If the Wizards would’ve shot better that 37% against New Jersey, they would have won, right? Yea…..who knows. When it comes to winning and basketball, no two areas are preached more about than defense and rebounding, no matter what pulpit the message is coming from. So against the Pistons, for game blog purposes, I’m going to ignore the offense and concentrate on defense and rebounding. Not all boards are attainable, and you can play great defense and not stop a bulk of an opponent’s shots from going in. That being said, I’m going to attempt to selectively focus on the particularly great or horrendous occurrences in those areas.
10:48: Ron Thompson mentioned that transition D would be key in the pregame show…here, Billups brings it down the middle in off a Wizards turnover (Etan had great position in the lane, just lost the ball). Amir Johnson comes to screen Antonio Daniels just inside the three point line. Jamison is laying back a little to protect the basket, but there’s just too much space, AJ needs to be closer to help on Chauncey. Billups takes one dribble off the screen and gets an easy jumper on the left elbow. Johnson’s screen was semi-illegal….but this is the NBA. 4-0 Detroit.
10:23: Next time down, Amir Johnson gets called for an illegal screen…..laid his butt into DeShawn.
9:35: Wiz get caught standing and confusing assignments for boxing out….can’t see whose fault it is because of the camera angle, but Prince sneaks for an offensive board and the Pistons get 2nd chance points. 6-3 Detroit.
8:57: Communication – Ball is in Billups’ hand. Pistons run Prince off a couple screens and he curls off the 2nd (set by Amir Johnson) back into the lane. Etan does great in helping on the curl and forces Prince, who received the pass, to pass the ball back to Billups. When Etan helped, Jamison left Wallace to fill the lane and deter the ball from going to Johnson under the basket. With the ball out of Prince’s hands, Etan sinks back into his lane to find his man. Butler also stays in the lane as both Prince and Wallace fade to the top of the arc, so the Wizards have the lane protected with three players in there, but there’s only one Piston around and the ball eventually makes its way to Wallace who hits a three with Stevenson and Daniels running at him. Seems to me that Butler should have stayed with Prince and Jamison should have bumped Etan to Wallace once he switched to Johnson. 10-4 Detroit.
8:06: Good communication in transition D against Detroit…..however, Daniels gets matched up on Johnson. Pistons go to Amir, but Daniels displayed Veteran Swag by drawing a charge.
7:20: Chancey Billups is eating Antonio Daniels’ lunch, dinner, and next morning’s breakfast. He just hit a transition three in Daniels’ face. 15-6 Detroit.
6:15: You hear someone from the sidelines yet, “Maxwell.” I assume it comes from the Wizards bench and whomever probably meant “Maxiell.” Jason sets a ball screen for Hamilton behind the 3-pt. line on the left wing. DeShawn is slow in trying to get over it and Etan hedges out way too much (Hamilton is not a three-point shooter and is immediately looking to pass to the top anyway). Maxiell rolled straight to the basket after the screen. Etan had no chance to recover. Wallace makes a great pass to Maxiell who draws a foul and makes 2 FTs. 20-8 Detroit.
4:07: 20 second timeout, Eddie Jordan. The Pistons are moving the ball as if in mid-season form. The Wizards offense looks horrendous. Daniels looks 10 years old than Billups, even though he’s only 1-year older. And all Gilbert can do from the sidelines is encourage Caron Butler to get the team running more. 27-10 Detroit. Rasheed is killing so much that he asks out of the game…he’s got 8 points already.
3:40: It’s getting sad. Jamison is forced to double help Billups off a ball screen, but it’s not a hard double….Jamison just hangs around a couple seconds, but does nothing that will deter Billups. Etan picks up Jamison’s man. Caron is stuck with both Prince and Kwame Brown….Butler sticks with Prince who heads to the block and Brown goes to the right elbow. Jamison is just wondering around looking for someone to get…but it’s too late, Billups finds Brown who hits the jumper. Caron tells Etan that he was supposed to get Kwame, but all of this is on Antawn Jamison. 29-12 Detroit
2:48: Blatche replaces Etan.
It’s hard to concentrate on rebounds…..but Steve Buckhantz relays that the Wiz are getting out-done 12-1 on the boards so far.
1:53: Nick Young checks in for Stevenson.
0:58: Kwame comes down the lane, essentially does a swim move on Blatche and positions himself right inside the inner half circle. Blatche can’t get around Kwame and there’s nothing he can do. Brown gets an easy inside bucket on Andray. 31-19 Detroit.
0:40: Dominic McGuire checks in for Butler.
0:05: Giving Andray Blatche Credit: He out-works Brown for an offensive board but can’t nail the fading turnaround J with the seconds ticking down.
The first ends and the Wizards are only down 10, 31-21.
Antawn, Dominic, DeShawn, Andray and Nick to start.
11:40: Kwame gets Andray bad with a jab step right and lefty drive all the way to the hoop….from the 3-point line!! 33-21 Detroit.
11:00: Seriously? Kwame gets the ball again near the top of the arc. Andray kinda, sorta, not really, tried to go for the steal on the pass…..gets out of position and Kwame drives it right down the Wizards’ throat. 35-23 Detroit.
10:31: Darius Songaila comes in for Jamison. Etan comes in to save Blatche.
9:18: Something good on D. Songaila doubles Stuckey off a ball screen…something which must be part of the game plan when defending ball screens at the arc….but unlike Jamison, D-Song is aggressive….bothers Stuckey….who dribbles around, but Nick Young sticks his nose in the lane to deflect a pass out of bounds with 4 seconds on the shot clock. Of course, the Pistons score off the out-under. 39-28 Detroit.
Offensive Interruption: Monumental Air Folks….this kid, wow. Did Walter Herrmann get dunked on? HELL YES.
Butler checks in for Etan (joins D-Mac, who has been silent, Songaila, Young, and Stevenson).
7:42: McGuire gets caught silly on a mini pump-fake….but McDyess missed the jumper.
6:57: McGuire with a nice block on a Stuckey drive….made sure to keep from the body contact and stretched his arm out to the ball……but the Pistons get the ball and Herrmann nails a trey. 47-30 Detroit.
Juan Dixon and Jamison in for McGuire and Stevenson….and Songaila is playing aggressive defense….how can Wizards fans not like that?
I Wonder: How long until Young takes DeShawn’s starting spot? Or do we like his scoring off the bench? Young is play very well by the way….9 points off the bench so far.
The Dixon-Jamison-Butler-Young-Songaila lineup is working well…..9-0 Wizards run. 47-39
4:20: Another instance of good D. The Wiz force a 24-second violation on Detroit. Young, Songaila and Dixon make this unit more active.
3:52: Jamison and Dixon double Billups after a McDyess ball screen. Songaila hustles to cover the screener (who is also the closest pass option) at the top of the arc, and Billups is forced into a turnover…the 11th for the Pistons.
2:50: Note: I just had my first out loud clap of joy on the season…..Nick Young hustles to save the ball from going out of bounds on offense….the ball eventually ends up in Juan Dixon’s hand who drives the lane and scores the layup on three Pistons. 13-0 run. 47-43 Detroit.
2:20: My 2nd out loud clap moment….Jamison’s trey cuts it to 47-46. Michael Curry 20-second timeout. On this 16-0 run, the Wizards have gotten MUCH better shots.
1:33: Can we stop wondering (or at least curtail) why Eddie Jordan likes Songaila so much? First of all, Nick Young is working very hard to keep up with Richard Hamilton. Butler and Jamison double Prince off a ball screen. Songaila runs to the spot to cover Jamison’s man, Jason Maxiell, and jumps the passing lane to get a steal.
Funny Gilbert Moment: Rip Hamilton travels….Gilbert immediately jumps off the bench before the ref has a chance to blow the whistle. The ref, Bill Kennedy, specifically looks in Arenas’ direction and yells, “I got it” twice before making the call.
Wow…the half ends and the Wizards are up 52-51 after being down 17 with 7 minutes left to play in the 2nd. The offense clicked….and the defense improved….not even making me write a paragraph breaking down a bad instance. The key in my opinion? Antonio Daniels was not in the game and Juan Dixon did a great job to bother Chauncey Billups and keep him under wraps.
Key Stat: The Wizards have managed to take care of the ball….so at least the early bad offense was able to get off shots…..Detroit with 15 turnovers, Wizards with only 4.
11:50: Stevenson gets caught bad on a screen (set by Wallace) and curl by Hamilton. Either Stevenson was trying to draw a foul (Wallace didn’t move), or Jamison did not make him aware that the screen was coming. Either way, Jamison didn’t recognize that he needed to help on Hamilton (I mean damn, he was curling right into the paint) and Rip got an easy layup. 53-52 Detroit.
Can’t Do Nuthin’ Bout It D: Rasheed just hit a couple back to back fading jumpers….that’s why he’s good and that’s why he scored 8 points in the first 8 minutes of the game…..can’t do nothing ’bout that.
9:52: Butler chucks up a jumper from the corner (who does he think he is…Gilbert Arenas?). Pistons easily run in transition…Chauncy and Rip are good. 8-2, run 59-53 Detroit.
AAAAAAnd I just completely ruined it for myself. You accidentally hit one wrong button and somehow your DVR goes “live” and jumps you to a point in the game where the outcome has been determined and you accidentally see what happens when you were watching the game at your own pace. F-ing great. The blog from here on out may be different…
9:07: Rasheed doing Rasheed things…missing another fading J from the corner, but drawing the foul on Etan Thomas. He then talks trash to Etan, I imagine it went something like, “Take those politics, bitch,” or “I gotta poem for you, ‘There once was a man from Nantucket, biiiitch.’”
8:28: Man, I’m l beginning to think that Jamison is just a bad, bad defender (double bad). The ball goes to ‘Sheed for a short corner fade again….thankfully he missed this time. But the Pistons have stopped moving the ball on offense to take advantage of Jamison trying to guard Wallace.
7:52: Pistons have gotten away with moving picks all night long. Why does refereeing in the NBA suck so much? I was watching the league pass the other night…can’t remember which game it was, but I do know a super star call when I see one. You think with the Donaghy scandal that they’d be trying to improve in all aspects. I think people are more fans of good basketball than they are of the refs making sure the offense gets an advantage.
7:11: It’s like DeShawn is always intentionally getting caught up on screens with his upper body….trying to draw a charge. Just stay with your man and get through them. Is that too much to ask, Lock Smith?
Do you ever get the feeling that Nick Young is just a goofy lil’ dude when he talks? I mean, I’m glad he’s been getting serious on the court, but I keep expecting him to bust out into a convo about Nickelodeon. Aaaand they just showed him yawning on screen……and he’s sitting next to a 12-year old girl in a Pistons uniform. Odd.
Side Note: Etan Thomas likes to hit, or kick, the ball far away after he dunks.
5:36: Damn Jamison again. He and Stevenson clearly are supposed to switch on an off-ball screen set by Wallace for Hamilton….at least I assume that since Stevenson immediately sticks with Wallace. Jamison seems to want to stick with Hamilton, but for some reason, turns his back on his man…doesn’t see Hamilton fade…..and gets stuck too far away from him in the paint. Essentially, instead of opening his body to see ball and man, he turns his back, Hamilton gets separation, and hits a mid-range J. 68-82 Detroit.
Should I be glad that Rodman kicked a cameraman now? I mean, those effs (I meant to say the word fucks) sit too close to the court. As sensitive to injuries as I (Wizards fans) am, we don’t need to see Etan Thomas roll his ankle on a damn cameraman’s foot.
More Rasheed fade in the corner….this time on Songaila. Although, I will say, D-Song forced him to take a shot much further out than Jamison was able to.
Steve Buckhantz and Phil Chenier get on the Pistons for artificial noise….oh please…the suckiness of the Verizon Center crowd doesn’t give the Wizards an excuse to do the same thing on the artificial noise front.
4:10: Jamison and his partner in defensive crime, Antonio Daniels, are at it again. Wallace pick. Daniels doesn’t know it’s coming or can’t get over it. Jamison isn’t close enough to cover. Hamilton mid-range jumper. 72-66 Detroit.
Stevenson does get credit for possessing the ability to score in bunches. 72-68 Pistons.
Comcast likes to show random shots of Caron Butler winking.
2:14: Well, the Wizards finally double on that ‘Rasheed in the short corner posting up on Jamison’ thing…..except the passer, Walter Herrmann, cuts and Butler leaves his man so soon that a helping Songaila could never be expected to leave his man and get in front of Herrmann in the paint. Easy pass. Easy bucket. And 1. 77-70 Detroit.
1:52: McGuire, Young, and Dixon check in…Jamison and Songaila remain. (you know, that lineup that did well earlier save Jamison for Butler).
Stuckey made such a nice move to end the 3rd, I had to watch it several times. Very top of the arc: takes a slow dribble 3 feet beyond the 3-point line…hesitates right and steps hard to the right…dribbles right, plants the right foot and goes behind his back to the left at the FT line. Nick Young, instead of shuffling his feet to the side, plants with his left foot, but steps backwards with his right. Stuckey gains the edge to the left , power dribble, and Debos his way to a layup with 00.6 seconds left on the clock. End of the 3rd, 81-76 Detroit.
D-Mac, Jamison, Songaila, Young, and Dixon remain. No McGee sighting….and I’m okay with that.
A minute and a half goes but until Caron checks in for Jamison.
Both teams pick it up with some aggressive D to start the 4th.
Well, this is where D-Song’s lack of athleticism gets him in trouble. The Wiz show a man-to-man full court press off a made FT. Antonio McDyess acts like he is going to hang around but sees there is no Wizard down the court and takes off. It only takes Songaila a split second to react and get this feet moving. But he is no where near fast enough to keep up. Easy pass…..transition points….And 1. Songaila should not have allowed McDyess to get in front of him like that. 89-83 Detroit.
8:25: Great individual play by Dixon….he gets caught behind Maxiell on a high pick and roll (shouldn’t have happened), but when the Pistons go inside to Maxiell, Dixon slaps it out of his hands, and saves the ball from going out of bounds to Jamison (who just checked in for McGuire).
Of course, the next couple of possessions for Detroit, Rodney Stuckey bodies up the smaller Dixon and gets two straight layups. 94-88 Detroit.
5:27: Rip Hamilton gets Young with a vet move…..off the ball, Rip heads to the baseline off a Rasheed Wallace screen. Young does well to get over the screen, but really gets into Hamilton as he stops. Rip plants and attempts to change direction and essentially “runs” into Nick, and flops his arms back. The ref is right there and calls Nick for his 4th foul. Pistons are in the penalty, Rip nails both, 100-92 Detroit.
The thought about Young starting over Stevenson crossed my mind earlier……but now, the fact that DeShawn hasn’t been on the court peaks my curiosity.
3:40: Bad turnover….Wallace deflected a cross-court Daniels pass attempt to Butler….Pistons run. Songaila, Jamison and Daniels don’t really have a plan to cover the various Pistons in transition. Walter Herrmann is open for three (that dude is killing!) and Detroit goes up 105-96…..big swing.
2:59: Herrmann is hitting finger rolls in the paint…..good lord. 107-98 Detroit.
I can’t be sure…..but I think Pistons fans are chanting…’Over….rated.”
I’m baffled as to why.
1:20: The defense is moving, but the guy who was supposed to rotate out to Walter Herrmann, Nick Young, ignores the hot hand. Billups gets penetration and Herrmann is wide open for three. 112-102 Detroit.
0:45: Tayshaun’s long arms get a tap and Detroit gets the offensive rebound. Wizards foul Billups. 114-105 Detroit.
The Wiz fight until the end, but the final outcome is 117-109 Detroit Pistons.
ESPN.com Box Score.
The bad stat: Getting out-rebounded 49-24.