The breaking news is that Caron Butler is out tonight with a hip, and perhaps tomorrow night as well.
No one cares and neither should you.
Wizards fans did not care the last time Washington played Toronto in the 17th game of the season, when Chris Bosh was out with a groin.
And I did not give a damn that Michael Redd was out on Sunday.
But how to feel if you’re a Wizards fan? If myths such as the “Curse O’ Les Boulez” are not said out loud or typed on message boards, then they are most likely thought.
But it is an easy out to get all fatalistic up in this piece. Some on Bullets Forever, myself included, were unsure about this game even before the news about Tuff Juice dropped.
But always wanting to be that guy who focuses on the positives, here is what we should look for in this game:
1. Andray Blatche is getting the starting nod - a chance for this cat to get on his grown-man B.I., but I image that Haywood is going to match up against Chris Bosh. After that, I’d almost put Blatche on Jamario Moon since he’s not a shooter. Put AJ on Bargnani….I don’t want the Italian drawing either of our big shot-blockers out on the perimeter. DeShawn….check the hell out of Anthony Parker — NO 3s! Antonio, good luck with Calderon.
2. But it’s domino effect from there…..others (notice the plural) will certain have to step up as well. We pretty much know we’re going to get the full effort from Jamison. In particular, I’m looking for DeShawn Stevenson and Nick Young to drop 20 each, and for Antonio Daniels to get 10+ assists and commit less than 3 turnovers (he’s had 9 of those in the past two games).
Oh yea…gotta clear something else up. In a previous post, I declared that Chris Bosh should not be an All-Star. Now, I am admitting that was a ridiculous mistake. The post was more to tout the all-star merits of both Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison, and perhaps just a bit reactionary to Bosh’s silly little video, which by the way, I thought was clever. I actually did not mind him marketing himself, especially with a bit of comedy. So, I’m sorry….ok? Now maybe the Wizards will win now that I’ve reconciled.
It’s another one of those, “no one outside this locker room thinks we can win tonight” games — except it’s a home contest for the Wiz.
Well, nothing we can do but……start the show.
That’s right….I remember the Michael Ruffin Gaffe game last year, but I forgot that it was against the Raptors. Phil & Steve call it the Mo’ Pete Game….also forgot he was the guy who hit the crazy 3 as time expired to tie the game after Ruffin’s premature ball toss.
Blatche comes out aggressive against Bargnani, but not too aggressive….he gets an offensive board, penetrates the lane and dishes…and that eventually leads to a Stevenson 3.
9:05 – Chris Bosh gets a long pass from Calderon off a Wiz turnover and an easy dunk. It’s simply inexcusable to lose track of that guy by letting him leak behind the defense. 5-5 game.
Blatche ends up on Bargnani to start, guess he’s got too much length for AJ…maybe Andray’s arms can bother his shot.
5:52 – Anthony Parker knocks down an easy deuce from the corner, not much of a contest from Lock Smith. 12-7 Raptors.
So far, the Wizards do not look crisp on offense, especially AJ who is 1-5. Stevenson has hit two 3 pointers though, so at the first timeout, it’s 12-10 Toronto.
4:28 – Andray with a nice turnaround baseline hook over Bargnani. 14-12 Raps.
3:55 – Calderon just emits confidence. He pounds the ball with purpose. His passes are sharp. He just hit a jumper, 4 points and 3 assists for him.
3:03 – DeShawn with 3 number three, almost halfway to that 20. 16-15 Raptors.
2:04 – Blatche with a little stare down on Bosh and nails an outside jumper in his face (previously, Bosh got AB with a killer pump fake, but could not convert). 17-16 Wiz.
1:28 – AB back on his BI – a twisting up and under gives him 6 points. 19-16 Wiz.
0:37.4 – Yup….you know Bosh is an All-Star, he’s getting absolutely ridiculous calls from the ref. AB was on him, he did a good job of holding his ground on Bosh’s pump fake. Andray held his arms out and Bosh threw his shooting motion went right into them..whistle blown. The replay shows that even though his arms was out there, AB clearly got all ball.
0:16 – Nick Young hits a nice J before the quarter ends and the Wizards are up 23-20 after 1.
Well, that was quick. Wiz are still up 26-24, but Eddie Jordan did not like how that 4 points by Toronto was scored. He calls a timeout a minute into the 2nd.
8:50 – Great D by Nick Young….he anticipated and poked away a floating Calderon pass for a Wiz steal, but AJ gets a charge call on the other end. The game is tied at 28.
Phil Chenier points out that Washington has not shot a FT, and the Raptors have shot 10, only making 6.
8:19 – You know, sometimes I DON’T want to see Nick Young fade away on his jumper.
7:32 – Songaila turns the ball over on a bad drive attempt. I don’t want to see that guy trying to put the ball on the floor either.
….And then see D-Song get completely unaware on D, not picking up Humphries on the roll. Open dunk. 34-30 Raptors.
6:17 – Then again, D-Song jumpers are nice…..but at this point, he’s giving up more that he gives. 34-32 Raps.
5:18 – Oh no…really? Darius Songaila on Bosh? Why of course D-Song fouled him on the drive….and of course they gave Bosh the 2+ step continuation. 39-34 Toronto.
4:32 – AJ with a floor dive….didn’t get a ball, but I respect the hustle.
4:01 – The sight of Antonio Daniels shooting a 3 off the dribble looks like it hurts him and me. Brick.
3:50 – Haywood lost track of Bosh in transition again…..it’s getting bad. 10 point Raptor lead, 44-34.
3:10 – Bosh outside jumper….21 points from him. Does that guy have a nickname yet? (and no, CB4 is not a nickname)
2:41 – Andray Blatche continues with his activity….a hustle offensive rebound after a bunch of BTH bumbling. AB sinks the put-back and gets fouled. The 3 point play makes it 46-39 Toronto.
1:10 – Wiz scrap around, get lucky, and go on a 7-0 run. 46-43
Coming out of their own timeout, Raps go on their own 4-0 run before the Lock Smith answers with his 4th three.
50-46 Toronto @ halftime.
- In addition to those 21 points, Chris Bosh has 8 rebounds, 3 offensive
- Songaila with the worst +/- at -9
- Stevenson with his four 3s is the obvious leader with +5
- Wizards are only 3-5 from the FT line
- Thankfully, Toronto has missed a couple FTs, they’re 8-13
- Wiz held the Raps to 2-9 from deep
11:38 – Lane penetration by Blatche from up top sets up Haywood for the basket And1. Wiz down 1.
11:21 – Bargnani picks up his 4th personal foul. Straight Euro trash.
10:41 – Bargnani turnover leads to sweet Wiz points in the form of a DeShawn dish to AB. 51-50 DC. That puts 3 Wiz…AJ, AB & Lock Smith…in double-figure scoring. The Raps are still depending on the Chris Bosh show. After his 21, Calderon has 9, then no one else on Toronto has more than 4 points.
9:09 – Three pointer for Andray! #2 on the season. 14 points for AB.
8:34 – Blatche gives an insignificant pump fake, but then takes Bosh right to the hoop with some long strides and a running scoop. 58-50 Wiz.
Offense is only half the story. The Raptors have not scored in 4 minutes.
7:53 – ANOTHER Blatche jumper! Off the dribble after a cross-over on Kris Humphries. 10 point lead.
7:17 – Parker finally breaks the ice with a 3. 60-53 Washington.
The Wiz have made things hard on Bosh thus far in the 3rd.
What is that I hear? The Verizon Center is actually alive and breathing?
6:10 – Blatche has to sit with 4 fouls. 18 points. He missed the last jumper he took, after which Eddie Jordan was yelling, “Don’t settle!” Still, I can hear the fantasy league ‘add player’ buttons clicking now.
Got a text from my friend Adam saying that this is how good teams start a quarter. With a 16-5 run, I just might agree.
4:54 – BTH shows some spark with a jump hook over Bosh. He seems to have faded in and out in this game….but I’ll take his 7 points and 7 rebounds, and the 3rd block of the game he just got.
3:30 – Haywood is throwing his body around, gets fouled on an offensive board and he Hopla’s both FTs. 66-58 Wizards.
2:32 – Catch and shoot 3. AJ was just waiting for the rock and no one on the Raptors noticed. He’s got 14 and 10. 69-58 Wiz.
Calderon is a finger licker. I still don’t get cats who feel the need to put their fingers in their mouth during the course of a basketball game. Is that really helping him? Or just a nervous habit?
Uh oh, D- Song just checked in. 27 ticks left in the 3rd.
The 3rd quarter ends and the Wiz hang tight, outscoring Toronto by 10 in the period. 71-65 Wizards.
3rd quarter report from Steve and Phil: 4 points from Bosh, 22% shooting for the Raptors.
Delfino is on AJ and the Raps are throwing the double at him. The first time, AJ turns the ball over. The 2nd time, he kicks it out, re-posts, then scores And1. 74-65 Wiz.
10:33 – D-Mac O-Board. 5 rebounds for him in about 10 minutes of play.
Songaila, Jamison and McGuire are the Wiz big men….and that’s why Kris Humphries is able to score 2 straight baskets to make it 78-70. Mason comes down and hits a 3, but Humphries comes right back and dunks it on the Wizards. 81-72 Washington.
With 8 minutes left in the game, Songaila should have been back on the bench a long time ago. It takes a missed dunk from Dongaila to get Blatche back on the court.
6:08 – Dominic McGuire gets two offensive rebounds and one shot attempt after a Roger Mason miss. He’s balling pretty hard. 86-75. Timeout.
5:26 – Jamison is the oldest dude on the court and he is out-hustling every kid out there.
Oh yea, D-Mac just got his 8th rebound of the game, 4th offensive.
4:08 – Roger Mason runner puts it at 88-77 Wizards. And I just realized…absolutely everyone from the Wizards came to play tonight. Young and Pech just have over 10 minutes combined as Eddie has found a lineup that works, in which they are not included….but they each still have a bucket.
A Humphries layup (10 points in the 4th) , a Bosh And1 and 1 Calderon FT quickly cuts the Wiz lead to 5 at 88-83 with 2:15 left.
2:01 – A Stevenson 3 miss. A foul on Calderon because AD is not quick and 2 FTs make it a 3 point game. 8-0 Raptor run.
1:40 – A Jamison 3 miss. Why on earth are they shooting all these long jumpers?
1:17 – Thank you AD. After a stop, he drives and uses his strength on Calderon to get right to the rim. 90-85.
1:10 - Another bad call in favor of Bosh as he led with his forearm. 2 FTs. 90-87 Wiz.
Jamison slips…he got off balance trying to do a little too much, turnover. Humphries is wide open at the other end for a dunk. 90-89 Wiz.
0:33.6 – Gamer shot by AD after the hesitation dribble got Calderon on his heels. 92-89.
Great D by the Wizards. AB really help his ground on Bosh, not going for any fakes. He tries to pass the ball away, gets deflected by Mason, loose ball…Raptors get it, but they are in panic mode and lose the ball to Washington.
With 37, 14, and 5…Bosh has displayed an all-star effort tonight, except on that last play.
Unfortunately, after a timeout and a side out, the ball is inbounded to Blatche for 2 FTs. I got faith in ya kid, just not 100% confidence. He makes the 1st, misses the 2nd. 4 point game.
And what do you know, Jamario Moon, 14-53 from deep on the year, with a +/- of -18 tonight, hits a 3 with 2 seconds left on the clock.
AD is fouled, makes both and the Raps have the ball, side out with 1.2 seconds left. 95-92 Wizards.
And Caron Butler heads to the locker room before the Raps take the ball out. Ok? Not sure if that’s a good thing, or not.
OH. MY. GOD.
To quote Steve Buckhantz: “Noooo!!!! It’s not possible!!!!!”
Anthony F-ing 2-14 Parker hit a 3, at the buzzer, with 6 Wizard hands and arms in his face. How does a team play after that? Game tied at 95.
Ok, Caron is back on the bench.
DeShawn started off, what, 4-5 on threes? He’s missed all five taken since then. Phil kept talking at the beginning of the game that DeShawn is just continuing his hot shooting from the end of the Milwaukee game, after he started that game 1-9. All I could think was that I hope he didn’t have a 2nd half tonight like that Milwaukee first half.
Only 5 points are scored by both teams in the first 3.5 of OT. It’s becom
e a pretty physical game. 98-97 Wizards.
1:15 – And Roger Mason’s 3, which bounced off the front of the iron, to the high part of the backboard, and then through the net…finally knocked the lid off the rim. 101-97 Wiz.
0:46.9 – Hello? I heard you guys were having trouble with your locks. Let me fix that with a…..DeShawn Stevenson Triple and a Steve Buckhantz DAGGAR!! 104-98.
Are you kidding? Chris Bosh 3 makes it 104-101. BIG possession for the Wiz.
Roger Mason miss…..Jamison TIP! 106-101.
Kapono Triple from the corner…..this is crazy. 106-104. AD makes both FTs and the Wiz are up 4 with 4.9 seconds left.
Don’t go anywhere Caron!!!!
And I finally can exhale after Calderon misses a 3. 108-104 Wizards. What a game.
I could cite so many, but all I need is one stat:
Jamison 20 Rebounds