Game 1: Washington Wizards Season Opener at Indiana
Well…when I can (meaning when I’m home watching the Wizards on TV), I will be writing a game blog/diary for the Wizards this year. Can’t promise a consistent effort….so wish me luck.
Halloween Night – October 31, 2007
Tony Kornheiser used to talk about the Curse o’ Lez Boulez…..is there now a Curse o’ Lez Wizards? Think about it…Injuries to Gilbert and Caron at the end of last year (btw, I’m not going to count Jamison’s knee thing..that almost was expected, at least to have one 4+ week injury on the team).
This year: Etan’s heart condition. And now…boy did Haywood’s knee go in an awkward direction when he fell over Diogu in the first quarter. He seems to be fine after that nice dunk. Then Stevenson to the locker room? Is this the way it’s going to be all year? It’s almost like we’ve all convinced ourselves that without the injuries last year….just look what the Cavs did. But now, that excuse is our greatest concern.
And Granger hits another 3..where is our transition D? Time Out Eddie Jordan. Pacers up 13-8. I know it starts with our offense (stagnant), but damn.
Whew…D-Shawn is back in the game. Still…when the way AD takes it to the rack, I’m cringing all around for this team. Didn’t notice much from Nick Young’s debut.
Dunleavy hits a J…for some reason, I expect something from him this year.
Breakaway Butler dunk…gets it to 15-14 Pacers. No two better team captains in the NBA than Jamison and Butler. No, they haven’t won yet…but I’d trust their leadership just like I would the Spurs team captains, Duncan and Parker?
Man, now Travis Diener is hitting 3s. Pacers up 20-14.
What? Steve Buckhantz just said that in addition to 100 school point thing, Gilbert is giving a grand each to all schools that were in the lottery. I would NEVER trade him for Kobe. NEVER. Speaking of…the hibachi is heating up. It starts with an Agent 0 steal and basket on the other end. Wiz are two down.
The quarter winds down looking a little ugly with some turnovers and fouls. Sometimes we just aren’t getting movement on offense……but everyone is just getting used to each other and working out the season opener jitters.
Gilbert has the ball with 8 seconds left in the quarter….how is he going to handle this? How is he going to test that knee? What tone is he going to set for the season? Pull up jumper? Nope. Take it to the basket and get the foul. You just gotta make both FTs Gil!
Let’s hope Songalia’s hustle is a virus.
Roger Mason, Jr. checks in to give Gil a little early season rest. Antonio Daniels, the third second unit guy in the game, comes up with a nice steal and bucket.
3 by Jamison and TO for the Pacers. Wiz up 4. Even without Etan, we are going to have a strong bench this year….nice to see those guys take care of a little business and regain the lead 32-28.
Guess I spoke too soon, Arenas is checking back in with a 2 pt. deficit, but Songalia’s at the line for two.
I know Andray was in for a second earlier…remember him making nice move. But where is he now? I was expecting to see more of him. Ok, my bad…I just checked, he has two personal fouls.
I’m liking Haywood so far…he’s been active and extending his arms to get to the ball and keep it alive on the offensive boards.
Jeff Foster is a funny looking dude. He reminds me of how Zach from Wedding Crashers would look if he were to play basketball. His jumper is, how should I put it…dainty? Why are his feet so close together? If Maryland does crab cakes and football, what does Indiana do? Basketball and beans?
Gil gets his first offensive foul of the year…7th Wiz turnover. Up 43-42, need to close the quarter strong.
The Rookie McGuire has made his NBA debut with a foul.
Wow, nice slam for Ike Diogu *[fantasy sleeper]* with 6 seconds left. Gilbert’s second chance for a buzzer beater….do they chart a “most buzzer beaters attempted” stat in the NBA?….and he only has time for a jumper, which is a miss.
The Wiz end the first half of the season down 45-48.
Top 3 Stat Sheet Positives:
1. 9 rebounds (7 offensive!) for Brendan Haywood. Jamison also has 7, but we are minus 1 in rebound margin, to be expected with negative #1 below.
2. Arenas has 14 points on 5-11 shooting – not bad, not bad…liking what I see so far.
3. Forcing 13 turnovers from the Pacers (I’d like to see us get more than 11 points off of them though)
Top 3 Stat Sheet Negatives:
1. 34.8 FG% (1-9 from 3 point land)…like I said, jitters. Mostly for Tuff Juice, 1 for 8 on FGs.
2. Another % – 12-17 on FTs. Need to be above 78% this year if we expect to be a decent team…that’s the factor that no one ever talks about. We shot 76.5% last year, 11th in the league. But to be elite, we need to knock that up about 2% points.
3. Dunleavy’s 15. Ok, I did say I thought he was going to break out…but come on. Well, I guess someone has to pick it up with JO out.
Let’s see if we can keep the positives and convert the negatives in the 2nd half.
Just switched over to the Cavs-Mavs on ESPN. I have a totally different perception of Ilgauskus now that he’s completely bald.
Haywood remains active on the offensive boards….I just hope that Gilbert’s rendition of improved D this year doesn’t mean gambling in the passing lanes too much, he needs to at least put himself in position to recover if he does.
Nice start to the quarter BTW…Caron gets the steal and a bucket to put the Wiz up 8. Best to get out of a rut with easy shots like that. 13-2 run to start the half, up 58-50.
Diogu is really good at sprinting down the court in transition and getting that low post position…I’ve seen him do that a couple times already.
Classic Gilbert – jumps over some fans in the first row (after attempting to get a steal after a Wiz turnover), takes a ‘one of those moments’ tumble, gets up like nothing happens and says. “thank you thank you thank you” to the fans as he walks by the camera.
Not looking good for the Cavs on the other TV…down 35-21 with 9 left in the 2nd.
You really have the love the aggressiveness of Arenas..his attitude that we all know and love is providing a means to get confidently over his injury.
By the way….I’m not sure about Andray’s half Mohawk fade that he hides under a headband. If you going to go Mohawk, go Mohawk….bald on the sides and hair strip needs to be thinner on top. Maybe even a little color.
Overall, with 4 mins left in the 3rd..it doesn’t seem like the Wiz are playing as a cohesive unit as I know they are capable of…it will develop, I’m sure.
When you think about it, the little things add up on defense. Contesting shots, boxing out, active hands. These should be easy.
Gil picks up his 2nd offensive foul, hope this isn’t the pattern for the season…both have been justifiable calls.
Gils hits a cut basket (and 1) with a smooth pass from Blatche..yea, he’s back in the game and playing solid.
TV Timeout…and we have our first Gilbert Arenas limp knee-check of the year. Another one of “those moments’ Like I said..is it going to be like this all year?
Well, LeBron is not biting his nails yet, but he sure has a look of frustration on his face while sitting on the bench, down 18 with just about 6:00 left in the second quarter. They signed Sasha Pavlovic, but really need Anderson Varejao if they expect to finish in the top 6 of the east…Chuck Barkley doesn’t even think Cleveland will make the playoffs.
And it was exactly
that…just a check for Gilbert, he’s ok and back in the game…for the moment. He quickly picks up his 4th foul with aggressive D, goes out with 1:52 left in 3rd and 23 pts. Nick Young comes back into the game with a turnover.
This is a wishy-washy, back-and-forth game. Tied at 70 at the end of 3 quarters. We are out there trying, I can see it…but we are not valuing the basketball. 6 turnovers to Indiana’s 3 in this half.
Stop the presses…did I mention that LeBron has ZERO points so far? 3:24 left in the half of that game. I am REALLY regretting selecting LeBron James with the #3 pick in my fantasy league draft the other night. I really regretted it as soon as I said his name. Why didn’t I choose Gilbert? I already have LBJ in another league. Wouldn’t a true wizards fan want to have G.A. in at least one league? But hey, LeBron was coming off a nice FIBA America’s, and Lasik eye surgery (improved shooting in both cases) and G.A. was coming off a knee. When money is involved, who would you have chosen? Garnett went #1 and Kobe went #2.. OK! OK! I was wrong, I’m sorry! I should have chose Gilbert. But I did have a nice draft in any case – in a 10 team Roto league…my starters:
PG – Baron Davis
SG – Monta Ellis
G – Anthony Parker
SF – LeBron
PF – LaMarcus Aldridge
F – Caron Butler (got one Wizard)
C – Dwight Howard
Utl – Gerald Wallace
Utl – Josh Childress
Utl – Andrea Bargnani
Bench 1 – Mike Bibby (inj.)
Bench 2 – Boris Diaw
Not bad, right?
Did you see what Haywood just did? 8:45 left in the game. Timeout now, but Diogu just went for a dunk with a clear lane. Haywood hit him on the arm, while going for the ball…and it just “looked” like a bad foul because of the way Ike D. fell, but it got a reaction from the crowd and Buckhantz wondering whether they’d call a flagrant. But anyway, as soon as the foul was committed, Haywood put his hands up in the air, palms facing out, a global gesture of peace. I think this action actually defused any potential situation.
If you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but Jamison is an old dog up to his old trick shots.
In regard to ESPN’s halftime report: Until Kobe actually does get traded, they should just create a new ESPN network dedicated solely to Kobe trade coverage. They can do this right?
While the Cavs do look bad with LeBron’s goose egg….maybe it also involves the Mavs coming out on a mission. It’s like jail; they were one of the three baddest in the ward. Hell, a #1 seed in the west….THE baddest. And they got taken out by the little guy trying to Jenga the top dog because they are new. Well, after getting taken down, what does the former bad man do? You’re perceived as vulnerable right now…you can’t go punch the incumbent champ; you gotta punch the runner up in the mouth. Ok ok , a little over board..sorry, I get hyped up on opening night.
Really, I’m changing Brendan Haywood’s moniker from Brenda to Olive Branch, he just got fouled had with 5:10 left in the game and defused any potential situation again with a nice handshake.
Big FTs on the line…Wiz down 89-87 with 5 mins. left. Haywood sucks at these. Misses both, but makes the second chance after a lane violation. Down 1
Tuff Juice is a straight fighter….lot to be desired on the offensive end, but hustling in all other areas. If his hustle virus became a hybrid with Songalia’s….and spread, we’d be a scary team.
The whole time, I’ve believed that we could confidently pull off a win. But now, I’m starting to get worried…BIG three from Jamison, down 94-93. 3:33 left. But really…I’m getting a little nervous about how things are shaking out.
Tinsley hits a lay-up and the Pacers go up 3 with 2:51 left, time out Wiz. Songalia comes in for Haywood, so this is how the close-out lineup goes song, Arenas Daniels, Jamison and Butler
FTs, FTs, FTs…GA misses the second of two, Wiz down 2.
Big shot by Caron ties the game…he is definitely the type of guy that no matter how cold he is, you still feel comfortable with him taking his next shot.
Buckhantz just said that Tinsley was runner up to “Who’s Your Daddy Battier” for college player of the year when he was at Iowa State…didn’t know that.
And Butler misses a clutch FT…BOTH of them. He could’ve tied the game at 98. He then makes a subsequent turnover…his 8th of the game. C’mon C-Buts!
Marquis Daniels hits a 3, is this a dagger? NOPE Jamison comes through once again! with a 3, down two.
Wiz get the rebound with 30 seconds left in the game.
Phil Chenier thinks GA will shoot a 3, but he drives…receives some contact, miss, no call, and the Wizards foul on the rebound. Confusion at first, but the foul was actually on Granger…probably not too much of a foul on Gilbert’s shot, but at least the refs get the rebound foul right, credit to Joey Crawford
Caron at the line…and misses ANOTHER big free throw. 8 seconds left, down 1 after he makes the 2nd.
FT…FT…FT..FT..you remember that factor that no one talks about?
Down three with 6 left…is there enough gas in the Hibachi? And…..
AT THE BUZZER! Thank you much Agent ZERO! 3 to tie the game with no time on the clock.
To quote Steve Buck…”Can you believe that!!??!!”
(of course, we should not have been in that situation, right…oh, why ruin a GREAT moment?) – I really thought that he was going to pull up when he first got the ball around 5 feet beyond the arc..then, he almost got caught up past the line…very close to his foot actually being on the line. How did he do that?
We start off with redemption at the FT line for Caron. Up 105-103.
Ouch. The Cavs are down by 25.
Gils is crafty to the basket and gets fouled. He’ll try to put the Wiz up one after Granger’s 3 on the other end….of course he misses the 2nd free throw.
Timeout Wizards after a 5-0 Pacers run. On the last sequence, Jamison attempted one of his scoop shots, missed, didn’t get the foul call, fell to the floor and could not get back on D in transition; Dunleavy got an open 3 in the corner. It hasn’t seemed like the Wiz have been able to cover the 3 point line well this game.
Steve Buck says that Indiana has missed 5 free throws while the Wizards have missed 13.
Just noticed..is Caron going sans headband this year?
Jamison turns it over and it doesn’t look good for the home away from home team. Granger hits yet another 3, under 43 seconds left and the Wizards are down by 8 points.
Well, it’s not the end of the world. It’s only 1 of 82. But to hit the 3 at the buzzer in regulation and then get the first couple in OT…this loss is highly disappointing.
Going back to the first half stat sheet…
1st Half Positives Revisited:
1. The starters hit the boards well…the rebound margin ends up tied between the two teams at 56.
2. 34 points is a decent start to Gil’s season…got to get the % up though. He missed 15 FGs, 7 3s and 6 FTs.
3. Lost the turnover battle 17-18 total. Gave up 8 in the second half and only forced 4 out the Pacers.
So, the third positive turned negative and the first stayed somewhat positive.
1st Half Negatives Revisited:
1. FG% stayed negative – 36.4% for the game, missed 14 3s..
2. Missed 13 FREE throws for the game… can’t expect to win with that happening.
3. Dunleavy finished with 25 and 12, but we really let Granger run wild at the 3 point line – he shot 5-9.
Well…that is that. A coach I know used to say, “the biggest game is the next game,” and it doesn’t get any easier with a game vs. the Celtics in Boston on ESPN prime-time Friday. See you then.