The Wizards Run-Down: R.I.P. 16-Game Losing Streak | Truth About It.net

The Wizards Run-Down: R.I.P. 16-Game Losing Streak

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Updated: April 2, 2010

This is Capt. Jeff Bower, been with the ‘force for years … too long to count. He was a Lieutenant forever, but then finally said, “I’m getting too old for this sh*t,” the prerequisite about of times and Bam! … he was promoted to Captain. You’ll never find him without a wad of chaw tucked in his cheek … Chattanooga Chew is the preferred brand, but he’ll settle for Brown’s Mule should the situation become dire. Cap’n Bower has often impressed with his ability to drink coffee and eat donuts while he’s working on a fat tobacci wad. Otherwise, he holds the distinction of being from Pennsylvania while also looking like he’s from Pennsylvania.

In another life, Bower is the current head coach/GM of the New Orleans Hornets and coached Rik Smits at Marist.

This is Rufus McKenzie. Rufus has looked the same exact way since the sixth grade — haircut, body-type and all — except that he’s now bigger, much bigger. Rufus was “discovered” outside of a Louisiana Wal-Mart where he was accepting a challenge to see how many shopping carts he could pick up at once. He could tell ya how many he lifted, but then he’d have to kill ya. Ever since, Rufus has been a bodyguard/roadie on the Blue Collar Comedy Tour. He’s also holds the Arkansas state record for amount of Lil’ Smokies consumed in one settin’ (that’s “sitting” for you city-folk). Again, he could tell ya how much he ate, but he’d have to kill ya.

In another life, Rufus is really named Aaron Gray and is a center for the New Orleans Hornets of the National Basketball Association.

{R.I.P. 16-Game Losing Streak}

Wednesday’s win in New Orleans that broke the 16-game losing streak was pretty damn close, wasn’t it?

Okay, you probably didn’t watch. But the Wizards almost blew it, possibly making it the most heart-wrenching loss of the year. The basketball gods were finally trying to shine down on a Washington dog’s ass, and the Wizards were doing everything they could to spill hardwood holy water all over the court.

With 4:30 left in the game, Andray Blatche hit a couple free-throws, putting the Wizards up 87-75. Next thing you know, David West hit a layup, Daren Collison hit an And1, and then the rookie hit a three. Meanwhile, the Wizards turned the ball over three times. After the Collison trey, and with his team only up 87-83, Flip Saunders took a timeout to calm things down.

And the Wizards fought back. After Marcus Thornton followed a single Blatche free-throw with another three, pulling the Hornets within 88-86, in three straight possessions, Andray hit a big jumper, blocked a Collison layup attempt, and then made a very intelligent pass to assist James Singleton on a layup … 92-86 Wizards.

Then more adventures. The Hornets started to press and the Wizards turned the ball over three straight times. Not a shining moment for Shaun Livingston, the owner of two of those turnovers. All of a sudden, James Posey was at the line with 15 seconds left and a chance to tie the game at 92.

The basketball gods intervened. Posey only made one free-throw, and Livingston and Mike Miller sealed the ‘W’ by making two free-throws each the rest of the way. David West also missed a desperation three with the Hornets down 94-91 along the way.

The final, Wizards 96, Hornets 91.

Remember the win, but don’t forget that up until the four-minute mark of the fourth quarter, the Wizards only had eight turnovers for the entire game. Then came a stretch from 3:53 to 0:24 in the final period where they coughed the ball up six times.

Oh well, take ‘em however you can get ‘em.

{Links}

>> Classic: Tony Kornheiser read a letter from the WizzNutzz on his radio show the other day. Click here to listen via zSHARE.

>> When I interviewed Darius Songaila when the Hornets were in town to play the Wizards back in January, he told me that he didn’t find out about this summer’s trade to the Timberwolves until a week later. I should have asked what he was doing … the WaPost’s Michael Lee did. D-Song was in the mountains of Idaho hunting black bears.

>> Mike Jones writes on CSN Washington that these last eight games will be an audition for Nick Young. Yes, the same Nick Young who recently cracked the starting lineup, but only because Alonzo Gee, an undrafted rookie out of the D-League, was stolen away by San Antonio while the Wizards were sleeping.

But say Young plays well in these next eight games … what does it mean? He’s had plenty of chances to “audition” this season, as well as the last, and has come up short much more consistently than he is able to play. I’m afraid that if he doesn’t “astound” and just plays well, Wizards fans, and brass, still won’t be able to trust Young’s game. And “astounding” wouldn’t just be something like being able to average over, say, 15 points per game over the last eight. We know he can score, if he keeps his head in the game.

No, Nick impressing would involve averaging more than four rebounds and 2.5 assists … per 36 minutes. See, I’m being generous with these stat requests. Otherwise, even though Young is under contract for one more year, he may one day be wishing that he was a New Jersey Net.

>> Michael Lee has more on Young, including the dubious stat that the Wizards are 6-2 when Young plays more than 30 minutes. Of course, two of those wins came against the 76ers, when just about everyone gets up to face their former coach, Eddie Jordan. I’ll give you another stat … when Nick Young starts, his FG% is 36.2%, when he comes off the bench it’s 43.1%.

>> Brother Mottram, Jamie, at Mr. Irrelevant has recently been posting some cardboard memories of yesteryear … Darrell Walker and Jeff Malone. Pretty soon, I’ll have to start breaking out my old Wizards/Bullets, mostly Bullets, basketball cards … and I’ve got a ton of them.

{Quotables}

“Young fella, what’d I tell you? You don’t lose 16 in a row on accident.” -Mike Miller to Cedric Jackson after the win in New Orleans.

[Michael Lee - Wizards Insider]

It’s a little startling that it took Miller so long to have a game like he did in New Orleans. Miller seemed like a likely candidate to fill some of the scoring void after the Wizards shed the roster of nearly every offensive option at the trade deadline, and then lost Josh Howard for the season. After all, this is the same Miller who averaged 18.4 points just three years ago in Memphis and has had 11 games with at least 30 points in his last two seasons with the Grizzlies from 2006-08.

But with Al Thornton and Randy Foye going to injury, it became more imperative for Miller to provide some assistance to Andray Blatche. Miller has always been big on “getting that ball popping” and making the extra pass, but he finally figured out that there aren’t many places for the ball to go.

[Joe Gerrity - Hornets 24/7]

The Bees were outplayed the entire way. Just over a minute into the game, Morris Peterson scored his third point (of four total in 20 minutes). For the rest of the way they trailed a Wizards team missing four starters. Let me rephrase that. In the closing 46 minutes of play against a team which previously lost 16 straight games and was missing four starters, the Hornets never led. Did I mention this was a home game?


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