After a recent Detroit Pistons practice, Ben Wallace said,“They say losing builds character, I say losing sucks. That’s what I think.”
The Wizards are just as bad as the Pistons … same 24-53 record that’s currently tied for fifth worst in the NBA. Actually, one could say the Wizards are worse because their expectations going into the season were much higher, according to most experts.
But regardless of Washington’s downtrodden ways, the question of losing, ‘Does it build character or does it suck?’, was worth posing to several Wizards before Tuesday’s game against the Golden State.
Al Thornton, Quinton Ross, Randy Foye, Cartier Martin, Mike Miller, Cedric Jackson, Shaun Livingston and Earl Boykins answered … well, not really Boykins. Video below the jump …
Eight seconds left in the game. Your team is up three points, having just hit two free-throws making the score 90-87. Your opponent must go the length of the court, i.e., no timeouts left in the NBA or a regular made basket scenario in college.
Do you foul and put your opponent on the line for two-free throws (no fouls to give/in double-bonus)?
Or do you play straight-up defense, allowing the other team a chance to tie the game with a three?
Opponent can be a factor, and that did come up when I posed this basketball strategy question to several Wizards before Sunday’s Nets game: Mike Miller, Quinton Ross, Cedric Jackson, James Singleton, Al Thornton, Randy Foye, Cartier Martin and JaVale McGee. Here’s what they had to say:
[Editor's Note:Rashad Mobley has reported on the Wizards with media credentials since the 2008-09 season for Hoops Addict. He occasionally contributes to Truth About It.net, providing excellent analysis and a different perspective from his up-close coverage of the team.]
I’ll admit I was feeling pretty good about myself going into last night’s Wizards/Jazz game. Prior to the game, Coach Flip Saunders mentioned that Shaun Livingston would get the starting nod over Randy Foye. After Friday night’s loss to the Orlando Magic, I asked Flip about a Livingston over Foye situation, and said he didn’t know–but he didn’t say no, which to me was a strong indication a change was going to be made. And eventually it was.
Based on my observations, Livingston got the Wizards into the offense earlier, he made more decisive passes, and when things broke down, he always seemed to make the right play to navigate his way out of trouble. Plus, Flip never missed a chance to praise Livingston’s “basketball IQ”, and since he is notoriously hard on point guards, it seemed like a good temporary fit. Livingston would start, Foye would channel his frustration over being benched, and regain that missing mojo, and Earl Boykins, being the veteran that he is, would be a threat to come in and drop 14 points in a minute and a half. Sounds like a plan right?
Flip Saunders took an unusually long amount of time to get to his press conference after Saturday night’s 109-95 loss to Orlando. Wait, strike that, nothing has been “usual” this season, or rather consistent when it comes to how long the coach takes to get from locker room to media room.
It’s just that on Friday after the 105-99 loss to the Hawks, Flip was at his podium seat and ready to answer questions before anyone knew it. The only initial witnesses were cameramen and perhaps one, two at the most, members of the media.
Saturday the healthily attending media waited and waited, humorously speculating on what the coach could be doing. Others, myself included, looked at the box score, calling out numbers of note and then applying the proper reactionary facial expression. All of this is leading to a story about Shaun Livingston, trust me.
When Flip’s presser finally concluded, the media scrambled toward the locker room knowing it could be relatively empty. One of the games few positives, Andray Blatche, was already dressed and talking in the hallway amongst his post-game posse, meaning that pickings could be slim.
Shaun Livingston has been through basketball hell, but the point guard just might be the godsend Flip Saunders has been searching the heavens for to lead his team.
The Wizards, as was pretty much expected, lost their third game in as many nights 109-95 to the Orlando Magic on Saturday, but Livingston broke out with his best game (most points with 18 and most assists with eight) since his career-changing knee injury in February 2007 .
Livingston has barely been with the Wizards two weeks and he appears more comfortable running Flip’s offense than anyone else has been all season.
“The biggest thing is he’s got a very high basketball I.Q. He seems to calm everybody down a little bit when he’s on the floor,” said Saunders. “And he’s got great size so when things break down he’s has the ability to back somebody down and get a shot off.”
You think watching the Pistons run over the Wizards with little resistance was hard, try starting to watch it on a two-hour delay (sometimes college basketball takes precedent, especially at this time of year), then accidentally finding out the score, and then watching the second half the next day. Boy it was ugly … but at least it kinda/sorta made for quick work. Below are a couple notes I took from witnessing the carnage.
The game starts with Wizards TV guys Steve Buckhantz and Phil Chenier talking about Gilbert Arenas‘ jersey number change from #0 to Mike Miller‘s current #6. Let’s pick up on their conversation …
Buckhantz: “…. Agent Zero will be no longer, we’ll have to come up with something else.”
After Tuesday’s game against the Rockets, James Singleton said, “After every game I go home and watch film. I look at more of the negatives than the positives because the positives are going to happen. But the negatives you want to keep to a small minimum.”
And while there isn’t any adjusting I can personally do for this Washington Wizards basketball team, these screen-shot posts tend to focus on the negatives for the same reason outlined by Singleton. The positives are going to happen because that’s what the Wizards are trying to do. I want to know when they weren’t trying. And away we go…
A local scribe brought his two young boys to Friday night’s Wizards game against the Milwaukee Bucks. Both in the age range of four to six I would guess. Probably should have asked, but I was too curious about the dire appearance of their situation.
Plopped down on the floor against the cold white wall, limbs askew, the hoods of their coats over heads. The parts of their faces I could see looked to be some of the saddest in the building at the moment. Not as bad as their puppy just dying, but worse than being dragged to the ballet or church. The Verizon Center seemed like the last place in the world they wanted to be.
Other media members, those whose job is mainly to cover the Washington Wizards, joked, “You two look like how I’ve felt all season.” This comment, mind you, was made by two separate reporters independent of each other. Their situation had become an inherent punchline out of necessity. And this scene took place before the game even started.
“Gotta laugh to keep from crying,” said Caron Butler at one point earlier this year. He would later laugh all the way to Dallas. Others have had to stick with the same coping ability back here in the District.
Some people have a poker face.
Flip Saunders has a turnover face.
As previously mentioned in the last screen shot post of Wednesday’s Wizards-Bucks game, Washington had the same amount of turnovers in the third quarter as they did points. And that common number would be 12. For the heck of it, let’s chronicle each turnover (and a couple of other things) in screen shots and words.
It’s cold in Milwaukee. These turnovers are colder.
TURNOVER #1 – 10:04 >>You can’t see Randy Foye in his picture, but he is right behind the defender in the white circle. Read more »