There’s been talk, mostly from Ed Tapscott, about the Wizards needing to do more of the ‘little things’. The Washington Post reports that Tapscott recently wrote ‘Little Things’ on a dry-erase board and then had this quote after the game last night, “We’ve got to take a look at the little things that cause us to have poor possessions at the end of games or some of the plays we have to make defensively against a drive. Those things will be addressed.”
The need for little things works on a sliding scale. The better the team, and talent, the more room there is to fudge on those little things. With injuries and the what-not, the Wizards have no wiggle room. Of course, teams like the Spurs have talent and do the little things; that’s why they have multiple championships under their belt.
Last night, some of the ‘little things’ the Wizards did not do include:
- Andray Blatche using only his upper body on block out attempts (although, I believe this has blossomed into an epidemic).
- Caron Butler lacking consideration in blocking out Rudy Fernandez, who was allowed to get a running start and a huge offensive put-back to put Portland up three with 2:24 left.
- Caron Butler using too much shot clock and then putting a rookie, JaVale McGee, in a difficult position to hit a contested baseline jumper from a though angle with the shot clock running down and 1:30 left in the game.
- Nick Young turning the wrong way (270 degrees instead of 90) in trying to defend a cutting Rudy Fernandez which led to a bucket and a foul at the very end of the 3rd period.
- DeShawn Stevenson not stopping the ball, and Sergio Rodriguez, after made FTs, which set up the previously mentioned gaffe.
- Ed Tapscott going with Darius Songaila instead of Dominc McGuire on a crucial defensive possession with the Wizards down two, 13 seconds left, and mostly perimeter players in for Portland.
You can read the game blog at Bullets Forever for the full run-down.
I love me some Caron Butler, but I hate seeing his name so many times in the Little Things column. Sure, he made some great plays down the stretch in working the ball closer to the hoop and not settling for jumpers. Also, unlike Larry Hughes and Gilbert Arenas used to do, I don’t think Butler makes bad gambles when he picks up steals by jumping passing lanes. However, Caron just can’t stay in front of his man on D. Not exactly sure why….maybe his bulk limits lateral movement. And it certainly didn’t help when Portland was playing Brandon Roy at the three spot, forcing Caron to guard him.
Maybe Tuff Juice lacking flavor on defense is just a fact of life, but please…PLEASE….it must be a concentrated team effort to limit second chance points by opponents. Allowing extra buckets is like spitting in your own face and casting aside all previously exerted defensive effort.
Check Your Qs and As
You may have seen the blogger Q&A with The Rip City Project, Portland Trail Blazers Blog, but you can also check my return answers to Rip City here.
Hits from the World Wide Web
- Another competitive, fun game for the Wizards at home, they ended with a loss but not before keeping one of the better teams in the NBA to a one-possession turn for most of the contest. [Kelly Dwyer, Ball Don't Lie]
- The story of the game was Portland’s balanced scoring (five players in double figures) and clutch play down the stretch. [Ivan Carter, Washington Post - 'Little Things' Sink Wizards]
- “We were close, but close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.” -Ed Tapscott (my dad always uses this quote…..old school)
- Turning point: Roy’s drive and score was big but so was Rudy Fernandez’s rebound and putback of a miss by Blake with 2:19 to go. Caron Butler appeared to miss a box out on the play and that allowed Fernandez to fly in for the putback. [Ivan Carter, Wizards Insider - Portland 98, Wizards 92]
- Even as the game came down to the wire, the place was flat and hardly anyone was on their feet. Now, we all know that DC is loaded with folks who aren’t from here, the team isn’t particularly fun to watch and with the economy struggling, it’s easy to understand why some hard-core fans would stay away, but if last night is any indication, it’s going to be a long season of playing in front of crowds like last night’s. [Ivan Carter, Wizards Insider - Losing Basketball Means Dead Crowds]
- This may be weird but stick with me. For some reason at the end of this game I was humming the theme song to that old Nickelodeon show, GUTS. Why? Because that’s exactly what it took for Portland to pull this one out. And I’m legally insane. GUTS. [SJ, The Rip City Project]
- This was another game the Blazers pulled out in the final minutes. It’s a fine pattern for road wins, somewhat normal for the NBA. It does come with a caveat, however. Play with fire too many times and you’re going to get burned. [Dave, Blazers Edge]
- The Blazers are off to their best start since the 1999-2000 team started 15-5. That team finished with 59 wins and advanced to the Western Conference finals, where it lost in Game 7 to the Lakers. Nobody is saying this Blazers team is ready to advance to those heights, but with so many weapons and a developing poise late in games, the Blazers are beginning to wonder if they are onto something special. [Jason Quick, Blazers Behind the Beat/The Oregonian - For the Blazers, so many ways to attack]
- * Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison are not leading men. * DeShawn Stevenson didn’t completely embarrass anyone. * Andray Blatche has the sloppiest game in the NBA. * Sergio and Rudy at the end of any quarter are magical. [kellex, Blaze of Love]
[photo source: flickr/Keith Allison]