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Same Story in Cleveland

I think Antonio Daniels said it best as he knotted up a tie in a the Wizards locker room after last night's 97-94 loss here in Cleveland. "I feel like we're in a darn time machine man," Daniels said.

No doubt.

Last night's game had the look and feel of the playoff series played between these teams last spring. The building had a special buzz going from the opening tip and players on both teams were getting after it. For the Wizards, the result was too familiar. Still, I thought the Wizards did a good job of even being in the game considering that Gilbert Arenas had a rough offensive night. He did hook his teammates up with a ton of open shots and he finished with 11 assists but that was not the Arenas we saw all last season and it sure wasn't the Arenas we saw in the playoffs.

Gilbert wore his new "Gil Zero" signature shoes from Adidas and for three quarters of the game, that's almost how many points he had. After the game, Gil said he lost some aggressiveness when he picked up those early charging calls. Still, I just didn't see him play his usual game. He's a different cat so it's hard to get a read on what makes him tick but having observed him closely last season, I'll make this prediction: the Celtics better strap 'em up Saturday night because something tells me that Gil is going to come out firing.

Gil on the game: "It was a little bit of the Cavs defense but we have guys who can hit shots. I wasn't clicking on offense like I normally do but people stepped up. You have to give a team confidence. It's 82 games."

I've received some critical e-mails about Eddie Jordan's decison to sit Etan Thomas and go small late in the game. I noted yesterday that Thomas has looked more physical and athletic this season and we all saw it last night. He was on his game so it was kind of odd that Brendan Haywood was in there in the fourth quarter. I did like the smaller lineup that consisted of Arenas, Butler, Hayes, Jamison and Daniels however. They were getting drive and kicks and creating good shots. The fellas just missed too many open looks. Jarvis had those two baseline J's and the three that would have given the Wiz a lead, and Jamison missed that open three at the buzzer.

Interesting thought from the Cleveland locker room: Larry Hughes, who was on his game last night, had this to say about Etan's performance: "How does a guy go 7 for 7, score 14 points and get only 22 minutes? Etan was ballin."

Remember what I said yesterday in the online chat about Caron Butler making an all-star run this season? Last season showed why. At times, he was the best player on the floor. I thought he made LeBron James work for his shots and Caron hit a huge basket down the stretch, that driving leaner he banked in off glass. Perhaps he should have gotten a look at one of those threes at the end? That said, Jamison got a great look at the last shot and once he pulled it, I thought it was down.

Caron on the game: "We know we're right there. We had an opportunity to tie the game and that went in and out. We have to live with it. We know what we have to do to do better. I think he (Arenas) was doing a good job of finding people. He was doing a good job of being a point guard. He found guys in transition, in the flow, and I got into a rhythm early, so he did a good job of keeping me going. That's the type of guy he is. That's what I saw."

Jordan on Cleveland's 16 offensive rebounds (Drew Gooden had eight by himself): "Drew Gooden has made a living off us. He gets offensive rebounds and scores. We talk about LeBron James all summer. I had nightmares about Drew Gooden and Anderson Varajeo getting offensive rebounds. Those nightmares continued."

I'd be interested to read some of your observations/thoughts about last night's game. Drop some in and I'll check back later once I get back to the District.

By Ivan Carter  |  November 2, 2006; 10:39 AM ET
 
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Next: Gilbert vs. The Combustible Couple

Comments

Last night showed Etan needs to play more. And why does he have to exclusively play center? Why can't he slide over to the 4 with Haywood at the 5 and give us a big front court against big teams like the Cavs for a few minutes a game? I bet that would help with those rebound problems.

In general, I think last night's loss is on Jordan. I like Jordan a lot, but I'm not sure I liked the teams he put on the floor at the end of the game.

The other question I would have is about Hayes. He looked better than Stevenson. Should he start instead?

Posted by: sting | November 2, 2006 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Ivan, thanks for the word. Gotta seriously disagree with you on the closing 5 of 'Twan, Caron, Hayes, AD and Gil. That my friend is what cost us the game IMO. You take out one of them in favor of Etan, and you still get the drive and kicks and the same open shots... but we also get some critical boards and don't give up those uncontested driving dunks and layups by the Cavs down the stretch. I hate the small lineups, and that's usually what we got going at the end of games when rebounds and possessions are soo crucial. At the end of the game we were taking jumpshots, and the Cavs got layups... that was the difference.

Posted by: Darnell | November 2, 2006 11:18 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Larry H., Etan should have been on the floor and Jamison should have sat. Jamison's defense was pourous to say the least, so whatever shots he made were given away. I also thought that the team played better defensively than the stats (percentage) shows. Team defense takes time, so I expect continued maturing. Remember we started with 5 wins then... Starting with a lost or two is no big deal..just keep working

Posted by: Anonymous | November 2, 2006 11:20 AM | Report abuse

How can you say Stevenson should go to the bench and start Hayes. Stevenson did everything the Wizards needed him to do. He hustled, played great D's, didn't make too many mistakes. He's not here to score (or jack it up like Hayes likes to do).

The Wiz should look into trading Jamison at some point and get a quality big man in return. You can't play Thomas and Haywood together much, because it decreases your offensive options by 40% having them play together. By shipping out Jamison (who plays zero D, and is more and more willing just to shoot threes) we could get someone that will be a presence for us in the middle, while still providing a good low post offensive weapon.

Posted by: DC | November 2, 2006 11:22 AM | Report abuse

I too don't understand Coach J's center rotation. I have noticed over the years that it really doesnt matter who the starting center is, because rather than rotating the backup in to give the starter a short breather, Coach leaves the backup center in for long stretches, sometimes as long as a quarter. Etan was a beast last night, both offensively and defensively, and should have been in the game at the end in my opinion.

Posted by: Leigh | November 2, 2006 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Since Jordan has coached the Wizards, his rotations have always been perplexing. I've noted that since his first season with the team. I don't understand his rationale for playing and not playing guys. I mean, last night, he plays Haywood late. He plays Ruffin in the first half for no explicable reason. And through all this, he lets Etan sit. It's ridiculous. Add to that the fact that DeShawn Stevenson, the team's best on-the-ball defender, was sitting on the bench in the game's final moments, and that Jarvis Hayes was marking LeBron on one late possession, and you have to question Jordan's ability to cycle players in and out of games and to get them into the right positions defensively.

Jordan was worried about Gooden because Jamison can't or won't box him out. Same thing happened in the playoffs.

Posted by: Colin | November 2, 2006 11:34 AM | Report abuse

And one more thing to respond to the poster: I don't think Hayes looked all that much better than Stevenson. Hayes was 4-for-10, and he missed crucial shots down the stretch. Stevenson played very nice defense and didn't feel the need to hoist up jumpers. He and Caron did a great job of marking their men. Antonio Daniels is pretty solid, too, which is why I was surprised when Hughes blew past him for a dunk late in the game.

Posted by: Colin | November 2, 2006 11:38 AM | Report abuse

I thought there were some encouraging things last night, but it was like dez ja vous all over again. At the end of the game the Wiz are having to make difficult shots while the Cav were making dunks and layups. It seemed to me that Jamison was the main culprit. His rotations are slow and half-hearted. Plus, it seems like he always misses clutch free throws. I agree with DC. If Ernie can move Jamison, he should. There are plenty of scorers on this team, particularly now that Jarvis looks healthy. And although he is one of the leaders on the team, I think Arenas and Caron are capable of filling in that void.

On the positive side, Caron was a beast. Jarvis looked aggressive, Etan was banging like usual, and Stevenson seems to be a good fit.

Like everyone else, I was wondering where Etan was. I thought, coming into the game, that Haywood would get a lot of minutes if Ilgouskas played a lot. But with Ilgouskas in foul trouble on the bench, I thought etan should have gotten the bulk of the minutes in the 4th. There is no way that Larry would have had that wide open dunk or Lebron that layup if Etan were in the game. He would have challenged both of those shots.

Posted by: Marc | November 2, 2006 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Etan played a heck of a game last night but to sit him late in the game during crucial stretches made no sense. If our goal was to defend better this season he should have been in there to defend against all those uncontested layups towards the end of the game. That last shot should not have been taken by Jamison whether he was open or not. I could have lived with Butler,Arenas,or even Hayes taken that shot but Jamison had been inconsistent all game!! To early to complain about the rotation at the 2 spot because I think Jordan is still trying to get a fill for what he's working with there.

Posted by: Jason | November 2, 2006 11:55 AM | Report abuse

question, any reason given for why blatche wasn't active?

Posted by: citizen jake | November 2, 2006 11:57 AM | Report abuse

The small lineup cost us at least one wide open layup at the end. Daniels forced his man (Hughes) to the baseline like he was supposed to, and there was no one there. Probably the "center" forgot where he was supposed to be on defense because he'd never played that position before. Another wideopen Hughes dunk was the result of defenders getting lost. That's four points, and the Zards lost by three.

You can talk defense all you want in the preseason -- make two critical errors against the Cavs and that's the game. And those two errors occurred when the "small ball" group was on the floor. Ditch it -- if you don't have enough practice time to teach that group the defense, then don't use it.

Posted by: Zonker | November 2, 2006 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Friends,

Never forget that we were all lied to. This 'Defensive Focus' was gone by the end of the first quarter. Had Cle not shot 50% from the foul line, they would have scored in the low 100s easy.

Last night's loss is 100% on coach Jordan. I like that man, but everyone else has already pointed out the issue. You cannot have a lineup where no is taller than 6'8 on the court and expect to protect the rim. In every interview, he said that was his focus. And yet, when you need to do it the most (the last 5 minutes), no center was in the game. No wonder we get killed on offensive rebounds, layups and dunks.

How can the coaches not see what we see? Same team, same act, same issues, same results as last year. Except, everyone around us is better. What in infuriating loss. Many more of these to come.

Posted by: Bernard King | November 2, 2006 12:05 PM | Report abuse

I love Eddie Jordan. But he shoulders 80% of the blame on this loss. Going small was the dumbest thing ever. Everyone was sitting at home saying: "Why the hell isn't Ethan in there?" Gooden and the Brazillian were KILLING us. I mean absolutely murdering us.

Again people, we were lied to, just like the Redskins. What defense did you all see in the 4th? Protect the rim? Guys offensive rebounding, dunking and finger rolling...FINGER ROLLING!!! in the fourth quarter. Embarrassing. You watch the other good teams and see if anyone gets a finger roll with under 2 minutes left in the game.

And Hayes. Ivan, I am actually mad at you (just for today) about this. You posted from Richmond time and again about how great Hayes looked blah blah blah. Luckily, I have been lied to too many times when it comes to Hayes so I wasn't buying it. But how about all the kids that did? The children...think about the children. Arenas should have taken one of those two shots he passed off to Hayes.

Infuriating last night. The only thing that made it bearable were my favorite announcing duo in the whole world: Buckhantz and Chenier.

Posted by: The Governor | November 2, 2006 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Wow, it seems everyone has the same thought I do -- Jordan is killing this team with his smallball. Larry Hughes is on point -- what does a center need to do on a Jordan-coached team to get more than 22 minutes? Haywood came in and played well, too, so the issue isn't whether Thomas or Haywood should be in at any particular point in time. The issue is why, unless the other team is going small, would you ever not have at least one of them on the court? There was a point in the late second quarter when Ilgauskas and Varejao were on the floor, being guarded by Ruffin and Butler. You have got to be kidding me. The Cavs of course went on a run. That was the perfect time to put in Haywood AND Thomas.
82games.com doesn't have their +/- stats up yet, but when they do, check them out. I am almost certain that when you do, you will see that when Thomas and Haywood were on the floor, the team outscored the Cavs; they lost the game when they were on the bench.
Ivan: You said, "I did like the smaller lineup that consisted of Arenas, Butler, Hayes, Jamison and Daniels however. They were getting drives and kicks and creating good shots." Note that that says nothing about defense. So, it's not just the players who just talk about defense; it's the coach too. A coach that rolls out a small lineup when the other team isn't going small is more concerned about offense than defense. And then to complain about being beat on the boards? Get real.

Posted by: Henry | November 2, 2006 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Let's not annoint Stevenson a great defender just yet. He guarded Hughes a lot of the time, and Hughes led all scorers.

Posted by: Mike | November 2, 2006 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Haywood is garbage. No way he should've been in the game for more than spot duty to fill in for Etan. He gave the Wizards nothing. Missed late free throws, didn't rebound, and Etan was playing like a beast. I agree with the previous comments, bad decision by Jordan - really hurt the team.

Other guys looked solid though. I liked Gil's game considering the tough calls early. Wonderful passes really kept his teammates going.

I'd like to see Stevenson take it to the rim a bit more, he looks fast and has a powerful frame. A bit to passive for me.

We need Jamison more in the post, huge baseline hook in the fourth. He shot too many jumpers. and the way he played the pick and roll late in the fourth GAVE Lebron the baseline and the ez layup. Disappointing.


Posted by: steve o | November 2, 2006 12:27 PM | Report abuse

i don't think hughes did too much until deshawn was on the bench actually.

Posted by: poptart | November 2, 2006 12:28 PM | Report abuse

i noticed that the refs are calling a different game this year...mainly more offensive fouls. maybe its just the 1st game, but we'll see as the season goes along.

the Wizards played some decent defense last night during some stretches of the game. i think their best defensive unit will be Arenas, Stevenson, Butler, Hayes and Thomas.

along with Etan, Jarvis surprised me last night by guarding Drew Gooden for stretches and drawing an offensive foul on him out on the perimeter - granted it was a ticky-tack call, but still...fouls a foul, Wizards ball.

when Hayes was on the floor with Haywood, Brendan's lack of agility on rotations - or mental lapse - caused Jarvis to pick up a couple of fouls. i think Jamison suffers from the same lack of agility/lateral quickness that Haywood has.

speaking mental lapses, Daniels got beat on a back-door cut by Hughes from the top of the key! he's a much better defender than that.

as far as Haywood and Jamison...when you don't move your feet and can't stay in front of your man or come out to high on a pick-n-roll without having the quickness to recover when your man rolls to the basket, you've just nullified any effort your teammates have done and become a liability.

i hope Blatche is paying attention because the fastest way for him to get on the floor is to use his agility and quickness on defense.

Posted by: b.wax | November 2, 2006 12:29 PM | Report abuse

It's a little strange to see us using players down the stretch (in a close game) who didn't start. Why not start them if they're so important to our ability to execute at important times?

Posted by: Blezards | November 2, 2006 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Defensive mind set is established through action. Coach Jordan talks it up, but did not follow through when he left Etan out in the last 5 minutes of the game (that uncontested layup by Larry Hughes was totally deflating!). Gil was really working hard on defense and Caron was too good. Coach has got to reinforce the defensive mind set, so the rest of the team follows suit! At the very least, if he didn't want to replace Jamison with Thomas, do the defense/offense player switch. It seems when coach is under pressure, he reverts back to leaning on offense to bail him out. He needs to walk the talk.

Posted by: Dan | November 2, 2006 12:47 PM | Report abuse

I was pretty encouraged by what I saw last night. Etan played great, Stevenson played solid D, Caron was money.

As far as the rotation, 2 thoughts:

-Etan started, so playing Brendan down the stretch evened things out a bit psychologically.

-Hayes was in at the end instead of Stevenson because Hayes is a much longer tenured member of the team.

These are games we will win as the season progresses. Jamison is still soft on D and probably will always be but his O more than makes up for it (missed wide open game tying shots aside). I like that Hayes is a fearless shooter because once he gets in a rhythem he has a money stroke.

I feel the Cavs horrible free throw shooting offset Gilbert's struggles and these teams are evenly matched. We had a golden opportunity to steal one at their house but we still looked good without much scoring from Gil.

I can hardly wait for Saturday.

Posted by: Nickels | November 2, 2006 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Jamison is so terrible on defense. I watched a couple times when player ran right by him and he just kind of waved his arm in front of them and stood there and watched them run by. One play he was in front of the basket and Lebron drove baseline and came infront of him. Jamison actually pulled his hands to his chest and backed out of the way!! LeBron went up for easy uncontested dunk, while 'Twan made no effort to get in front of him or to jump for attempt at block. Another play I watched him and he followed LeBron from left baseline to top of key where LeBron had a teammate for a pick. Lebron ran behind his teammate, then simply cut back the opposite direction back towards the baseline. "Twan looked totally fooled for some reason by this non-move as if he was blind and continued up towards the top of the key for a few steps while LeBron had already taken 3 or 4 steps back towards the baseline. Then 'Twan slowly turned and kind of jogged back towards the basket behind LeBron and totally out of the play while James went in for a layup. It was as it "Twan thought if he reacts slow he will be out of the play and won't look like he got faced by LeBron. His reactions are amazingly slow for someone who seems as athletic as he is. I mean it was a simple fake right go left by LeBron and not with any particular quickness, and it left Jamison standing there guarding no one and completely out of the play defensively, standing there watching James run by him and to the rim.

Posted by: poptart | November 2, 2006 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for that poptart. Now if someone could email this over to big Ernie, maybe he'd be able to trade him off for a legit big man. We have enough scorers, but no low post presence, who can both get double digits scoring and strike some fear into the opponents so they won't always drive on us to the lane.


Also Nickels, saying that Hayes was in there b/c he's more tenured than Stevenson has nothing to do with it. It doesn't matter how long hayes has been here when he's always been injured and on the bench in street clothes. The players on that team can't really trust him anymore than they can trust Stevenson.

Posted by: DC | November 2, 2006 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Tenure and psychological motivations should have nothing to do with the rotation. The best players, or the ones who give you a chance to win at the end, should be on the floor in the game's closing seconds. The defensive lineup in late games should be Arenas, Butler, Daniels, Stevenson and probably Etan, or at least Haywood. Hayes is not a great defender. Jamison can't move with any kind of quickness. Those two probably shouldn't be out there on defensive possessions.

We already knew Jamison couldn't defend. (Although, he did make one good play, when he covered down and almost picked off LeBron's pass along the baseline. Too bad he couldn't control it, and instead lunged for it and tossed it back inbounds right to Varejeo.) My biggest concern with Jamison, though, is his lack of any kind of physical presence. He refuses to box out his man. Boxing out and rebounding doesn't require talent. It only takes heart. And I'm not saying Jamison doesn't have any, but he needs to do a better job of securing those defensive boards.

I think a lot of times this team wins in spite of Eddie Jordan because it's been three years, and he still has no clue, it seems, about how to rotate players.

Posted by: Colin | November 2, 2006 1:11 PM | Report abuse

With all the comments about how well Etan was playing (and I don't disagree), I think it's interesting to note that he only got 5 rebounds on the night, and we got killed on the glass by the Cavs as usual. This team needs rebounding out of Thomas more than scoring, though the scoring would be icing on the cake.

Posted by: San Diego | November 2, 2006 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Poptart, I remember the play you're talking about -- when Jamison backed away from James on his drive to the basket. I didn't have a problem with that. Should he have stepped up sooner? Yes. That's where his mistake was. But moving out of the way after he was already late to the spot was actually a smart decision. If he reaches in, or slaps at the ball, or tries to draw a charge, LeBron makes that layup and gets a free throw. No need to double the damage. I mean, it's not like Jamison is going to slap down hard enough to collect a foul and prevent LeBron from scoring. Better to let him score the basket and get back down the court.

Posted by: Colin | November 2, 2006 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I think we can all agree that Jamison is not a world class defender. In theory, though, his versatility on the offensive end makes up for his lack of defensive ability and makes him a big asset for the team. With that in mind, you CANNOT have Jamison essentially playing the 5, no matter what the situation. If the weakest defender on the floor is charged with protecting the paint, you're going to give up easy layups and dunks, which is exactly what happened down the stretch last night with the big men on the bench. That's not Jamison's fault - that's on the coaching staff for putting him in a impossible situation.

Posted by: kmcass | November 2, 2006 1:18 PM | Report abuse

I feel like Jamison is moving away from being that low post scorer and now just settling for jumpshots. There were countless times on a fast break that I saw Jamison run to the three point line, stand there and just start waving his hands in the air. If he's not going to help on D, and now start taking jumpshots over driving to the lane and making "awkward" layups/getting fouled, then we should start looking around for another option.

Posted by: DC | November 2, 2006 1:23 PM | Report abuse

I think we all agree. We need size on the floor. But after listening to the Post-Game Wrap Show - It doesn't appear that the coaching staff agrees.

The Assistant coach stated very affirmatively, they will be going "small" exactly as they did last night regularly.
He stated he and Jordan liked the fact that when they put Jamison in it appeared to confuse Cleveland. He stated then -Cleveland sat Gooden(who was having a heck of a game.) They will be staying with this program.

They feel the "small ball game" will confuse the opponents - especially at the end of games.

I, like all of you have no real confidence
in Jordans methods. We need good low post presence and size.

Posted by: SDP | November 2, 2006 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Miami Heat - Walker, Haslem
PHI- Korver, Webber
NJ- Carter, Jefferson
CLE - James, Gooden
DET - Wallace, Prince
CHAR - Morrison, May, Wallace
BOS - Pierce, Jefferson
CHI- Brown, Deng
IND - O'Neal, Harrington
ATL- Johnson, Smith, Williams


These are just some of the teams in the Eastern Conference, and potential players that Jamison will have to gaurd. Whether they are a big man, or an athletic SF, almost everyone on the list will have their way with Jamison. With them going off, it doesn't matter if Jamison gives us 18-20, b/c these guys will be getting 25-30 and pulling down tons of Off. Rebounds.

Posted by: DC | November 2, 2006 1:33 PM | Report abuse

It's just 1 game on the road against a good playoff team. If this wasn't Cleveland, would everybody be this excited? I won't worry until Cleveland comes in here and gets a close victory.

Posted by: Bart | November 2, 2006 1:34 PM | Report abuse

I can't get mad about losing 1 of 82 games on the road against the best player in the game. The Wiz will be solid. But there are some trends carried over from last year that need to be stemmed before they bring this team down too far:

-Cleveland's in their head: the Cavs aren't that much better than the Wiz, but now they're winning all these close games. At some point the Wiz could develop a mental block like the one they have against Miami. The Wiz actually had the Cavs' number for a couple of their regular season meetings last year, so they can't let these close losses take on a life of their own.

-Center stupidity: Sorry for rehashing the idiocy of playing Brendan instead of Etan in the 4th last night, but it was just too stupid. Even when Brendan hits a shot, I feel like it was pure luck. On top of that, I'm sure the Cavs were more than happy giving Brendan trip after trip to the line in crunch time. I can't believe he was actually a focal point of the Wiz offense in the 4th, especially when they had other hot hands.

-Free throws: Aside from Brendan clanking some free throws, I just knew that Tawn was going to miss at least one when he had those late free throws. He always does that in crunch time.

-Final lineup: Its clear Jordan feels most comfortable with AD handling the ball in crunch time, and I somewhat agree with that. Should Hayes have been out there instead of Etan? He was playing well before those last two shots, but he needs to be clutch to earn more late-game PT. I really liked what I saw from Stevenson, including his ability to can the one or two open shots he got, and at some point they're going to have to see if he can get it done in the clutch too.

-The D: Does this really surprise anyone? The D was active in the first half, but those late game breakdowns are just maddening. How many open shots do they want to give Larry Hughes? How many open shots do they want to give Damon Jones, for that matter, even if they were ignoring him to double LBJ? How can they let Jones (or was that Snow) drive so easily to the bucket in the final minutes? And, of course, will they ever stop parting the seas for LBJ in the final seconds of these games? I'm just asking.

Posted by: The Prognosticator | November 2, 2006 1:35 PM | Report abuse

If Jamison sucks so bad, what kind of legitimate big man are the Wiz gonna get. Oh wait, if we throw in Brendan, then maybe...didn't someone on this blog call him a "poopstick." So, you mean to tell me, that if we offer Jamison (good team leader, great O, awful D) and Haywood (poopstick), we will get a 20-10, 7 foot beast? Give me a break! People don't give those guys away. That's why the Lakers were stupid enough to give us Caron for Kwame (another poopstick). Kwame is big, athletic and has potential. So they gave it a shot. But the old adage is that you don't give big for small.

Grunfeld is a savvy dude--believe me, he is always avaiable to hear proposals and will pull the trigger is something good comes along. But don't think some idiot GM is gonna give the Wiz an awesome defending big man for nothing.

Posted by: BooferSux | November 2, 2006 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Question?

Can we get perhaps 2 more Caron Butlers?

quickness. agility, speed, strength & defense

Posted by: SDP | November 2, 2006 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Question?

Can we get perhaps 2 more Caron Butlers?

quickness. agility, speed, strength & defense

Posted by: SDP | November 2, 2006 1:38 PM | Report abuse

I'll give Etan his props for last night, he looked as good as I've seen him as a Wizard but our big men STILL got outplayed.

50 to 33

99.9% of the time the team that rebounds the most, wins. The Wiz gave A LOT of open looks the the Cavs last night, especially to Hughes and that's disappointing.

Arenas really looked odd at times, maybe too much pressure on himself?

Maybe they just have the Wiz's number. It's a long season, but they still have to play the boards better.

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | November 2, 2006 1:40 PM | Report abuse

We should have kept either Etan or Haywood in at the end of the game. Haywood was subbed in but only on free throws to get he rebound if I remember right, and came immediately out. Well I guess the idea was to have Songaila as our small ball center, but since he is out they decide to use 'Twan at the end of the game there. Ruffin is option but I know they don't like him at the end because of his horrible free throw shots. I hate it when I look and see Ruffin at center, or no center at all ('Twan or Caron there). This is just giving the game away. I understand the small ball philosophy if you are trapping or pressing.. but Eddie said they wanted to pull it in and play strong half court D and not gamble. To do that you have to have a defensive presence down low or it won't work. He is putting us in a position where we won't get the steals because we aren't pressing, and we won't get the rebounds or defend the lane because we are undersized.

Posted by: poptart | November 2, 2006 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Jamison has never been looked at as a great team leader...when have you ever seen him talk in the huddle or pull someone aside..."great O"...great O doesn't isn't 20 a night a year ago, and the way things look now, a streaky jumpshooter. Come midseason, there will be some big men out there who will want out. (maybe a KG or a Jermaine O'Neal). I'm not saying that Jamison won't fit in well somewhere else. His game just doesn't help us right now. We have the scoring. We need some defensive help and toughness on this team. We need someone who the other team will not focus in on every night as knowing that they can score on. This is why Jordan experimented with bring Jamison off the bench last year, before public pressure made him put him back in the lineup. He's slowly turning into a modern day Stackhouse or Mitch Richmond (which we've had plenty of over here)

Posted by: DC | November 2, 2006 1:46 PM | Report abuse

I'm a long time season ticket holder and I've been lurking here throughout the preseason and will try to see if I have anything to add to this group. Let me say, though, how happy I am that we finally have this blog - other cities around the L have done a far better job than DC, supposedly a basketball city, in getting keyed up for their team. Here it's all #*%kins all the time, it seems.

A few thoughts:

1. That game last night looked like a rustier version of those playoff games last season. I'd seen that game before. The two worst parts were both in areas we were supposed to be improving in: interior D and rebounding. Four times late in the 4th Quarter - count 'em, four! - Cleveland got layups. First it was damn Eric Snow down the left lane. Jeez, didn't we learn from that in May? Then the LeBron entry pass down the heart of the key. Then Larry's drive and dunk. And then a final one, LeBron I think I was.

Have to agree with the fellow above who wondered whether Eddie was walking his own walk. If you're going to protect the rim you can't do it with no shotblockers inside. Eddie is right that D needs to be the focus - so play the bigs who play D. did anyone notice that Etan and Brendan combined for 39 minutes? We need to get 48 minutes out of those two combined.

And the boards! Gooden just killed us, just like that game in May where he did the double double. Eddie's right - Gooden and the Brazilean and the Z are the guys to stop, 'Bron's gonna' get his and so is Larry, but the two of them alone can't beat us if we take care of business underneath. People all over the L do this to us, we simply have to get better on the defensive boards. It's as big or even bigger a problem than interior defense.

Means to me that Etan should've been in there, probably instead of Jarvis

2. Where was Stevenson in the 4th Quarter? I'd a had him in there instead of Jarvis, too. If Antawn's in the game, then you only get two guards plus Caron -- Gil and either AD or Stevenson.

3. Too much criticism of Antawn here. Absolutely don't agree with it. Remember, we started making the playoffs when he got here to team with Gilbert. He's still key. People saying we didn't need him late, or should've benched him? With the offensive game Gilbert wasn't having we neeeed 'Tawn.

And this talk of talk of moving Jamison is, in a word, stupid. Now? At the beginning of the season? Mid-season? For who? He's a 20/10 guy! If his D isn't as good as it needs to be that's what teammates are for. That just means we need Etan or Brendan in there with him. After the season we can talk, maybe about KMart if he's healthy, but it would insanely disruptive to move him now.

4. I'm not taking any "moral victories" out of this one. We blew an opportunity to get one on the road on a night when they really tried to give it to us, shooting 50% on the line. Don't tell me "it was OK considering how Gilbert played" or that its encouraging for the long run. That's old Wizards talk, the future is here, now. This one needed to be won and the team's defects are right there to see - and they're not on offense.

Posted by: OutsideTheLaw | November 2, 2006 1:55 PM | Report abuse

I was actually pretty encouraged by the game. To have a chance to tie the game at the end, in Cleveland, with Arenas having a horrible night, is a pretty positive thing. Things I liked: 1) Etan. He was the best player on the floor, when he was on the floor. 2) Caron. What fire and tenaciousness he brings. 3) Daniels. He was driving at will, doing what Gil normally does, and hit his foul shots. 4) Jarvis. Good start; he'll only get better, and I didn't see any limp or traces of the injury.

What I didn't like: 1) Not having Etan on the floor more. It's mind-boggling. What is Eddie thinking? "Hey, let's take our extremely effective center, who's owning the paint and destroying Big Z, out of the game for an extended period!" 2) Gil's total lack of aggression. He needs his head in the game. 3) The way the refs blow the whistle *every single time* LeBron drives to the hole. It's really comical. They don't even watch for a foul; they assume that when he drives, a foul will be committed. 4) Antawn has resigned himself to being a jump-shooter. He wants no part of the battles in the paint any more.

Posted by: Keithinator | November 2, 2006 2:00 PM | Report abuse

If someone told me that Gil would only score 7 points in Cleveland, and we lose only by 3points. I would be happy. The whole team looked real good. The bench looked strong. I was disappointed in the new DeShawnstevson, only 4 points?? Etan was a Beast! One glaring weakness was the rebounding factor, many times Cavs would just out hustle the Wizards, prime example, boozier under the rim, 3-Wizards standing around watching him grab rebound after rebound????? That was driving me crazy all night!!! But it is a 82game season, Hayes and the bench looked real good, this team did show us defense. I believe they can win 50 games, barring any major injuries.

Posted by: Washington Bullits | November 2, 2006 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Agree totally with Outside's comments. You can tell he's seen a lot of games.

Posted by: Henry | November 2, 2006 2:06 PM | Report abuse

DC-
You simply prove my point. If Jamison ain't that good, why the hell would someone be willing to give us JO or KG for him? Even if we throw in a poopstick (Haywood) for good measure, it is not gonna happen. I was trying to highlight the positives, and you shot them down. If he's a Stack or a Mitch Richmond, why would anyone else want him?

Posted by: BooferSux | November 2, 2006 2:07 PM | Report abuse

My mistake, I said Boozier, I meant Drew Gooden!

Posted by: Washington Bullits | November 2, 2006 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and I too agree w/ Outside's comments. I am actually a Tawn fan. I just have to laugh at all the chuckleheads who say, "Man, Jamison sucks...we should trade him for (insert all star big man)." He has limitations, but he also brings a lot for our team.

Posted by: BooferSux | November 2, 2006 2:12 PM | Report abuse

A good trade would be Haywood for Stromile Swift. Memphis needs a center and they have his buddy Chucky Atkins. Swift is a shot blocker who can play backup PF and allow you to play Jamison some at SF where he is better. Also swift can play backup center behind Etan, and is a much better small ball center option than anyone else we have at least until Darius returns. I believe Memphis would make the trade and ESPN.com trade machine says the deal works salary wise.

Posted by: TheChosenOne | November 2, 2006 2:14 PM | Report abuse

I have always liked Jamison. I liked him at UNC and I liked him at Golden State and Dallas. That is a good dude that is willing to do what is needed. That said, and you can mark this down. We will never be an elite team (top 3 seed) with him being counted on. The dude has a nice game. The fact is, he is a jumpshooting power forward. The matchups that he creates for us on offense are nice, but KILL us on D. He cannot guard 3s and 4s like Gooden/Varaeoaeajjeuioiue (who I hate like racism). These are the facts. I would trade him for a legit post 4 or 5 who could patrol the paint on both ends in a heartbeat. Keep your streaky shooting 3s and long jumpers. I want the 15 and 9 with some blocks, altered shots, and some physical presence down low.

Again, I have always like jamison and his game. That is a good dude and the players would be upset if he were to be shipped off. But you cannot ask that guy to do what we are expecting him to do and expect to be an elite squadron.

Posted by: Bernard King | November 2, 2006 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Stromile Swift? You guys need to mellow out.
As for Jamison, we all know he has flaws. BUT:
- This team went nowhere until he arrived, and hasn't missed the playoffs since he's been here.
- He made the U.S. World team this summer. Smart basketball people think the guy's pretty good, so, you know, maybe he is in ways we can't see. (See point #1).
- He definitely can be part of a championship team. Can he be the starting PF on a championship team? Probably not, unless Yao or someone like that is your center. Dallas probably had the right idea to use him as a sixth man, and I'm guessing that's what Grunfeld has in mind down the road.

Posted by: Fred | November 2, 2006 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Here we goes again.

It will be buried, this far down on the page, but last night was a prime example of why Etan may look good but not be as effective as Big Brendan.

HERESY! The Prophet of the low pblocks dropped 7 fer 7 dude, whatchootalkin, crazy?

Crazy like a fox. With the caveat that stats only tell a piece of the picture, let me offer for y'alls edification, the miracle of a visual re-telling of the game from popcornmachine.net

Check the game flow:

http://www.popcornmachine.net/cgi-bin/gameflow.cgi?date=20061101&game=WASCLE

Notice: the team scored 10 fewer points when Etan was on the floor. Whereas with Big Wood, the squad was +9.

And for DeShawn's part: the team is giving up 13 points in last night's game for all the 'defensive stopper' minutes that the dude is playing.

One game doesn't make a season, and stats don't tell the whole story, but I suggest y'all keep an eye on this site and track the games so you know what you're talking about before you fire off your lip.

Knowledge,

-the funk doc seuss

Posted by: doclinkin (realgm.com/boards wizards forum) | November 2, 2006 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Jamison's problem is simply he is not a PF he is a SF. He was much better player when we had Kwame because he was SF. That is the year he was allstar, and also he was good against Heat in playoffs that year because he was SF and they had no one who could match up with him. At SF his size is advantage, and he is good on boards. At PF he is overmatched every night. This is why Songaila addition was key, so we could use DS at PF with 'Twan at SF on occasion atleast. Plus also 'Twan is not quick and he is terrible defensively. But at SF he could use his size to post up, and hit floaters in the lane. At PF he can only take long jumpshots and 3s, he cannot go inside. And he is a good outside shooter, but very streaky and misses alot of shots but will keep shooting anyway. He's not a very good passer or dibbler either, but he can shoot it usually.

Posted by: poptart | November 2, 2006 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Doc:
Thanks for that great website link. I was unaware of that site.
I knew that Haywood's +/- number was going to be pretty high on the + side, but I had no idea that Etan's was so low. And Haywood historically has good +/- numbers. The fact is that he affects games in ways that aren't always pretty or apparent.

Posted by: Red | November 2, 2006 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Etan had a good game offensively, but Wiz got killed on the rebounds. Etan got only one defensive rebound in 22 min, ONE, UNO. Don't tell me Cavaliers hit all of their shots during that 22 min.

Butler was Wiz's beast rebounder, with 6. Cavaliers had 4 players got more than that. Gooden alone grabbed 8 offensive rebounds (that's 8 defensive rebounds that Wizards did not get)!

Give out too many rebounds, folks, is what did the Wizards in, not the missed last shot!

Posted by: sagaliba | November 2, 2006 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Man all the haters need to chill a bit.

I'll take a 3 point loss on the road against a top 4 east confernce team any day of the week. Especial when the Wiz best player had an off night, they came back from 11 down in the 3rd, and have 3 or 4 great looks at the end.

But someone needs to slip something into Gilbert drink the day before the season opener or the open game of a playoff series so he can get some rest. He get soooooooo wound up that he's always off for those games. I love Gil game but once or twice a season man. He's only 24 so I guess he still got a little bit more maturing to do.

Posted by: dc | November 2, 2006 3:35 PM | Report abuse

The bottom line is this, we lost the game with that small ball lineup with Jamison, Butler, Hayes, Daniels and Arenas. To not have either Etan or Haywood in there we gave the game away with easy drives to the basket by the Cavs. We were taking difficult long jumpers and they were taking layups. When we were down 2 and Hayes missed those 2 jumpers from the right baseline, a drive and dish to Etan down low for a dunk-and-1 would of been sweet! We had no one to defend the lane so they got easy scores to seal the deal.

Posted by: Darnell | November 2, 2006 3:46 PM | Report abuse

We also need to look at the lineups that were on the floor against Etan and Brendan. Haywood was out there with an opposing lineup consisting of James, Marshall, Jones, Wesley and Pavlovic. Etan was with the starters. Certainly, Thomas did not provide enough rebounding. But he did go 7-for-7, and he provided a more physical presence in 22 minutes than Haywood has in his entire career.

Posted by: Colin | November 2, 2006 3:57 PM | Report abuse

The other problem with using sites like that is they're obviously going to be skewed when a team isn't scoring. Stevenson was -13 according to that layout. But imagine if Gilbert had scored his requisite 13 in a half. All of a sudden, you drop Stevenson back down to a -3. I'm more interested not in how an individual stacks up in terms of those plusses and minuses, but in how 5-man units stack up as whole.

Posted by: Colin | November 2, 2006 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Pop tart-
That's a pretty good analysis of the Jamison situation. He's really a 'tweener.

Posted by: BooferSux | November 2, 2006 4:19 PM | Report abuse

I think psychology and motivation are a huge part of a coach's job and also is critical to the success in pro sports, especially for an 82 game season with best-of-7 playoffs to follow.

The team that stays positive and fired up is going to succeed. Sometimes the coach makes decisions to build toward a long term goal.

The Wizards will make the playoffs this year. I'm positive Jordan has a long term plan with the rotation that will maximize production from each player that he feels will contribute this year.

Is he trying to win the game at the end? Of course. Is he also trying to set a tone to keep guys playing hard all season and feeling like they are an essential part of the team. Yes. Relax and let the man do his job.

Posted by: Nickels | November 2, 2006 5:20 PM | Report abuse

i agree, the small lineup is intriguing however, how many times must LBJ hit an last second lay up and steal a victory for jordan realize the gaping defensive void around the basket. jamison can not play help d around the basket, he lacks the physical/mental toughness. the wiz need etan to a) contest easy shots b) clog driving lanes and c) lay down a hard foul that forces lebron to get his points the hard way...and we know from last year king james occasionally struggles with pivotal free throws.

caron butler is the most underrated forward in the game, hands down. ever since he nearly single handedly knocked out the terps in the 2001 NCAA's is was pretty clear he possessed the talent to be a all star caliber play at the next level. He shoots at a high percentage (not to mention he seemingly developed a three point shot out of nowhere midway through last season), gets tough rebounds, and is an excellent defender. he has singlehandedly neutralized the travesty that was drafting kwame brown, that's right neutralized.

what do i have to do to become a wizards insider?

Posted by: Drew | November 3, 2006 1:15 AM | Report abuse

Wow, looks like someone is a Brendan hater here. I was not really comparing Brendan and Etan (no Brendan's name was mentioned in my post, was it?), I wan just commenting Wizards as a whole need a better rebounding effort (and blocking out, that's usually how you get defensive rebounds).

Wizards have been out-rebounded consistently in last three seasons, and mostly were beaten on the defensive end (Wizards was the third best offensive rebounding team last season). Since Brendan played more minutes than Etan in the last 3 seasons, I certainly would not pin this on Etan. However, since Wizards want to improve their defense, and the first thing they ought to do is to grab the defensive rebound and do not give opponents that many second chances. Apparently, they did not do a good job last night, and Etan is part of that.

This is something they need to improve on, blaming someone (or badmouthing someone) would not help.

Posted by: sagaliba | November 3, 2006 4:49 AM | Report abuse

"They made perimeter shots," Jordan said. "We wanted to protect the paint. I felt that for 3 1/2 quarters, we protected the paint. They got some drives down the last part of the fourth quarter, they got some layups and we didn't rebound the ball so we have to sustain that effort for 48 minutes."

This is exactly what we are talking about! I love Eddie, I love his system, and watching the NBATV broadcast of the Wizard's training camp you see he runs great practices. My only complaint is I hate his small ball lineup, and the way he tries to match the other team rather than making the other team match us (which is what good teams do!).

I understand Cavs went small, and were running Varejao on the perimeter. I that case you go with Etan and you take advantage of them inside. You can play zone and keep your big down low, you don't have to make him chase guys out on the perimeter. You play zone, you keep your defensive presence down low, and you force the Cavs to take jumpshots instead of layups. When they miss the Js you get the rebounds. On the other end you go to Etan for the dunk and make them pay for going small. It's not that difficult.

Posted by: Darnell | November 3, 2006 8:57 AM | Report abuse

right, Cavs coach Brown probably intentially went small so that Eddie would do the same, rather than close with Etan because coach Brown knew they had no answer for Etan. He was the one player they could not match up, so coach Brown went small and kept him out of the game to neutralize the one advantage we had. And we followed right along. Brilliant coaching job by coach Brown.

Posted by: poptart | November 3, 2006 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Ivan will you please respond to these posts? You said you'd check them out when you got back to DC... it is pretty overwhelming and universal response to the small ball tactic by EJ wouldn't you agree? What do you think about it? You like that lineup as our closing 5 at the end of games?

Posted by: Ivanwhereareyou? | November 3, 2006 10:38 AM | Report abuse

If Caron hadn't missed that dunk in the 2nd quarter and if the team had made one more free throw out of the nine that were missed, they would have been tied and would have been able to drive to the hoop instead of trying to set up a 3-pointer at the end of the game. Each shot counts.

Posted by: Bullets Fan in L.A. | November 3, 2006 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Well, Varejao at 6'10" is not small. He is the same size as Etan, and quite physical too.

I do agree with coach that the problem lies in the team's failure in rebounding. But this has been the problem for this team in last three seasons; the question is how to fix it.

Posted by: sagaliba | November 3, 2006 11:34 AM | Report abuse

What is it with everyone everywhere give Jamison so much hate. If Jamison were to leave, we would feel it. Trust me on this one. So, come on you guys cut Jamison some slack. As for the Wiz, I watched the game and think that if Etan had stayed in longer and if Arenas had been on, we would have beat Cleveland convincingly. I don't know about everyone else, but I kinda like what I see. They were rebounding quite well in the first half, it is the second half that they fell apart on the boards.

Posted by: wizfan4life | November 3, 2006 11:55 AM | Report abuse

I agree totally with sagaliba and not sure if any of you heard Hubie Brown's observations on Sports Talk 980 with John Thompson..

H. Brown did the wiz v. cleveland game for ESPN... He loves Brendan Haywood. Stated if he were handled/managed properly with -good guidance, etc...he's a very fine player. Thought Arenas did good job distributing but got no help. Prob with Wiz according to H. Brown? No Low Post Presence. Should back up center with several strong Power forwards that can rebound & shoot.

(He mentioned Keith Van Horn was free & M. Daniels..when Wiz were shopping.)
The Wiz could have used experience if serious about a real run.
Until we get serious about addressing that chronic issue..he nor Thompson saw us going the championship distance.

Posted by: James | November 3, 2006 1:15 PM | Report abuse

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