When both Brendan Haywood and Caron Butler were traded, you knew Antawn Jamison just had to be traded too, sent to greener pastures … via leaving the Verizon Center in a car worth over a quarter-million dollars. Which, by the way, I’m told is a Bentley Continental, most likely a GT, and not a Maybach as was originally reported (thanks to @CarbonPrimo and the car nuts at @UpshiftReviews).
Michael Lee reports that Jamison even requested a trade. But did he even have to? Well, let me put it this way, he shouldn’t have had to. But you can’t blame ‘Twan for wanting to make sure Ernie Grunfeld wasn’t going to hold him hostage on an un-seaworthy ship with a plank, a revolver and perhaps an eye-patch and a devious smile.
Antawn Jamison wasn’t perfect, but he was a a pro’s pro. A throwback player. I wish ‘Twan all the best, but not necessarily a championship with LeBron in Cleveland. I’m not sure, I’ll have to see how I feel when NBA playoff time comes around.
The first practice for new Wizards Josh Howard, James Singleton and Quinton Ross had a media buzz in the air, yet a slightly somber tone on the court. Most of those already on the team ducked the awaiting press by exiting the practice court from a side door. Antawn Jamison, however, made his presence known by singing the Black Eyed Peas’ “I got a feeling,” down the hallway as he headed into the locker room. He later would make the media wait around 30 minutes for him to speak until a Wizards PR person finally declared that ‘Twan had left the building. For good? We don’t know.
It seemed like forever since I’d been in the Verizon Center. Sixteen days to be exact. With the Atlanta Hawks game originally scheduled for February 6th postponed because of snow, the last time I was around in the catacombs of the house that Abe built was on February 1st when the Wizards barely mustered 10 points in the fourth quarter and lost to the Boston Celtics 99-88.
Days like Tuesday afternoon’s practice are always interesting. I walked into the press lounge to see several faintly familiar faces; the television personalities who only show up on noteworthy days with their camera crews in tow. Some of the regulars wondered how many of them knew the difference between Ross and Singleton. Nonetheless, I don’t expect much coverage from the infrequent media masses once the trade deadline passes.
The Wizards headed into the All-Star break with a close loss in Charlotte on Tuesday, ultimately thanks to a tough game-winning shot by Raymond Felton that put the Bobcats up 94-92 with 1.6 seconds left. Losing should come as no surprise. After all, the Wizards are 17-33. But hey, commend the team for appearing to try and for playing a decent Charlotte team down to the wire on their home court, where they are now 19-6.
The Wizards did some good things in the game. But since it was a loss, it’s probably more telling to concentrate on the bad things they did, which, when added up, contributed more to them losing than any of the good things contributed to them coming close to winning … if any of that makes sense. Hence, let’s take a look as some stories and screen shots highlighting instances where things went wrong.
A Butler That Is A Matador
Whether you play in the NBA or just at your local court, when you get the ball stolen from you, your pride is hurt. And you want to redeem yourself. Some don’t even try and simply commit a frustration foul. Some gamble like a hero for an almost unattainable steal. Some just bite the bullet and play good defense, knowing their time for redemption will come with hard work.
This Wizards team has gone through a lot of adversity this year, some of it unimaginable. Poor them. People are dying around the world and not by choice. These guys get paid to play basketball. Suck it up.
More and more this team is playing like they just don’t care. It’s not the first time this has happened. Probably won’t be the last. But Wednesday night’s game against the New York Knicks seemed like more of a disgrace than efforts we’ve seen before.
I’ve said that Ernie Grunfeld can’t make drastic change fast enough. The associated anxiousness continues to mount by the day and will continue to do so up until the February 18th trade deadline, unless something happens before then.
When it goes down, how will I find out? Twitter? Text? G-Chat? Will Ric Bucher’s shiny doll hair pop up on my HDTV to tell me that it has all come to an end? Will I wake up one morning to find Marc Stein whispering in my ear, “Caron Butler for Marcus Camby and Antawn Jamison for Zydrunas Ilgauskas, both straight up” followed by him punching me in the mouth?
These are the things that haunt my slumber and twist my stomach. And they all feel plausible.
The Washington Post’s Michael Lee first tweeted almost a week ago, “Interesting angle w/Crittenton suspension. He could become a viable/valuable trade chip by Feb. 18 since a team won’t have to pay him.”
The Wizards have found a lot of ways to lose games this season. Monday’s 99-88 loss to the Boston Celtics wasn’t as disheartening as most of them. So, I guess you can chalk up another moral victory on the penitentiary walls of your Washington Wizards basketball fandom. Congrats.
Most fingers are pointing toward the fourth quarter and justifiably citing it as the main culprit. In the period, the Wizards only mustered 10 points to the 25 of the Celtics. Rasheed Wallace scored eight points by himself, and combined with Tony Allen, the duo put up 14 points and seven rebounds in the final period. Starters Paul Pierce (ankle injury) and Kendrick Perkins didn’t play in the last 12 minutes and Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett only played six minutes apiece in the fourth.
The Celtics bench came alive to save the day. Otherwise, Boston looked sloppy and old. Cherish that 2008 championship Celtics fans, it will be the only title you see from your current squad.
Chris Webber had a fair share troubles here in D.C., among other places. He once was caught with marijuana and pepper-sprayed by a cop for refusing to get out of his car on his way to practice as a Washington Wizard. Both his high school and college have removed memories he helped make from their record books because he took money from a Michigan booster as an eighth grader and beyond. Webber and Allen Iverson, although injured and not expected to play, didn’t even show up to Fan Appreciation Night on the Philadelphia 76ers’ last game of the 2005-06 season. He was once a spokesperson for FILA. He will be forever associated with the “Timeout.” He used to date that crazy lady Tyra Banks. All bad things. Well, perhaps not the bedding of Tyra Banks part. Webber was once featured on a large mural in D.C.’s Chinatown that stayed long past its welcome.
But now he is a television studio analyst, and a pretty good one if you ask me. When you’ve got personality, your sketchy past can be dimmed. Just look at Marv Albert, he got caught biting chicks, participated in two-guy, one-girl three-ways, and forced a woman to perform oral sex on him as if he were a white Ruben Patterson.
In any case, when I heard Tuesday night’s Wizards-Lakers game was elected to show on NBA TV’s “Fan Night,” I prepared myself for how the team would be trashed by Webber and co-analyst Kevin McHale (who probably wouldn’t be too harsh since he’s boys with Flip Saunders).
Webber pulled no punches, starting with calling Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison selfish. Read more »
It was one of those “it is what it is” games. The Wizards gave effort and got beat by a very good team, falling 115-103 to the champion Lakers. Flip Saunders told his players that if they would have played with the same effort against the Heat and the Clippers, they would probably be looking at four wins during the now complete season long six-game homestand instead of two.
The second quarter was where the match was lost. Los Angeles put up 30 points, the Wizards put up 15. Otherwise Washington outscored L.A. by three. In the second, and for pretty much the entire game, the Lakers resembled the time-tested analogy of a well-oiled machine. Even though they were 1-7 from three in the period, they shot 56% on 14 made field-goals, got three steals, two courtesy of Shannon Brown, and shot 9-11 in the paint.
Meanwhile the Wizards turned the ball over seven times leading to nine Lakers points and only got one assist. They also gave L.A. six second-chance points in the second. Instead of a well-oiled machine, the Wizards played like they ate butter drenched popcorn for a pregame meal. Unforced turnovers served as the calling card of the hapless.
As you can imagine, it’s not fun to be in the locker room after a losing effort, especially after the poor showing the Wizards gave to their home crowd on Friday night. But if you like watching people and their mannerisms as I do, being in a room full of divided millionaires is great fodder for the brain, but not so much for Wizards fans.
Enough of the train-wreck analogies and how their imagery seems too painful on the eyes, yet unavoidable to watch. No, these 2009-10 Washington Wizards are like a ship going down in deep waters. The vessel is sinking fast and everyone wants to bail.
I’m not going to claim the post-game emotion was more distraught after the 112-88 loss to Miami than it has been for any of the other 28 losses this season, but it certainly was one of the most interesting, at least in terms of home games since I’m not a traveling blogger.
The post-game scene made it clear that Caron Butler going rogue on Flip Saunders was just a microcosm of an entire team trying to read the same old, tattered book, but with everyone turned to different pages.