For Wizards, Each Opportunity To Step Forward More Important Than The Last | Wizards Blog Truth About

For Wizards, Each Opportunity To Step Forward More Important Than The Last

Updated: December 12, 2009

Feel like I keep saying this, but here goes … The Wizards really need to win tonight against Indiana.

Enough about getting on the right track, pushing the tempo, finding a way to get Caron Butler involved, making free-throws, starting with energy, winning the battle on the boards, etc., etc..

All of that stuff is important. But the “this game starts and ends with _____” fill-in-the-blank cliché comes down to pride. Seems pretty simple.

Play like you want to win the game. Play like you have too much pride to lose to a team that should be inferior (especially without Danny Granger). A team that demoralized the Wizards last time out … known to many as “The Honeydew Game.”

The Wizards haven’t progressed much since candy dishes and fruit plates were strewn across the visitor’s locker room at Conseco Fieldhouse over a month ago. They currently stand equal to Indiana at 7-13. If the time to turn this thing around isn’t tonight, it might never happen.

I may have another post closer to game-time, but until then, here’s some video and links from the past couple of days.

{locker room post Celtics game}

{three must reads}

The Truth Hurts

After 20 games, it’s fair to make an assessment of the Washington Wizards. They are a team that doesn’t know how to play for 48 minutes, that goes through some terrible lapses — especially on defense — and hasn’t figured out yet how to finish games. They are 7-13. They aren’t a good team.

[Michael Lee – Wizards Insider, Washington Post]

A Crumbling Triumvirate

Whether it’s the injury, Saunders’s new offense or just being away from the game for two years, Arenas doesn’t look completely comfortable.

The same goes for Caron Butler, who’s basically gone from franchise player in waiting to the reluctant all-star. He’s got to be wondering why he’s isn’t more valued as a go-to guy anymore; it’s obvious in his body language. And let’s be clear — anyone who backpacked an organization through tough times, while Ernie Grunfeld’s $111 million man convalesced from injury, would wonder when or if his own contract extension might happen. But it shouldn’t get in the way of his play or his aggressive mind-set.


What if Butler and Arenas never got the chance to play for one shiny trophy? Whatever friction caused by personality or play isn’t on the same level as the Kobe and Shaq meltdown. But if one guy that now wants to be viewed as more of a playmaker is worried that the guy he gives it to is going to take three dribbles and go between his legs — and ultimately become an assist-killer — that’s not the choreography once designed and executed so well by Eddie Jordan and his two best players.

If there is anything lingering in that locker room — whether it’s Brendan Haywood and Butler not on speaking terms, or Gil and Caron forgetting the magic they made together two years ago — it needs to be cast out like a bad spirit. Like, today.

[Mike Wise – Washington Post]

A Developing Seven Day Dray

Blatche doesn’t get consistent playing time behind Jamison and center Brendan Haywood. But, displaying the mental adjustment that’s been the key to his improvement, Blatche has managed to avoid getting discouraged and derailed.

“I’m just an opportunist on this team. When the opportunity strikes, I try to take full advantage of it,” Blatche said. “Antawn’s an All-Star. I know how the game goes. I’m playing behind a great player, and I can’t complain.”


“When Antawn first came back, I admit my body language was a little off. But I had to refocus,” Blatche said. “So, I’m playing a high level of basketball, but I’m also playing behind a great player. So I just have to stay focused, keep that in perspective and keep doing what you’re doing.”

[Mike Jones – Washington Times]

{other links}

[Zach Harper – Hardwood Paroxysm]

Lemon Face: Caron Butler
Caron Butler used to be good, right? Like, really good? So what happened to him? Paul Pierce was only 2/8 from the field and finished with just 12 points and yet he STILL out performed Butler. Caron tried to make up for his 10-point performance with five assists and eight rebounds but I’m on to his ruse. Did you know he’s only averaging 1.7 assists per game this season? He hasn’t scored this low or ineffectively in his entire Washington tenure. He’s also never accounted for so few points on a basketball court since he was with the Lakers.


The Washington Wizards Generals second quarter: They put of a surprisingly feisty fight against a much better team. But, despite a spirited comeback in the second half, the Generals lost this game in the second quarter, during which they let the Celtics outscore them 37-22 (on 62 percent shooting) and — get ready for this — they failed to pull down a single rebound. I repeate: the Generals had zero rebounds in the second quarter. I’m…I’m stunned. As Stephanie G. would say, my gast is flabbered.

According to STATS Inc., that hasn’t happened in the seven years it’s been keeping records. I wonder if it’s ever happened.

{even more}

JaVale McGee aka Epic Vale is blogging at YardBarker.

What did the hand say to the face? SLAP.

{other side}

[Zach Lowe – Celtics Hub]

This was a strange game that felt over at halftime, after the C’s blitzed the Wiz for 64 first half points on 63 percent shooting and managed to not allow a single Wizard rebound in the 2nd quarter. (Read that again). The C’s dominated the interior, taking advantage of mismatches (Perkins-Jamison, Sheed-Oberto) and all sorts of openings created by various screen/roll combinations. The Wizards could not rotate fast enough, and the C’s interior passing just decimated them.

Boston attempted 21 first half free throws (to just eight for the Wiz), and though Washington shot a smidgen over 50 percent (21-of-41) for the half, you never got the sense that they had Boston’s screen/roll defense figured out. They could not get into the paint.

And then the 3rd quarter started, and it all went to crap. The Wiz went on a 22-6 run to take a 72-70 lead.

What the hell happened? As usual, the tendency among the die-hards will be to blame the Celtics. And there is certainly some blame to go around. Paul Pierce committed three fouls in the first 4:30 of the quarter, forcing Doc to replace the captain with (gulp) Tony Allen. But the Wiz had already cut the lead to 70-64 at that point. The C’s had missed their first five shots of the quarter, allowing the Wiz to get back in the game despite the fact that Washington needed 13 offensive trips to score their first 14 points of the quarter—not a good scoring rate.


In any case, all of this ranting requires two disclaimers. One: The Wizards offense played well in the 2nd half. The C’s strategy on screen/roll was to have Rajon chase Arenas over the screen while the big man (Perk) dropped back to the foul line to prevent penetration. In the first half, it worked.

In the second half, Gil said to hell with it, put his head down and drove into the lane. It wasn’t pretty, but he either finished strong or drew the defense and dished to someone else. It might have been the best any team has attacked the C’s screen/roll defense this year for an extended stretch.

{and Jesus Shuttlesworth’s dunk}


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Kyle Weidie
Founder / Editor / Reporter / Writer at TAI
Kyle founded TAI in 2007 and has been weaving in and out the world of Wizards ever since, ducking WittmanFaces, jumping over G-Wiz, and avoiding stints on the DNP-Conditioning list. He has covered the Washington pro basketball team as a member of the media since 2009. Kyle currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife, loves basketball, and has no pets.