Solid win

The Raptors were playing without all-star Chris Bosh but if there is a team in the league that won't feel sorry for a team in that situation, it's your Washington Wizards. Last night's 110-106 win here in snowy Toronto was quality all the way around. Antawn Jamison did much of the heavy lifting despite a lingering back problem (cross your fingers) but contributions came from all over the place.

Roger Mason Jr., the former Raptor, was hot in the first half as was Darius Songaila. Nick Young came up with 10 huge points in the fourth quarter and Andray Blatche made a string of clutch plays down the stretch, including an offensive rebound that turned into a pair of clutch free throws with 1:12 to play.

I wrote this in my gamer but the funny thing about that situation was that Eddie Jordan has been challenging Blatch in practice lately. On Thursday, he called the team together and then told Blatche to step the line and start shooting free throws. For every miss, he'd have to run a line drill. From what I saw, Andray was doing a lot of running.

"You're either going to be a great shooter or you're going to be in shape," Jordan said as Blatche ran by him Thursday.

DeShawn Stevenson: "He and (Assistant Coach) Wes Unseld (Jr.) got into in practice about the free throws the other day but he went out and shot like 50 free throws and tonight it paid off. He came through for us."

Jordan also received quality minutes out of Dominic McGuire. The Wiz won despite a 16-0 third quarter run by the Raptors (Jose Calderon was monster) and despite 22 turnovers, including one late in regulation that almost gave the game away.

In summary: that is how this team has to play to win games with Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler.

The victory pulled the Wizards three games behind Toronto and kept them 1 1/2 half games ahead of surging Philly, which has won 11 of 14.

Jamison: "We're not really thinking about the teams in front of us, it's those teams that are trying to catch us from the back like New Jersey and Philly that we want to be aware of. We have to keep winning games. Let's not those teams come from behind to catch us."

Here's the interesting thing about the way the playoff picture is shaping up: the fifth-place Raptors are looking at a first-round matchup with LeBron and the Cavaliers. I don' think they want that. Wouldn't Toronto be better served dropping to sixth so it can face Orlando?

The real challenge for the Raps now is figuring out how to manage a brutal schedule without Bosh, who is out indefinetly with a sore knee. They host Seattle Sunday but then go west to face the Lakers, Warriors, Nuggets, Kings and Jazz. Things could get very interesting if the Wizards and 76ers can keep winning games.

Tonight's homer against the Bobcats is one the Wizards have to get but Charlotte has won four straight. One key could be getting a handle on the suddenly surging Raymond Felton, who is ballin' since the team dumped Jeff McInnis. According to the AP, in five games since McInnis was been gone, Felton has scored 20 or more points three times with 45 assists and 13 turnovers. Noted Wizards killer Gerald Wallace will not play as he is still recovering from a concussion.

The good news is that Antonio Daniels should be fresh and plenty motivated after seeing limited action last night. Neither Daniels nor Brendan Haywood saw action in the fourth quarter and overtime as Jordan went with some funky lineups that included Mason, Young, McGuire and Blatche. I was watching Daniels and Haywood down the stretch and they weren't thrilled with it but Jordan's move paid off as Blatche matched up well with Andrea Bargnani while Mason and Young hit big shots from the guard spot.

Jamison, who also sat for a stretch of the third quarter while the Raptors made their run: "Some guys where over there frustrated but Coach had trust to put some guys in to create a different a pace or let us know that if we don't get the job done, we need to be on the bench but those youngs came in and did a good job for us."

And I know I've mentioned this before but it is games like last night's when the difference most NBA arenas and the VC is shocking. The fans here in this hockey crazed city were nuts during the second half of that game last night and didn't need piped in sound or goofy promotions to make noise. It was pure, honest to goodness enthusiasm. Or a whole lot of Molsons, whatever.

Calderon on the Toronto fans: "The fans are always with us and that's why we've won a lot of games this season because they've helped us come back."

Jordan on the Air Canada Centre, where the Wiz had lost four straight: "It's a great environment to play. This crowd gets into it man and you're really at a disadvantage if you don't have the confidence and the veteran poise to get through it."

In three years covering the Wizards, I've never heard an opposing coach or player said that about Verizon Center, which too often resembles the gym in Vegas during summer league. At the VC, the staff has to put up a Duke logo or picture of the Dallas Cowboys to get fans to make noise. Pathetic.

By Ivan Carter |  March 8, 2008; 12:23 PM ET
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Comments

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Yea, but where was Brendan Haywood at the end?

I'm glad that Andray hit the FTs, but would've felt more comfortable with BTH at the line.

Posted by: TruthAboutIt.net | March 8, 2008 1:16 PM

Haywood was a bad matchup against Bargnani, so Eddie rightly decided to go with a guy who'd be more able to cover him out on the wings were he likes to operate.

Posted by: kalorama | March 8, 2008 1:23 PM

In contrast, Bargnani would probably have been a poor matchup against BTH on the offensive end.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 8, 2008 1:33 PM

Whatever, they won with EJ's wacky lineup. I just hope it doesnt put any ideas in EJ's wacky head that he doesn't need BH in the game the last 6 minutes of the game. I still dont trust that EJ is over the grudge he holds against BH. I don't want to see it played out on the floor any more and be the cause of a Wiz loss. Also, I still dont think NY is ready to be on the floor the last 5 minutes, regardless of the competition. Until GA comes back it needs to be AD.

Posted by: oddjob | March 8, 2008 1:44 PM

Silly to criticize the coach when they win. Please save it for when they lose...

Posted by: CQ | March 8, 2008 1:55 PM

Haywood, while having a good year, is never a bad matchup against an opposing center/defender. I have seen it all too often -- the Wiz believe Haywood or Etan has a mismatch, only to throw the ball down low and come away empty on numerous occassions. Haywood and Etan don't have the offensive game to really make a team pay. Haywood needs to get his points on offensive rebound putbacks.

Posted by: Chad | March 8, 2008 2:02 PM

"In contrast, Bargnani would probably have been a poor matchup against BTH on the offensive end."

Probably not. Bargnani's not a great defensive player, but neither is Haywood a great offensive player. Besides which, I'm sure the Raptors would have been more than happy to have the Wiz take the ball out of their actual scorer's hands in order to get Haywood more shots.

"Silly to criticize the coach when they win. Please save it for when they lose..."

Ahh, if only we lived in such a perfect world.

Posted by: kalorama | March 8, 2008 2:03 PM

Exactly, Chad.

Posted by: kalorama | March 8, 2008 2:04 PM

I still can't believe we actually won at the ACC. If we win the back-end of a back-2-back, I'll probably be so pumped that I'll run out and get a more youthful looking toupee'. You know, a little something for the ladies.

BTW, I'm also impressed with how much better Jose Calderon is than when he came into the league. I never thought he would be this good. I like TJ as the back-up for a change of pace. A really nice pg combination.

Posted by: Pauly B. | March 8, 2008 2:19 PM

Pathetic, yes. Understandable, yes.

Posted by: kwamesnani | March 8, 2008 2:32 PM

The Wiz shuold do whatever it takes to get Luol Deng next year. His game is perfect for the game the Wiz play. Plus he will be an allstar for many years to come...

Posted by: oddjob | March 8, 2008 01:56 PM

Hey oddjob - I like Deng's game too... and also think he would do well in the Wizards system... but the Wizards already have a dirth of good, young bigs.... Plus I think he'll garner a lot of attention in the FA market, and his price may be too high. I could see someone offering $8-10 Million; and that's too much.


Besides the Wizards have other glaring needs... I think I'd rather see them try to sign a young Point Guard to groom as a back-up for when Daniels is done. Memphis has a few too many young PG's on their roster. I could see offering McGuire or Pecherov for one of their PG's.

Either that, or draft a pure Point Guard in the next draft. (Darren Collison, anyone?)

Posted by: Rook | March 8, 2008 2:38 PM

Good way to challenge Blatche. Hopefully, EJ followed up after the game and gave him some feedback. The kid needs to be managed.

Sit AJ. Crossing fingers doesn't heal bad backs. DM can handle the extra load for a game or two. We need AJ at 100% for the playoffs.

Posted by: Izman | March 8, 2008 2:54 PM

Ivan Carter: "In three years covering the Wizards, I've never heard an opposing coach or player said that about Verizon Center"

One problem with DC's fan base is that there are many people who are from out of town, and they are still loyal to their home team. Every game that I went, you could always hear some fans cheering for other team.

Posted by: Sagaliba | March 8, 2008 2:57 PM

Probably not. Bargnani's not a great defensive player, but neither is Haywood a great offensive player. Besides which, I'm sure the Raptors would have been more than happy to have the Wiz take the ball out of their actual scorer's hands in order to get Haywood more shots.

Posted by: kalorama
------------------------------------------
Your supposition is not reflected in last night's game. Haywood scored 12 points (shooting 4 of 5) in 21 minutes of play. Granted, it was Rasho who was guarding Haywood most of the time, but Bargnani is not a better defender than Rasho down low anyway.

Posted by: Sagaliba | March 8, 2008 3:01 PM

Toronto has no football team....only basketball and hockey. This is a football city.

Posted by: ? | March 8, 2008 3:38 PM

I've been complaining for years about the fans at Bullets/Wiz games. I remember going to a the playoffs at Cap center and it seemed like I was the only one making noise, my then girlfriend now ex wife kept trying to tell me to sit down and not scream so much. I was sitting right behind Abe. I haven't seen much change in the attendees at Wiz game at VC. I think a lot of these folks aren't really fans but just out for a night of entertainment.

Posted by: Bulletsfan | March 8, 2008 4:00 PM

"I've been complaining for years about the fans at Bullets/Wiz games. I remember going to a the playoffs at Cap center and it seemed like I was the only one making noise, my then girlfriend now ex wife kept trying to tell me to sit down and not scream so much. I was sitting right behind Abe. I haven't seen much change in the attendees at Wiz game at VC. I think a lot of these folks aren't really fans but just out for a night of entertainment.

Posted by: Bulletsfan | March 8, 2008 04:00 PM "

If the product sucks, then why would you want to yell and scream? The only thing that gets your blood boiling at the game is when you're trying to figure out why a bud light costs $8 and why ushers won't let fans move to the lower seats even after the 3rd quarter.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 8, 2008 5:40 PM

"Probably not. Bargnani's not a great defensive player, but neither is Haywood a great offensive player. Besides which, I'm sure the Raptors would have been more than happy to have the Wiz take the ball out of their actual scorer's hands in order to get Haywood more shots.

Posted by: kalorama | March 8, 2008 02:03 PM "

BTH doesn't have to be a great offensive player. What BTH can do is shoot free throws and make buckets in the paint via dunks or putbacks.

If given the ball, Bargnani most likely would have fouled BTH, and not only would he have fouled out, but BTH would have made them pay with FT's. BTH is not a liability at the FT line anymore, with his improvement from .548 to .745 this season.

If you look at the box score, Barnani and Nesterovic had a combined 2 fouls for the entire game.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 8, 2008 5:47 PM

criticize the coach..it should never have gone to overtime. BTH should have been playing

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2008 5:59 PM

I think EJ's use of Haywood is ridiculous at times, but last night he at least had a legitimate explanation for going with Blatche instead of Haywood -- covering Bargnani (though Nesterovic played a few minutes in the 4th) -- and Calderon was way too fast for Daniels. On the other hand, both Daniels and Haywood were +6 for the game, so they were effective.

So, I'm happy Daniels got some rest, because he needs it, and since it's a back-to-back, they both should be rested and ready tonight for significant minutes. Jamison, however, after playing 45 minutes last night, might be hurting a bit.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2008 6:02 PM

"So, I'm happy Daniels got some rest, because he needs it, and since it's a back-to-back, they both should be rested and ready tonight for significant minutes. Jamison, however, after playing 45 minutes last night, might be hurting a bit.

Posted by: | March 8, 2008 06:02 PM "

Rest for the weary is great when you're blowing a team out, but not if it's a close overtime game against a conference rival that is 3 games ahead of you for 5th place.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 8, 2008 6:11 PM

This thread is proof that some people will criticize EJ's coaching decisions, no matter whether the Wiz win or lose. He could lead the team to a title and they'd still probably rag on him.

Blatche did a great job on D last night--particularly that rejection of Calderon on the Raptors' last possession.

Posted by: John Brisker | March 8, 2008 7:08 PM

yes I agree PG is the most glaring need this team must address in the offseason. In fact they could probably use two PGs, once established vet and one rook. While I love AJ, if it comes down to resigning him or forking over $10M a year for LDeng. I think I would have to opt for the young big.

Posted by: oddjob | March 8, 2008 7:10 PM

"Rest for the weary is great when you're blowing a team out, but not if it's a close overtime game against a conference rival that is 3 games ahead of you for 5th place.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 8, 2008 06:11 PM "

We are not talking about Jamison here, it was Daniels. Mason & Young filled in for AD admirably. Even though AD is getting $6M (+/-), he was brought in to be a back-up to Arenas and Hughes (originally Hughes, now Stevenson). He has been putting in heavy mins. It doesn't matter if he's not playing in key situations if guys playing are doing great, as they did yesterday.

Crazy that he is a back-up but that was the intent, same thing w/ Songalia. Both AD & Songalia got teh full mid-level exception to be a back-up. Money well spent? That's another issue...

Posted by: CN | March 8, 2008 7:27 PM

It's games like tonight's against Charlotte, despite the injuries, that demonstrate to the fans why this team never amounts to anything. Same lack of focus and attentiveness in critical stretches and inability to run the offense for prolonged stretches.

Posted by: Colin | March 8, 2008 9:39 PM

"We are not talking about Jamison here, it was Daniels. Mason & Young filled in for AD admirably. Even though AD is getting $6M (+/-), he was brought in to be a back-up to Arenas and Hughes (originally Hughes, now Stevenson). He has been putting in heavy mins. It doesn't matter if he's not playing in key situations if guys playing are doing great, as they did yesterday.

Crazy that he is a back-up but that was the intent, same thing w/ Songalia. Both AD & Songalia got teh full mid-level exception to be a back-up. Money well spent? That's another issue...

Posted by: CN | March 8, 2008 07:27 PM "

I guess you missed the early part of the season where this team couldn't do jack without AD controlling the point, and anybody with a brain would take AD at the PG over Mason or DS any day.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 8, 2008 10:08 PM

"I guess you missed the early part of the season where this team couldn't do jack without AD controlling the point, and anybody with a brain would take AD at the PG over Mason or DS any day.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 8, 2008 10:08 PM"
--------------------------------

I'm not saying AD is not valuable, I am saying that now, there are more viable options on the offensive end. The guys who start the game, aren't necessarily the ones finishing them and/or playing in crucial stretches. Examples include Haywood (Etan and even Ruffin would get the 4th quarter mins), Stevenson until this year (last season, AD would be playing the backcourt with Arenas while Stevenson was on the bench).

With the deficiency in scoring, Mason may be a better option because of how his shot has been falling in (this is definitely a relative statement).

Therefore, the original statement in this stream, might have a point (whoever said it): "So, I'm happy Daniels got some rest, because he needs it, and since it's a back-to-back, they both should be rested and ready tonight for significant minutes."

All I am saying is if we could divide the minutes without production falling much, I'm all for it, since we are stretched thin.

Posted by: CN | March 8, 2008 10:44 PM

"All I am saying is if we could divide the minutes without production falling much, I'm all for it, since we are stretched thin.

Posted by: CN | March 8, 2008 10:44 PM "

I'm all for dividing minutes if it's a blowout. When the game is close, I'll go with the veteran making the decision each time.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 8, 2008 11:00 PM

"Your supposition is not reflected in last night's game. Haywood scored 12 points (shooting 4 of 5) in 21 minutes of play. Granted, it was Rasho who was guarding Haywood most of the time, but Bargnani is not a better defender than Rasho down low anyway."

Which has nothing to do with the point. Haywood's not a go-to scorer. He's not good enough offensively that you keep him on the floor for his offense with a reasonable expectation that something positive will happen. Thus, keeping him on the floor to exploit some supposed mismatch against Bargnani is bad strategy, esp. since what he'll give up on the defensive end against a three-point shooter who can put the ball on the floor and who is one of the other team's main offensive weapons will almost certainly far outstrip whatever offense he brings in his few opportunities.

Posted by: kalorama | March 9, 2008 12:45 AM

Nice win last night followed by another lackluster home game against a team we should beat. Particularly with their best player out!

What was that offense in the 4th qtr? Jack up as many three pointers as possible and make the least amount of passes as possible? That was some horrible offense! Did not know Charlotte was such a defensive juggernaut.

Posted by: Rob P | March 9, 2008 1:17 AM

"In three years covering the Wizards, I've never heard an opposing coach or player said that about Verizon Center, which too often resembles the gym in Vegas during summer league. At the VC, the staff has to put up a Duke logo or picture of the Dallas Cowboys to get fans to make noise. Pathetic."

Ivan: I'd like to apologize to you and the Wizards for not spending $200 per game for a couple of tickets and not screaming my lungs out for a mediocre team without its two best players that occasionally mails it in, and doesn't have a full squad and is grinding down some of its players because the owner doesn't want to pay the luxury tax. You're right, I am pathetic.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 9, 2008 7:25 AM

"I'm all for dividing minutes if it's a blowout. When the game is close, I'll go with the veteran making the decision each time.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 8, 2008 11:00 PM "
------------------------

I'm all for veterans making the key decisions, but on this team, unless the vet is one of the "Big 3," I'll go with the hot hand, regardless of experience.

If AD happens to have the hot hand over Mason, Young, Songalia, etc., he deserves to be in the game. However, if Mason & Young are in a groove (as they were against the Raptors), they should get consideration for playing in place of said vets.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 9, 2008 11:37 AM

Which has nothing to do with the point. Haywood's not a go-to scorer. He's not good enough offensively that you keep him on the floor for his offense with a reasonable expectation that something positive will happen. Thus, keeping him on the floor to exploit some supposed mismatch against Bargnani is bad strategy, esp. since what he'll give up on the defensive end against a three-point shooter who can put the ball on the floor and who is one of the other team's main offensive weapons will almost certainly far outstrip whatever offense he brings in his few opportunities.
Posted by: kalorama
-----------------------------------------

And you missed the point as well. Had Haywood stayed on the court longer, he could have continued his 12 points in 21 minutes pace without being a "go to player." Missing 2 out of 3 top scorers, ERVERY PLAYER on this team has to chip in and not just relying on "go to players."

Nor does Haywood have to guard Bargnani on the 3-point line. As I pointed out, Rasho played 10 minutes more than Haywood. So Haywood could have played like in the 30-minutes range and be effective. In fact, Haywood did outplay Rasho in that game.

Posted by: Sagaliba | March 9, 2008 2:35 PM

...and haywood's usefulness goes way beyond his ability to score. It's been statistically documented by that boob Hollinger that we are a better team defensively with BTH on the court. He's somewhat of a deterrent to guys intending to drive down the middle. I rail on and on about giving him minutes not just because I expect points and rebounds from him. While I don't expect him to be able to go out and effectively guard Dirk, Bargnani, Bosh, etc he CAN guard Rasho and any other low post center.

Posted by: mark | March 10, 2008 6:43 AM

I totally agree with Sagaliba and Mark. While you won't misake BTH for a Tim Duncan or a Shaq he's neither a Desagana Diop, Jason Collins or a Rasho "30+ mins" Nesterovic who just take up space or get the "go to guys" some breather. He's a solid defender, an outstanding offensive rebounder and much improve Offense and free throw shooter. Next game is the Bucks. They have big guys who can shoot outside, I guess we'll see less and less BTH.

Posted by: Dave, | March 10, 2008 9:21 AM

I was watching the CAA Tournament all day Saturday and missed the Wizards' loss to the Bobcats. Besides bad offense as one of the earlier posters pointed out, what the hell else happened that caused them to lose to the freaking Bobcats?!?!?

Posted by: George Templeton | March 10, 2008 9:35 AM

George, the Bobcats came out on fire...they were hitting 3 pointers all over the place....Jason Richardson was HOT.
Wiz went down early by 20-25 points. It was actually amazing how they rebounded and almost won the game.

Posted by: ? | March 10, 2008 10:14 AM

The Bobcats could be good next year if they can get May/Morrisson healthy, have both Wallace and Richardson, and with their lottery pick. Matt Carroll is a heckuva deadeye shooter.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 10, 2008 10:21 AM

"And you missed the point as well. Had Haywood stayed on the court longer, he could have continued his 12 points in 21 minutes pace without being a "go to player."

A presumption unfounded in actual provable fact. Just because a guy scores 12 points in 21 minutes doesn't mean he'll score 24 points in 42 minutes. Esp. when that guy is 4th (at best) on the offensive depth chart.

Posted by: kalorama | March 10, 2008 10:42 AM

I am just trying to figure out why it is that the Wizards loose all most all of their back to back games. If they win the first one, they are surely to lose the second night as has been shown. At the rate they are going they are going to free fall right behind Phillie. I don't know of many other teams that can't seem to string together back to back wins. I didn't even watch the Bobcat game because I knew they were going to come out just as they did. Lackluster with no intensity. Is it because of the injuries? Inquiring minds want to know.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 10, 2008 11:50 AM

Moving on... I'm curious to see how Caron and Gilbert respond in practice today. Michael Lee wrote that these two can come back soon, as soon as this week. Don't think there's much substance to that, but it's great to see, considering the team could use two (all-star) bodies...

Posted by: CN | March 10, 2008 12:00 PM

"In fact, Haywood did outplay Rasho in that game."

Depends on what you call "better." Haywood scored 5 more points and blocked 3 more shots. Nesterovic pulled down over twice as many rebounds as Haywood, and had more assists. He also committed fewer turnovers and fewer fouls despite playing more minutes.

For a C who is not a primary scoring option, well how he plays isn't necessarily measured in ppg.

Posted by: kalorama | March 10, 2008 12:19 PM

As I said earlier this season, this undermanned team is going to be very beat up for the final stretch. This was pretty much concluded in today's article. I even detected a bit of frustration in EJ's quote.

--------------------------------------------

"We need a day to recover, probably two days," Jordan said. "We've been in tough situations pretty much the whole year with the numbers. We hope they hold on for another month or so."

"From Day One, we've been creative as much as possible to be in practice mode, trying to get a scrimmage here or there. We've just been so low on numbers for so long."

Jordan has given more playing time to his young reserves, but the results have been a mixed bag.

"They help us some nights. Some nights, all of them won't have it all," Jordan said. "To play our veterans that many minutes, it's tough. Within our locker room, we are proud of each other. We know the circumstances. We're looking at some rest right now and another few days to get our guys on the right page."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/09/AR2008030901725.html

-------------------------------------------
AND OF COURSE, THE CLASSIC:


On a larger scale, Jordan wants to win now. Like any coach who signed a two-year extension with a team option for the third year last summer, the continuity line gets old.

"But I understand Mr. Pollin's standpoint," Jordan said. "We want to stay within a certain budget for the Washington Wizards. We're not going to be like four or five or six other teams that can do anything it takes to win. Those are decisions we made within the organization. It doesn't bother me. There are times when you say, 'How come we can't get this guy?' But then you say, 'These are the parameters the organization has set.' "

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/16/AR2007021602210.html

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 10, 2008 12:27 PM

Tough to get too excited at the Phone Booth for a team with a 10-man roster that includes 3 pure rookies. Until Abe Pollin is willing to pay what it takes to field a championship-calibre team, this is the product we will receive as Wiz fans. What other team would play for almost 6 weeks with 10 players (and 2 are hurt)? We're grinding Jamision down to the point that he won't be effective later in the season when Gil and CB return. For $2.25M, the Wiz could have resigned Cal Booth (riding bench in Philly) and Donnell Taylor (playing in Europe). Both were with the team for the last 2 years, know EJ's system, and would have given us some veteran depth at positions where we need it. Oh yeah, I forgot that the Wiz would have had to fork up an additional $2.25M for the luxury tax.....which justifies playing with short deck. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for in life....

Posted by: wizfan89 | March 10, 2008 1:14 PM

Regarding the crowd at verizon...

I know alot of big sports fans, but most of them just really are not into NBA. Most are of course huge football fans. But when it comes to hoops ALOT of them love college ball but just don't care about NBA. They will say they like college ball but NBA sucks. They'll say the player attitudes are bad, or the regular season is too long and meaningless. NBA games are just trading baskets, no D, no intensity, etc. I'll come back with stuff about the Wizards being a great team to root for, great attitude and play hard etc. I'll say stuff about all the guys you used to root for are now in the league, you know the players... Caron from UConn, Jamison from UNC, guys like Noah, Durant, etc. I'll say it's like watching the minors instead of MLB, but they dont't go for it.

Alot of HUGE terps fans around here, and G'Town. But when I bring up the Wizards they are just like "they suck", or "they don't play defense", etc. Even if they watch the NBA most people want to see the Lakers, or the Suns, or Celtics. Most people just see the Wizards from the outside, and see they don't get far in the playoffs, or are known as no defense, etc. They don't get into them and follow them or get to know about the players. They know nothing about guys like Mason, or Stevenson, or Daniels.

This is a big football town and a big college Basketball town. So many great college teams around here, Terps, Hoyas, GW, VA, VA Tech, GMason, etc. I think the Bobcats have the same issue, no one cares about Bobcats when they got Duke and UNC and NC St.

But also a huge problem is the ticket prices. The layout of Verizon the seats go back away from the court and not really up veritically so you are looking down at the court, you are back futher. Cap center it went up much steeper if you get what I mean. When I see other places on tv the crowd looks huge behind the baskets, but Verizon is is all flat behind the baskets.

But ticket prices keep away real fans. Even the upper level is alot and you can't see or be heard up there. Lower level are soo expensive. Gil knows there are real BBall fans when he goes to Barry Farms. Verizon crowd are business execs that use the game like a business dinner. You want to see a great crowd go to a skins game, or terps, or even the caps. For some reason the Wizards just don't seem to be able to reach real sports fans in this area.

Posted by: Darnell | March 10, 2008 1:52 PM

Wizards should move back to Baltimore

Posted by: Anonymous | March 10, 2008 2:03 PM

DC is full of snobs, lawyers and CEOs

Posted by: Anonymous | March 10, 2008 2:04 PM

Depends on what you call "better." Haywood scored 5 more points and blocked 3 more shots. Nesterovic pulled down over twice as many rebounds as Haywood, and had more assists. He also committed fewer turnovers and fewer fouls despite playing more minutes.

Posted by: kalorama
-------------------------------------
Interesting, guess who often lecture on not replying on stats alone?

Did you watch the game? Half of Rasho's offensive rebounds were when Haywood was not on the court. Rasho's shooting percentage was 2 for 6 while Haywood was 4 for 5 when they playing head-to-head.

One of Haywood's turnovers was actually Jamison's fault. As Jamison dribbled down court, he lost control of the ball. To avoid being whistle for carry, he pushed the ball toward Haywood, who was also running and didn't expect the ball. He caught the ball, but was only able to do so by taking one extra step, hence, the travel call. Statistically, it is Haywood's turnover. But for someone who always argue that Haywood should concentrate on rebounds and defense, are you now going to say it is his fault that he didn't anticipate that his duty includes bringing the ball down court as well?

As for fouls and assists, neither of them is in foul troubles, and the difference in assists is statistically insignificant (I think you simply lack the statistic background to understand how to read stats) to even merit mentioning.

You brought up the insignificant fouls and assists, but omit the blocks (Haywood 3 vs. Rasho 0), intentionally biased?

Can you just be fair, and say Haywood played well in Toronto game, but not in Charlotte game?

Posted by: Sagaliba | March 10, 2008 2:07 PM

Maybe if Abe passed out paper bags at the gate to put over their heads, then fans won't feel as embarrassed to spend that kind of money to go to a game in VC while chowing on $6 dogs and $8 bud lights.

I mean, this blog is for diehards, but you've already got 2 guys who dropped their season tickets for whatever reason. GM and mark.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 10, 2008 2:13 PM

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