[Jrue Holiday attempts to go behind-the-back to Andre Igoudala - photo: K. Weidie]
Doug Collins was originally scheduled to meet with the media at 5:45, so around 5:43, I left the main floor, and headed toward the Sixers locker room. When I arrived, it was clear that his media session had been moved to 6pm, so I hung around and talked to some of the Sixers players while I waited. Each time I walked in and out of the locker room, I saw Doug Collins chilling in the coach’s office, looking totally relaxed.
He had his feet up on the desk, he was watching a little ESPN, he was laughing with some of his assistant coaches; he looked the total opposite of what I imagined. The words and phrases attached to Collins are “intense”, “annoying at times”, “hard on players”, and others I’m sure aren’t quite fit to print in this family(ish) blog. On the flip side, the phrases attached to Collins the NBA analyst are “wise”, a “great talker”, and someone who knows a hell of a lot about the Xs and Os of basketball.
Cartier Martin is like Clockwork. You need him to be that guy? He’ll be on time. Play defense, hit a corner three, box out and keep the other team from getting a second possession, hit a last-second, game-tying three? He’ll do it. I don’t know if “Clockwork” will stick, but that’s what I’m calling him.
Beautiful shot by Cartier last night by the way. He only sent the game into overtime, no biggie. Kirk Hinrich was supposed to be the decoy, Nick Young the first option and Martin the second, according to Flip Saunders. Let’s take a look after the jump:
Tonight’s Play of the Game comes courtesy of Andray Blatche, for obvious reasons.
This play led to the two free throws that lifted the Washington Wizards to their first win of the season. But, but it was also a variation of a play that Flip Saunders had called a number of times tonight.
While the play gives Kirk Hinrich an option for an open mid-range jumper (or even a three-pointer) coming around an off-ball screen, it is designed to isolate Blatche in the post. Blatche is typically quicker and more agile than most power forwards, so the isolation situation offers the Wizards a great scoring opportunity.
The best part about this play was that instead of settling for a jump shot like he’s already done several times this season, Blatche took the ball to the hole. I guess he is finally ready to listen to his coaches and get his “big butt down [in the post].” Andray knows that he has to be more physical and be the Wizards’ low-post scoring option.
ESPN’s John Hollinger and Chad Ford recently completed the latest edition of their ‘Future Power Rankings.’ (Found here, requires ESPN Insider). Like previous versions, they begin their rankings with the following introduction:
The Future Power Rankings are ESPN Insider’s projection of the on-court success expected for each team during the 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons.
Each of the NBA’s 30 teams received an overall Future Power Rating of 0 to 1,000, based on how well we expect each team to perform in the three seasons following this season.
In determining the Future Power Rating, Hollinger and Ford rated each team in five categories. The sum of those ratings = a team’s Future Power Rating. From the article, here is an explanation of each category: Read more »
In a way, I feel like Frank Sobotka from The Wire. Just like Sobotka was witnessing the port of Baltimore and its potential crumble around him in season two, I’m witnessing the same happen to the Washington Wizards.
And yes, I realize that it’s very ironic for me to use the word “witness” considering who the Wizards will play in about an hour.
By the way, while I’m making comparisons to The Wire, I might as well call Gilbert Arenas “Ziggy” (Sobotka’s son in the show, not the cartoon character) … both self-destructive in nature and ultimately brought down by gun-play.
Last night’s Sixers game seems like so long ago, obviously aided by Gilbert Arenas’ indefinite suspension, but also because, among other things, I’m rushed into thinking about tonight’s game against Cleveland.
After Saturday’s Spurs game, reader Joe Sill emailed me some praise about Nick Young. And with perfect timing, Young put together a very solid 21 point effort on 9-14 FGs last night in a win against the 76ers, his plus-15 second best to that of Gilbert Arenas. Young came off the bench in the first half, started the second half in place of Andray Blatche, and overall did some nice things defensively.
Below is what Joe wrote about Nick and emailed to me this past Sunday.
In anticipation of tonight’s Wizards game against the 76ers in Philadelphia, I exchanged some questions with Carey Smith of Philadunkia, the ESPN TrueHoop Network Sixers blog.
I answered a question from Carey about the Wizards’ struggles in general, and attempted to encapsulate the season’s problems in a nutshell. I also answered a question about Eddie Jordan and defense, which I spoke with the coach about when the Sixers played in D.C. on December 22nd.
Matching up Wizards locker room quotes after the Sixers game with corresponding facial expressions.
When asked what the team needs to do to build on this one victory:
“We need to just not get too down on each other, not criticize each other. Everybody needs to be one as a team. When one player messes up, pat him on the back and tell them ‘do a good job next time’ instead of talking trash.”
In the previous entry, I touched on the Wizards post-game locker room atmosphere after beating the Sixers. Thinking about the game again last night and this morning led me to pause … they were really, really close to losing another heart breaker. Momentum really could have shifted had Lou Williams hit that wide open corner three, which would have given the Sixers a 100-98 lead, potentially capping a 10-2 Philly run since Eddie Jordan called a timeout after Caron Butler’s big dunk.
But thankfully, Williams’ shot was off, the Wizards made their free-throws, and the Sixers made some mental errors (fouling down three with 34 seconds left? … what was that?). It could have been a much different locker room, one that wasn’t seemingly so naively content with a single win.
And that’s why I’m a tad excited for tonight’s game in Milwaukee, just another chance to see what the Wizards are made of. I’ll have more on the Philly game to come. But until then, below the video highlights are several links of interest.