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On to Houston

Wow, not a whole lot to say about last night's disaster in Dallas other than it's probably good that the fellas will get a chance to be back on the court tonight against the 7-4 Rockets. Last night's game was competitive until the Mavs blew the Wizards off the court in the third quarter. One key difference: Dallas created decent shots and made them while the Wizards, particularly Gilbert Arenas, took the first shot available and missed.

Gilbert on the team's 0-5 road start: "We've got to win on the road sometime. We'll just keep trying."

Dallas is damn good and will only get better once Josh Howard and Devean George return to the lineup. That is a deep, deep team with big men, a legit star (Nowitzki) who is a matchup nightmare, quick guards who can fill it up Devin Harris and Jason Terry and pretty darn good coach (Avery Johnson).

One of the things that impressed me about Johnson last night was how quickly he climbed on his team when he sensed that they were sluggish. After Arenas scored on the first two possessions - his second basket came on a fastbreak layup - Johnson immediately called a timeout and jumped all over his players. I was sitting courtside and heard him yell: "Get back on defense! If you ain't gonna play, I'm taking your $%##@ ass out!"

The Wizards played a great first quarter but the Mavs eventually found their legs and controlled the action in the second half. Some key numbers for the Wiz 7 (number of second half FGs), 9-25 (Gilbert's shooting line), 2-16 (the team's three-point line) and 10 (total assists for Washington as a team). That's weak.

I'm keeping this short because I just hopped off a flight from Dallas and will be doing a chat at 1 p.m. Eastern. Log on and get involved.

By Ivan Carter  |  November 22, 2006; 12:22 PM ET
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i know it's early but it's becoming pretty clear that some type of move is going to have to be made. the wiz are certainly no better than last year and maybe a little worse. jamison's defense is the worst i have ever seen. no joke. he makes steve nash look like bruce bowen. trading jamison for some bigs appears to be the only option at this point, what say you ivan?

Posted by: TM | November 22, 2006 12:46 PM | Report abuse

I agree with TM on this one. I say the wiz should consider putting his butt back on the bench as sixth man and start Brendan Haywood at PF. At least we'll have some size and a body down in the post where he belongs instead of outside shooting quick threes and playing ole' defense. Watching Antawn play for this team is starting to drive me absolutely nuts!

Posted by: Sam | November 22, 2006 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Defense looks discombobulated. Only after Dallas passes to a wide open man does the defense realize they've left someone wide open and need to recover. Zards need to rotate instinctively, before the offense rotates the ball to the open man. They manage to do it for about 16 seconds each posession, but if you keep moving the ball they'll eventually get confused and leave someone open.

Strange because if the defense is simple enough and the players have practiced it enough it should be second nature by now... It's not like we haven't had the same players playing the same defense for more than a year...

By the way the game wasn't nearly as close as it looked. Dallas missed a ton of wide open jumpers in the first period.

Posted by: Zonker | November 22, 2006 2:08 PM | Report abuse

All the observations are accurate, but until the team actually run the Princeton Offense instead of taking the first shot available, they will play bad defense and even worst offense. Gil needs to understand the point guard position and stop believing the hype about this teams scoring...Any team in the league can shut down the Wiz...and if a team waits just a short time the Wiz will shoot their opponents into the game.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 22, 2006 2:59 PM | Report abuse

I'm with the majority on this one. I think a move should be made. I like the idea of moving Jamison back to the bench. The 2nd unit blows every lead because no one can score consistently other than A.D. I like the idea of Haywood and Thomas on the floor together. Myabe thats what they need to put this rift behind them. There's plenty of offense left on the floor with Arenas, Caron, and Stevenson, who's offense is clicking right now. Jamison would instantly strengthen our bench, and take pressure off of A.D. so he can focus on creating shots for others instead of his own. And there's still depth at the 5 (technically) with Booth and Ruffin and Songila, when he returns. Ivan or Mike, do you sense a move coming from Jordan like last year when he switched Caron to the starting line up?

Posted by: C.Bell | November 22, 2006 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Short and sweet...

Jordan's rotation/coaching sucks.

I'm done eyeing the players, they are what they are.

They can't win like this.

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | November 22, 2006 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Just a quick question. Is James Lang injured or is Jordan pulling a Joe Gibbs and refuses to play the rookie? And how much of a "project" is he? Ok, another quickie. How does that overseas stuff work? Cause i'd like to see if Percherov could help the bench put up some points. He made it obvious that he wanted to stay and help out. Does a buyout bring him back over? Or do we have to wait til' next year?

Posted by: C.Bell | November 22, 2006 4:21 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Ray and the unnamed writer. Jordan sounds like Dr. Frankenstein - experimenting a game at a time.
Lets be real..the Wiz beat the Cavs cuz
Jordan seems to love "works in progress" Blatch, Mason & Taylor whereas other more progressive teams bought in "rookies" or exp'd players with enough stuff to really make a difference. Thank God Grundfeld caught Stevenson or we'd be in serious trouble.

Notice A. Bynum, J.R. Smith or the 2 kids in NYC? Difference makers. We'll have to wait for Songalia & watch GA turn into AI.

Posted by: Pete | November 22, 2006 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Small ball is dead. The Wizards need to try Thomas at power forward and Brendan in the middle. It's a joke seeing them try to rebound against teams 3-4 inches taller at the forward postions. Move Butler to shooting guard, Jamison to small forward (even if they get past him, Thomas and Haywood are there)and Arenas needs to stop shooting so much on nights he's not hitting and look to drive and kick it. He's turning into a younger AI.

Posted by: PTP23 | November 24, 2006 2:19 AM | Report abuse

Some more stats supporting PTP's point that smallball is dead. Looking at the team's +/- stats (, only three players who get significant minutes have a positive value when on the floor, meaning that the Wizards outscore the opposition when at least one of these players is on the floor: Thomas (+5.5), Arenas (+4.5), and Haywood (+3.8), i.e., the team's best player and two centers. Add in the fact that Haywood and Thomas have never been on the court together this season, and these stats are even more striking. That means that in the 38 minutes a game that either one of them is on the court, the team substantially outscores the opposition. In the other 10 minutes a game, the team is SO substantially outscored that every other player save Arenas has a negative +/- value when they are on the court.
Smallball is dead. Someone just needs to break the tragic news to Eddie Jordan.
As for what to do going forward, I think the following:
1. Commit to playing Thomas or Haywood throughout each game, which means committing to protecting the rim like you said during preseason. I think Thomas and Haywood can handle 24 minutes per game.
2. Try the two of them together at times. I think they both can handle 28 minutes a game.
3. Jamison has to play well for this team to succeed, so I don't think he should be pulled from the starting lineup. If he no longer has to play center and can even get some minutes at SF, I think that would help. A frontcourt of Haywood, Thomas and Jamison 4 or 5 minutes per game might be really effective.

Posted by: Henry | November 24, 2006 8:18 AM | Report abuse

I like Henry's points.

I still think Haywood should be starting center for the simple fact he's big and has long arms. He shut down Yao the second half the other night, Yao had 19 points against Thomas.

This is kind of the point I was making about Haywood in the pre-season, if he just sticks his arms up people have problems with him. They don't need a center who can score a ton of points.

Etan is FINALLY playing well but he just doesn't match up well against good big guys. The Wiz should move him to PF and Jamison to SF, I'd really like to see that. You could still have Caron and Arenas on the floor keeping the big 3 intact. I bet they would win a lot of games, but that kind of depletes the bench some.

Either way they are losing right now so Jordan should stop being so darn stubborn before it's too late. Look where it got the Redskins.

Ruffin should be buried deep on the bench. I like the guy but he's hurting the Wiz at the 5, they should play Booth more.

GREAT story on Daniels Ivan, keep up the good work. I'm glad he's a Wizard. :)

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | November 24, 2006 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Antawn for Ben Wallace!!

Posted by: Andrew | November 27, 2006 6:52 PM | Report abuse

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