Had on the Washington Wizards-Orlando Magic game as I was getting ready to go out on Saturday night. Thanks to my laggard adoption of DVR technology, I figured I could just watch it again later and hack out a game blog.
But as the walloping swelled, it became more and more evident that I’d never be watching the game again. And a game blog? You’ve got to be kidding, right?
I’m certainly distraught about the beginnings of this 09-09 season, but surprisingly, any anger I should have is subdued as if my drinks were being drugged.
Not many teams have a Dwight Howard to expose ineptness in the paint, but preseason optimistic expectations of a deep Wizards front-court is seeped in irony. Tell me, what low post “banger” (on offense and defense, but the former applies more) do the Wizards have? I’ll tell you who other teams have: Detroit has ‘Sheed and Maxiell, the Bucks have Bogut, Big Z, Benny Wallace, and the Brazilian Spaz are in LeBron’s court, Boston has a Big Ticket, a Big Baby, and a Perkins, the Sixers have Reggie Evans and Brand (and not to forget Sam Dalembert), Bosh & J.O. are in Toronto….even the Knicks have Z-Bo. And that’s just the East….I could go on.
What do the Wizards have? The closest to a banger, Darius Songaila, is undersized, slow, and Euro. Andray Blatche is soft like goo with his finger rolls and aspirations to be Point ‘Dray. Antawn Jamison skirts with his gimmicky flip shots, work that is not muscled down low.Oleksiy Pecherov tries to rebound, but gets buckets, not dirty…..son. And all the stump speeches in the world could not aid Etan Thomas’ offensive campaigns.
JaVale McGee…..another story. Once again, Ernie Grunfeld proves that he gets paid for a reason and blogosphere pundits do not. Sure McGee ‘The Choppa’ is skinny, but those helicopter arms add an intriguing above-the-rim dimension to the Wizards’ offense. He brings something to the table that any team would want, no matter how fast they want to play…..but boy can that kid run the floor. JaVale McGee already has people calling him the steal of the draft after only watching him for one game.
I understand this Wizards team is built for reasons: speed and the smarts to run the Princeton. But even with a healthy Brendan Haywood and his mechanical offensive moves, the Wizards do not have a big man who can knock around some bodies down low. That’s why when Eddie Jordan needs a crunch time bucket, the offense becomes anemic. Sure the Princeton involves moving and cutting, but that doesn’t mean the Wiz can’t use an attention attracting passer from the post. There is also a reason the Wizards must sink down low and neglect defending the three point line…….and it’s not just one game dealing with the beastliness of Dwight Howard. With the Washington Wizards, size does matter, and I’m afraid it will be a continuing trend all season.
And now, Wizards-Magic coverage highlights from the World Wide Web.
- The night began discouragingly enough on Saturday when point guard Antonio Daniels limped into the Amway Arena, dragging his right leg. It took a bad turn near the end of the first half, when Caron Butler was rolling on the floor, with blood spilling from above his left eye. Then, with the Wizards trailing the Orlando Magic by 25 points midway through the third quarter, co-captain Antawn Jamison sat at the far end of the Wizards’ bench, staring blankly at nothing in particular, and didn’t bother getting in the huddle as Coach Eddie Jordan addressed the team during a timeout.
[Bad Gets Worse For Wizards in Deflating Defeat - The Washington Post]
- Caron struggled early, missing back-to-back threes. The first looked to be a heat check; Washington and Orlando began the game shooting nothing but threes. However, with the score 6-6, Dwight Howard earned his first basket of the night, an easy dunk after pushing Etan Thomas out of position in the paint. For Washington, Howard would be an issue the whole night, and while the Wizards managed small runs, Orlando, between Howard’s inside game and the excellent three point shooters outside, would go on 10-0 runs in response.
[Washington's co-captains struggle in loss to Orlando - Examiner.com]
- The Wizards allowed their opponents to shoot better than 50 percent from the field for the second straight night. And on offense, the Wizards looked sluggish and disoriented. Washington committed 16 turnovers, which led to 23 Orlando points.
[Listless Wizards routed by Magic - Washington Times]
- The Orlando Magic executed their game-plan to perfection Saturday night in defeating the Washington Wizards, 106-81, for their fourth straight victory. In the first half, they used the three-point shot to space the floor for Dwight Howard. Keith Bogans, Mickael Pietrus, and Hedo Turkoglu hit two three-pointers apiece in the first half, after which the Magic lead, 58-39.
[Orlando Magic 106, Washington Wizards 81 - Third Quarter Collapse]
- Well, I think that was about what everyone was expecting. You don’t see a lot of teams that struggle guarding the 3 point line and lack a good interior defender win a lot of games against a team like Orlando who has a slew of outside shooters and the man-beast that is Dwight Howard.
[Magic 106, Wizards 81 - Bullets Forever]
“Y’all see JaVale McGee?” [Dwight] Howard asked a group of reporters while chatting informally while finishing getting dressed in front of his locker room. “That dude’s got a SEVEN-SIX wingspan!”
help him much tonight, huh?” a member of the Orlando media replied.
“Oh, no, he’s nice!“ Howard said. “He’s doing alright, he’s a rook, man. It takes a while in this league for big men. But I think he’s gonna be nice!”
[Howard on the McGee bandwagon - Wizards Outlet]
- Washington kept up its awful start Saturday by dropping one to the Magic. The Wizards, missing Gilbert Arenas for another month or so and Brendan Haywood for the season, have begun the season 0-5. Eddie Jordan hears the guillotine being prepared. Antawn Jamison has to start wondering if he’ll be shipped out should the prayed-for rebound never come.
[Which 0-for-'08 Team Will Win First? - Ziller at NBA FanHouse]