Can You Count Up From Eight? Jazz Play Wizards Out of Utah | Wizards Blog Truth About

Can You Count Up From Eight? Jazz Play Wizards Out of Utah

Updated: March 16, 2010

I’m on vacation and didn’t watch last night’s 112-89 loss to the Jazz. Judging from the results, it doesn’t look like I will … which will make the first time this season that I have not watched a Wizards game. I know, kinda sad … in so many ways. And I’ll likely have to miss tonight’s game against the Nuggets in Denver too.

But now that the Wizards have lost a season-high eight in a row with more notches in the L column in sight, have they hit “rock bottom”?

Nah. That already happened.

Nevertheless, someone from the Washington Times, you know, the paper that cut its sports section, is writing about sports … and the Wizards.

“Wizards fans knew, when the team was blown up in mid-February, that things were going to get bad. Welcome to bad. Get ready for worse,” writes David Eldridge in his piece, ‘Rock-bottom for the Wizards? Buckle up.’

Most don’t like losing. Especially the players and the coaches. Not many reasonable fans. Not I.

But this team is going to lose, it’s inevitable and don’t tell yourself otherwise. That doesn’t mean things are getting worse. No, barring injury (knock on wood), or any off-court stupidity, things are have already gotten as bad as they’re going to get.

The Wizards have flat-lined, hit rock bottom long ago, and are now in the painstaking rehab process of detoxifying by losing, and while taking lumps in games that will hopefully make the young core stronger in the long run.

It’s should now be understood that every loss brings the team closer to something better. That’s right folks, the NBA Draft Lottery. I’m not an advocate for tanking, never will be. Neither do I believe draft luck is coming the Wizards’ way … it just seems ingrained in their core principles to fail.

Ok, I’m being a tad dramatic. My point is that when this team loses, although you’d like to see more of a fight in the moral victory sense, you can’t do anything by shrug your shoulders and proclaim ‘oh well’ … but while still wanting them to win. I know, it’s difficult to harmoniously balance accepting the two.

Sure the Wizards will likely lose out on John Wall or Evan Turner or DeMarcus Cousins or Derrick Favors, but at least going into Draft Lottery on Tuesday May 18th (BTW … talk about sad, a countdown timer to 8:00 pm on that date has been added to this site — the ping-pong ball are usually drawn at halftime of a playoff game), each loss brings the slightest increase in chance that the Wizards will secure a top three spot.

The race is tight. Currently the Wizards have the fifth worst record in the NBA at 21-44, just a half-game behind Indiana for fourth and 3.5 games behind Golden State for third. I don’t think the Wizards are catching the 14-win Timberwolves and especially not the seven win Nets, but you never know.

On the other hand, the Wizards are just a game in front of (or behind/worse than) Sacramento, Detroit and Philadelphia, two games in front of the Knicks and 2.5 games in front of the Clippers.

At lot of potentially meaningless chances at stake. But at this point, outside of the hope for player development and moral victories, all Wiz fans really have are these meaningless chances.

{Wiz Links}

[Michael Lee – Wizards Insider, Washington Post]

Williams, on the other hand, completely took over the game during a 16-minute span between the second quarter and third quarter, when he had 11 points and seven assists and the Jazz outscored the Wizards 48-19. “He makes their team go,” Saunders said of Williams. “A guy that can push the ball offensively. Can make plays for other teammates. Has the ability to shoot threes. Has the ability to defend. Both him and Chauncey Billups are the two guys in our league that can really do that. He pushed up the tempo.”

[Brian Jackson – Fast Break, CSN Washington]

The upset bid didn’t last beyond the opening 12 minutes.  Utah attacked the paint over and over and over.  The result first half stats of: 32 points in the paint, 17 fast break points, and a 61 percent field goal percentage.  Carlos Boozer scored nine of his 15 points during a 15-6 Jazz run to close the first half.  In the second quarter Utah outscored Washington 34-20 ending the first 24 minutes with a 14-point lead.

[Joe Glorioso – Wizards Extreme]

Following a dunk to cut the lead to 22, Andray Blatche decided it was a good time to talk some smack. So he did and received a technical foul for it. On his way back down the court, ComcastSportsNet cut to Flip Saunders who could be seen mouthing something to the extent of “be smart, your down by 20.”

Andray has to know, he absolutely has to know that any attempt to get into a verbal war with a team that is just dismantling you is absurd and shows immaturity. You could hear the crowd jeering him and they had every right to. It was actually a bit embarrassing from a fan standpoint. You are a 21 win team getting blown out by 22 and you want to talk trash?

[Rook6980 – Bullets Forever]

The Wizards started to show tired legs in the 3rd quarter, as they shot a pathetic 3 for 20 (15%), and almost every shot was coming up short. On the defensive side, they stopped moving their feet and started reaching, committing 10 fouls in the quarter.

[Dave Johnson – CSN Washington]

As the Wizards try to move forward, they can look to the Jazz for a model of how to get better.

“They (Jazz) have done a good job with personnel,” Saunders noted. “They went through a bad stretch and they were able to get a marquee player in Deron Williams. When you go through a bad stretch somehow you have to reload.”

“You have to do it through free agency, the draft, or both. They went out and got Boozer and Okur and then Williams through the draft. They used their cap space and they used their draft picks wisely. Hopefully we will be able to do the same.”

[Kelly Dwyer – Ball Don’t Lie]

As it often is with Utah opponents, the Wiz were no match for Utah’s extra pass. And, at times, you could see the Jazz get to choose between two or possibly three highly efficient shots as the Wizards lagged behind.

{Young Wookie}

“Our center has got to rebound for us. He had a couple of good games and now people have seen a lot of tape and they’ve realized, when you hit him, he’s not going to hit back right now, or he doesn’t give as much resistance as you need to be. What happens is teams are really getting into him physically and it’s taking him out of games.”

-Flip Saunders before the Jazz game, via Wizards Insider

{The Other Side}

[Ross Siler – Salt Lake Tribune]

The Jazz stretched their lead to 34 in the third quarter as Williams flipped between-the-legs and no-look passes to Okur for long jumpers. Boozer had a three-point play and Williams drove for a three-point play after Blatche dunked and was called for a taunting technical.

“Those are three All-Stars,” Williams said of the missing Arenas, Jamison and Butler. “You can tell there’s some things going on over there, but they’ve still got a lot of young talent on their team. McGee and Blatche are going to be good in this league for a while.”

[Ross Siler – Utah Jazz Notes, Salt Lake Tribune]

It was the fifth game in seven days for the Jazz. It was the second time since the All-Star break they’d been asked to come home from a four-game trip and play immediately the next night. It was the second game of a back-to-back set.

None of it mattered. The Jazz created separation in the second quarter with Carlos Boozer and Deron Williams on the bench, got a burst of nine points from Boozer going into halftime and stretched a 14-point lead out to 30 and beyond in the third quarter.

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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.