 PM

A great OFFENSE maybe ENTERTAINING, BUT, DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS!!!

It's so frustrating to see other teams beat the wizards in late game situations where an opposing player just drives to the rim, UNCONTESTED. Have we forgotten what LBJ did? What's WORSE is what ROY did last night!(a rookie?!?) And WORST, Udonis HASLEM hitting his first game winning shot?!? I mean, this guys not even known for his offense! Geez... when will we ever learn?

'Twan has to go back and become his old best 6th man in the league. We could use a boost in scoring from the bench.

Let Blatche develop into a versatile PF while he still can since he's young. You can't teach old dogs like 'Twan to play new tricks- like defense.

EJ-you're FIRED!

Can anyone explain why HAYES plays a lot? His shooting % must be in the 30s...

Posted by: doc.swing | March 21, 2007 1:50 PM

Here's Gilby's take on what happened:

With a chance to force the game to overtime, Arenas drove down the lane and threw up a shot that fell well short of the rim as time ran out.

"I was going for the game-winner," Arenas said. "They pushed up on me so I drove in. Jarrett Jack was trying to take the charge so I laid up the floater. The floater looked like it did -- bad.

Les BouleS were without a timeout after the Jack hit his free throws, so Gilby just ran with it. He was going for the win with the 3, until he changed his mind.

I doubt if EJ instructed him on what play to run before the final free throw. EJ has been quoted before, and Gilby has been in enough similar circumstances, that EJ trusts Gilby's judgement on which shot to take.

I think people are upset because they see a team that's #1 in their divisioin losing to bad teams that are not only bad, but depleted in their stars. That's not good. These are games they have to win.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 21, 2007 1:50 PM

Rob,

Darius claims he's only at 75% and in my estimation you can see it in his play. That's all I'm saying. For a guy of his build and play style, you need him to be at 100% to be really effective.

Posted by: Gack | March 21, 2007 2:58 PM

Seriously though, I don't think any player can be 100% this time in the season. Darius is going to have to use his smarts, because even at 100%, he's not that athletic.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 21, 2007 3:27 PM

Dave read an email, and asked if Roger Mason should play more minutes than Hayes. Both Walt and Ed Tapscott replied "YES!"

Everyone sees it expect EJ.

Posted by: Donkey | March 21, 2007 3:30 PM

To the poster who was explaining that Mason follows directions because he is trying to secure a spot in the NBA. Fine point. But he's been cut once by Toronto. That's it. He went overseas and this is his first shot back.

Posted by: hoping to see mason jr make it work | March 21, 2007 3:31 PM

Charles Jones....that's good advice.

Lets a) right the ship; b) steady it;then start rowing slowing again.

Charles, makes good sense. Don't panic just hold your ores out of the water in rough water & hold on.

Posted by: Robin | March 21, 2007 3:58 PM

Sorry, Hoping to see..or whoever..

Our streaky shooter
Mason went 2nd round - 33rd to Bulls. Horrible tweener. Not as tall as stats show. Bulls & Co. eager to trade or waive. rode bench 1-2 yrs - traded in package to Toronto - then waived...summer leagues Orl & few others all waived..went to Europ. Point being..the bro aint no rookie. Should be playin like a vet. Nobody special..Nothin personal..glad he can make an occasional hoop but this team needs a strong low post presence.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 21, 2007 4:40 PM

Sorry, Hoping to see..or whoever..

Our streaky shooter
Mason went 2nd round - 33rd to Bulls. Horrible tweener. Not as tall as stats show. Bulls & Co. eager to trade or waive. rode bench 1-2 yrs - traded in package to Toronto - then waived...summer leagues Orl & few others all waived..went to Europ. Point being..the bro aint no rookie. Should be playin like a vet. Nobody special..Nothin personal..glad he can make an occasional hoop but this team needs a strong low post presence.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 21, 2007 4:57 PM

If the Wizards lose first place to the Heat the two losses to Trailblazers will be exhibit 1 and 1A in the trial by the fans as to what went wrong with this season. New Orleans, New York at home, and Atlanta are prime examples of games that appeared to be very winnable game that slipped away.
Realisticly we should be up by 4 to 5 games instead of being in danger of losing our lead tonight. But also being realistic, I'm sure Miami and every other team in the NBA has a similar group of games that they can look back fondly on themselves.
The one common denominator that I see in all of these games, against teams with injury depleted rosters, is scufflers. For those that don't know what a scuffler is it's a guy with less than stellar abilities that hangs on by doing all of the dirty work required to win a game.
When you play a scuffler he'll tug on your shorts, push, shove, grab, step on your heels, just about anything to screw up your game. Many Vets that were once talented players become scufflers and some guys just hang on by being scufflers, thats all they do.
Some players really let that type of play get under their skin. Some teams can play against the best in basketball and then really struggle against guys like that.
Last night the officiating or lack of it at times really got in the Wiz's head. Somebody said that Haywood should have put an Elbow in Roy's throat. He really should have, Stevenson and Arenas both got one and no foul. My impression of what Bennett Salvatore was saying to Arenas last night was, "hey you fired them up now don't look at me to bail you out with a whistle. I don't care if they kill you, I've got to get out of here too!"
But bottem line we have a roster that gets flustered by rough, physical, play that disrupts the timing of the Princeton offense. Against these kind of teams Jamison needs to play more at the 3 and we need a tough physical presence at the 4. Blatch is about 25 lbs of muscle and 2 years short on experience to be that guy right now. Songalia is about only 75 percent and Ruffin makes you play 4 on 5 on O. Booth is really a center and some 4's are just to quick, and when Butler is healthy many times he's in there banging instead of Jamison. But in reality, it's alot to ask a 6'5" former shooting gaurd to bang with the bigs.
Every team has to have some scufflers, my sense is that Jordan regards Ruffin and Hayes to be his. Those are the guys that no matter what he asks they will go out and try and do it. Both have very prominent shortcomings that have been very well discussed here. Every time a coach puts his scufflers on the floor he's putting their weaknesses out there too. But Ruffin is the only guy that we have that can engage in a real ruff and tumble game and keep his composure but he makes it worse at the offensive end because no one gaurds him.
Playoffs are coming and teams are watching tape, we will see every head banging tactic there is until we show we can play thru it. Isaih Thomas more than once after picking himself of the floor drove the lane again and lifted his knee just high enough...

Posted by: GM | March 21, 2007 5:11 PM

to the guy who broke down mason's stops to get here- these are all wizards now, whichever route led them here. it doesn't seem constructive to break down people's job history; it doesn't add to understanding what's going on with the team right now. jarvis, for instance, may have a more illustrious pedigree, but i don't see him contributing significantly more at this particular juncture. with that said, support all of the guys and don't be so negative in breaking down their careers. what's important is who- when given an opportunity- can contribute now when the team so desperately needs it and that'll be determined on the court.

Posted by: support all of them | March 21, 2007 6:03 PM

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