The Washington Wizards faced the Utah Jazz twice last season and lost both times….here’s what happened:
Game 45: Utah Jazz at Washington Wizards – Feb. 1, 2008
Washington entered a Friday night matchup against visiting Utah with 24 wins on the season. The Wizards started out fast and furious, fueled by a playoff-like atmosphere in the Verizon, and the fact that the game was televised nationally on ESPN. The Wiz led 21-11 at the end of the first, Antawn Jamison outscoring the Jazz himself with 13 points. For the first half, the Wizards held the Jazz to a paltry 36.6% from the floor, but Utah used a 12-0 run in the latter part of the 2nd quarter to keep the Wizards lead to one at intermission.
In the 2nd half, Andray Blatche started off hot….so much that I said I wouldn’t trade him for Pau Gasol….ahh, those were the days. Even though neither team was shooting particularly well, Utah’s offense was efficient, getting assists on 23 out of 26 field goals at one point. Early in the 4th quarter, ESPN reported that the attention craving Gilbert Arenas announced he would return to the court against the New Orleans Hornets on March 2nd…..things went downhill from there. Hubie Brown commented that the Jazz were playing normal basketball while the Wizards had to fight and scrap for everything. Game, Set, Match. Utah Jazz 96 – Washington Wizards 87.
Game 74: Washington Wizards at Utah Jazz – March 31, 2008
Going into this game, I knew that the Wizards would be without both Caron Butler and Antonio Daniels….yet, I still had hope. Well, that pretty much got thrown out the door after one quarter of Boozer and Okur killing en route to a 31-22 Jazz lead. The 2nd quarter wasn’t any better as the Jazz moved the ball extremely well and built a 46-24 lead within the first four minutes….about the time when Steve Buckhantz and Phil Chenier mailed the game in. The 3rd quarter was just insulting….peddle to the metal all the way for Utah. Going into the 4th, the Jazz were +39 in points, +23 in assists, and +15 in rebounds. The Wizards lost the 4th quarter 24-21 and couldn’t escape SLC fast enough. Utah Jazz 129 – Washington Wizards 87.
Game Day Reading Highlights:
- “There are too many games. If we are at this point a month from now and we are 0-20, I couldn’t be as positive as I am right now. Now, we’re cool. 0-20? Yeah, I’m in Tahiti mentally. But we’re fine right now.” - Caron Butler
[History on Their Side? Once Again, the Wizards Are 0-5. They Rallied Last Year - The Washington Post]
- The dumbest thing the Washington Wizards could do right now is fire Eddie Jordan. Abe Pollin’s history of patience with employees he likes — and he loves this Jordan — and Ernie Grunfeld’s track record of making smart basketball decisions both suggest the Wizards will be too smart to finger Jordan as the primary culprit for the team’s wretched start. But being the only winless team in the NBA at 0-5 makes these conversations inevitable.
[Michael Wilbon: They Should Keep Their Head - The Washington Post]Bonus: Wilbon takes a dig at Andray Blatche: “A fourth-year player who should be coming into his own, Andray Blatche, is great if you need to find an after-hours party but awfully close to becoming a bust as a basketball player.”
Thumbs Down: Wilbon suggests that the Wizards get Jamaal Tinsley. Really dude? Really?
- If we improve enough to get to about 43 wins and a first-round exit, we can still fire Eddie in the offseason. In the middle of the season, though, a coaching change rarely makes a positive impact on the team. The only scenario I can envision where it works this time is if we hired Avery Johnson, but I doubt Ernie’s going to do that and I doubt Avery wants to leave his cushy TV position. So don’t fire Eddie Jordan. At least not yet.
[Don't fire Eddie Jordan ... yet - Bullets Forever]
- That is one of the hard realities before the Wizards. They have become overly dependent on players who would be collecting a significant number of DNPs with other teams.
[Tom Knott: Season already is potentially bad - The Washington Times]
- And then there was this analysis from ESPN.com’s David Thorpe: “The D-League was made for players like McGee.”
“I saw that and said, ‘What?’” [JaVale] McGee says. “So I told myself I was going to work hard and be sure that, if I ever did get sent down to the D-League, everybody would say, ‘Huh? Why did they send him down there?’”
[A memorable motto: Wizards' McGee keeps focus on success - The Washington Times]