First game of ’08 and I’m liking that the Wizards have a chance to show what they’re made of in a match-up against ESPN’s #1 Power Ranked team. Bullets Forever thinks this ranking is silly in their extensive run-down of tonight’s game….in which a good point is also made about the defensive ability of Tayshaun Prince and what Caron Butler will be able to do against him. Tonight will be a good measure of the growth for Tuff Juice.
The Pistons are the model of consistency and balance for which the Wizards should strive. Chauncey Billups is the ultimate game manager…but he’s also known as Mr. Big Shot. You just don’t find this combo in an NBA point guard too often.
Now, Gilbert Arenas will never be the point guard that Billups is, and the Wizards will never win in the manner that the Pistons do. However, that’s not to say that Washington doesn’t have the potential to win as much in a balanced and consistent manner. Gilbert has proven that two all-stars, two big-time scorers, can successfully play alongside him — but now, he needs to up that to a team scale level. But that’s down the road — not to mention, remaining to be seen when he does come back.
The key is tonight is the fact that the General, Antonio Daniels, is back in the lineup. Now let’s start the show…..
Wiz start off the first possession by giving up an offensive rebound off a long Rasheed Wallace 3 — but the Pistons make nothing of it.
11:06 – Surprisingly, Antonio McDyess starts off on Antawn Jamison – Jamison hits a long 2. He needs to start off hot from the perimeter, maybe it will open the inside more.
The next two offensive possessions involve a Jamison brick and a Caron Butler jumper miss. Not gonna win only shooting jumpers.
9:40 – Pistons get an offensive rebound and bucket. DeShawn Stevenson misses a long J on the Wizards end. They haven’t even attempted to get into the paint. 6-2 Pistons.
Finally, a pass to Brendan Haywood on the right block. He makes a nice move on Antonio McDyess (that’s how I thought the match-up would be instead of Wallace on BTH) and draws a foul, hitting both FTs. Wiz down 6-4.
Jamison isn’t afraid to chuck the rock, he takes 4 shots, making 2 within the first 4:15.
4:56 - Butler drive to the basket off a back cut…Rasheed is there for the block, but they blow a late whistle. That’s the 4th time the Wiz have gone “in the paint” so to speak. 1 was the FTs by BTH. 2 doesn’t really count, it was a fastbreak layup by AD off a steal. 3 was to Haywood, but he struggled on two chances when faced with the D of Rasheed Wallace. And 4 was the Butler layup attempt that just occurred. I know Detroit D is tight…but at least try to establish the offense inside-out at the beginning of one of these games.
The Wizards are down 13-15 after Butler hits the two FTs coming out of the timeout.
4:38 – Inside #5 – Butler hits a cutting Haywood for the dunk. How on earth did the Pistons lose the big man trailer? Tied at 15.
2:19 – Rasheed Wallace 3 – Antonio McDyess has a fairly decent outside shot, but the Wizards have run into trouble tonight when Jamison and Haywood have had to switch off with Brendan on Sheed.
1:17 – Roger Mason comes in for Antonio Daniels – nice run for AD, didn’t show any problems with the knee – had 4 points, 2 assists, 0 turnovers.
The 1st quarter ends with the Wiz hanging tough and up 27-26. Should’ve been 29 – Butler had a couple chances and an offensive rebound on the inside as the clock was running down. Frustrated, and unable to draw the foul, he tried to dish to Haywood on the other side under the basket…but BTH did not have his hands ready and knocked the ball out of bounds.
Key stat – I thought the Pistons were doing well on the boards, but ESPN says they only have 8 total rebounds, 2 offensive. The Wizards have 12 total and 5 offensive. I’d say that’s why they are up — despite 42% FG for Washington and 50% from Detroit.
Former Wizard Jarvis Hayes in the game. His Georgia Bulldogs crushed Hawaii last night…what’s he going to do tonight? He’s going to hit a long deuce a minute into the 2nd. Pistons up 30-27.
10:26 – Wallace 3. 7-0 run to start the quarter for Detroit. 33-27. A run of bad offensive possessions from the Wiz, leading to easy buckets for Detroit.
9:20 – Hard foul on Jarvis Hayes by Andray Blatche — clean block for the most part, but Andray caught a lot of arm and unavoidably went into Hayes coming down, causing Jarvis to hit the floor hard on his back. They call a flagrant…..but it definitely wasn’t warranted…at least in the NBA that most of us know. Gotta get used to them calling hard fouls tight in this new day.
8:46 – Timeout Eddie Jordan and he’s pissed. This comes right after Caron makes a bad turnover and the Pistons easily take advantage. Phil Chenier is right…can’t do that against this team. They will make you pay. 10-0 run puts Detroit up 9.
It’d be nice if the Wizards could score this quarter. Part of me wonders about the rhythm of the rotation at the end of the first/beginning of the 2nd. Roger Mason finally hits a 3 to break the ice. Whatever happened to Andray Blatche coming into games with intensity? Guess he’s trying to find that balance between going hard and not picking up cheap fouls.
7:05 – Caron Butler step back, Wiz down 5 — Obviously Caron is having a much easier time with Jarvis guarding him rather than Prince. Back down the court, Caron posts up against Hayes and draws a foul. Now that’s how I like to see Tuff Juice in the new year….backing smaller dudes down.
6:11 – Detroit pick and roll gets the Wiz D moving and opens up a corner 3 for Rip Hamilton. Haywood is way too slow in trying to recover after guarding the pick and roll…way too slow.
I guess confidence is a funny thing with younger players. And many times, Andray Blatche looks very young. He seems a little lost on offense – even when he catches the ball for a FT line jumper against Pistons pseudo-zone. He shot the ball right away, and you’d think that would convey confidence – but the way he shot it…. off-balanced when it really wasn’t necessary, can easily take confidence away.
Ouch…45 seconds left. Rasheed Wallace miss. But Haywood forgets about his man, Jason Maxiell. Kid gets an offensive rebound, monster dunk.
The half ends and the Wizards down 10, 57-47. The Pistons outscored the Wizards 31-20 in the second. Why? Let’s go to those rebound stats: a 12-8 first quarter lead for the Wiz on the boards easily turned into a 23-17 lead for the Pistons. You got it, Detroit out-rebounded DC 15 to 5 in that 2nd quarter, with 5 of those offensive to zero offensive for the Wiz. Most other stats are similar, Detroit continues to shoot 50% to the Wiz, just under 42%. Not sure what the 2nd chance point stats are, but I’m pretty confident that some of those rebounds have led to Detroit making 5 more field goals than the Wizards at the half.
West Virginia and Oklahoma are about to get going — please give me good bowl games to close out the season — I don’t care who wins, as long as Ohio State doesn’t win a championship.
10:54 – The Pistons offense is nice son. AD chases Rip around several screens – you can see the play developing and nothing can be done about it. Rip gets open on the left wing, and Billups passes to him on the curl. DeShawn steps away from Chauncey to help so Rip doesn’t break right to the basket after the catch (he had a lot of separation from AD) — so when seeing the help come, what does Rip do? He touches it right back to Billups for a clean and easy three pointer. You can only get the flow the Pistons have by playing together many, many times.
9:06 – Time for a Rasheed Wallace tech. Interesting cat. He hooks AJ trying, twice, trying to get position. Offensive foul on Wallace. He complains with some choice words…immediate tech. He then has a relatively uneventful and tame conversation with the ref for about a paragraph, and decides to walk away. But when walking away, he’s becomes increasingly and vigorously loud and adamant that he was right. Usually, this action would result in another tech. The ref restrains. Good ol’ ‘Sheed.
6:45 – Of course…those incidents always either get Rasheed going, or get him kicked out of games. Still in the game, so he gets going as he proceeds to get a dunk and a bank-open jumper. Pistons up 12 at 69-57.
6:11 – Timeout after a Rip jumper — The Pistons are tightening their hold on this game, up 14.
5:18 – Jamison takes a semi contested 3 from the top of the arc. AD was wide open on the right wing, not saying that I want him to take a 3, but the lane was there enough for him to drive and create something. AD held his arms up in the “I’m open” act for well after AJ missed the J…just to prove his point. After the miss, the ball goes out of bounds to Detroit.
3:30 – After a 9-0 Pistons run that put them up 19, the Wiz get scrappy with three straight buckets…..they are still down 13, 76-63.
2:53 – A couple times Caron has tried to throw some juke moves at Prince off the dribble. They just don’t work….or Caron is hesitant to put his head down and drive. Who wouldn’t be hesitant against one of the best defenders in the league? This time, Butler makes a terrible post pass attempt, for which he has no angle, to Haywood…..turnover and Rasheed 3 on the other end.
Well…..never to be too late to be out of style, Nick Young has finally caught on to this mo-hawk fad. Can we pin-point where that got started? Maybe not a where, but a who? Malcolm Gladwell, tipping point?
0:19 – Jamison is on now….tough step back fade away off one foot brings the Wiz to within 10 points, 82-72.
Gee…thanks for not blocking out Jason Maxiell, Andray Blatche. J-Max gets a monster tip slam right at the buzzer. After being down 76-57, the Wiz fight back to 84-72.
Quick Stat Check:
- 5 Pistons in double figures, McDyess with 8
- 18 off the Pistons bench, 6 off the Wiz bench
- Butler leads all with 19 points – Hamilton and Jamison are next with 17 each
Here we go again, starting an even numbered quarter with the kids on the court….Nick Young and Andray Blatche. This does not bode well for the Wizards as the offense is out of sync and a veteran Detroit team takes advantage. I didn’t like the rotation at the beginning of the 2nd and I don’t like it now.
9:19 – Timeout EJ – 10-2 Pistons run to start the 4th. They’re up 20 now.
7:42 – Well, get ready to lock it up….Jason Maxiell is hitting fade-away baseline jumpers. 96-79 Pistons – 13 points, 6 rebounds, 4 offensive for Maxiell.
6:13 – Jarvis Hayes hits a 3 and puts the Pistons up 99-82 with just under 6 minutes left. Forgive me if I begin to get distracted by the Fiesta Bowl, West Virgina-Oklahoma.
6:00-2:30 – This is the point of the game where noting goes right for the Wizards — missed FTs, missed easy chances and bumbling turnovers.
2:17 – The Pistons are up 104-88 and are clearing their bench….just thought you’d like to know.
….Oh yea….game is over. 106-93 is the final.
The Pistons were, well, the Pistons. No need to really take about them.
So, here is what the Wizards did:
- They let Detroit shoot 48.7% from the field – Pistons also went “Mr. Fifty” from the 3 point line – speaking of, 11-22 from the 3pt line.
- They let the Pistons bench get 33 poi
nts; Wizards bench had 8 points.
- They let Detroit get 11 offensive rebounds.
- And finally, they let the Pistons get 23 assists, 13 more than the Wizards.
BTW Did Rasheed Wallace really call new Detroit Piston, Primo Brezec, “Gangsta“? Wait, isn’t Primo the same dude who missed 2 weeks last year due to exhaustion? I have a Need for Sheed’s gangsta check-list — something doesn’t add up. But you got your 10 straight, huh?