Great article in today’s Washington Post, Wizards Expecting a Better Fight, by Ivan Carter.
The Philadelphia 76ers have a proud history and can usually be counted on to put up a fight, even when times are tough. But that wasn’t the case during a 116-101 loss to the Washington Wizards at Verizon Center on Nov. 20.
The Wizards led by 37 points, shot a season-high 57.3 percent and embarrassed the 76ers by scoring with an ease that is uncommon at any level of competitive basketball, let alone the NBA.
For that reason, Wizards forward Caron Butler said he is looking past the 76ers’ 4-10 record and expecting to see a highly motivated opponent when the teams meet again Friday night at Philadelphia’s Wachovia Center.
As a fan, this is exactly what you want to hear. Now it would be absurd to think that NBA teams, players and coaches alike, don’t realize that on any given night…….but hey, it still happens. Teams look past, or underestimate an inferior opponent all the time. And not to say that the 76ers should be considered an inferior opponent, especially with Gilbert Arenas out. Every professional has some level of pride. But to me, you know that players usually think what’s written in Ivan’s article, but seems like it doesn’t always come out in the media. Just cause the words are in print and online, gives them extra meaning. They give the players, such as Tuff Juice the leader, extra motivation to back up those words. We will see.
Now let’s start the show….
Philly comes out with a little full court pressure to start. Not sure I like this.
8:15 - Nice ball movement by the Wizards leads to a DeShawn Stevenson layup. They swing the ball from one side to another, get the Philly D moving, drive a gap, and eventually, it’s cake.
6:35 – Backdoor lob pass from Andre Miller to Andre Igoudala (A.I. 2) for a dunk. Phil Chenier saw it coming, I saw it coming…the Wizards just need to talk on the back picks and be aware of the opponent positioning and movement.
6:13 – Antonio Daniels turns it over on the other end. Timeout. 12-7 Sixers.
It’s one thing to talk like you’re ready, but the Wiz need some energy to produce and back that talk up.
And actually, on the replay of the lob dunk coming out of the commercial…Caron Butler thought A.I. 2 was going to curl over the top of the pick, so he cheated, but A.I. 2 went back door. Caron was never touched by a pick. Nice setup by Igoudala….just bad positioning by Caron.
4:59 – Samuel Dalembert is bothering Brendan Todd Haywood (BTH) tonight…..blocked his shot earlier and just caused BTH to airball a hookshot. Haywood is trying to finesse around the basket…Dalembert doesn’t seem that strong…..BTH needs to use that muscle or else I’m going to call him Brenda again. (A double check of the profiles and Haywood has an inch and about 13 pounds on a wiry Dalembert; I know, not exactly indicative of strength).
2:56 – Timeout Wizards. 21-10 Sixers. The Wiz keep missing early shots on offense and the Sixers are just driving the ball down their throats. I can’t figure out why someone isn’t stopping the ball in transition – it just has been too easy for Philly. Hopefully, the Wizards will adjust coming out of the timeout.
2:07 – Louis “Sweet Lou” Williams checks in. He’s a fan fav in Philly already, looked nice in the last game…scored 25 points on 10-13 shooting, making all 4 of this 3-point attempts. And Kyle Korver hits a try, Philly up 23-12.
Phil Chenier just pointed out that the 76ers are doing a good job of shading Caron, something San Antonio did well. You’re telling me that an adjustment wasn’t made in the offense from last game? They do realize that people are going to start focusing on Tuff Juice right? It’s almost like teams will say, Antawn Jamison can beat us, but T-Juice? Nope. Not gon’ doit.
No hustle for the Wiz, they are leaking out like an AAU team before securing defensive rebounds.
The 1st quarter ends, and the damage could be worse. The Wizards finished on an 8-2 run, including a Dee-Shawn layup, a Nick Young jumper, an open lane layup by Caron and a Jamison 3. Down to the Philadelphia 76ers 25-20.
11:30 – Andray Blatche watches Kyle Korver get an offensive rebound right in front of him. Luckily, Jamison snatches it away before Korver can come down with it.
11:00 – Next time down the court, Blatche fails to put a body on somebody on the offensive rebound again. The Sixers are able to tip it, but more luck, Darius Songaila gets it. C’mon AB, fundamentals son!
7:07 – Back and forth game…the 76ers keep forcing the Wizards to play catch-up. Philly up 1, 31-30. Washington is sloppy, careless, and cannot handle the full court pressure from the 76ers. It’s the little things that are killing them.
6:00 – AD fouls Reggie Evans keeping him from getting an easy dunk…but that’s AD’s 3rd foul. It’s pretty concerning that the Wizards do not have a serviceable backup point guard. I know people have crunched the numbers, but are you really telling me that there is no one, big or small, out there that Ern Grunfeld could sign?
I’m just not comfortable with PG by committee situation they have now.
4:35 – Reggie Evans offensive bound and putback…just too many turnovers for the Wiz and too many offensive rebounds for the Sixers. Philly up 37-32.
2:03 – Haywood’s 3rd block of the game (on an Andre Miller layup attempt) leads to a fast break and alley-oop from DeShawn Stevenson to Nick Young for the dunk. Phil Chenier points out that the Wizards usually don’t throw too many oops for dunks. Well, that’s because they don’t really have any leapers. Welcome to the show Nick Young.
See guys? D leads to O and efficient O leads to better chances on D. It’s an easy game.
0:30 – More s
loppy play by the Wiz…Stevenson passes to a cutting Blatche, who tries to make the extra pass…not there, turnover.
0:19 - The next time down…Nick Young offensive foul…questionable call though. Regardless, 8 turnovers in the 2nd quarter for the Wizards. Frustration is setting in.
The half closes out with an A.I. 2 miss, DC up 43-42.
9:55 - Haywood gets his 5th block of the game and the fast break starts with AD, drop off to Caron… (seemed a little early to get it to him)… nevertheless, Tuff Juice gets a dunk.
Wiz are being more aggressive to start…trying to be the first team to assert themselves on the offensive boards.
8:50 – The Wizards get 3 offensive rebounds on 1 possession (Jamison – Jamison – Haywood), but then, DeShawn Stevenson turns the ball over.
7:01 – Basket for AJ, his second in a row – 16 points for him. Wiz are starting the heat up on O. They probably will see the pressure again from the Sixers soon, seemed to work earlier. DC up 5, 55-50.
4:20 – Nick Young knocks down a 3, his 3rd make in a row (11 points). Wiz by 4, 62-58. I’m starting to come around on this kid…and actually, I already have. But maybe Hollinger kept my expectations low in the first place.
Stat…Nick Young is leading all rookies in FTs made per 48 minutes. Man, you can come up with a positive stat for just about anything.
2:46 – Sweet 3 by Butler…he is so confident in that shot right now.
Currently 8th in the league in 3 pt shooting…how bout that?
Although, A.I. 2 has really been making things tough on Caron tonight. Straight Hound Dog.
Reggie Evans is a crazy dude (he just got a tech, not sure what the beef was, but the camera got a good shot of his complaint from the bench)…and he looks like someone, just can’t put my finger on it. Maybe an extra Debo from The Wire? Actually, he kind looks like Vin Baker. Can you tell me who is who?
The 3rd ends with the game tied at 68. 15 turnovers for the Wiz is about 10 too much. Sixers only have 5.
Baker was on the right, Evans on the left by the way.
The Wizards really need to show some more aggression if they want to win this game. They are settling for too many jumpers…not the case in the win against the Mavs…not even the case for the whole game against the Spurs.
9:52 - Nick Young cross step back for the J over Korver…that’s 13 points for him. Nice quick move. This kid is becoming a consistent threat on offense.
9:06 – Scrapping for the ball under the Sixers basket…couple blocks by AB, many chances for Philly. But the Wiz just can’t get their hand on the ball, or maybe Philly wants it more. Sam Dalembert finally gets the ball and gets fouled, Blatche’s 4th, 2 made FTs for Sammy D. Wizards up 1, 74-73.
9:00 - Andray really needs to take care of the ball. Gets his 4th turnover of the game, 17th for the Wiz. The ball gets poked from behind as he tries to drive to the basket…he just can’t swing the rock out there like that and think that it won’t get deflected by a smaller guard.
In other news, the Wiz have held the Sixers to 0-11 from 3 point land this game.
7:43 – Nice pass from AJ to D-Song…second time that Songaila has found an uncovered spot on the floor for an easy lay-in.
7:01 – Two layups missed on the next time down the court for the Wiz, Songaila and Butler. Korver 2 on the other end, game tied at 76. I wished the Wizards would play like they want it.
5:55 – Caron Butler breakaway layup. Up 2, 78-76.
3:36 – Nick Young checks in for Stevenson who has been having a terrible shooting night. DC down 2, 80-78…Wiz turnover down the court. VALUE THE DAMN BALL.
Lack of pg, lack of PG, LACK OF PG!!
The Washington Wizards simply have no one to keep the team composed on offense and into their offensive sets. If AD ain’t doin it, then no one will.
2:54 - A POINT guard, Andre Miller sets up Sam Dalembert for a deuce dunk. Philly up 4, 82-78.
1:35 – Haywood blocks Sammy D for his 6th. Jamison bad shot on the other end….Steve Buckhantz says that the Wiz have not scored a point in the last 4 minutes. “Great”
1:06 – Dalembert hits 2 FTs on the other end, Sixers up 6, 84-78. 8-0 run by Philly in last 5 minutes or so.
1:03 – Out of the timeout…Butler n> hits a 3! He inbounded to D-Song, received the ball back, no dribble, buckets. Finally, a BIG shot.
What an improvement…that was Caron’s 18th 3 of the year, he made 18 all last season.
0:51 – Uh oh , Nick Young is on Sweet Lou Williams…pick…miss. But Dalembert gets the bound, and fouled. He makes 1 of 2 FTs.
0:45 – DeShawn is at the point with the ball, Wizards down 85-81…
Butler knocks down a 3 from the corner! Solid. Tuff Juice squirts right in A.I. 2′s face. Down 1.
0:12 – Igoudala misses a layup on the other end, Jamison with the rebound….
Wiz hurry down the court… Butler with the ball on the left wing. He gets caught in the air and kicks it back out top to Stevenson. DeShawn swings it to Nick Young on the right wing. He’s wide open for 3, fires with 2 seconds left….misses….CRAP.
I think the Wizards could’ve gotten a better shot in that last possession. What a shitty game. I’m down cause they had a chance. But I’m pissed cause they had 18 turnovers. Whatever…the Wizards, after all the talk about being ready, didn’t come out ready. These are the games they need to take care of.
The Wizards out shot the Sixers, 41.8% to 38.8%. The big difference in scoring, Philly shot 12 more FTs than the Wiz, going 19-26. The Wizards went 12-14 from the line.
This is the key indication that the Wizards were not doing what they needed to do in attacking the basket. They shot 16-20 from the FT line against the Spurs, and 27-34 against the Mavericks. If they expect, or want, to win, they need to get to the free throw line more than 14 times.
That and the aforementioned 18 turnovers, compared to Philly’s 8, are the glaring reasons as to why the Wizards lost.
Toronto Raptors at home tomorrow. Check yo’ self before ya wreck yo’ self.