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On to Milwaukee II

I'm sitting at National airport waiting to get on a flight to Milwaukee but it's delayed by fog so I thought I'd drop in and update some things from last night:

-Caron Butler was on the bench for a large part of the fourth quarter and he wasn't thrilled with it. Butler had six turnovers, was lit up by Hedo Turkoglu early and displeased Eddie Jordan with some of his decision making in the second half so he was forced to ride the pine for a spell. He came back in with 2:58 left and hit the biggie: that baseline J over Turkoglu that gave the Wiz a 110-108 lead with 44.9 seconds left. He then played some good D on Turkoglu and forced him to miss a tough turnaround. However, Butler - the team's best frow throw shoter - then missed those two from the line and the game got interesting.

Caron after the missed free throws: "Honestly, I just messed up. Just sitting over there for awhile and just lost focus for a minute. But we were able to get the win, and that's what matters most. Tha'ts something that will never happen again. I'ts probably happened two times in my career."

On hitting that big shot over Turkoglu: "I was mad and I was eager to get in. And when I got in, I wanted to make a good case, and I wanted to hit a shot."

Caron normally stops to answer questions after every game win or lose but he was out pretty quickly last night. Obviously he was ticked off over the fourth quarter time on the pine so the Bucks can expect to see a heated up CB tonight. Plus, he's from Racine which is about 20 minutes south of Milwaukee so he's going to have a bunch of people in the house tonight. I see Caron coming out like a beast tonight.

-To clarify my comments on Etan Thomas yesterday: That ankle is worse than the team original thought and it could be awhile before Etan his back. I asked someone with the team about it last night after I filed my pregame notebook and they said: "It's going to be awhile. It's still swollen up." Don't count on seeing Etan for a while longer. Not sure how long but I'll keep you posted. Bredan Haywood looked fine in the lockeroom after the game. He rolled his right ankle late in the third, went back to get it taped and returned.

-I spoke with Andray Blatche before the game and he seems to be grasping the concept that if he wants to get on the court, he's going to have be a high-energy, rebounder-type not the hold-the-ball and score type. Problem is, he's been the second of those two things his whole life. He had some nice minutes against Charlotte the other night grabbing four boards and bringing some energy and he did it again last night. That coast-to-coast roll was a bit unorthodox but it'll do wonders for a kid's confidence. Ernie Grunfeld made a point of coming down to the lockeroom after the game and spent a few moments chatting Blatche up.

Blatche: "If I want to play, I have to get out there and rebound and play good defense. That's how I can show the coches that I deserve to be out there so that's what I'm trying to do."

-Not sure what's up with that part in DeShawn's head. Maybe he's shooting for a part in "New Jack City II" And that hand thing he does in front of his face? I asked him about that a few weeks ago and he said: "That's just my thing." Sounds good to me.

-Got an up close look at Grant Hill's left ankle before the game, the one that's had 150 surgeries on it. Scar tissue everywhere. Lumpy like a bowl of oatmeal. It looks like home girl from "Misery" got ahold of G-Hillie and wacked away at his ankle. Amazing that he's still playing. Remember how good he was?

-I have a bad feeling about tonight's game. It's the second of a back-to-back, Milwaukee was rolling until getting thumped at Cleveland last night and the Bucks have two guys in Michael Redd and Mo Williams who can exploit Washington's biggest weakness: three-point defense. Watching Turkoglu get open shot after open shot last night was painful. With these cats it seems to be pick your poison. Either teams get wide open drives to the rim the way Charlotte's Ray Felton and Gerald Wallace did the other night or they get open looks from outside the way Orlando did last night.

This goes back to what I said way back during the preseason when everyone was talking defense: "Just be what you are." Score baby. Gilbert seems to have grasped this concept.

"Coach made a speech today about how we're scoring 107 a game but we're giving up 106 and I'm thinking to myself, that makes us a winner (laughter)....But I didn't want to say anything...(pause)...But the way the game is being played right now, it's hard to dominate defensively. It is really hard. We have to do what we do. We have scorers, we get to the free throw and we're winning."

Gilbert was on a classic Gilbert role last night. He even got in a few digs on James Lang, the man who has replaced Awvee Storey as his number one lockeroom target:
On Etan, Ruffin and Songaila being out: "Calvin's giving us good minutes, Andray is giving us good minutes, Lang, when he gets in, he's just giving us minutes (laughter).....We're doing great with what we're doing right now."

The fog is not lifting either here or in Milwaukee. Pray for me......

By Ivan Carter  |  December 30, 2006; 10:08 AM ET
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Next: Ruben Patterson can't be stopped


Tonight is the chance for Jordan to play his reserves more minutes (Blatche, Lang, and Taylor) and save the starters' energy for the 4th quarter run. Who cares if we are down by 10 or 15 points? The starters have shown this season that they can come back from 20+ down (see Denver's game last week), so Jordan should use the 2nd of the back-to-back game to give his reserves more real minutes (this is critical when playoffs are approaching).


Posted by: TheBigE | December 30, 2006 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Great insight from the locker room IC... keep it up. Good luck getting to Milwaukee.

Posted by: JS | December 30, 2006 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Ivan, for the info. on why Caron was sitting. I thought it might be foul trouble, but it wasn't. I hope Caron doesn't start sulking. Doesn't seem to be his style, but you never know.

Blatche! Blatche! Blatche! The kid needs to play more. He's earned some more minutes these last couple of games.

Is Etan to the Wizards what Taylor Jacobs was to the 'Skins? Talent, but never on the field (court)? Certainly Etan's done more in his career than Taylor, but he gets hurt as much as Larry Hughes. Sheesh.

Posted by: Keithinator | December 30, 2006 11:45 AM | Report abuse

I'm praying for you Ivan. ;)

"Remember how good he was?"

It really is a shame about Grant Hill, he always used to destroy UMD when Duke played us(yes I went to UMD). Really a shame. :(

"I have a bad feeling about tonight's game."

Yup. I hope they win, but they are away and Redd always has huge games on the Wiz. I think they lose this one and we see a lot of "smallball" tonight.

Hopefully I'm wrong, and hopefully Haywood's ankle didn't swell up over night. :)

Never thought I would be saying this but hopefully Etan comes back soon. The bench is thin without him.

Glad Blatche is getting some quality minutes as well. EG really likes that kid.

Please go vote for all the Wizards for the 2007 NBA All Star game NOW at:

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | December 30, 2006 11:53 AM | Report abuse

"I thought it might be foul trouble, but it wasn't."

I know he had 4 fouls at one point but I guess that wasn't the reason he sat. :/

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | December 30, 2006 11:54 AM | Report abuse

I don't know if we're going to walk away with a victory tonight in Milwaukee espicially being the second part of a back-to-back set. Even though Michael Redd shot 5-16 last night in Cleveland, he easily have a 30 point night against the Wizards being how the Wizards are the worst team in defense 3 point percentage. I guess all we can hope for is that the big three once again scores consistently, the Wizards start out the first quarter strong and fast, and we make our free-throws in in the 4th quarter because last night, we should've had a 5-7 point lead going into that last minute if we had made our free-throws.

I'm also liking Andray Blatche off the bench with his size giving us another man to defend the other team's centers. He gives us some energy and gets rebounds, so you know he's determined to get more minutes than he has the early part of the season.

Posted by: Will Mui | December 30, 2006 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Hope you get to Milwaukee IC. I'm happy with the win, but I was wincing at every turnover. We need more players cutting to the basket without the ball. Can't Jarvis sacrifice his body for the team and go inside? He's got the height and size to do some damage. OK I know everyone's supposed to clear the lanes for Gil, but still we need some options.

Posted by: rgz | December 30, 2006 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Sad to say, I truly believe we will lose will the Skins. It will be a bad sports night for DC.

Posted by: Lisa | December 30, 2006 1:15 PM | Report abuse

"Not sure what's up with that part in DeShawn's head. Maybe he's shooting for a part in "New Jack City II" And that hand thing he does in front of his face? I asked him about that a few weeks ago and he said: "That's just my thing."

Deshawn Stevenson is Awesome. He wasn't kidding when he said he was a weirdo like Arenas. I hope Deshawn brings back the artistic fade hairstyle back. It has been sorely missed, imo. :P

Posted by: Jumpy | December 30, 2006 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Dude Ivan, isn't it hard jetting around everywhere following the Wizards? They're in private planes staying in 4 star hotels, while you're stuck in airports and waiting in line for rental cars. Do you fly coach or first class? Doesn't it make more sense to have two beat writers so you can split up the travel?

Posted by: juandixonformvp | December 30, 2006 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Did you like the play of Trever Arizia last night. I love his game I will give you J.Hayes for him.

Posted by: suzie-Q | December 30, 2006 4:36 PM | Report abuse


Can you please congratulate Antawn for me on the birth of his son?


Posted by: Lisa | December 30, 2006 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Tough game tonight. Was wondering why Caron was sitting. Need a big game from the reserves to win tonight.

Posted by: PTP23 | December 30, 2006 5:30 PM | Report abuse

The fog lifted and I'm in the house. This should be a fun game to watch tonight. Gilbert and Antawn. Michael Redd and Mo Williams. Caron vs. Ruben Patterson. I'm guessing that both teams go well over 100. Once again, the Wiz must get something from the bench tonight. It's the fourth game in five nights and the starters have been carrying heavy minutes. It would be a good night for Jarvis Hayes, Antonio Daniels and the rest of the bench mob to show up big.

Posted by: Ivan | December 30, 2006 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Good to hear you're out and safe, but what do you think of Marc Stein choosing Michael Redd over Gilbert Arenas as the Eastern Conference MVP thus far in his daily dime article?

Posted by: Will Mui | December 30, 2006 8:16 PM | Report abuse

No Brendan tonight. He's out with that right ankle he turned last night against Orlando. Calvin Booth expected to start in his place. Brendan should be fine by Wednesday's game against the Bucks at Verizon.

Posted by: Ivan | December 30, 2006 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Check that: Eddie went small with Jarvis at SF and Antawn at C.

Posted by: Ivan | December 30, 2006 8:46 PM | Report abuse

EJ's gotta trust using James Lang or Calvin Booth at times like this sooner or later. I know Jamison flipping up shots and in has been part of his game, but Bogut has done a great job denying it. He's gonna need to start luring him out and start taking jumpers ,for an effective scoring night.

Posted by: Will Mui | December 30, 2006 9:01 PM | Report abuse

okay, im a huge wizards fan and normally love all wizards players, however Jarvis Hayes doesnt seem to understand that he doesnt need to shoot the basketball everytime it touches his damn hands. Ivan would you please tell him that we would all really appreciate it if he shot a little less, espically when the pass he gets is the first one in the possesion. Does anyone agree?

Posted by: I HATE JARVIS | December 30, 2006 9:22 PM | Report abuse

No Brendan either? Yikes! I can't see the game, but at this point (2 min. left in the half) and the Wiz have a slim lead, 44-42. Caron's bringing it, as he always does, and Gilbert seems totally off his game (3 pts. as of right now). I like Andray's line so far, though. I can't see us winning with this crippled team, but it would be fun, wouldn't it...

Posted by: Keithinator | December 30, 2006 9:35 PM | Report abuse

For those who are able to watch the game (I am in Fla. and can't) how are the Wizards doing in the paint with no Brendan. And it is great to see Butler performing up to his usual standards when he plays in front of the home folks!

Posted by: George Templeton | December 30, 2006 9:40 PM | Report abuse

I should have said his home folks.

Posted by: George Templeton | December 30, 2006 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Now here is my one criticism of Eddie Jordan (I know many of you have others). He waits to long to take a TO to stop a run. I am looking at it on CBS Sportsline and I am hollering timeout at 66-61 and he waits until they Redd hits a 3 to take it to 8 before calling a TO. That is the one thing he does that drives me crazy!

Posted by: George Templeton | December 30, 2006 10:06 PM | Report abuse

It looks like Gilbert started to heat up at the end of the third. A nice 4th quarter from him and the Wizards could do it! This the sort of game they need to find a way to win if they are going to get to the next level.

Posted by: George Templeton | December 30, 2006 10:21 PM | Report abuse

I'm in a hotel room in San Antonio right now so I can't see the game, but ESPN gamecast just said Gil hit a 33-footer at the end of the 3rd... did he pull up from Greensboro again???

Big props to IC for leaving no stone untouched to get to the burning questions of the WP Wiz Insider Faithful!

Posted by: Gack | December 30, 2006 10:23 PM | Report abuse

That is so awesome Gack! Lets give Ivan Carter a hand for simply getting to the game, given all the travel difficulties he has had.

Posted by: George Templeton | December 30, 2006 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Uh-oh, this one looks like it's getting away from us, and looking at the stats I'm not sure why (other than the obvious, that Gil's having an off night)... looks like both teams are shooting pretty poorly, rebounding numbers are only slightly better for the Bucks, we've turned it over more than they have, but we both have the same number of points of TO's... anyone who's watching, what's the deal?

And good lord, Stein can love Mike Redd all he likes, but let no one ever again criticize Gilbert's shot selection -- 3 for 13 from Three Point Land? Yeah, keep jacking 'em up there, Mikey.

I don't know how far behind this gamecast thing is, but it really looks like we are building a house out there tonight.

Posted by: Gack | December 30, 2006 10:37 PM | Report abuse

The really good teams in the NBA find a way to beat a (slightly) inferior opponent on the second night of a back-to-back. But what happens, they collapse in the 4th. Sometimes you just have to swallow hard and play the bench. Who knows they might actually come through.

Posted by: George Templeton | December 30, 2006 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Ugh, I leave the area for a week and look what happens. The Skins throw Tiki a highlight reel party, and the Wiz give every dude on the Milwaukee Bench some stat-padding minutes in a horrific car-crash of a 4th quarter. This is not what we had in mind by finding ways to rest the Big 3, Eddie.

So, sports fans, which of the following conspiracy theories sums up tonight's tragedy?

A) Agent Zero had his license to thrill revoked for the night.

B) Without the power of "The Wood", were doomed in the middle.

C) We simply suck on the 2nd night of back-to-back games.

Posted by: Gack | December 30, 2006 10:51 PM | Report abuse

I'll go with C with an amendment to it. It's not that we stink at back-to-backs (look what happened out West), we aren't consistent enough and that is because the bench needs to get more time so they can get better. Play Blatche and for God sakes, play Lang some.

Posted by: George Templeton | December 30, 2006 10:59 PM | Report abuse

"Check that: Eddie went small with Jarvis at SF and Antawn at C."

And Ivan wins a cookie! ;)

Someone please tell Jordan JAMISON CANNOT PLAY DEFENSE LET ALONE THE 5 SPOT! Good grief, how many times did they go right at him at the end there?

Look I know Haywood is hurt, but for crying out loud he hyped up Lang all preseason and he never plays Booth. Yes, Booth played tonight but there's no reason Lang should be inactive.

It's hard in the NBA on all teams to play back to back nights but it's REALLY hard on the road. The Bucks played last night also mind you.

This goes back to earlier in the season when they were losing, Jordan loves "smallball" and every time they Wiz play with a small line up they lose. This is why I don't like Jordan.

It's rediculous to have Jamison play center when he can't even guard at PF.

Also, Buck said at the beginning of the game Hayes has tendinitis in his knee that he had surgery on. But yet he keeps getting minutes.....big minutes. I honestly don't undertand.

Now you all know why Haywood is so valuable to the Wizards. It's not that he's "all world" but they need him playing if they are going to win anything.

Gilbert with he cold "hibachi" didn't help either, but he get's some slack. :)

Please go vote for all the Wizards for the 2007 NBA All Star game NOW at:

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | December 30, 2006 11:31 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: hyRJ | December 31, 2006 11:07 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Anonymous | January 2, 2007 3:29 PM | Report abuse

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