Hawks Down Wizards Like Falcon’s Balloon; Atlanta 113 – Washington 95
Well, I started off trying to listen to the Wizards versus Hawks on DC’s 106.7 The Fan via the Internet. I heard some Randy Foye turnovers, heard him jack some threes and heard him get his shot blocked going to the rack (Foye led the NBA last season with a fifth of all of his inside shots being blocked).
I also heard the Hawks rain threes (4-4) and the Wizards turn the ball over some more (Andray Blatche had three). And this was all in the first quarter as Atlanta took a 35-18 lead.
Thankfully, technical difficulties spared me from listening to the rest as it only seemed to go downhill from there. The most telling stat(s) from the game? The Wizards’ plus/minus leaders were: Paul Davis +5, Vincent Grier +5, JaVale McGee +4, and Mike James +3.
But hey, at least the guy whose struggles I chronicled earlier on Monday had his strongest effort of the preseason. James finished with six points, four rebounds, eight assists and zero turnovers in 24 minutes.
Accounts of those who were at the game indicate that the Wizards played like they simply didn’t care. Sure, they were without Antawn Jamison, Gilbert Arenas and Mike Miller (the last two going down with the flu — thanks a lot Cleveland), and the Hawks had everyone. But this doesn’t make the effort any less disconcerting. I know, I know, it’s “just the preseason” … which has seemingly become a mantra for the Wizards … but excuses should be hard to come by with so many battling for court time.
Make no mistake, there are lots of reasons for continued optimism, but this team still has its work cut out.
Hey at least the Wizards have Flip Saunders as their coach and not Jim Zorn. After the game, Saunders said, “The thing that was disappointing. I thought this was a good opportunity for some guys to step up and say, ‘Here’s what I can do.’ And no one, I don’t think anyone really did that.”
Zorn would have said something like, “This was a growing game … let’s stay medium. Hip-hip hooray!”
I know Gilbert Arenas and Mike Miller were both in their hotel rooms sick, but that didn’t mean that the rest of the team didn’t have to show up. The Wizards were understandably shorthanded without their starting backcourt and Antawn Jamison sitting at the end of the bench and wearing a suede brown sport coat, but the team was out of this game before the start of the second period. It was mostly an eyesore the rest of the way, as the Hawks led by as many as 25.
Nick Young makes one appreciate Jamal Crawford’s relative versatility as a basketball player and restraint as a shooter.
Ball Don’t Lie
The only person who seemed to be really into the game was Saunders. At the start of the fourth quarter, Fabricio Oberto was called for fouling former Maryland product Joe Smith. Saunders cursed, saying that the foul call was horse manure. He was immediately handed a technical foul. “If I got a tech every time I said that, I wouldn’t coach a game in this league,” Saunders said.
But Saunders provided more entertainment afterward. When Hawks guard Mo Evans missed the technical foul, Saunders channeled his inner Rasheed Wallace and shouted, “Ball don’t lie!” The coaches on the bench chuckled.
Smith went up and missed the first free throw and Saunders shouted again, “Ball don’t lie!” Smith missed the next free throw and Saunders shouted, “Ball really, really, really don’t lie!” Sam Cassell nearly fell out of his chair.
- @MrMichaelLee :Remember Tim Hardaway’s killer crossover? JaVale McGee just invented the killer jumpover. Hit J over J. Collins. Collins falls & grabs knee
- @ajchawks :Joe Smith isn’t the biggest guy but he will bang cats around in the paint. He’s got that grandpa strength I guess.
- @hawksPRman :@MrMichaelLee C’mon Wizards, at least make it interesting…
- @MrMichaelLee :Man, this game is really bad. I wish I was back in bed. The Hawks are 8-10 from 3 after the latest Mo Evans bomb. 84-61, Hawks
- @ajchawks :Jamal Crawford sinks his first bucket as a Hawks on a freaky shake and bake move on Nick Young to end the third. Hawks up 86-63!
- @hoopinion :@Truth_About_It You’re missing Vincent Grier’s pre-season debut. Maybe his pre-season finale, too, I guess.
- @BulletsForever :Boo! Wizards, bring him back! RT @raptorsrepublic: Apparently Dave Hopla’s working with the Raptors informally.
- Gilbert Arenas may have criticized Eddie Jordan since his departure, even saying, “I know his offense almost better than he do.” But that doesn’t mean their families aren’t cool.
Agent Zero ducked out before the all-girl party, but two dozen of Govan’s closest– her mom, sisters, girlfriends, other NBA spouses — gathered for the shower hosted by Charrisse Jackson-Jordan, wife of former Wizards head coach Eddie Jordan. The four-hour bash featured plenty of champagne, dinner, cupcakes, shower games, pregnancy pillows for everyone, a “mother-to-be” tiara for Govan — and lots of luxe baby gifts.
[via The Washington Post's 'Reliable Source' on the baby shower of Arenas' fiancee, Laura Govan]
- Speaking of … Caron Butler and Eddie Jordan vacationed together this summer. [Washington Post]
- Six random NBA scouts pick the Wizards to finish 5th in the East. [Sports Illustrated]
- The Ultimate Battle: Gilbert Arenas vs. Balloon Boy. [Bullets Forever]
- ’7 Day Dray’ evidently includes at least one day of partying. [DC Fab]
- Roger Mason Jr., not the best point guard. [48 Minutes of Hell]
Other Links You Might Like
- Love and Basketball: Why stat-heads and scouts need to kiss and make up to advance the sweet science of the NBA by Nathaniel Friedman and Tom Ziller [Gelf Magazine]
- One day will robots write sports game stories/recaps? [NY Times] As Chris Needham says via Google Reader, “Reads like the AP!”
- The next LeBron James? [The Dagger, Yahoo!]
- Evidently Dan Snyder’s cronies in his owner’s box are “stunned” that fans would want him to sell the team. [DC Sports Bog]
- Sherman Lewis goes from needing “more time to become familiar with Zorn’s offensive terminology” to calling the plays on offense in a span of about 48 hours. [Redskins Insider]
- When Dirk Nowitzki found out he wasn’t the baby daddy. [The Two Man Game]
- Protest Win. [Fail Blog]
- Court performance notwithstanding, is Dwyane Wade the Andray Blatche of the Miami Heat? (they both like parties) [Hardwood Paroxysm]
- A history of ‘NBA Live’ music. [Basketball-Reference.com Blog]
- You know … [Ball Don't Lie, Yahoo!]
- DC Public Transit, in pictures. [We Love DC]
- Reggie Jackson no understand ‘blogging’. [Mr. Irrelevant]
- A rapper finds out that Michael Jordan is a jerk. [NESW Sports]
- My name is Kobe Bryant and I wear two bow-ties, I’m a fancy douche. [Bossip.com]
- Artest and Kobe having communication problems in LA. [The Blowtorch]
- Updated NFL Team Logos. [The Same Intensity]
- Key Legislature: Wizards 98 vs Magic 93 — Bench Provides Tinder for Humphries’ Date Night Spark
- Vines From China: Blatche and Crawford Defeat a Panda’s Friend
- Drew Gooden for Team Finland at the FIBA World Cup? Plus Other Wizards and Ex-Wizards
- Sam Cassell Leaves Washington for LA Clippers, Will Be Missed by Wizards