Rough loss

The Wiz lost 113-100 in OT at home to the Knicks tonight.

On the last play of regulation with the score tied at 90, Antonio Daniels ran the clock down to around the six-second mark, dribbled to his left and was confronted by Quentin Richardson, who jumped out on a pick set by Antawn Jamison. With Richardson coming at him, Daniels took a dribble backwards and then took a 17-footer that was contested but still had pretty good rotation. It missed and the game went to OT.

Jamison, who did not look happy after the play: "I saw what you saw."

Me: "So, what were you guys running?"

Antawn (looking at me dead in the eye): "I saw what you saw."

Sidenote: Antawn is one of those guys who usually answers any question you ask in depth. He only pulls punches when he senses that he's about say something that will ruffle feathers.

Antonio Daniels: "We ran a pick-and-roll with six seconds left. I really didn't want to throw it to 'Twan with two seconds left on the clock. I tried to get a shot up at the end. It didn't go in. Missed shots I can deal with, but the way we executed down the stretch, I can't. A lot of that is my fault. We didn't get some shots that we wanted. A lot of that comes down on me and I take the blame for that."

Eddie Jordan (in a very brief press conference after the game) on the final play: "I wanted to run the clock down to the last shot. I wanted to run a pick and roll. I thoughg we could have gotten something. We wanted to force a rotation, but the Knicks did a good job and switched out. When you have a power forward like Quentin Richardson, we can switch out on a point guard and contain them, it's more power for them."

Jordan on the game: "Our performance was very disappointing. No enthusiams, no intensity. We gave ourselves a chance, but that's just water under the bridge right now. It's unacceptable how we approached the game and how we played the game for 48 minutes. We didn't play with a sense of purpose. We thought they were going to give us the game and it was just the opposite."

The interesting thing about the last play of regulation was that the Wiz did something very similar in LA against the Clipps Wednesday night and it worked out. Daniels missed a short jumper with about three seconds left, Darius Songaila kept the ball alive by tapping it towards the rim and Jamison tipped it for the win. Not tonight.

But the Wiz lost for reasons that go far beyond that last play. They were flat from the opening tip (as were the Knicks and the crowd) and allowed the Knicks to get back in it late when that awful team was doing everything it could to lose another one. Zach Randolph and Nate Robinson even got into a skirmish near the bench late in the fourth. No matter. The Knicks set a franchise record with 23 overtime points.

Injury news and notes: Etan Thomas practiced for the first time yesterday but experienced a setback. His heart is fine but his sternum, which had to be broken during the surgery, is still not strong enough to handle contact.

Etan: "The heart is fine, it is just the casing around it. I am just waiting for it to heal. It's not the same as an ankle injury. You can't play without getting hit in the chest at all. I just have to keep being patient."

Also, DeShawn Stevenson's left knee - the one that had a torn meniscus two seasons ago when he was with Orlando - is really bothering him and he had an MRI. The results were negative but DeShawn told me that it "doesn't feel right." He's not going to sit out though. "I can't sit out. We have too many guys out as it is."

Caron Butler missed his sixth straight game (strained left hip flexor) and I really can't provide much insight because I didn't get a chance to talk to him. Word is that he felt ok at practice last night but wasn't right during shootaround this morning and the decision was made to have him sit out at least one more. The next game is Friday night at Cleveland it's too soon to speculate on his status.

The Wiz have lost nine of 10. Caron is hurt. DeShawn and Antonio are hurting. Gilbert is at least five games away from coming back if that. Etan? Who knows?

The only good news is that Philly lost and the Hawks (with Bibby) are getting thumped by the Lakers so those teams won't gain any ground on the Wiz tonight. New Jersey plays its first post all-star break game tomorrow night against Chicago sans Jason Kidd.

By Ivan Carter |  February 19, 2008; 11:42 PM ET
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Comments

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Why can't they run plays at the end of the game or the quarter like the one they beat the Knicks with last season when Butler dunked it.

Posted by: George Templeton | February 20, 2008 12:58 AM

Latest rumor is that Caron Butler could be L.A.-bound (via the Chicago Tribune) in exchange for Lamar Odom.

Although I do not believe this to be something that will go through, please do the city of Washington a favor and get some kind of cease-and-desist order on any and all phones connected to the Wizards personnel and Butler...

http://chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/sports/basketball/bulls/cs-080218-sam-smith-nba-notebook,1,6095016.column

www.mindritesports.com

Posted by: MindRiteSports | February 20, 2008 1:05 AM

George, we ran a play, it just does not work when you don't have a player that can beat his guy off the dribble. Can you say Arenas? Arenas is the reason the play worked last year against N.Y.

We just don't have a good first option right now -- all the points were score are hard earned...Jamison is a good 2d or 3rd option but he is not a good 1st option, especially in late game situations. So frustrating...

Lastly, the Odom and Butler rumor is just plain false -- L.A. is not shopping Odom and the Wiz are certainly not shopping Butler, one of the best bargains in the NBA.

Posted by: Chad | February 20, 2008 1:46 AM

I agree Chad, we just don't have that guy that can beat people off the dribble and create his own shot to win at the end.

So, since we don't have that guy, maybe we can actually DRAW UP an actual play during timeout? Besides hold the ball in one place for 15 seconds and then maybe try a pick and roll to Jamison, which is completely obvious to the other team?

And not the same thing that should have cost you the previous game except for a lucky bounce (Jamison tipping it in at the end of the Clippers game).

Posted by: ten | February 20, 2008 1:59 AM

Who drew up that last play, Joe Gibbs? Talk about trying not to lose.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 20, 2008 6:55 AM

Wow....what is going on here? George, I hope you were kidding. Dunk! Sure...that is fantasy!

What should not be fantasy is running a solid play that does not have Daniels, one of our worst outside shooters, throwing up a prayer and taking too long to get into whatever lousy play that was designed. The only player on our roster who could run that play has been hurt for most of the season! EJ genius at it's finest. Hmmm...wonder why Jamison was pissed?

And, Ivan, you bring up the Clippers play like it was some kind of well drawn up well executed play when it ended with Songalia tapping it to Jamison who tapped it in. I'm sure that is just how EJ drew that play up. Lucky to say the least!

Finally, stop the stupid Lakers trade yap.
If it is even somehow a rumor, it is just that. Don't be ridiculous!!!

Posted by: Rob P | February 20, 2008 7:09 AM

Horrible game. I realize I'm starting to sound like a broken record here but....

6 guys took more shots than BTH for us last night. Eddy Curry (who is shorter than BTH by at least 3 inches despite his listed height) only played 15 minutes. We had a HUGE height advantage at C yet we failed to take advantage of it. Rather than play into the Knicks' hands, we should have slowed the game down and pounded them inside mercilessly. It should be obvious by now obvious that the best way to win games without our best scorers is to slow the pace and increase the defensive intensity. Our D stinks. We're back to playing it the way we did in previous years with the difference being that we can't keep up on offense this year.
EJ, slow it down and keep the score in the 80's or 90's. Not only would this get us back into the defensive mindset that had us winning earlier this year, this would also help us win a couple games. I'm starting to think that maybe Randy Ayers should be coaching this team. Without our horses, he's the only guy that'll put us in a position to win.

Posted by: mark | February 20, 2008 7:34 AM

I hate to say this but Daniels should have sat the last 4 or 5 minutes. Not to dismiss the way the Wizards were playing but he made at least 2 costly errors. The last one was losing the ball in that last possession. Had he not lost that ball we would have not went into overtimes. Then, he was supposed to pass the ball not hold it until 6 seconds. Why didn't he drive the ball and at least get fouled?!!?? He is not the player to be taking the last shot. EJ should have left Blatche,Young,McGuire,Mason and I think it was Songolia in the game. They had us up by at least 9 when they were taken out and replaced with the starters. The game then slipped completely away. I don't know what else to say. Horrible loss.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 20, 2008 7:41 AM

OK... AJ you inbound the ball. BH and NY you set baseline picks to free up RM to receive near the centerline. AJ, after you make the pass go to the left elbow. While RM is passing time, BH set up at the bottom left post and set the first pick for NY coming across left to right baseline to curl up to right hashline. BH you then set a pick for AJ breaking to the basket as RM makes his move towards the basket. As this happens, AB you crash the boards. RM, your choice, drive left pass to NY or find AJ heading to the basket or take the shot or drive and cry for a foul. BH, you follow the play and look for a long rebound or tip in. RM make your move with 8 seconds left.

Posted by: JSchon | February 20, 2008 7:59 AM

JSchon, there should be an opening for a pro basketball team head coach soon in DC. Please apply.
As sad as this may be, even if we had scored on that last play, we would have either given up a foul or lost on a last second shot. Our defense is so bad that I have absolutely no faith that we can stop anyone from scoring as long as they have at least 2 seconds. What has happened to us that we just completely lost it ? I like CB's attitude on defense but losing him should not mean that our entire defense breaks down. Is DS' injury hurting us on the defensive end more than we realize ?

Posted by: mark | February 20, 2008 8:09 AM

And have all of you guys talk about me? No thanks... I'd rather be a lame duck politician.

Posted by: JSchon | February 20, 2008 8:18 AM

What a late collapse. None of our guys had energy or toughness down the stretch. If we had it 5'9" Nate Robinson's box should read 0 rebounds not 8! We miss Caron.

Posted by: At the game | February 20, 2008 9:13 AM

Assume crash positions. We have entered a Murphy's Law Funk.
Gonna take a couple more weeks to sort itself out as guys are just too dinged up (AJ, AD and DeShawn) to stop the bleeding.

With the injuries, I really think the smart move is to rest guys until the playoffs look like they are in jeopardy. I think with the full compliment of players we could play with anyone in the East, so positioning is not as important as health. Could we even get to a 4 seed right now? Then why fight it...

Rest Caron and give the others a rotation of rest until we drop to seventh. It could be another 4-5 games based on the guys behind us. Gotta take the longer view in times like these.


Posted by: Pauly B. | February 20, 2008 9:17 AM

Pauly B. I agree with your big picture perspective. I am pasting my comments from last evening with one additional thought. The late game X and O deficiencies of EJ are not new. I see it as part of the price for having him. He has some strengths but that clearly doesn't seem to be one of them. The reality is that the injuries are the reason things have fallen off and despite our frustrations with EJ we shouldn't forget that. Anyway, here were my thoughts last night:

I heard some of game on radio and only saw the stretch run and the overtime. But what I saw was putrid on the ball defense by the guards. Knicks are an athletic team that normally has no cohesion. Shame on us for losing to them.

But all of us first need to step back and realize that without Gil and Caron we are just too shorthanded. Nevertheless I don't see why Young was not in there down the stretch. He apparently had hot hand on a night when we needed his firepower. He couldn't have been any worse on defense than the veteran guards that Robinson and Crawford were consistently blowing past.

EJ continues to baffle me. He can be so wise at times and at other times do things that make no sense.

Reality is that when all our guns are back, if they stay healthy, and Gil has his head together, we can still make a run at this thing. Both EG and EJ sincerely believe this and so I don't expect any deals before the deadline. The irony of ironies is that Gil's greatest asset would be if he would come back with a commitment to stop the quick guards that are giving us so many headaches.

Don't give up folks, It is only February and we are still in position to make postseason. It is not panic time.

Posted by: BmoreRev | February 20, 2008
12:02 AM

So we need to stay in the hunt for 6th seed or above and wait for healthy stars to take over. This is a marathon folks. The stretch run is about to begin but we shouldn't push last gear just yet. There are roughly 30 more games left to jockey for position.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 20, 2008 9:41 AM

I have no complaints with how EJ ran his rotation last night. Very little slow small-ball, so that made me happy.

As for AD, he is allowed one bad game. I love the way the dude "drives" to the basket (which he should have did last night instead of taking that pull-up jumper). That is his game.

However, AD needs to spend some more time with Hoopla on his outside "j". He has no confidence in his "j" (i.e. he passes up wide open "j's" in the course of games all of the time) and he really needs to work on that. A point guard needs to have at least a "average j" in his game.

As for the defensive breakdown. Why (as I have asked for the last three years) do they have Haywood "flashing" way near the halfcourt line at the opposing team's point guard??? Nate "Mr. Quicks" Robinson at that...!!!???? The little dude can turn the corner on almost anybody, so why send our 7 footer out there to try to disrupt him? BTH can not "seal" him off because of Nate's quickness, so why have him try (then blame him for it and bench him)????

Why is it we could not keep Haywood down in the paint (size advantage) and let them drive into us??? They would then kick the ball back out to a spot up shooter and the Knicks do not have any deadly jump shooters other then streaky J. Crawford.

We played right into their hands by forcing them to drive instead of playing straight up man to man and having them beat us with jumpers. EJ I still want you here as coach, but sometimes it really looks like you get out coached sometimes in 4th quarters of close games. The rotations did not do it this time like they usally do, it was the X's and O's this time.....

Posted by: Bullets Fever #1 | February 20, 2008 9:45 AM

couldn't agree more, Pauly B. Rest the hurt guys and sacrifice 4-5 games now before it gets so out of hand that we are unable to compete because injuries get serious. Even if we drop to 8 or 9, with a healthy complement of players, we oughtta be able to make a run starting in March.

Posted by: mark | February 20, 2008 10:00 AM

At the rate this is going, we'll be lucky to get 10 more wins to the end of the regular season. That's how downcast I am after that game last night. The problem is that while the Wiz are struggling to just get to their "normal" game (yeah I know there are injuries), all the other teams including the ones that stink are getting better by the day. Aaargh!

Posted by: rgz | February 20, 2008 10:06 AM

Last night exposed more about this team than the obvious lack of defense and talent.

The sky isnt falling... but the skies are overcast.

Posted by: JSchon | February 20, 2008 10:22 AM

....and there's no sun in the forecast for a couple of weeks at least.

Posted by: mark | February 20, 2008 10:28 AM

...and the animals are starting to pair up.

Posted by: mark | February 20, 2008 10:29 AM

Etan practices for the first time today and suffers a setback...
Recall that when we first found out about it this summer people were saying he would definitely be out all year. Obviously he and his doctors have the ability to change that prognosis since its happened, but that doesn't change the fact that this is at least the third time this season(!!) that we have tried to bring a player back from injury too soon and it has cost us.

FIRE THE TEAM DOCTOR!!!!

Posted by: i'm not a hater | February 20, 2008 10:39 AM

The last few comments concern me greatly. I am not sure that last night exposed anything that we didn't already know:

1. Small quick guards who penetrate and dish kill us. Heart is one thing but the ability to stop quicker guards involves both heart and skill.

2. Our young bench is streaky at best and sometimes adds very little.

3. Therefore our starters play too long.

4. EJ usually gets the most out of the players but sometimes just can't push the right buttons and get them going.

5. EJ just doesn't draw up creative plays in the end game.

The reality is that for 3 years only the offensive skill and talent of the big 3 have overcome these things. Without the big 3 we are handicapped. It is sooooo obvious. Why don't some of you see that?

I am encouraged that Haywood, Mason and Blatche show that they want to help out as well. But let's be real...Without Gilbert and Caron it is no secret that we are not a playoff team. So don't get upset but just hope these guys get healed sooner not later.

And by the way, yes the schedule is going to get tougher quickly but it is not about the schedule. When healthy we can beat anybody and when injured...well you saw what happened last night.

Posted by: BmoreRev | February 20, 2008 10:53 AM

Keep on losing Eddie! Just keep blowing these close games so Ernie will fire your no talent butt and we get moving with a real coach that knows how to make the most of a roster packed full of young talent. Oh yeah, and maybe our next coach won't run his starters into overplayed fatigue injuries EVERY feb./mar.

Posted by: K_Schooly | February 20, 2008 10:58 AM

Do we blame EJ for overplaying his stars or Abe for not giving his coach enough job security to know that sacrificing a couple games here and there for the future is ok?

In EJ's defense, he is judged on the W-L column and the best way to win is to max out the big 3. Then what happens is by the time we get to the playoffs, we have a decent seed but we lose because we're injured or worn out. On the other hand, if we'd rest the starters more, we wind up with a worse seed but more health going into the playoffs. Then we might face a tougher opponent and still wind up losing in the first round. It's almost a catch-22 for EJ. I don't envy his position at all. However, there's no excuse for the poor coaching moves. He's in a tough spot but doesn't seem to be helping himself out all that much.

Posted by: mark | February 20, 2008 11:04 AM

"Etan practices for the first time today and suffers a setback...
Recall that when we first found out about it this summer people were saying he would definitely be out all year. Obviously he and his doctors have the ability to change that prognosis since its happened, but that doesn't change the fact that this is at least the third time this season(!!) that we have tried to bring a player back from injury too soon and it has cost us.

FIRE THE TEAM DOCTOR!!!!

Posted by: i'm not a hater | February 20, 2008 10:39 AM "

As I said yesterday, if Les BouleS doctors declare Gilby and ET ready to practice, in actuality, they are probably about 5 weeks away.

Posted by: DC Man88 | February 20, 2008 11:08 AM

The injuries are an excuse, but with the right tactics and coaching the Wizards can win enough games to keep their head above water. And stuff like last night, an 87-80 lead late in the fourth and close the door. EJ stick with your offense, it works for God sakes!

Posted by: George Templeton | February 20, 2008 11:23 AM

Can we please stop with the Brendan Haywood is wonderful comments. It's getting tiring. Twice the Knicks threw the ball to Queinten Richardson under the basket with Haywwod trailing and instead of making an effort to block the shots which he could have done, he just grabbed him. Then in OT when the Knicks kept running pick and rolls on him, he flashed out and didn't stop the ball and that resulted in several Knick dunks. He still plays hard only in brief spurts and sulks whenever he doesn't get 30+ minutes. If that's what it has come to, that we have to keep that scrub happy, then this team will never have a chance.
And please EJ, do not play Darius Songalia. He's a one man wrecking crew out there. And where was Nick Young at the end of the game. EJ is playing for one shot at the end and the only healthy guy on the team who can create his own shot is sitting on the bench after having a good game.

Posted by: Max P | February 20, 2008 11:23 AM

Exactly Max P.

EJ, had as much to do with last nights loss as any players.

Not playing NY more than 19 minutes in an overtime game was at best questionable. All of his points came unassisted. He needed to be out there in the 4th.

The comcast sideline reporter said that EJ told his players not to start the play until 6 seconds were left in the game. So that wasnt AD's fault. I'm not going to get into how bad that play was.

AD stunk up the joint in the 4th. In fact, he hasnt been playing well for 20 or more games.

Posted by: JSchon | February 20, 2008 11:37 AM

I went to the game last night. Ivan, it's a bit harsh to get on the fans for that one. The Wizards were F-L-A-T. It was ugly basketball. Should we have booed?

Daniels did not do his job at the end of the game. Give Jamison the ball with 8 seconds left on the clock. He stopped giving Jamison the ball. If I have it right, there was one all-star on the court. GIVE HIM THE BALL! Jamison needed the ball more in the last 6 minutes. And, Daniels kept losing his man. Nate Robinson kept popping open...and grabbing rebounds! Yikes....

The sky isn't falling, but, man, we need Caron and Arenas back in the worst way.

Silver linings from last night:
Nick Young can flat-out score. If he keeps his wits about him, he'll be a heck of a player.

Blatche will be a stud, if he learns to box out. Simple stuff, man. I did love the give-and-go. Great work.

Haywood showed some decent low-post moves during a stretch. This could be important come (knock on wood) playoff time.

Posted by: jj | February 20, 2008 11:40 AM

"Nate Robinson kept popping open...and grabbing rebounds! Yikes...."

I can accept pretty much every botched play down the stretch as a result of fatigue, rust, or simple human error. But failing to block out the shooter on a missed free -throw is inexcusable, esp. when the shooter is a f***ing dwarf.

Posted by: kalorama | February 20, 2008 11:45 AM

Then in OT when the Knicks kept running pick and rolls on him, he flashed out and didn't stop the ball and that resulted in several Knick dunks.

Posted by: Max P | February 20, 2008 11:23 AM

Max P. Haywood is a 7 foot center asked to flash out between the halfcourt and top of the key line against a lighting quick "Earl Bokins" type guard. Is he supposed to be able to "cut him off" from turning the corner in an overtime game where everybody's legs are spent??? Please tell me how this is Haywood's fault???

You have a legit 7 footer who has a clear size advantage over the opposing center. What was supposed to be done was to have Haywood packed down in the key as a last line of defense playing man to man defense on his man. The rest of the team should have been playing straight man to man.

Therefore, you would not have seen such an unbalanced floor when David Lee got all of those uncontested dunks after Nate Robinson got around Haywood past the top of the key. The dude is a 7 footer that is a little slow of foot. Not his fault, he is what you call a "big man".... That is not his job to flash that high. If you watch Cleveland you notice big Ike flashs at the foul line and little below, not near the top of the key or further.

Thus, that gives him time to retreat back down to the block. Every team can not play this type of defense, and the Wiz are one of them. Is that Haywood's fault, or a coach trying to put a square peg in a round hole?

This is what I have been trying to say for the longest time. That was a bad coaching move to play that "flash" defense with Haywood at the "5". EJ should have played tradional man to man defense and let the Knicks beat you from the outside.

It is the same story with Eddie. He tries to make the players he has do things they are not able to do instead of putting them in positions that exhibit their strenghs.

Posted by: Bullets Fever #1 | February 20, 2008 12:07 PM

"EJ should have played tradional man to man defense and let the Knicks beat you from the outside."

The problem is that the Knicks were beating the Wizards from the outside. It seemed like about half of the Knicks FGs came on jumpshots from about 20 feet or more. They were 10 of 27 from the three point line. At some point, once it becomes clear that they're hitting the outside shot, the defensive strategy has to be to chase them off the line.

And, while I don't specifically recall it being the case in this game, I've noticed in the past that when Haywood does jump out on pick-and-roll defense, he has a tendency to linger on the outside and try to chase and trap the ball handler, as opposed to "flashing" out for a second and immediately rotating back to his man. Sometimes that works. but when it doesn't, it leavves open lanes inside..

Posted by: kalorama | February 20, 2008 12:21 PM

Not trying to defend BTH when he plays poorly but he was out trying to guard Zach a few times and trying to flash out to get to Nate Robinson. He doesn not have the foot speed and should be put in that position. Like I've said before, he played 35 minutes and got 5 shots. Since he got 2 offensive rebounds, he probably had plays called for him maybe 3 times all night.
Like DS, when you ask a guy to do nothing but play defense all night and never throw him a bone occasionally, you can expect a little let up. Poor effort should never be excused and he's been guilty of that before but treat the guy like a veteran and involve him in the game.

Posted by: mark | February 20, 2008 12:47 PM

And that means DS, too. Run some plays for the guys to keep their heads in the game.
I know I'll get some comments about the Princeton offense being an equal opportunity offense but it's simply not true. Low post centers don't seem to get their fair share of touches in that offense.

Posted by: mark | February 20, 2008 12:49 PM

I assume it was Haywood that gave the shot to Etan's sternum, "You ain't taken my PT!"

Posted by: Anonymous | February 20, 2008 12:56 PM

"He doesn not have the foot speed and should be put in that position.

When the other team runs pick and roll with their big man, it's our big man's job to flash out and try to slow down the ballhandler. That's simply the way that play is defended. The only way not to put Haywood in that position is to take him off the floor. Like it or not, pick and roll defense is part of his job.

"but treat the guy like a veteran and involve him in the game"

Defense and rebounding are part of the game. And I'm not aware of any rule that says players are entitled to a certain number of shots based on the number of years they've played.

Are there nights and matchups where Haywood can be an asset on offense? Sure. But he is not, never has been, and never will be a go-to volume scorer. He will always be st the low end of the offensive depth chart and shot count. He's just not the kind of player that the coach is going to play 40 mpg and throw the ball into 20 times a game. That would be the case if his coach is Eddie Jordan or Phil Jackson.

Posted by: kaloram | February 20, 2008 1:00 PM

well said kaloram. eddie jordan does good for what he has. you guys get on him bout his play time but we dont know what goes on in that locker. you cant give a guy minutes just because hes with the team. you have to earn it. because it has to be an example to the youth and new players. we will be ok. the problem is not BTH, not Gilbert (well part of it is Gilbert), not EJ, not EG...the problem is Abe Pollin. he is set in his ways and doesn't wanna adjust with the times. does that mean break the bank? no....but it does mean adjust...in more ways than with the wallet

Posted by: i | February 20, 2008 1:26 PM

There is more than one way to defend a pick and roll. Shaq has always been notoriously bad at defending it and his coaches have always found a way to maximize his effectiveness on defense. Expecting him to be able to do something well just because their coach asks them to when they are not physically equipped to do so is unrealistic. So is benching a center because he's slower than a point guard. unrealistic.
Defense, rebounding, AND OFFENSE are parts of the game. Unfortunately some folks and EJ both seem to forget that the guy is 7 feet tall and can get off any shot he wants pretty much. Also, the biggest part of the game is mental. The great coaches understand that. Keep a guy's head into the game and he will play well for you. When BTH was getting the ball fed to him a few times early in the game at the beginning of this season, he responded both offensively and his game picked up on defense. Throw the guy a bone. There aren't many players out there who are expected to just play defense who have the ability to score. Rodman couldn't score and was ok with just D and rebounding. If you ask any guy in the league who believes that he has offensive skills to forgo that for defense and rebounding only, it's a hard sell. I'm not saying design the offense around the guy but common sense says keep him involved on O so he plays hard on D.

Posted by: mark | February 20, 2008 2:22 PM

Lot's of good points here guys. Here's my short list.

1. Pathetic pathetic lose. Probably worst of the year all things considered.

2. Yes. We do get KILLED by the smaller quicker guards! Hell, it's why MEMPHIS gives us problems. Arenas won't cure this ailment though either.

3. EJ deserves heat for last night and his coaching in general. But, this year is his finest coaching job by far! Not sure if that's good or bad? lol

4. The dumbest coaching decision I've seen in a long time was having a last second play that involves more than one person intentionally started with 6 SECONDS LEFT!!!!

5. Arenas, when he takes his end of game shots, would get into attack mode with 7/8 secs left and he is not intending to pass!

6. Really, EJ should apologize for that play! So obvious why Jamison was biting his tongue.

7. Finally, I'll say it again. Mason, Young, McGuire (who is starting to show something), Songalia, and Blatche played until 6 mins left in the 4th and I believe left with a 7/9 pt lead. Guarantee a Phil Jackson would have left them in bc he would have noticed that unit outplayed our starters and the Knicks all night last night. Phil would not just put the starters back in bc for some reason your supposed too!!! Guarantee it!

Posted by: Rob P | February 20, 2008 2:25 PM

Just have to add - You gotta have a lot of respect for both Jamison and Stevenson. WARRIORS! Those are the kind of guys you want in the fox hole next to you!

Posted by: Rob P | February 20, 2008 2:37 PM

9-42

Posted by: DC Man88 | February 20, 2008 2:41 PM

"Defense, rebounding, AND OFFENSE are parts of the game."

And very few players are equally adept at all three. And Haywood is quite simply not one of them. Effective players play to their strengths. Offense is not the strength of Haywood's game.

"Unfortunately some folks and EJ both seem to forget that the guy is 7 feet tall and can get off any shot he wants pretty much. "

Since when did Tim Duncan start playing for the Wizards?

Posted by: kalorama | February 20, 2008 2:47 PM

LOL! I told you so, once again:

"Lynchburg, Va.: Caron for Lamar Odom??? Why would they make that trade???

Ivan Carter: There is no "rumor" of such a trade. Sam Smith threw something out there about the Lakers needing a small forward and threw out Caron's name. Some radio host then threw something out about a Caron for Lamar swap. For starters, Odom makes $13 million and Caron makes $8 so the money doesn't even come close to matching. Also, Caron is a better player. No way that ever happens. Relax. "

Posted by: DC Man88 | February 20, 2008 2:51 PM

Dude, my complaint is that when we are shorthanded we have to exploit favorable matchups. Do you really think Curry, Lee or Zach could stop Haywood from getting off a short shot? For that matter, AJ should have been able to exploit his matchup, also. NY was playing well and we could have gone to him more. It's not just about my favorarable view of BTH. Do what it takes from a coaching standpoint to win. As much as you seem to argue that we did the right thing, we lost the game to a team that has won 15 games. Obviously we didn't do what we should have done. This is a recurring theme. BTW, Tim Duncan is not the only 7 footer in this league that ccould shoot over Curry or Zach.

Posted by: mark | February 20, 2008 2:54 PM

Agree that BTH is not an offensive force. But when the guy guarding you is 4 inches shorter, you don't need to be. Just turn and shoot a 5-8 foot shot over him. Like i said a couple weeks ago, I have an issue when our center is ignored when the guys are healthy. Now that our major stars are out, it seems inexcusable that we are no feeding the post not only because it's a high percentage shot but because it slows the pace of the game (which is what we need to do)

Posted by: mark | February 20, 2008 2:58 PM

"Also, Caron is a better player"

Depends on your definition of "better" I suppose. Odom is probably a more diversely skilled all-around player, but Butler probably plays with more focus and greater consistency and toughness. At this juncture, I wouldn't take Odom over Butler on the Wiz, but it's not like Odom is a scrub. Certainly Butler is better for the Wizards.

Posted by: kalorama | February 20, 2008 2:59 PM

yeah Buck and Phil both said before the play that we were trying to get a shot with 6 seconds left. Well, AD didn't even get into the offense til the 6 second mark. There are only two guys that I'd trust with this team to create a shot. One is hurt and , oh yeah, the other has been in Cleveland for the past couple years. That to of the key iso play worked with Larry and Gilbert. Even Caron isn't as effective with it though we still run it with him. hard to blame EJ for that shot

Posted by: mark | February 20, 2008 3:01 PM

Mark I agree with you up to a point. However, for Haywood to maybe become a "volume shooter" he has to speed up his setup time in the block and going into his shot. He still takes a little bit too long getting into his shot and that in turn gives the defense time to collaspe in on him.

He is able to get away with it early in games because everybody is on cruise control playing defense. However, when the 4th quarter starts defenses intensifies thus making it more important for Haywood to get into his shot faster (which he unable to do at this point).

Now the good news is Haywood's game is expanding (i.e. faceup moves and jumpers and putting the ball on the floor and driving to the basket). I love Haywood's upside and the dude is a real bargain at 5 mill a year; sometimes I just wish EJ saw that. He will get his back to the basket game together because the dude works hard at his craft and that is why I like his "potential" game.

Lastly you are right about the "bone" thing also. I needed a bone thrown to me when I was playing and I bet you the average dude playing would like one too if you are not the superstar on the team.

Not that this is the problem with Haywood now (maybe the past), he just wants to be out there on the floor. You can't blame the man for wanting to play, can you?? He could have a Kwame Brown altitude.

Posted by: Bullets Fever #1 | February 20, 2008 3:29 PM

"However, for Haywood to maybe become a "volume shooter" he has to speed up his setup time in the block and going into his shot. He still takes a little bit too long getting into his shot and that in turn gives the defense time to collaspe in on him."

Precisely. And this has always been the "problem" with Haywood's offense. When he gets the ball in position where he can get off a shot with a minimal amount of setup required after he catches the ball (dribbling, pivoting, pump-faking, etc.) he can be pretty effective. But because he's not esp. strong, quick, or athletic, he has trouble out-muscling or out-quicking his defenders for deep position under the basket and often has trouble holding it for long once he does get it. He needs to get the ball at just the right spot and just the right time to get a good shot off, but the window for delivering the pass is usually not open very long before he loses position. And if he gets the ball at the wrong time or the wrong spot (even by a very small margin) the result is often a bad shot or turnover.

The bottom line is that Haywood is a role player. Now, if he's playing to his full ability he can be a very effective role player. But being a role player means that there's a limit to how many touches he gets and how big a part he plays in the offense. That's going to be his lot for the rest of his career. At some point he (and everyone else) has to accept that and respond accordingly.

Posted by: kalorama | February 20, 2008 3:40 PM

BH = role player
However, I give the guy credit for taking his job seriously in the off season. He certainly is playing the best he ever has in his career.

Maybe he can still improve? That would be nice.

Posted by: JSchon | February 20, 2008 4:31 PM

the problem is Abe Pollin. he is set in his ways and doesn't wanna adjust with the times. does that mean break the bank? no....but it does mean adjust...in more ways than with the wallet

Posted by: i | February 20, 2008 01:26 PM

Not sure I understand your point i.... Are you saying that Polin SHOULD open up his wallet and go over the Luxury Tax to sign additional talent? If so, how would he do that, since the Wizards don't have any Salary Cap exemptions?

Perhaps they could sing Sun Ming Ming.... but gee whiz, most of the really good players are already under contract to other NBA teams. I mean, if Abe opened his wallet, he still could NOT SIGN LEBRON JAMES for instance.... Therefore, you are looking at d-league talent - not exactly the kind of help the Wizards need right now.

That being said, the only other way to improve the team in mid-season is a trade. Which player on the Wizards would you trade? For which player in the League? (be sure you match salaries.... and you may want to determine if the trade works for both parties...)..

Posted by: Rook | February 20, 2008 7:38 PM

Don't knock Sun Ming Ming. Even he could be better than DSong right now.

Posted by: DC Man88 | February 20, 2008 7:51 PM

Roger Mason's number speak for themself. As a starter he is averaging 17.6 a game, compared with Antonio Daniels 9.0 a game and Stevenson's 10.5 a game. There is an argument to be made that he deserves one of these spots.

He is much improved due to his summer workouts and is putting himself in a good position for free agency the summer. He is probably one of the best steals in the league this year as the teams second lowest paid player. Mason has also validated his gamble not to sign with San Antonio for three years at the minimum.

Mason's average as a starter is just a little less than Daniels and Stevenson combined.

Still can't believe we lost the Golden State game and last nights debacle.

Like everyone on here just hoping for a win.

Posted by: blue | February 20, 2008 8:17 PM

Last night's debacle spoke for itself,no hustle,or enthusiasm,no intensity this team or certain players seem too laid back no real leader has emerged no matter what the reporters say, if you want to win in this league you have to bring it every night injuries are a reality but not an excuse EJ needs to wake this squad up!!!!!and get them to realize time is tight.

Posted by: DARGREGMAG@AOL.COM | February 20, 2008 8:54 PM

the Spurs just acquired Kurt Thomas from the Sonics...for garabage

Posted by: Fuvio | February 20, 2008 9:00 PM

"the Spurs just acquired Kurt Thomas from the Sonics...for garabage'

Barry and Elson aren't "garbage." Both of those guys contributed to the Spurs last title run (although Barry was probably a bigger factor in their one in 04).

That said, this is a good move for the Spurs, if for no other reason than it keeps some other playoff team in the West from landing Thomas and using him against Duncan.

Phoenix, L.A., and Dallas get all the headlines for the splashy deals, but (assuming they get all their guys healthy going into the playoffs) the Spurs quiet acquisition of Thomas and Stoudamire may be all they need to hold position as defending champion.

Posted by: kalorama | February 20, 2008 9:49 PM

Ignoring scoring averages, I don't think one can compare AD with Mason. When AD is on the floor, he's looking to run the team as the floor general. When Mason is on the court, he's only looking for his shot.

Posted by: DC Man88 | February 20, 2008 10:04 PM

If I were Lebron, I'd be pretty pissed that Cavs management hasn't done anything to improve the team from last year, where they represented the sorry East in the finals and then got crushed by the Spurs. Right now, they're the 5th team in the East and wouldn't even make the playoffs if they were a western conference team.

Posted by: DC Man88 | February 20, 2008 10:07 PM

Kalorama, you like breaking other people's points down and usually are on target. But, to try to clarify what the definition of "better" is between Caron and Odom is silly.

I got a definition of better for you. Every GM in the NBA given the choice would take Caron Butler over Odom. I absolutely unequivocally guarantee it!!!!!!!!!! That makes CB better in every definition of the word.

Posted by: Rob P | February 21, 2008 1:24 AM

Kalorama, you like breaking other people's points down and usually are on target. But, to try to clarify what the definition of "better" is between Caron and Odom is silly.

I got a definition of better for you. Every GM in the NBA given the choice would take Caron Butler over Odom. I absolutely unequivocally guarantee it!!!!!!!!!! That makes CB better in every definition of the word. Must have watched too many clips of Bill Clinton while in office.

Posted by: Rob P | February 21, 2008 1:25 AM

"Every GM in the NBA given the choice would take Caron Butler over Odom. I absolutely unequivocally guarantee it!!!!!!!!!! "

Yeah. Sure. Whatever.

Guess you missed the part where I said Butler was better for the Wizards.

What was your point, exactly?

Posted by: kalorama | February 21, 2008 1:54 AM

My point is that your crazy even making that point. It has nothing to do with the definiton of "better". But, hey, we all can be ignorant at times. It's ok to be wrong and it's all good.

And no I did not miss the point where you said Butler was better for the Wiz bc the rest of your premise is silly.

I can't wait for the ultimate winning debating comeback of "Yeah. Sure. Whatever." again.

If only Ivan could take an informal poll.

Posted by: Rob P | February 21, 2008 2:12 AM

"It has nothing to do with the definiton of "better". "

Oh. So when someone says something is "better" than something else ... then the definition of "better" is irrelevant?

Ahhh... thanks so much for enlightening us with that bit of wisdom. So , by extension, when discussing right and wrong, I suppose the definitions of "right" and "wrong" are likewise irrelevant? How about good or bad? Up or down? Hell, why do we even need words or language. We'll just ask you and it'll all be settled.

Thanks so much for making our lives so much easier.

Posted by: kalorama | February 21, 2008 2:24 AM

"It has nothing to do with the definiton of "better". "

Oh. So when someone says something is "better" than something else ... then the definition of "better" is irrelevant?

Ahhh... thanks so much for enlightening us with that bit of wisdom. So , by extension, when discussing right and wrong, I suppose the definitions of "right" and "wrong" are likewise irrelevant? How about good or bad? Up or down? Hell, why do we even need words or language. We'll just ask you and it'll all be settled.

Thanks so much for making our lives so much easier.

Posted by: kalorama | February 21, 2008 2:24 AM

None of which even touches on the fact that, contrary to what you clearly seem to be basing this entire waste of time argument on, I never actually said Odom was better than Caron.

So, again, what's your point, exactly?

Posted by: kalorama | February 21, 2008 2:26 AM

Daniels is by far a much better point guard than Mason. Mason is always looking for "his" shot - he can't direct a floor.

If you ever truly watch him "attempt" to direct the floor? Its a mess - very helter skelter - thats why they lost to Golden State and other games tho close. He's got one eye looking to make himself look "good" but at same time supposed to be running the floor...he's helter skelter.
Never "once" do you see Nash, Harris, Paul, Kidd , Williams divert from being the "point" or floor director - setting up his team mates to suddenly stop & take a "3"? If & when noone is available - yes otherwise - No, No, No they don't!!!The pass it off - each & everytime...its what they're supposed to do. Mason is selling himself to some team for $$- not helping the Wizards. Sorry.

Posted by: ji Yi | February 21, 2008 2:40 AM

"Depends on your definition of "better" I suppose. Odom is probably a more diversely skilled all-around player,..." - Kalorama

Kalorama, Kalorama....I see your backpedaling now.

"I never actually said Odom was better than Caron." - Kalorama

Your sure your not running for president? Your talking hogwash now.

2007-08 Statistics
Caron Butler Lamar Odom
PPG 21.4 13.4
RPG 6.80 10.0
APG 4.5 3.3
EFF + 23.65 + 19.55

I think the only thing you can say Odom is "better" at is rebounding, which I would hope he would be since he has at least 3 inches of height on Caron and a sick wingspan. Then again it depends on what your definition of "more diversely skilled all-around player" is. LMAO. Oh, unless I'm totally forgetting a Lamar Odom appearance, I believe CB is now a two time all-star to LO's zero and he's been in the league 5 yrs to LO's 8.

Posted by: Rob P | February 21, 2008 4:23 PM

I think the question should be - What was your point?????????????

Posted by: Rob P | February 21, 2008 4:28 PM

You like picking apart other people's posts, but it appears you don't like having your posts challenged. Touche!!!!

Posted by: Rob P | February 21, 2008 4:31 PM

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