Hindsight is always 20/20, right? (Actually, 20/20 is not “perfect” vision, but we’ll just stick with the saying.) If the Wizards “talk trash”and then lose, well, it’s confirmed, they are the dumbest team in the history of civilization.
Now, I won’t detract that bulletin-board material can provide effective examples of motivating opponents in the history of sports. Deadspin has pointed to Chuck Person in 1991. But I find it hard to draw direct lines of comparison between the #7 seed Indiana Pacers talking smack to the #2 seed Boston Celtics, and one of the greatest trash talkers of all-time, Larry Bird.
So, it’s easy for someone like Charles Barkley to assume that what was said prior to yesterday’s Wizards-Cavaliers game would be the equivalent of prodding a sleeping giant with a hot poker. But maybe we should use a new word, assyouhim….because Barkley has just made an ass out of you and him (assuming you are in the thought contingent that Gilbert Arenas should never have opened his mouth).
LeBron James is right. He does not need simple words to motivate him. LeBron James is good. He’s the real f-ing deal. Kobe Bryant may be the better entertainer, and that’s why people mistakingly refer to him as the best player in the NBA, but LeBron Raymone, father of Maximus, James is the best player….let me repeat slowly….play…yer…..in the National Basketball Association. To call LeBron a sleeping giant, to simply think that he needs the motivation of words from others, is an insult to him.
Gilbert Arenas….yea, he came out hot. Nailed some threes. And then, towards the end of the game, he seemed to do the right thing in trying to drive to the basket, get FTs, or mid-range jumpers (he only attempted and missed one 3-pointer in the second half). But as Arenas said, he’s not the “old Gil” just yet. He didn’t have the legs to complete a solid game résumé.
Antawn Jamison? Absolute baller. 6’9″ and 235….23 points and 19 boards against the Cavs big front line? Get the hell outta here. With the Wizards up 84-82, and under four minutes left in the game, Jamison missed a couple wide open three pointers. Keep shooting AJ. I’ll take you on the line for those open looks any day.
Caron Butler, I’m not sure what to diagnose. My hype of Caron being the game one tone-setter obviously did not come to fruition. My hope is that his 100% hustle is not succumbing to his 85-90% health (a guesstimation). Perhaps here is where we can use terms such as ‘developing an offensive rhythm.’ The fact is that Caron Butler may best be able to provide what this Wizards team needs: penetration and distribution.
The only thing I’ll say about DeShawn Stevenson is that if you are a Wizards fan, you know he’s a streaky shooter. Yesterday’s 1-6 performance from deep should come as no surprise. DeShawn had 17 outings this year where he attempted four or more 3s and ended the game shooting less that 25% from deep. The total 3p% for those 17 games was .187 (17-91).
On the other hand, there have been 26 games this year where Stevenson attempted four or more 3s and shot better than 40%. The total 3p% for those 26 games is .533 (98-184). DeShawn Stevenson shot 38.3% from beyond the arc on the season. Point being, 1-6 is more indicative of the type of player he is, and not his mouth. On the other side of the coin, hopefully DeShawn is not the type of player who never shows up for playoff games because the Wizards need him.
As much as the media hype wants you to believe, words did not have a say in the outcome of yesterday’s game. It was the naturally inspired play of LeBron James and the Wizards inability to knock down shots when it counted most. It’s going to be a long series, and Washington will need more support from role players to have a chance at success.