Live Game 22 Blog: Washington Wizards @ Miami Heat
Hung OO-ver….Brian Fantana style….and still trying to recover from last night’s office holiday krunk party with 250 (or so) of my closest co-workers. Also trying to recover from the fact that the damn “club” had no televisions for me to at least peep Wiz game updates. Oh well, it was all for the better….cause DC won!! Take that Miami. Your basketball team has put me through a lot in these past couple years, and now the sports in your town sucks.
Thanks to my mans n them for stepping up…..AJ took over the game blogging duties. So let’s check out what happened…..and if you see any chocolate squirrels running around, go in the other direction.
Now let’s start the show….
Big game tonight. You always want to win road games, but when you are playing a road game versus a eastern conference power, it is even more crucial to get that ‘W.’
Funny thing about the Heat, they went with the approach of “winning now” and are now suffering the consequences of that lone ring. They are stuck with an aging Shaq (who I might add is being paid a cool $20mm for the 2008 season), they just got rid of a 36 year old Penny Hardaway, and they have a turnover prone Jason Williams. Wow, people expect Pat Riley to win with a squad like that?!
I am going to watch the national broadcast of tonight’s game. I must admit I feel a little bit like a sellout for not going with the home town boys (Steve and Phil) but I like the picture quality and court angle from TNT’s broadcast.
What I do wish is that Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson would call the game. Charles’ comments on just about any topic are often insightful, but more importantly, funny.
Lets get going…
Can you tell me why every team in the NBA uses some sort of retro uniform, while we decide to actually look like Wizards and wear the shiny gold blouses? I know I know, we don’t want to talk about Bullets, but lets be real. We live in D.C., we cannot control crime in this city, we’re trying to make hand guns legal again, and at one point we were the murder Capital of the country – Bullets are part of our culture.
We are going to have our work cut out for us tonight. Andray Blatche, as good as he is becoming on the defensive end of the floor, is going to have one heck of a time guarding Shaq.
Even at 75%, Shaq is a load and hard to stop from getting great position in the post. His size alone is the main reason why we’ve always had trouble with the Heat. Our bigs just don’t play interior D well enough to slow the big fella down.
We’re going to have to exploit our only advantage – Antwan Jamison versus Udonis Haslem. AJ will be able to pull the ex-gator away from the bucket and get to the hole with ease. And the good thing about that match-up is that with AJ’s little floater he doesn’t need to get all the way to the basket, thus he can avoid Shaq and Alonzo.
Ok, Brendan Haywood just hit a fall away jumper in the lane to put us up 12-7, but that is not a shot I am comfortable seeing Brendan put up. He needs to at least TRY to go towards the basket and challenge Shaq. Hell, the guy’s hip is hurt, he is 105 years old and –as usual – out of shape. Let’s get that guy to move.
Udonis Haslem just knocked down a baseline jumper off of a screen and roll to close the gap to 12-9. You know, I don’t know why teams don’t run that play every time down the floor. You will ALWAYS get an open look at the basket. And if you run the play with the right two players you can almost guarantee either two points, a three point play or a foul. That play has been around since the peach baskets, yet we still can’t defend it.
So they just showed a clip of Eddie in the locker room and more interesting than his words were the faces and blank stares of the players behind him. We had DeShawn looking blankly into a locker, AD was swaying side to side halfway listening, a white guy (not sure if he was a trainer, but he damn sure didn’t look to have an athletic bone in his body) paying the most attention to Eddie, and the Rook biting his nails. I guess if you have to hear 82 of those speeches they tend to get a bit dry.
Washington is being helped by a cold shooting Heat team. The Wizards are up 19-11 at the 3:35 mark. They look good. I was a bit nervous that we would come out on national TV a bit timid, but we seem to have risen to the occasion. I just hope the Wiz’s star power can outlast the Heat’s
The offense looks great. We’re up 13 with 3:09 to go. Our lead has grown mostly due to the shooting of DeShawn Stevenson and…the pick and roll. We’ve run it three times and scored three pointers on all three.
The Wizards have yet to really substitute anyone. That is a bit concerns because we’re not deep to begin with, but when we are playing a marquee team we need starters to be fresh in the 4th.
I just had my son in August, and I think I am going to start him shooting jump shots on his first birthday. I am looking at Chris Quinn knock down three pointers for an NBA team (all while making $690k.) I know that if that guy can get to the league with a jumper alone Imry has to have a shot. I’ll work on his footwork and jump shot for hours until I feel comfortable. I am just saying, if a guy that is 6-2 185 with zero athletic ability can get latched on I know a 6-5 210 shooter can make it!
Solid first quarter there. We are up 12 and being very aggressive on defense. The pace is definitely in favor of the Wiz. If we can get a sustained run here at the start of the 2nd, we can really break the game open.
The Wizards are really starting to take advantage of Shaq’s lack of mobility. Two straight jumpers by the second team big men have pushed the lead to 15.
I think that the Wizards are also benefiting from the Heat’s recent west coast road trip. Lucky for us we get these old fellas after a long trip out west. Hopefully we can keep the pace up and wear the vets down.
Are you serious? Chris Quinn just nailed another damn trey ball. This kid may be funny looking and lanky, but he has a team high 8 points right now and is the biggest reason why the Heat have narrowed the gap to eight points.
Ricky Davis just hit a nice jumper. That guy is a wreck. He manages to turn any and every situation he touches into a bad one. He turned the Celtics into a laughing stock, the T-Wolves looked piss poor with him there, and the Heat are well on their way to a less than stellar season.
There is our boy Andray with a questionable tip. You know when we first drafted him, I was skeptical of a guy direct from high school who was long, lanky and young. Then he went and got shot (that wasn’t his fault) in the off season before his rookie year, and I was just about turned off from the guy. But I have got to say, after a close examination of his game this year I am really impressed with him. He hustles, plays defense, and just all out brings it. It seems like every time I ghostwrite in the blog I end up going on a tangent about Blatche.
What is really encouraging is that we’ve build this 13 point lead with Caron Butler not being much of a factor in the game. If the Wizards can weather the “NBA run” storm without Caron and then make a final push in the 4th with Caron we’ll be good to go.
Nice timeout by Eddie Jordan. The Heat have scored six straight points, gotten the crowd involved in the game, and forced the Wizards into two turnovers. I can honestly say the Wiz look a bit rattled. Even though the Heat are not – standings speaking – a great team, they do have a mystique about them that the NBA’s best teams usually have.
Just as I was thinking ‘Where is D-Shawn?’….right out of the T.O., he comes in and drains a three. We needed that to settle the team down and stop the bleeding.
So D Wade just gets a questionable blocking call. Now I know sometime ago me, KB, and Malcolm had a discussion about “Star Calls.” Well, unfortunately, the Wizards do not have a player on the floor that will get those calls. In crunch time, those are the kinds of calls that will be critical to winning a close game. D-Wade gets to the line about 13 times a game, those are free points that the Wizards could use from time to time.
D-Shawn is feeling it! He drops another trey ball to for his 18th point of the half. For a dude that is straight LOCO he sure can ball.
Well, the Wizards managed to deal with the mini run that the Heat threw at them at the end of the half to close out the quarter up 10. DeShawn is playing one hell of a game and the role players are stepping nicely. I read an article today that mentioned how the Wizards kind of have a net sum gain with Gilbert gone. Although we miss his scoring and improvisation on the floor, we end up being a better team because role players are forced to contribute in ways they couldn’t before. That being said, Gil lets hurry back!
Start of the third is less than ideal. Several missed layups and open jump shots. The Wizards have turned the ball over twice, and the Heat had a few good looks they capitalized on. We have got to find a way to come out of half time with more energy. This has seemed to be a problem for us this year.
That 10 point cushion has been cut in half. The same shots the Wizards were nailing in the first half are now coming up short in the 3rd. Lucky for us, both teams are shooting poorly, so we are not losing much ground during this slump.
Brendan just grabbed another rebound. That puts the Wizards at plus 9 in the rebounding category tonight. Can anyone tell me why Brendan always looks so uncoordinated on the court? For a professional athlete I always feel like he is about to trip over his shoe laces or something. There is nothing about that guy that says or looks smooth. I guess those are the cons of being an awkward 7 footer.
Caron Butler’s slam puts Washington back up 15 and the “Boo Birds” are out in Miami. When did booing in sports arenas become so popular? It used to be that you’d only hear a boo or two at old Veteran stadium in Philadelphia, but these days even historically successful organizations are falling prey to those “Boo Birds.” It must be an epidemic.
ron is playing with a fire in his eye this 3rd quarter. His free throw just put the Wiz up 19. I guess whenever you play against your old team you always have something to prove. Granted, had he stayed in Miami he never would have been paid like he is now, but I guess a professional athlete’s ego doesn’t heal easily.
Every time Chris Quinn hits a trey I get more determined to make Imry a deadeye jump shooter. Mark my words, Imry will have a nice jump shot by the time he is nine!
Man, how disheartening is it that the Wiz have allowed the Heat to close the gap to 12 off of a few bad possessions with less than a minute left. That lead could just as easily been 22, instead the Wizards are in for a dog fight because the Heat closed the quarter with some momentum.
So after about 8 possessions in the 4th I am noticing that the Wizards are starting to press a little bit. The Heat turned their play up a notch with a run sparked by Flash, and the Wizards don’t look quite as confident as they did versus some of the weaker talent in the league. That same run the Cavs had on us a few weeks back, we weather and remained calm. Tonight, we looks much less composed. I am not sure if it is b/c of the competition or the national television, but whatever the reason we look like deer in the headlights.
Side note – Nick Young has yet to clock any time tonight. I guess his blank stare during the pregame talk was because he knew he wasn’t going to play one second this evening.
Wow, Roger Mason is not shy. He has pulled the trigger more than a few times tonight with little luck and he just keeps shooting. I guess he is taking Nick’s spot tonight, but if he is going to be in there, I’d like to see some better choices with his shot selection. I am a bit perplexed as to why DeShawn isn’t in there right now and why Caron hasn’t had the ball more. I guess that is why I am writing and Eddie is in Miami on the bench.
Shaq just clanked a big free throw. How in the world is that guy still so horrific at free throws? I mean he claims to practice diligently during the summer and so on, but does he really? He has been in the league now for over 12 years and you mean to tell me that he just can’t improve?
So they are playing ‘Soulja Boy’ at the stadium. Supposedly a few college arenas and NBA venues have stopped playing the words to the song once they learned that “super man that hoe” meant to have sexual intercourse with a woman. I love it!
Well after a three by DeShawn and some solid defensive possessions, the Wizards are up 11 with 1:40 to go. If they close this game out it will be a big victory for the Wizards on so many levels. It sort of validates the team to themselves. Meaning that they know they can hang with an NBA elite team, albeit a older and tired one. It also shows us that the Wizards have the guts to pull out a victory even when a team with an outright superstar sparks a run.
Way to go D-Shawn and crew. Hell of a victory here!