This past week has been a blur, mostly because I’ve been oddly feeling under the weather… in a haze of a head cold that won’t quit. It also might be the Wizards. Have I mentioned how this 2011-12 NBA season can’t be over soon enough? A week? These past several years of the Washington Wizards franchise, one that can’t stop finding ways to top itself in futility, has been a blur. Actually, they’ve been bottom-feeding for a while, so nothing should surprise, even almost breaking the all-time franchise low for points scored in a game (64), which happened to be set less than 100 days ago.
After getting embarrassingly demoralized, 103-65, by the New York Knicks in their only appearance in Madison Square Garden this season, Washington has now collected 223 losses since falling to the New Jersey Nets on opening night of the 2008-09 season. There are just 82 wins to show for it. During the calendar of those previous three NBA regular seasons and including this fourth, lockout-shortened one, Wizards fans have experienced a loss every 2.8 days, a win every 7.5 days of a season.
But the key number from Friday night’s defeat: 22. The Wizards made 22 field goals, a franchise low, and committed 22 team turnovers, while the Knicks had 22 assists. How should fans respond to such ugliness? How can they? They can’t.
It’s not about this team losing to those Knicks in that manner on whatever night while being heckled by New York fans, media members and players alike. There are mitigating circumstances. Over the past eight games the Wizards have trotted out the youngest starting lineup in franchise history. The hard sell of the team and its television broadcast partners won’t let anyone forget.
Look, it’s not *all* about Jeremy Lin, I just wanted to get his name in the post title via #LinsanityPixels. But the video below does feature the Washington Wizards (Randy Wittman, John Wall, Trevor Booker and Mo Evans), along with Lin, talking after Wednesday’s Wizards-Knicks game. These are the things you need to know:
Randy Wittman doesn’t need to be reminded of the exact number of free-throws the Knicks took in the third quarter, he knows it was a lot.
Mo Evans mentions sharks.
Various parties talk about the pick-and-roll: Booker, Wall and Lin.
Evans says he spoke with John Wall about how what Jeremy Lin and the Knicks did to the Wizards is actually encouraging because they can use John in the same way.
Wall responds to a query on if his teammates left him high-and-dry on that Jeremy Lin dunk.
Wittman gets to a breaking-point with the #Linsanity.
And… an awkward question about Tim Tebow.
The Wizards Said WHAT? Yes they did, it’s all there.
Look, the Washington Wizards gave Jeremy Lin a wide open lane to dunk. You understand, don’t you? Let’s watch.
Yikes. Not good. I’m not sure if Jordan Crawford or Mo Evans or Jan Vesely froze, but… um… wow. John Wall and Trevor Booker also totally got duped by Lin turning down Tyson Chandler’s screen. So, team effort. Evans was asked about the dunk after the game. Let’s watch his answer.
Yes, it is just Wizards basketball right now. Also, take note of the crowd cheering Lin’s dunk. Very loud.
The Wizards and Knicks face off for the second time this season, the previous meeting coming in Washington, a 99-96 Knicks win (the Wizards have only one trip to New York on their schedule). Without much deliberation, let’s get into tonight’s 3-on-3, featuring John Kenney (@JohnBKenney) of KnickerBlogger.net, the TrueHoop Network’s Knicks blog, along with TAI’s Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20) and myself, Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It). Three questions, three answers starts now…
#1) When John Wall and Jeremy Lin (as a member of the Dallas Mavericks ) faced off in the 2010 NBA Summer League, Wall had trouble defending Lin (as did Lin with Wall). John went under a lot of screens and Jeremy made him pay. The Wizards won 88-82, thanks to 23 points from Cartier Martin, but Lin did score 11 fourth quarter points. Tonight will be the first meeting between the two since. Considering the environment (especially Lin’s recent boost into the limelight as the Knicks prepare to play Washington without Carmelo Anthony (groin), Amar’e Stoudemire (death in the family) and Baron Davis (presumably a beard-related injury or ailment otherwise)), how will this Wall-Lin matchup play out?
KENNEY: While many have focused on Lin’s offensive explosion, his defense has also been pleasantly surprising. Wall’s athleticism makes him a tough matchup to defend, but if Lin’s performances against Deron Williams and Devin Harris are any indication, he’ll do a fine job. (I also wouldn’t be surprised to see 6-foot-5 Iman Shumpert defend Wall at times.) And on offense, I expect Lin to score around 20 points, while delivering a number of nice assists to Tyson Chandler. The one concern should be that Lin must avoid foul trouble. If Lin is out for extended periods of the game, that means more Toney Douglas (currently in the worst slump of his career,) which helps explain why Lin played the entire 2nd, 3rd AND 4th quarters against the Jazz. Luckily, having Tyson defending the rim is a good safety net against Wall blow-bys.
MOBLEY: Based on the results of the last two Knicks victories, Lin will have to carry the offensive burden in order for his team to win–which is the equivalent of playing with house money. He’ll play loose and carefree. Coach Randy Wittman will tell Wall to run the offense and play within himself like he did against the Raptors. But Wall will struggle to balance that with his own competitive streak, and his numbers and overall game will suffer.
[The DC Council -- After each Wizards game: setting the scene, rating the starters, assessing the bench, providing the analysis, and catching anything that you may have missed. Unlike the real DC Council, everything here is over the table. Game 7 contributors: Rashad Mobley, John Converse Townsend and Kyle Weidie.]
The New York Knickerbockers (2-4) will make their first and only trip to the nation’s capital tonight to take on the winless Wizards at 7 p.m. The Knicks will play on the road tonight, but have built a six-game winning streak against the Wizards, and haven’t lost at the Verizon Center in nearly two calendar years. While they’re struggling defensively, the Wizards can neither score nor pass the ball, averaging just 85.2 points, the second-lowest mark in the league, with an Eastern Conference-worst 14.8 assists. For our latest 3-on-3 preview, John Converse Townsend and Kyle Weidie are joined by Mike Prada (@MikePradaSBN) of the SB Nation blog Bullets Foreverto discuss a few of tonight’s top storylines.
1. Knicks Coach Mike D’Antoni and Washington general Flip Saunders are in trouble according to ESPN TrueHoop editors Henry Abbott, J.A. Adande and Kevin Arnovitz. Who will outlast whom?
[UPDATE ON TRADE, via Washington Wizards press release: "...they have acquired forward/center Ronny Turiaf, a 2013 second round pick and cash considerationsfrom the New York Knicks along with a 2012 second round pick from the Dallas Mavericks. The three-team deal also sends Tyson Chandler, the rights to Ahmad Nivins and the rights to Giorgos Printezis from Dallas to New York while the Mavericks will receive Andy Rautins from the Knicks and a 2012 protected second round pick from the Wizards." NOTE: cash considerations is likely $3 million, max allowed by rule.]
Accountability. That’s exactly what Ronny Turiaf brings to the Washington Wizards as they finalize a trade for the 6-10, 245 lbs. big man with the New York Knicks. Accountability and, per the video above, crazy reactions. Oh, and also, Ernie Grunfeld once again uses cap space to make out like a bandit, so it seems.
Turiaf is a 28-year old veteran (29 in January) of six NBA seasons and 358 games. In terms of size (between 6-9 and 6-11), experience (over 300 NBA games, 30 or younger), and the statistical metric, PER (between 14.2 and 14.4), Turiaf’s career could compare to the likes of Danny Schayes, Mel Turpin, LaSalle Thompson, Jahidi White or Jeff Foster. [stats via Basketball-Reference.com]
Sit back folks. I know it’s hard to digest losing the opportunity to watch John Wall, Jan Vesely, usually JaVale McGee, Trevor Booker, Jordan Crawford, Nick Young, Chris Singleton, and others play basketball for the Washington Wizards. It’s the pits. On the other hand, I shrug my shoulders. What else are those who will inevitably return to the game when they start playing again supposed to do? We get ready for the long haul.
But don’t worry folks, this site will carry on just fine. Friends have asked me what I’m going to do during the NBA Lockout. One, I’m going to miss taking pictures at games. There’s nothing like being right there, and photography from the baseline has, at least for me, allowed for new ways to express basketball from different visual perspectives. I’ll also miss the ability to interview players about things that don’t necessarily pertain to basketball or the game at hand — Christmas presents, nicknames, clothing/shoes, and those who never made it being some of the topics.
And that’s what this Wizards-related website often is all about… an outlet for creativity, no matter the pixel medium. So while there will be no games for a long time, it seems, basketball doesn’t go away. There’s history, there’s some old games to break down, there’s forgotten about projects that deserve attention. Of course, all of this as time with regular life allows. But to exist, we certainly don’t need NBA basketball. They’ll be back, one day.