Pre-Wizards-Suns Game, UNC vs. Clemson
The end of the 1st overtime in the Clemson-North Carolina game: With about 1.2 seconds left, game tied, the TarHeels tried to float a pass from a side-out on the opponent’s side of the half-court line. Clemson got a steal under the UNC basket and the Tiger player threw the ball to the other end, a shot attempt. Now, I’m not sure if he got the shot off on time…..they didn’t show a replay. But the referee, upon seeing that the ball was falling short of the basket, snatched it off the first bounce.
I know this about the game of basketball: If a shot, or rebound, goes off someone from the defending team and into the basket, it counts. I’ll go on to assume that if the ball bounces off the floor hard enough and by chance goes into a basket, that counts for points as well. So, what’s to keep me from thinking that a shot taken from the opposite basket, which leaves a player’s hand before the buzzer, and is not touched by any other player on the court, should count if it bounces off the floor and through the net?
- No Gilbert of course, no Caron, no Antonio.
- DeShawn Stevenson’s left knee is swollen, but he’s still playing.
- 11:38 – Jamison nails the first points for the Wizards, a long 2 from the right wing. I’m thinking potential 40+ point game for him.
- 10:59 – Andray Blatche makes a confident baseline drive against the porous Phoenix D. The result is an assist for AB to Brendan Haywood.
- 10:05 – Haywood needs to step up or Jamison needs get through the screen. Either way, the Wizards can’t just give Grant Hill open jumpers. 4-4 game.
- Suns get a couple easies, Eddie calls timeout down 8-4, under 9:00.
- 10:21 – I guess we’re living with the outside jumpers from Amare Stoudamire?
- 7:38- Comcast is struggling with their coverage…missed a Suns fast-break point earlier and randomly threw the Wizards logo on the screen during a made Haywood jumper.
- The game is getting sloppy for the Wizards, a couple turnovers, a foul on a Suns fast-break….17-8 Phoenix lead. Amare Stoudamire set a pick that clocked Roger Mason coming down the court one time…..the Wizards need to raise their defensive awareness.
- Andray Blatche has been active in multiple areas: deflecting passes, hitting the offensive boards, looking for teammates.
- The Wizards are doing a fair job on defense as the Suns go a stretch of over 3 minutes without scoring, 4 minutes between FGs, both by Amare Stoudamire. 3:33 left, Suns up 17-14.
- But the spacing and patience for Washington on offense looks off on a couple possessions.
- 2:56 – Jamison rebound put-back…..he also has the potential to make Phoenix pay with his effort on the boards. 2 offensive, 4 total rebounds already. 19-16 Suns.
- The Wizards are scraping and keeping the packed house quiet. Game tied at 21 after a long Nick Young jumper, 1:40 left – 13-4 Washington run in last 5 minutes
- Phoenix scores the next 6 points to finish off the first 12 minutes, 27-21 Suns.
- DeShawn Stevenson limps to the bench. I mean really….what’s next?
- The Suns are shooting 57.1% while the Wizards are at 34.6%.
- Phoenix has only taken 3 three-pointers, making 1.
- The Wizards need to keep hitting the boards hard, 5 offensive rebounds so far.
- Eddie Jordan tells ESPN he wants Nick Young to be aggressive in the open floor. Let’s see if he complies.
- It would help if Brendan Haywood guarded Amare Stoudamire, he’s 6-6 with 13 points.
- 10:36 – A nice drive to the basket earns Nick Young some FTs….good that he’s not settling for mid-range fade-aways, 30-26 Suns.
- Phil Chenier points out that if the court is not balanced for the Wizards on offense, more opportunities are created for Phoenix to fastbreak.
- You can’t beat Phoenix without a reliable point guard.
- Eddie Jordan mic’ed up on ESPN….”Get Back, Get Back, Get Back”….like a repetitive patriarch.
- 8:06 – Nick Young does have a nice arsenal of moves….including a spin then step back jumper from the FT line. Very smooth. 36-30 Suns.
- 7:16 – Dominic McGuire blocks a Raja Bell 3 attempt….super quick and deceptive close-out on the shooter.
- 6:44 – 3 on 1 break for the Wizards, led by Roger Mason, a pass to Young….and a promising unselfish play from Nick The City with the immediate push back to Roger for the layup. 36-32 Phoenix.
- DeShawn stays in the game despite the knee trouble……tough dude.
- 4:22 – Blatche is having trouble keeping up with Amare Stoudamire too, 17 points for the all-star, 43-34 Phoenix.
- 4:11 – Jamison ends his 10 minute scoring drought with a 3…12 points for AJ. The Wiz need him in the zone.
- 3:42 – What a great play from Phoenix. Steve Nash running a pick and roll on the right wing….inside help from a 3rd Wizard defender goes with the roller but Boris Diaw is left open for a jumper at the top of the key. Nash’s 4th assist puts the Suns up 46-37.
- 20 of Phoenix’s 48 points have come in the paint.
- 1:59 – Haywood throws up some trash…..spinning and fading away from the basket.
- 1:46 – Nick Young with a huge block of a Barbosa layup attempt….I’m sure the Suns don’t take too kindly to his gloating.
- 1:20 – 2 blocks on 1 possession for Stoudamire….on Unbreakable, Andray Blatche.
- 1:01 – Andray’s confidence bringing the ball up in the open court has really improved since the beginning of the season. He sets Haywood up nicely, who can’t finish, but gets fouled by busy-body Amare. 51-43 Suns after both BTH FTs.
- 0:05 – More signs of life from Haywood…Phil C says he looked disappointed because he didn’t receive the ball in the post, but Brendan got the o-board, putback, And 1. 51-46 Wizards.
- The 2nd quarter ends with Amare Stoudamire’s first miss, at the buzzer.
- Not a bad effort by the Wizards at all. I’ll take the 5 point deficit, but is there enough gas in the tank with the depleted personnel?
- The Wizards are 11-12 from the FT line, a good sign of following the game plan. Phoenix is 5-6.
- The Suns have 22 FGs on 14 assists — par for the course, both for the Sun offense and the Wizard defense.
- Blatche has not scored, but he has 2 steals and 7 rebounds (3 on the offensive glass).
is showing who’s boss with his 18 points, 7-8 FG, 9 rebounds, and 3 blocks.
- Jamison leads the Wizards with 16.
- Haywood came on late with 11 points, he was a little limited with 2 fouls.
- 8 offensive rebounds and 8 second chance points for the Wizards.
- Stephen A. Smith ends the ESPN halftime show with a “They need Caron and Gilbert.” Thanks genius.
- 11:18 – Andray Blatche continues to work hard, despite not getting a foul call. He muscled his way past Boris Diaw for a bucket.
- 10:55 – Roger Mason is doing a man’s work as well with a hard fought drive to the basket, Suns up 55-50.
- 10:21 – Stevenson drives and misses, he definitely looked limited by the knee….his mouth, however, is not limited has he throws a mini-fit and let’s the ref hear it down the court.
- 9:39 – 3 pointer from DeShawn….maybe he’s just like Sidney Deane from White Men Can’t Jump…he plays better when he’s mad. Wiz are down 3, 57-54.
- 9:08 – Jon Barry references Andray Blatche with a “shades of Hakeem Olajuwon” statement….Blatche does make Brian Skinner look like a fool with a Dream Shake. 5 points, 3 assists, 2 steals and 9 rebounds for AB at this point.
- Still, Phoenix continues to run and the Wiz can’t get closer. Timeout by Eddie J, 61-56 Suns.
- 7:26 – This time a Haywood fading jumper is nailed…BTH is coming on since I talked about him throwing up a garbage shot. 15 points. 63-60 Suns.
- 6:27 – Andray Blatche throws down a hard dunk over Stoudamire…and Brian Skinner, who gets hit dead in the mug by the ball coming through the net. Barry is impressed by AB’s ability to put the ball on floor.
- AB goes out to get a rest…..is that the right thing to do? He’s hot, I’d leave him in longer than the first 6 minutes of the 3rd. Songaila enters the game for him.
- 5:50 – Nash turns the ball over, the 8th for Phoenix, 1st turnover of the quarter for either team.
- 5:38 – Jamison draws a foul on the other end, his 2 FTs tie the game at 66.
- Dangerous save by Mason to Jamison…right under Phoenix’s basket…dodged one there. AJ goes down to hit a 2, keeps the tie at 68.
- 4:26 – Stevenson hits a 3, the Suns score within 6 seconds. DeShawn is definitely soldiering on with a noticeable limp, as long as it doesn’t hurt the team.
- 3:18 – D-Song fouls Stoudamire on a baseline drive after a Nash pass….mimicking a previous play. Songaila needs to improve his feet quickness….on the other side of the coin, someone needs to stop Steve Nash with the ball so D-Song is not faced with an impossible situation.
- 2:26 – BTH dropping baseline jumpers and holding the pose, 17 points for Haywood, 80-75 Suns.
- 1:27 – Roger Mason Jr. hits a 3 like it ain’t nuthin’ to him.
- 0:53 – And it really ain’t, Mason hits another 3 and the Wiz take an 81-80 lead.
- Raja Bell has a quick answer in less than 10 seconds. 83-81 Suns.
- The Suns push the score to 85-81 and the Wiz had the ball with 3 point whatever on the clock….and they can’t even get a shot off. Nick Young gets thoroughly confused by a double-team.
- Still, the Wizards are hanging tough. Only 8 points from the bench….what bench? The City with 6, D-Song hasn’t scored, D-Mac has 2 in 6 minutes and O-Pech didn’t get in until the last 2 minutes of the 3rd.
- Steve Buckhantz reports that Glen Consor was activated to participate in a Wizards practice the other day…..no socks and running shoes. Crazy.
- 8:58 – Nick Young out of control and on the verge of losing the ball….he comes close to charging Steve Nash, no call. Nick keeps his composure and hits the short jumper in the middle of the paint. 10 for him, Wiz down 2, 89-87.
- Grant Hill is leading a push for Phoenix.
- 7:30 – Amare is stealing the ball from Nick Young and making athletic fast break buckets.
- 95-87 Phoenix, timeout and Eddie Jordan is mad, holding onto the ball.
- Nerves getting the best of the Wiz…..they can’t take advantage of some chances.
- The Wizards are getting the ball in the paint, they just need to finish the job. They’re in reach, down 7…95-88, but I’m not sure how long the window will be open.
- 4:41 – Raja Bell closes that window a little with a 3 to put the Suns up 10.
- 4:14 – Amare is hitting bank shots on a Sunday, 29 points for him.
- 3:33 – Strong drive by Stevenson, And 1…game within 5. The Lock Smith looks like he’s using every ounce of energy.
- 3:11 – Careless and costly turnover as Jamison tries to pass it to the wrong guy, Haywood.
- 2:37 – Haywood putback slam…100-97 Phoenix. 7-0 Wiz run, 21 points for Haywood.
- 1:42 – The 2-time MVP with a three, Blatche did not step up on the pick and roll. Only 8 points for Steve Nash.
- 1:04 – Jamison great basket…he catches a lob pass and shoots a reverse layup all in one motion. 103-99 Suns.
- 0:39 – Can the Wiz get a stop? Yes, but Diaw gets an offensive rebound. That hurts.
- 0:21 – RMJ with a three….18 points for him…a step-back and Michael Jordan shove on Nash. 105-102 Suns.
- 0:16 – Grant Hill gets fouled, rather him at the line than Nash…..he misses the 1st, makes the 2nd. Eddie takes the final timeout, Washington down 4.
- Insane sequence…Stevenson has a hard time getting the ball in bounds…seems like there were a couple open looks. He tosses a crazy pass across the width of the court to Roger Mason. There’s a fight for the ball, Mason scrambles to get it…..misses a 3, but Jamison gets the rebound and just misses the putback. AJ gets fouled and nails both FTs. 106-104 Phoenix, 8 seconds left.
- No one likes DJ Strawberry….he’s twice wide-open in the back court on the Suns side-out. The first time, Grant Hill elects to take a timeout. The second time, the Suns almost get a 5 second call…Stoudamire gets fouled and makes both FTs, 30 total in a row for him.
- The Wiz get the ball, but they wait until the last second to make a three pointer. They lose by 1 point. 108-107.
What can you say? Great effort guys. Losing sucks. Injuries suck. This game is in the past. Nice work from both Brendan Haywood and Andray Blatche…we can only hope they parlay this into more consistent performances on a nightly basis. The “Rookie Tour” continues.
In Other News: NBA Coaches are Getting Catty There Days.
“What they did in Memphis is beyond comprehension,” said Popovich. “There should be a trade committee that can scratch all trades that make no sense. I just wish I had been on a trade committee that oversees NBA trades. I’d like to elect myself to that committee. I would have voted no to the L.A. trade.”
“[Popovich is] a great coach and they do a good job there,” Iavaroni told the Memphis Commercial Appeal. “I don’t read into anyone else’s comments. That’s just the nature of the league. People have a right to their opinion. We’re just taking care of our best interests.”
Meh, what’s new?