Big sports night tonight…to follow up a huge sports day. The Kentucky-Tennessee 4OT thriller was a classic. UT prevailed, earning them the right to face LSU in the SEC Championship game in Atlanta. Va-Tech-UVA was kinda close for a while until the Hokies pulled away. That was probably the biggest implications that rivalry game ever had…the winner moving on to face Boston College in the ACC Championship.
Anyway, the big games tonight: The Wizards against the Memphis Grizzlies will be on the main TV, but I’ll also have Missouri-Kansas and the Iron Bowl (Auburn-Alabama for those not in the know) on the side TVs. I’m not exactly sure how I will concentrate, but I’ll give it a try.
First of all, tough loss last night to Golden State. The usual Wiz issues on D….starting with the inability to guard opposing superstar guards (much less 2nd fiddle guards) and the inability to cover the 3-point line. Of course, the Warriors can be a devastating 3-point shooting team for anyone to stop. Oh well, that’s all in the past.
Tonight’s game: as usual, Bullets Forever has the good opening run-down. The rookie Mike Conley from Ohio State is out with a shoulder injury, but I can still see Damon Stoudamire and Kyle Lowry giving the Wiz guards fits. Really, watch out for Lowry, he can hurt ya in more ways than one. Darko sat out last night against the Spurs with a thumb…not sure if he will play tonight. Regardless, the Wiz need to get physical with the Griz down low. Both Euros, Gasol and Darko can be soft…and Stromile Swift is capable of being a disappearing act. Oh, and don’t forget, this will be the first up-close view of Juan Carlos “La Bomba” Navarro for Wizards fans tonight. With his bad D, I’m still okay with trading him…although I’ll keep my stance that I think Ernie Gruns got gipped with all of that draft protection BS. Navarro has started off slow this season, but his time has increased in the last 5 games…while averaging 13.6 ppg, albeit, 28 of those points came against the Hornets on Nov. 16 when he went 8-9 from 3-point land. He seems like a sneaky SOB, Wiz need to keep an eye on him.
Just in…the Wiz will debut the Gold & Black Unis tonight. Steve Buckhantz informs us that the Wiz were 8-7 in those jerseys last season.
Darko is out…La Bomba starts with Gasol, Rudy Gay, Mike Miller & Mighty Mouse Stoudamire.
10:00 - Gasol gets an easy offensive rebound…the Wiz just aren’t making contact to box anyone out.
Again with the ‘Scores for Schools’ BS….Irene and Abe Pollin are only donating $500 dollars tonight since Gilbert is out for the road game. Hello? Do I need to remind people that’s only 5 points worth in donations? This is some straight cheap-o crap. Schools are going to get nothing but hosed while Gilbert is out. I’m sorry, I know it’s found money that they never had before, but still…I think these richie-riches…and yes, I’m also talking to you Gil, can afford a little more than $500 per game.
8:49 – Brendan Haywood muscles Gasol for a spin and dunk….and then La Bomba with a 3 on the other end.
5:55 – La Bomba with some dribble penetration and a dish to Gasol for a wide-open two at the FT line. Phil Chenier just said that the Wiz need to contain that dribble penetration.
TV Timeout – Wizards up 12-11.
DeShawn 1 of 2 FTs, he’s 13-22 on the season. Way to go…2 guard.
5:20 – More dribble penetration by Stoudamire opens up Gay for a made jumper.
4:26 – A developing theme: Mike Miller drive baseline in transition and hits La Bomba for another 3, game tied at 16. The Wiz guards just don’t make it easy for the Wiz big men to protect the basket, do they?
2:05 – This is getting ridiculous, Stoudamire drive and dish to Gasol for a dunk. Game tied at 20, only cause the Wiz are scrappy on the offensive end.
TV Timeout – The Wiz are shooting 56.3% compared to 37.5% for the Grizzlies, but the Griz have been able to get off 8 more FG attempts. Why? Rudy Gay has 4 of the Memphis’ 6 offensive rebounds himself. That’s just way too much to give up at this point in the game.
Blatche in the game to give Haywood a rest.
0:31 - Rudy Gay is on fire…maybe ‘Tuff Juice isn’t up to the task. 10 points on 5-6 shooting for Rudy.
The first ends with the game tied at 26.
Nick Young in the game, along with Songaila. They join AD, Blatche and Jamison. The Wiz start out active on D, allowing them to get 4 quick points.
9:59 - Timeout Eddie Jordan….the Grizzlies are getting transition baskets way too easily off of Wizards turnovers. 30-28 Wiz.
9:40 – Roger Mason nails his first shot, an open 3. He checked in for AD a second ago.
9:17 – Blatche holds his ground and draws a charge on Hakim Warrick, really nice to see him get smart positioning with his feet and put his body on the line.
8:22 – Songaila dives, hustles, and flows for a loose ball — he’s the only one with playing with energy on D — the ball is recovered by the Wiz, outlet to Nick Young in transition, who does a good job to draw the foul and make both FTs.
Little better effort on D…monster block on Gay by Andray. When Rudy recovers, Caron Butler steps up and makes him miss a very tough shot.
7:02 - Of course, all that doesn’t mean that Gay still isn’t on fire. He hits an open 3, Wiz up 37-31.
Auburn is up 10-0 on Bama by the way….and Missouri in on the verge of cracking the eggs in that game.
5:02 – La Bomba for 3. It’s like the Wizards totally forgot about him…leaving him wide-open a little less than 3 feet beyond the arc.
…and Mizzou scores, up 7-0 on Kansas.
Timeout – Wiz up 41-38. The Grizzlies have already attempted 15 3s, making 5 of them. I’m not quite sure how the Wizards are even ahead.
Daniels, Butler, Songaila, Blatche, DeShawn in the game.
3:27 – Lowry goes end to end for a lay-up…no one even touches him. Griz go on an 8-0 run to take their first lead, 43-41.
Navarro has a crazy runner that he shots with his right hand while fading to his left…seems like it’d be impossible to stop.
2:37 - Timeout Wiz – Mike Miller, as the trailer in transition, hits a 3. 11-0 Grizzlies run, hurried shots for the Wiz on offense. I can go on and on. Griz up 48-43.
1:50 – Yuck…AD misses a 3…BAD. AJ gets the bound and a two….then AJ
gets a three after a Mike Miller turnover. Back to a tie game at 50. Jamison has 17 already.
Songaila can sh0ot…he’s hustles when he’s in the game…but I wish he could just finish the damn ball down-low.
The half ends with a DeShawn driving lay-up that allows the Wiz to retake the lead, 53-50.
The Wiz are shooting 57.5% compared to 43.8% by the Griz. Pretty much the reason why they are in the game.
But…the Grizzlies have been able to take 8 more shots. And wow, they’ve attempted 18 3 pointers, making 6. The Wiz are damn lucky that it hasn’t been more. 10 offensive rebounds by the Griz isn’t good. Turnovers and assists are relatively even between the two teams. You know, it’s fine if the Wiz want to let Memphis score from the outside, rather than inside. But in the second half, they really need to contest shots and stop the transition game of the Grizzlies.
Navarro vs. Deeee-Shawn – La Bomba has 17 points, Stevenson has 5.
Rudy Gay vs. Caron – 13 points on 6-12 shooting for Gay, also 5 rebounds; Caron has 8 on 4-8 along with 3 boards and 2 assists.
Bama is on the board, down 10-7. Mizzou has a 2 TD lead.
I really hope the Wizards find a way to resign Antawn Jamison. He is always going to be a scorer. Hell, he already has all the slick old man tricks up his sleeve. Could you imagine how nice it would be to bring him off the bench a couple years down the road?
Wiz try to go to Haywood early…he seems to be able to back down Gasol easily, but settles for a baseline hook that he misses. I’d like to see him get even lower, perhaps get Gasol off his feet.
10:24 – Tip rebound good for Jamison, he is all over the place.
Phil and Steve wonder if there is extra motivation for Navarro after the Spaniard hits a lay-up….Buck seems to think so, but I would contest. He should be thankful that the Wizards traded him to play with his boy Pau Gasol. If anything, he’s playing like he wants to show out to the whole league….not necessarily just trying to stick it to the Wizards. Seems like more than not, the pros see it as just another game because they want to show out in every game.
(As I type, La Bomba hits another 3, of course…game tied at 60)
[I then went on to read the following quote from Navarro in the Washington Post: "It's a special game," Navarro said before the game. "They picked me in the draft and I want to play good against them for that reason." -- well good for you....jerk]
7:42 – Jamison is scoring in every way imaginable….scoop lay-up in transition after a Navarro 3 miss. He’s 12-15 from the field with 26 points. ‘Tuff Juice needs to get going if the Wizards want to win the game.
5:51 - Mike Miller 3, 9th make for the Grizzlies on 23 attempts from 3 point land.
One thing I can say for the Wizards tonight is that they really seem to be passing the ball well. With Gilbert out, all the guys are more than willing to share the scoring duties with each other. Ok, now that I said that…can someone else please score besides Jamison? He has 28 points and there are no other Wizards in double figures.
Well…at least the Wizards are giving Gasol a hard time down low. When he’s indecisive, they are swarming him and forcing Pau into doing something stupid.
4:06 - Sweet reverse slam by Butler, Griz try a long outlet pass, but Daniels is paying attention, gets the steal and sticks it to Blatche for a lay-in. Wizards 8-0 run, up 5, 74-69.
Buck says the Wiz have 44 of their 74 points in the paint so far.
7-0 run by the Griz, who take the lead 76-74. This is really a back and forth game full of runs.
1:47 - Rudy Gay 3 from the corner, 20 points for him. Is it really that hard to find the shooters in transition? The scoring run is up to 11-0 for the Griz.
1:02 – Nick Young ends the drought with a J, his first FG of the game. Wiz down 4, 80-76.
Kyle Lowry is very adept at getting into the lane. He draws a foul with 0:00.3 left in the quarter and makes both FTs. And he’s actually not a bad rebounder for his size…6-0, 175 pounds….he’s averaging 4.3 boards per game for the season. I have him in some fantasy leagues…and I’d love it if he got more than 24.8 minutes per game.
Griz up 82-78 going into the 4th.
11:05 – Nick Young’s good pressure on Mike Miller..on the ball and off…leads to a Griz turnover. Unfortunately, Andray picks up the loose ball and tries to push it in transition which leads to the Wiz turning the ball right back over. I’m fine with Blatche trying to run, but he MUST be more aware of his surroundings and not let someone come from behind and tip the ball away.
Blatche is just not hitting his shots tonight, 3-8 from the field. He seems a little rushed….or forcing it.
9:42 – Butler 3 miss…who is there to pick him up? Who else? Antawn Jamison with the tip of course. Wiz down 7, 89-82.
9:01 – Roger Mason with a BIG 3 after a Warrick deuce. Mason Jr. has 7 off the bench….just wish he didn’t have those two sloppy turnovers. Wiz down 91-85. Timeout on the floor.
8:01 - Hook by Stro Swift puts the Griz up 10…this game is on the verge of getting out of hand for the Wizards.
Fast break points tonight: 25 for the Griz, 15 for the Wiz. I’d say that’s the difference in the game.
6:25 – La Bomba step back 3…28 points for him. And basically, a mini-dagger unless the Wiz get their shhhh together. Griz up 99-87.
Not sure what’s wrong with Caron Butler tonight. His mid-range wasn’t falling earlier, so he’s been trying to go inside, but it just hasn’t been working for him there either. 6-16 FG for Butler, 2-2 from the FT line.
Brendan (I almost called him Brenda) Haywood only has 2 rebounds in 18 minutes.
This 3 point crap is ridiculous, Grizzlies are 11-27 from the arc tonight.
5:55 – 33 points for AJ after a 3….he’s still working.
AD does have 7 assists, 7 points, 5 rebounds and ZERO turnovers…that’s about all you can ask of him.
5:14 - 3 point And1 play by Butler, still only down 10.
The Grizzlies are starting to pile up the FTs too. How on earth can a team that’s shot so many threes be 20-23 from the line while the Wiz are 10-12?
4:14 - Down 8 after Haywood makes 1 of 2 FTs…Nick Young hit a 3 before.
br />3:50 – “Back-Breaker” comment from Steve Buckhantz after a Rudy Gay 3.
3:18 - Butler breakaway dunk miss (he’s fouled hard by Lowry…who pretty much swatted Caron’s arm as Butler was just about to the rim). Butler looked at the kid like, “You little MF, if you EVER do that again…” Thanks Haywood for jumping in the lane on Butler’s 2nd FT make.
2:55 - Mike Miller 3, Griz up 111-98. Steve Buck won’t say it, but I will……”DAGGER!!”
Has DeeShawn even been in the game during the 4th quarter?
This just in: Donovan McNabb will be throwing-up from home during this weekend’s Eagles-Patriots game.
Missouri still up 14-0, Auburn still up 10-7
2:35 – A Daniels 3 works as a temporary defibrillator…Griz lead cut to 9.
2:12 – 3 point play by AJ.
1:48 – Gasol 2….Wiz can’t get a stop with they need one, down 10.
1:02 - Butler slick pass to AJ (the Griz just lost him, don’t know how) for 2. Butler steal…and a THREE! Wizards down 5, 115-110. Timeout.
Ok, Wiz…rattle the Grizzlies on D!! Problem is, Memphis is a great FT shooting team and they’ve been in the bonus for just-about ever.
Kyle Lowry driving layup with 0:37 left (he took up pretty much all the time off the shot clock). I TOLD you about this kid. He’s been doing that crap all night.
Daniels misses a wide-open layup on the other end and the Wiz have to foul. Down 9 with 28 seconds left.
Isn’t it nice to know that a lot of hard work can be easily negated with silly turnovers and bad misses? Game slippage, plain and simple. Jamison stepped up. Butler tried. Mason had 10 off the bench…and that’s about it. Steve Buck reminds me that the next two games are at Dallas and at San Antonio. Gee, thanks Steve.
Another 3 by Caron Butler…that’s two for him in the past 7 seconds. The Wizard are down 5, but only :21.9 left. Of course, all that quiet-ness I talked about Caron, he’s got 27 now. Much of it, I believe, is too little, too late.
Mizzou up 21-zip by the way… I was hoping that game would be good. Oh well, there’s always the Iron Bowl.
Jamison & Butler have 26 of the Wizards 38 points in the 4th quarter.
Wow, Jamison 2 cuts it to 4 with 13 seconds left…foul on Memphis, Wizards ball.
Well, so much for that..Nick Young missed a 3 at the top of the key…Griz FTs, game over. The Wizards lose 124-118 while giving the Grizzlies their 4th win of the season.
Ahh..Kansas finally scored. I’m off to watch football.
3 POINTERS, 3 POINTERS, 3 POINTERS!!
The Grizzlies end up 13-29 from 3….of course, the Wizards ended up 10-19 cause they were playing from behind.
The differences: The Wizards were out-rebounded and shot 14-18 from the FT line, while the Grizzlies shot 29-33 from the line.
At least Jamison showed up with 41 points, missing only 4 shots, and 11 rebounds. Butler had amazing numbers, 27 points, 5 steals, 6 assists and 7 rebounds (5 turnovers by the way)….but he just didn’t seem to have as much influence on the game as Wizards fans would have liked.
I really don’t think this loss would be as frustrating if the next two games were against the Kings and the Knicks instead of the Mavericks and the Spurs. Oh well……