Game 46 Blog Notes: Washington Wizards vs. Los Angeles Lakers
I had the unfortunate privilege of attending the Super Bowl Sunday game between the Wizards and the Lakers. Yea, I wanted to go to the game. It’s hard to pass up the chance to see Kobe Bryant in person, and the chance to see his team, the Lake Show, get a beat down from my Wizards. Little did I know…..not even close.
The morning started off well enough with brunch and Bloody Marys at Clyde’s, along with a friendly wager with my friend Dean, the Lakers fan. My dad set the line since before the game, since one was no where to be found. With the presence of two all-stars, Caron Butler and Pau Gasol, in the balance, bookmakers weren’t touching this match-up. So, even though the Wiz were at home, from pops, they would get 3.5 from the Lakers, and 5.5 if Butler did not play.
Well, at some point during the game, probably when the Lakers built a 26 point lead, their largest, I naturally complained about the line set by my father. “It wouldn’t have mattered if I set the line at 12,” he retorted. The Wizards lost by 12, 103-91. But in the end, I didn’t deserve to win and the Wizards didn’t play like they deserved to win.
So, I present notes of a tragedy:
- Way too many Laker fans in attendance. It almost feels like a neutral site game. I call this neutral site ‘D-Bag City’
- Phil Jackson is sitting on an unusually large chair, I assume because of his back, or hip…but still, already being a 6’8″ dude with abnormally broad shoulders, he looks even more out of place on his high-chair.
- Leave it to Laker fans to remind me exactly how much I detest the franchise. I bet 90% of the purple & gold fans in the phone booth have never set foot in LA. Within these past couple of seasons, showing the potential to fade into irrelevance, especially after such a tumultuous summer, I’d almost forgotten about the Lakers.
- The triangle is cooking in the 1st. The ball moves with too much ease against the zone of Washington. Even Radmanovic, the snow-boarding space cadet, is lost track of by the Wizards, giving him two early looks right under the basket. 12-5 Lakers with 7:30 left.
- DeShawn Stevenson really is giving a whole-hearted effort against Kobe, but things don’t go very well for the Lock Smith as the Kobester is very adept at drawing fouls on him, 2, while scoring 8 points within the first 5 minutes of the game.
- 6:18 – Haywood is not focused as he gives up an offensive rebound to Turiaf. Caron clearly expresses his displeasure.
- 6:07 – Kobe gets a dunk after finding a loose ball in his hands…the Lakers were allowed to keep an offensive rebound alive. Bryant flies back down the court with his arms serving as wings.
- 5:50 – Butler hits a sweet reverse layup and imitates “Kobe’s Wings” come back down the court. This was the highlight of the day from the Wizards’ end. 17-9 Lakers. Kobe is up 10-6 in the battle among the former teammates.
- 5:35 – DeShawn picks up his 3rd foul…..well, that’s about it for the defense.
- Nick Young is now guarding his idol, Kobe Bryant – it takes him just over 30 seconds to pick up a foul. Kobe is breaking him in lightly. 21-9 Lakers after the FTs
- 4:14 – AD ends up getting FTs on the play, 21-11 Lakers, but Nick Young shows us his immaturity. On the possession, he was left open for a split second at the right-side 3-point line, early in the offense. Daniels did not pass him the ball and he hung his head. Gotta improve the body language son.
- Caron matches up against Bryant towards the end of the quarter. Kobe is trying to take him to the post and Caron is doing a good job to front and deny.
- Bryant proceeded to drop 19 in the first and shows all of us that on this day, Caron simply has nothing to combat the craftiness of the best player in the game.
- Yes, the Lakers were hot with 30 points in 12 minutes. But the Wizards simply did not move the ball well. Jake the Snake on Bullets Forever had a great pre-game post. Essentially, it outlined that if you see things through Kurt Rambis’ goggles, the triangle offense is clicking when the Lakers aren’t dribbling, which is exactly what the Wizards did too much of. 30-15 LA over DC.
- Nick Young is trying to have a coming out party. Unfortunately, he forgot to bring snacks and refreshments.
- Building a nice lead, the Lakers are able to rest some guys early. They are up 30-17, yet the LA players in the game have only scored 2 points among them. Oh yea, Kobe’s got 19.
- The Lakers offense is still easy. Yea, they are making every shot, but they are open shots. By the time Bryant checks back in with 6 minutes left, the Lakers have gone 6-9 from the field and have taken a 42-29 lead. Must be nice for Kobe to be able to rest half of the 2nd quarter.
- The Wizards have to really work for every bad shot that they take.
- 4:10 – The best example of Wiz offense on the day: Caron receives the ball in the post, where I like to see him. Attention to him creates an opportunity for Jamison to cut, get a sweet pass from Caron, and a nice reverse one-hand dunk. 5-0 run by the Wiz, Lakers up 13.
- …until Kobe scores immediately, 49-34 Lakers.
- At the half, if the Verizon Center numbers are correct, the Lakers are 25-38 on FGs, almost 66%. The Wizards, not so good – 15-41 gives them 36.5%.
- The Lakers, they’re the home team, 63-41.
- Well, the Wizards have tried to pressure the Lakers in the back-court…and this effort does get LA to use some clock in addition to forcing Odom to bring up the ball. Ehh…doesn’t really matter.
- The Wiz are running in place halfway through the 3rd, the Laker lead hovers around 24 points.
- Los Angeles is getting to every loose ball, they are making the extra passes and they are getting offensive rebounds.
- 0:17 – Butler’s FT steak ends at 73. It was meant to be.
- Do you honestly think I took any 4th quarter notes? It took all of my effort just to stay until the end.
Word on the Skreet:
Uhh…yeeeaa, the Wizards need Gilbert Arenas. Period. On the post-game radio show, Glen Consor actually told people to “shut up” about the Wizards being better without Arenas.
Eddie Jordan, when asked in the post game press conference about why they weren’t going to Brendan Haywood more said that going to BTH was not part of their game plan. The game plan was to go to the forwards in the post and let the offense develop from there.
Before, I’ve definitely preached about establishing Haywood on the inside early. But, I agree with Eddie Jordan. I really just wanted the Wiz to work inside-out at the beginning of all games, the ‘who’ doesn’t matter as much as the ‘what’. Brendan is at his best when opportunities are created in such a manner through the offensive sets they practice every day. The Wizards D has been playing well this year. So obviously, the offense has been the problem. In the past 3 games, the Wiz have shot be
low 40%, 4.5% under the season average. Simply put, you give the opponent more opportunities when the offense is not taking care of business.
Mend Well Gil.