Denial and The River Without A Paddle: Wizards-Thunder Post-Game Locker Room Video | Truth About It.net

Denial and The River Without A Paddle: Wizards-Thunder Post-Game Locker Room Video

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Updated: December 30, 2009



I think I’ve been in denial. And by using the work ‘think’, I’m probably in full-blown denial.

I keep thinking that the Wizards, with all of their talent and health (of the big three), will somehow turn the corner. That they’ll somehow get over their loser’s mentality.

It’s not going to happen. This team is emitting the perception that they are rotten to the core. If they play like they have no guts then they need to be gutted.

Then again …. maybe, juuuuust maybe …. I mean, look at the Eastern Conference playoff race. The Wizards are only 2.5 games out of eighth/seventh place and four games from sixth. Not exactly what the team was aiming for, but if they could get themselves together and sneak in as a low seed, who knows what could happen.

Who am I kidding? Again, that denial thing.

The playoff picture in the East is like a waitress from Hooters. Both look nice, but neither is likely to provide a fruitful return stemming from hot pursuit. It’s just a tease, an illusion of something better.

Maybe the Wizards need to make a trade. And maybe you need to go hit on more attainable waitresses at another restaurant.

At age 17 or so, I was gullible enough to make a pass at a Hooters waitress. She had a boyfriend … evidently.

Now, at age 29, I’m gullible enough to think the Wizards can correct their severely misguided course.

Denial, I’m in it … and the river, the Wizards are up it without a paddle. Maybe instead of the basketball gods, Flip Saunders should start praying to Hapi, god of the river Nile.

{locker room video}

{best web cuts}

[Mike Jones - Wizards Outlet, Washington Times]

Well, you know the drill by now. Wizards come out, play well for much of the game and then fumble, bumble and stumble all over themselves down the stretch.

Tonight was no different. Washington had rallied, traded leads with the Thunder, and actually held a 90-89 advantage roughly 3-1/2 minutes into the fourth quarter.

But instead of building on that lead, the Wizards laid down and let the Thunder go on a 21-8 run to close out the game and win 110-98. That’s what experienced teams are supposed to do — execute with a sense of urgency down the stretch. Young, inexperienced teams are supposed to struggle to find a way to protect their lead.

[Michael Lee - Wizards Insider, Washington Post]

The Wizards had a bunch of lightweights in December and came away with just five wins. It was a despicable performance that has Saunders still in search of career win No. 600. The guy arrived in Washington with 587 wins. I’m pretty sure he expected to be cutting some celebratory cake before 2010. At this rate, Saunders won’t reach that milestone until the MLK holiday. If he’s lucky.

[Mike Prada - Bullets Forever]

Every underachieving head coach has that moment, that once press conference where he says “Screw it” and just tees off on his team.  Flip Saunders’ moment came tonight.

The three-minute press conference was essentially one long epic rant against his own team.  Normally guarded and long-winded, this time Saunders was brisk and to the point.  He cared not for being diplomatic or for maintaining the type of public calm that usually defines him.

[Craig Stouffer - Washington Examiner]

To say that Flip Saunders was fired up after the Wizards found a different yet familiar way to collapse tonight against Oklahoma City would put it way too lightly. The fact is, the entire organization is on notice, and Saunders has officially drawn a line in the sand. The argument could be that he knows he’s got the full backing of the Wizards front office and the freedom to lay into his team as he pleases. It  also is an angry plea to the front office to make a change. Talk about ending the year with a bang. Who knows what this team might look like by the time it’s 2010.

[Dan Steinberg - DC Sports Bog, Washington Post]

Regardless, at least this ship is going down with the captain on the bow, screaming bile into the swirling ocean of sub-.500 despair. Instead of, you know, praising his team’s “try-hard.”

{other side}

[Royce Young - Daily Thunder]

At the half, Oklahoma City trailed 55-53, looked uninspired and lazy defensively. It had bad loss written all over it. But they knew they had it. I don’t want to say they were coasting and just playing for the fourth quarter, but they knew they had it. When it got to winning time, the Thunder turned it on. With six minutes left and the Thunder leading 91-90, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook checked back in and Oklahoma City went on a 19-8  run to close the game. The closers came in and shut the door. It was a pleasure to see.

{must-read}

[Matt Moore - Hardwood Paroxysm]

I’m of the opinion that a book needs to be written by this team. Maybe by Mike Jones. Maybe by Mike Prada. Maybe by Kyle Weidie. But someone needs to document this Wizards season.

They finally have their components back, and all being paid a King’s ransom. Think about how much money they have invested in this team. How massively disappointing is this? To have put that much money in and gotten this kind of performance?

They brought in a new coach. A good coach. Maybe a great coach, offensively. They all spoke of sacrifice and leadership and always, winning, winning, winning. The golden principles that are supposed to lead to salvation. For nothing.

They lost their owner.

And now this team is the new posterchild for losing. Forget the Nets. We can forgive them, attribute growing pains. Forget the Knicks (a game and a half out of sixth in the East!), who are simply dealing with past sins. Forget the Timberwolves, because they weren’t wrong, they just didn’t know what they were doing (STILL LOOKING FOR MORE POINT GUARDS. ALL YOUR POINT GUARDS ARE BELONG TO US). Hell, Golden State has at least put forth some idea of effort.

But this team? It doesn’t care enough to try and create effort to execute the plan that was flawed to begin with. This is Pat Conroy’s “My Losing Season” epic. There’s an epic sense to this failure, systemically, personally, for the fans, the management, the players, everything.



One Comment

  1. Anthony

    December 30, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    A trade is inevitable, I just don’t see how waiting til the trade deadline improves Wizards chances of getting better returns.

    It’s already a buyer’s market,
    Wizards will become more desperate, and they’ll have more competition.

    THE GOOD NEWS IS.. if wizards do make the playoffs, THAT WILL MEAN they have some kind of momentum at the right time, which will be a first. Even when they beat the bulls in the playoffs for their only 1st round win in Kyle’s LIFE TIME [ http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news?slug=washingtonpost&prov=st&type=lgns ] they didn’t have any momentum as their #1 pick quit on them during the series and was inactive for the 2nd round.

    So believe it or not this could set up to be their most memorable season in the last 30 years. If Ernie can do like he did for the knicks, when he got camby and spreewell midseason in what looked like a lost/depressing season for the knicks.

    I really think AK47 could make that kind of impact.

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