7:14: Andray Blatche gets blocked by Mehmet Okur…..a very sad scene to witness. Okur barely jumped, if at all, and Andray took it to the hoop like a four-year old girl chasing after a puppy.
4th Minute: JaVale McGee has got a couple nice offensive boards, but doesn’t use his body/leverage to his advantage. He’s trying to be all arms and hops. So on one, he missed a forced hook and on the second, he got blocked byOkur (who the hell is this guy, Mutombo?).
In the first…..Utah’s passing looks good (6 assists on 9 made FGs = Swiss Cheese Wiz D)….but Deron Williams has four turnovers (two on the first two possessions of the game) to only one assist.
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In anticipation of tonight’s rematch between the Wizards and the Heat, I decided to get in touch with Greg from the Peninsula is Mightier (a Miami Heat blog of course) to see if he could answer a couple questions I had about his team. Read on…….
1) The Heat are making due at the 5 spot with Joel Anthony, Udonis Haslem, and Mark Blount. How much help do you think Jamaal Magloire can really provide? Do you think the Canadian is motivated enough to shed the “washed-up” stigma? What did you think of his signing in the first place…..low risk or act of desperation?
I don’t expect much of anything from Magloire. He certainly won’t supplant Haslem, and I don’t know that he offers an upgrade over Anthony or Blount either. I was among the few who thought he could help when Miami signed him, but after a glimpse of him in preseason, I think he’s finished. The signing was low risk, but it also took a roster spot away from a prospect like David Padgett, an undrafted rookie out of Louisville who gave Miami some decent minutes in preseason and obviously has a much higher ceiling than Magloire. Unless a legit center becomes available in trade, I’ll stick with Anthony spelling Haslem and Blount getting spot minutes.
2) Some will still attest that Chris Quinn should not be receiving significant time on the court for an NBA team. Do you think his play will change opinions? The guy rarely commits a turnover and knocks down open threes…..what more could one expect? What should his role be for the Heat going forward?
Quinn’s a good player, and I think he’s right when he says that perception becomes reality when people evaluate him. He was one of two or three bright spots last year, but spent the summer in restricted free-agent purgatory, came back on a low-end contract and opened the season third on the depth chart, so there’s something Miami doesn’t like. And I don’t think Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra are hung up on appearances if the guy could help them win, so I’m left to assume that Quinn has a fatal flaw I’m overlooking. My guesses are defense (unremarkable), shot selection (he likes the early 3) or just general upside (Mario Chalmers was drafted as a long-term starter). Still, I think Miami is a better team when he gets regular minutes, and I predict he’ll craft a long career out of defying expectations. Hope that happens in Miami.
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A lot of people are drooling over JaVale McGee today (myself included….and justifiably so). The poll on the Wiz-Jazz game blog at Bullets Forever even indicates that McGee should be last night’s player of the game. I will politely disagree. Yes, the Wizards would not have won with game without the young Choppa, but my game MVP is none other than Antawn Jamison.
The Gentleman Jamison spoke words about the attitude in the locker room and backed them up. Statistically, it wasn’t one of his better games….AJ’s stat line actually teeters on mundane (for his standard). But he made his presence felt…..Jamison was all over the court, getting his hands on loose balls, hitting a huge trey, and overall, TCOB.
The Most Important Stat: Sure, the Wizards out-rebounded, out-stole, and out-blocked the Jazz, but getting to the free-throw line was crucial. I noticed that for about 95% of the night, the Wizards refused to settle and were persistent in getting into the paint….which led to the Wiz shooting 40 free-throws. But the key part, unlike in the Milwaukee game, was that Washington took advantage of getting to the line and made their free-throws, sinking 32 to shoot 80%.
A game to build upon? We can only wait and see. (oh yea, this also happened)
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The Washington Wizards faced the Utah Jazz twice last season and lost both times….here’s what happened:
Game 45: Utah Jazz at Washington Wizards – Feb. 1, 2008
Washington entered a Friday night matchup against visiting Utah with 24 wins on the season. The Wizards started out fast and furious, fueled by a playoff-like atmosphere in the Verizon, and the fact that the game was televised nationally on ESPN. The Wiz led 21-11 at the end of the first, Antawn Jamison outscoring the Jazz himself with 13 points. For the first half, the Wizards held the Jazz to a paltry 36.6% from the floor, but Utah used a 12-0 run in the latter part of the 2nd quarter to keep the Wizards lead to one at intermission.
In the 2nd half, Andray Blatche started off hot….so much that I said I wouldn’t trade him for Pau Gasol….ahh, those were the days. Even though neither team was shooting particularly well, Utah’s offense was efficient, getting assists on 23 out of 26 field goals at one point. Early in the 4th quarter, ESPN reported that the attention craving Gilbert Arenas announced he would return to the court against the New Orleans Hornets on March 2nd…..things went downhill from there. Hubie Brown commented that the Jazz were playing normal basketball while the Wizards had to fight and scrap for everything. Game, Set, Match. Utah Jazz 96 – Washington Wizards 87.
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The Utah Jazz are in DC and fresh off a win in Philly last night. Deron Williams played in his first game of the season and dropped nine dimes en route to a 93-80 Jazz win…..”great”
Nevertheless, I was curious about the next “victim” of the Wizards, so I posed a couple questions to the guys at True Blue Jazz who were kind enough to respond.
1) AK-47 seems to be playing at the level he was at 3+ years ago. What is he doing differently? Do you think he’s truly back to form and out of Sloan’s doghouse….or are you skeptical?
TBJ: Confidence. I was worried about AK coming off the bench because of his attitude. He has totally proven me wrong. He is playing more minutes than he did when he was starting. The biggest thing is that he is playing the power forward spot more. This allows him to be effective around the basket, just like he was 3 years ago. I think AK will certainly rival Manu for 6th man of the year if he keeps this up. Jazz fans couldn’t be happier to see the old AK back to his stat sheet stuffing ways.
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Filled out my first ballot yesterday. I’m voting for the players who I think should make the all star team judging by their performance at this point in the season. So, while I would love for Caron Butler to make the team…and if he keeps playing like he has been, he deserves to…but let’s be real, we should all go ahead and pencil in LeBron James and Kevin Garnett as the starting forwards for the East. Caron needs to keep ballin’ (along with the Wizards needing to do better as a team) and the coaches will take care of the rest.
EAST FORWARDS: LeBron James & Kevin Garnett
Richard Jefferson and Rashard Lewis are having nice seasons so far. Or course, the names Caron Butler, Zach Randolph, Hedo Turkoglu and Paul Pierce are always in the mix. I’d like to see more from Josh Smith (like maturity) and Chris Bosh before consideration.
WEST FORWARDS: Dirk Nowitzki & Carlos Boozer
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