No energy. No result. The Wizards dropped their 45th game of the season, this time in a home meeting with the short-handed Cleveland Cavaliers. TAI’s Rashad Mobley (@rashad20) and John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend) have the reaction.
Posts tagged ‘washington wizards’
[J.J. Redick - via flickr/Keith Allison]
The shutting down of Andray Blatche for “conditioning” meant less jeers being thrown about the Verizon Center, as the power forward has been infamously booed by the hometown crowd almost all season. Fans sometimes express displeasure for their team (or an individual) after a bad play or sequence, but the audible disgust for 7-Day Dray would start when he went to the scorer’s table to check in and again every time he touched the ball. It even seemed like the Wizards coaching staff would sneak him into the game during timeouts to avoid igniting the negative reaction. Wizards opponents indicated they had never seen such behavior by home fans, and many gave Blatche advice on how to deal with his unpopular aura. TAI’s John Converse Townsend even penned a compelling piece on how his own booing of Blatche as a fan seemed counter-intuitive.
This unfortunate storyline overshadowed the fact that there are actual opposing players that Wizards fans still heckle on a regular basis; the normal way crowds are supposed to do it.
Ex-Wizard Kwame Brown has been a target for years; Wizards fans of a certain age will never forget that he was a bust as a No. 1 overall draft pick. For being the playoff adversary to Agent Zero and the Wizards back in the mid-2000s, Lebron James is still lustily yelled at; his decision-quest from the Cavaliers to the Heat simply propelled how Wizards fans felt to mass audiences. Even the presence of Juwan Howard can still spark bad memories of him never living up to his egregious contract in Washington. And surprisingly, Indiana Pacers forward Tyler Hansbrough has heard it from fans in the Phone Booth this season, which one would assume derives from his days at North Carolina and “Psycho T” being a relatively unlikable player in Maryland Terp country.
When the final obituary of the 2011-12 Washington Wizards season is written, the opening night collapse vs the New Jersey Nets must be highlighted for its symbolic importance. On the surface, it seems silly that first contest of a 66 game schedule would have such significance, but after the Wizards blew a 21 point lead to the Nets that evening, the self-proclaimed “Captain,” Andray Blatche, complained about his role in the offense. The blowout losses immediately piled up, the head coach was soon fired, two starters were shipped away, another (Blatche himself) was shut down for being out of shape, and now here we sit in early April and the Wizards have only 12 wins with 11 games remaining. Washington handled the Nets 108-89 easily in Nene’s debut, and Deron Williams was tossed for arguing with the refs. I doubt tonight’s match up will produce any of those interesting storylines from the previous two match ups, but it will be Washington’s last game in New Jersey ever with the Nets moving to Brooklyn next season. For tonight’s Wizards-Nets 3-on-3, we have Justin DeFeo (@justindefeo) and Chris Hooker (@chrishooker9) from the ESPN TrueHoop blog, Nets Are Scorching and Truth About It’s Adam McGinnis (@adammcginnis). Three questions, three answers starts now…
#1) Washington and New Jersey have cap room to make free agent splashes along with a potential high pick in a loaded NBA draft. What team would you rather be and why?
DEFEO: I’d rather be the Wizards for the sole reason that their “cornerstone” franchise pieces are not going to be unrestricted free agents, as that’s the situation the Nets are facing. The Wiz also don’t have the pressure of moving to a brand new major media market, like the Nets have which I fear is making the Nets front office look for grand slams at every turn, instead of singles.
HOOKER: As bleak as the future is for my team, I’d still rather be the Nets. We may have struck out on some big name superstars, proven we don’t have capable Plan B’s and been a headache to watch over the years, but there is still some hope. Brooklyn is coming for real this time, we have a top-tier point guard and, whether or not they fall flat on their face, ownership is definitely committed to winning. The possibilities are endless, regardless how likely I think they are.
(photo credit, CSNWashington.com)
With 3:53 remaining in last Wednesday’s game, Orlando leading Washington 92-87, Jameer Nelson found Jason Richardson cutting toward the basket. Trevor Booker slid over from his man to cut off Richardson, putting both arms straight up and holding position on the right block, which forced Richardson to miss his shot. Booker then won the loose ball rebound battle with Dwight Howard; Richardson, frustrated by the miss, was called for a foul after hitting Booker on the arm. As Trevor ripped the ball away, his right leg inadvertently hit Richardson’s and forced him to fall on the ground.
The Magic guard popped off the ground and immediately got into the face of Booker. He wanted to verbally inform him of his displeasure from the accidental trip. The exchange escalated when Richardson tugged at Booker’s shorts, causing Booker to react by shoving his hands off of him. Richardson then lunged forward as the former Clemson standout stood his ground, apparently ready to throw down. Tensions eventually subsided and both players were assessed double technicals.
[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. Click here for cumulative DC Council 3-star ratings over the course of the season. Game 26 contributors: Rashad Mobley (@rashad20) from the television screen with on John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend), and Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It) from the Verizon Center.]
Tags: chris bosh, chris singleton, dwyane wade, erik spoelstra, JaVale McGee, joel anthony, John Wall, jordan crawford, kevin seraphin, LeBron James, Miami Heat, Mike Miller, Nick Young, norris cole, Randy Wittman, shane battier, shelvin mack, trevor booker, washington wizards
Denver Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson sat in the far stall of the visiting Verizon Center locker room (aka, the Washington Mystics locker room), picking through a styrofoam container holding his pre-game meal before facing the Washington Wizards. I approached the former North Carolina All-American and sheepishly asked for his availability to talk. Different players respond in different ways to pre-game media requests, and the process can sometimes be awkward. Lawson’s furrowed his brow, cheeks full of chicken tenders, and sternly responded, “Can’t you see that I am eating?” An uncomfortable rush shot through my body, the last thing you want to do is bother a professional athlete before he takes the court… routines, even those including chicken tenders, can be sacred. But Lawson immediately broke in it to a huge grin instead, “I am just playing, fire away with your questions.”
The diminutive playmaker is a local product from Clinton, MD and honed his skills in the basketball breeding grounds of Prince George’s (P.G.) County. Lawson is breaking out in his third NBA season, his first as a full time starter, averaging 15.7 points (47-percent FGs), 6.5 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.5 steals. More importantly, he’s led Denver to a 14-6 record, which is second best in the Western Conference. On this particular January 20th Friday night, Lawson’s Nuggets would triumph over the Wizards 108-104. He played a key role with 21 points, nine rebounds and six assists, beforehand admitting that he enjoyed being back home and predicting that his local friends and family would be vocal in the game.
“I went home and saw my mom. It just feels good to be back at home. This is where I grew up so I love it … I got [friends and family] too many ticket requests. They will be in the stands. They will make it known that they are here.”
Washington Wizards power forward Andray Blatche has never been considered a high riser, but he is a legit 6’11″ with super lanky arms. This season Blatche’s subpar vertical is more noticeable than ever, and he consistently struggles to finish from close range. According to HoopData.com, Blatche is shooting a career-low 58-percent at the rim (31-53). Against the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday night, he attempted a season-high nine field-goals at the basket, but missed four of them. This is why Andray’s one-hand power slam last Sunday on Jermaine O’Neal of the Boston Celtics created so many “Woah, did that really just happen?” reactions. Enter opposing power forward Tyrus Thomas of the Bobcats and his 469 career blocks. You’re probably getting a feeling where this is headed.
Thomas tallied nine swats against the Wizards last night, five of them came at Andray’s expense. Thomas’s block party on Blatche sparked cascades of hometown boos upon the maligned Wizard, a commonplace in the Verizon Center these days. Even though Blatche ended up with a solid performance — 17 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, two steals and only one turnover while sitting out the entire 4th quarter in Washington’s 92-75 victory — most fans will remember how ‘Dray looked like a 45-year old trying to jump, not a 25-year old.
Thomas nearly recorded a triple-double, which impressed Charlotte head coach Paul Silas. The NBA veteran who played in 1,254 career games and coached 828 then referenced a famous one-liner of a former GOP Presidential contender when talking about Thomas’ night:
“I thought it was 9, 9, 9 on this thing right here [final box score]… talk about Herman Cain, but it was actually nine, nine, thirteen. He scored thirteen points and nine blocks and nine rebounds. That is pretty awesome.”
The Washington Wizards held a press conference on Tuesday afternoon to announce that assistant Randy Wittman was promoted to replace head coach Flip Saunders, who was relieved of his duties that morning. Team president Ernie Grunfeld was on hand as well to field questions from the media. Wittman will finish out the remaining of the season as the interim head coach, the rest of the coaching staff was retained.
Wittman emphasized his experience being an interim head coach:
“I have coached in this league on a number different teams. It is not an easy transition. I have done this before and I have been on a staff and taking over in the middle of the season. I know what is about and what change needs happen to try to make this a positive situation … The main thing that I learned the first time that I stepped in — this is even more magnified because of the condensed schedule and playing so many games without practice time — we just got to simplify things … you can’t flood these guys with information overload … just two or three things to concentrate on and take the baby steps after there.”
The removal of Saunders brought a level of personal sadness: Read more »
When John Wall “Dougied” in front of an elated Verizon Center crowd before his professional home debut on November 2, 2010, the Game Changer’s career would be forever linked to the Philadelphia 76ers. Little did anyone know at the time how this connection between Wall’s Wizards and the 76ers would epitomize the ups and downs of his personal and team success. Philadelphia has sky-rocketed into its current perch amongst the best of the Eastern Conference, while Washington has plummeted to become a national punch line for sports futility. The relationship between Wizards and the 76ers has seen its triumphs, torment and just plain weirdness in the brief Wall era.
Going into the 2010-11 season, similarities between the teams were striking. Wall was the first overall pick in 2010, Philly selected Evan Turner second. Both teams were led by veteran teachers (Flip Saunders and Doug Collins) who had past playoff success. All-Star guards Andre Iguodala and Gilbert Arenas were viewed as possessing albatross contracts that needed to be moved in order for the teams to rebuild. A crop of young players in Thaddeus Young, Jrue Holiday, Lou Williams, JaVale McGee, Nick Young, and Andray Blatche littered their rosters.
Wall won each of his first two meetings versus Philly in thrilling overtime fashion, and a budding rivalry seemed in motion for these two NBA cities separated by only 132 miles. However, Washington has now lost four straight to Philadelphia by double-digits, including the most recent 103-90 defeat on January 14th.
In the original ‘Teach Me How to Dougie’ game, Wizards reserve Cartier Martin hit an improbable three point shot to send the game in overtime. Washington eventually pulled it out 106-105 on the strength of free throws, and Wall produced an eye-popping stat line: 29 points, 13 assists, 9 steals and 8 turnovers. Wall’s first pro game, seen on TNT, was a dud blowout loss in Orlando, and while he performed much better in his second game (28 points and nine assists), the Halloween weekend loss in Atlanta garnered little attention. The 76ers victory affirmed to the sports world that the one-and-done hot shot out of Kentucky might be worthy of all the hype.
“I was tired of looking at that sh*t.”
That was Flip Saunders’ surly response to why he yanked all five of his starters two minutes into the second half of the Washington Wizards’ 25-point blowout preseason loss to the Philadelphia 76ers last Friday night.
Saunders was highly disappointed in the effort of the first unit by their insufficient ball movement, lack of trust in one another and overall selfish play.
“This is a team game, and it is not about individuals … it is the five players that play the best together and that is your best team, not the five most talented player. If you don’t play and you’re not giving effort as a team, you are not going to play, no matter who it is.”
Flip’s remedy for self-centered play: Read more »