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In O-town with first place on the line

The road once again been unkind to the Wizards lately and that's where they find themselves tonight for a big game against the Orlando Magic. The Wiz have dropped four straight away from Verizon Center and not looked very good doing it. They were outplayed in every way imaginable at Milwaukee on Dec. 30 and couldn't stop Ruben Patterson of all people in the 4th quarter. They were flat one day and a half after Gilbert's famous party for an afternoon game at Toronto on Jan. 7. They were even flatter in an ugly loss on national television to the Chris Paul-less Hornets on Jan. 12 and they were taken apart by the precise Spurs in San Antonio last weekend.

One common thread through each of those losses was Agent Zero. He made 25 of 80 shots overall in those games and his 33-point outing (17 of those points came from the stripe) at Toronto was the only performance that measured up his standards. Tonight's key: get on those boards baby. Dwight Howards leads the league in rebounding. Another will be keeping the game close and putting pressure on the Magic because they have not played well down the stretch of close games since their 13-4 start.

I also wanted to let you guys know about a cool thing that Kermit Washington is doing involving several Wizards and other NBA players. Washington, the DC Native and former American U and NBA baller, is a regional rep for the NBA and he's involved in several charities in Africa. One of things he's doing is auctioning off autographed game-worn jerseys to raise money for a trip to Africa this summer. Several players, including Wiz Caron Butler and Etan Thomas have volunteered to make the trip, which has the stated goal of feeding one million hungry people.

Here's the info on the jerseys and Kermit's work: the first web site is www.projectcontactafrica.com and it details what Kermit has been doing. The second takes you right to the site where you can find out about getting a jersey and helping some needy folks at the same time: it's www.jerseysforafrica.com.

Take a look.

By Ivan Carter  |  January 19, 2007; 3:09 PM ET
 
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Comments

Orlando has been struggling as of late during crunch time, while it's been going our way recently. I think it's gonna go down to how Brian Hill plays Dwight Howard, and if he gets the ball often than usual. Orlando's gonna have to be careful double-teaming Arenas because the Wizards will still do the damage with other shooters like Jamison, Stevenson, and espicially Butler roaming, and one of them will be open after the double team is set.

I won't be suprised if we find Hedo Turkoglu shooting lights out from downtown, with how he's played against us in the first two games, and Q-rich shooting 7 three pointers against us. We're going to have to stop some part of their offense and I just hope it's their long range shooting.

Posted by: Will Mui | January 19, 2007 3:33 PM | Report abuse

A win tonight with Boston coming in tomorrow would be a good building block. If the team goal is to move to the elite teams they need to at least play .500 on the road. Even after their horrendous road 0-8 start, they have been inconsistent away from home. Consistency on the road, combined with their great home play will elevate them above the mid level Eastern teams. They need some of that mental toughness they display at Verizon on hostile courts before we can really talk about going real deep in the East. And it all starts at the point....Gilbert.

Posted by: AMG | January 19, 2007 3:53 PM | Report abuse

"Tonight's key: get on those boards baby."

Exactly Ivan, was just thinking that as I read your blog. Could be a long night for the Wiz if they let Howard beast inside.

"A win tonight with Boston coming in tomorrow would be a good building block."

Boston plays tonight also and they have to come here tomorrow so I'm thinking they win that one. This back to backer favors the Wiz for a change.

I expect a close game tonight, it could probably go either way. Should be a good one!

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

http://www.nba.com/allstar2007/asb/eng/ballot.html?from=sweeps

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | January 19, 2007 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Like the idea Mr. Washington but give me something to big on other then a jason Kidd jersey. How about a Blatche one? I'd kill for that.

-Jake
www.citzenjake.com

Posted by: Jake | January 19, 2007 4:14 PM | Report abuse

It'll be interesting to see if Etan can match the intensity he had vs the magic/dwight howard like the game early this year. i expect another close game, aren't they all?!

Posted by: TOM | January 19, 2007 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Preview:

"Each of the last nine games between the clubs have been decided by fewer than 10 points."

Yeah, I'd say. :)

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | January 19, 2007 4:39 PM | Report abuse

This has nothing to do with anything mentioned above, but I keep forgetting to bring this up. Did you see the clip Comcast played during the Hornets game a couple of weeks ago of Etan Thomas playing high school ball in Oklahoma? Wow, was that hilarious. He had big Horace Grant goggles and appeared to weigh 160 lbs. He looked like a 6'10" version of Erkel. Comcast should show that clip every game, not just when the Wiz play in Oklahoma.

Posted by: Sean | January 19, 2007 4:44 PM | Report abuse

"Like the idea Mr. Washington but give me something to big on other then a jason Kidd jersey. How about a Blatche one? I'd kill for that."

Jake, the way I read the webpage Ivan refers you to, you can get any Wiz player to sign a jersey if you're willing to pay the $395 freight.

Posted by: OutsideTheLaw | January 19, 2007 4:56 PM | Report abuse

In addition to the boards how about a night when Jameer Nelson isn't slicing and dicing the Wizards through the lane. I will definately buy that for a dollar!

Posted by: George Templeton | January 19, 2007 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, to clarify on the auction process. On the jerseysforafrica.com page, click on the bar that allows to you request a jersey via e-mail. They then will get it signed for you.

Posted by: Ivan | January 19, 2007 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Tonight should be a good game. Yeah, Etan had the best game of his professional career the last time they met. Schooled Mr. Howard. I believe it was a day or two following his fight with B'Wood so I think Etan was still juiced. Well, that ain't going to repeat itself and Howard vowed revenge. I think Howard goes off tonight, but as long as we don't let them go nuts from three point range as well, it will be a very close game that we pull out. They just don't have quite enough scoring punch, yet. Orlando has everything else though!

WIZ 104 Magic 101 - Maybe another Hibatchi at the buzzer!!!

Posted by: Rob P | January 19, 2007 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Ray, you like the favorable back to backer this time? I caution that tonight being a first-place-on-the-line division game may lend itself to a letdown tomorrow. Just saying.

Posted by: Rob P | January 19, 2007 6:14 PM | Report abuse

I like the fact that the Wiz play that second game at home instead of on the road.

To me, the Wiz look like an entirely different team at home vs the road. I don't mean by the record either, they just seem to look more confident at home.

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | January 19, 2007 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Kermit Washington actually seems like a pretty good guy.

Posted by: Mike | January 19, 2007 6:51 PM | Report abuse

I've loved all the last-minute heroics, but I think we are going to need some easy wins down the stretch. Some 20-point leads (that we hold), allowing the big three to get some much-deserved rest, and giving Blatche, Daniels and others a chance to shine.
First place on 1/19 is great, but Miami seems to be reawakening. I think our goal should be 10 games over .500 by the allstar break, 18+ games over .500 by the season's end. Unreasonable? Irrational? How we going to get it done?

dc jam

Posted by: DC Jam | January 19, 2007 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Scoop Jackson on Gilbert:

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=jackson/070119

Gilbert needs to be getting some more love from ESPN so he has a shot at MVP.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 19, 2007 7:18 PM | Report abuse

The post 1t 7:18 p.m. is me.

Posted by: George Templeton | January 19, 2007 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Buck and Phil just mentioned something I didn't realize. Carlos Arroyo hasn't played tonight and he's another one that has sliced and diced the Wizards up in the past. Anyone know why he didn't play?

Posted by: George Templeton | January 19, 2007 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Wiz by 19+ - really???!!! They outrebounded, and out-did the "Magic"!

Great game for the Bullets (Wiz), and how about that Streaky Tar Heel, Jamison??????? 31 and 16!!!!!!???? Great game.

Now, beat the Celts - (the Yankees of basketball).

Posted by: Shotgun | January 19, 2007 9:34 PM | Report abuse

"A win tonight with Boston coming in tomorrow would be a good building block." (AMG)

Check.

"I've loved all the last-minute heroics, but I think we are going to need some easy wins down the stretch" (DC Jam)

114-93. Check.

"Tonight's key: get on those boards baby."

Rebounds 50 to 38 Wiz, offensive rebounds 23 to 7. Check.

Posted by: rurikbird | January 19, 2007 9:50 PM | Report abuse

George:

I don't know if you heard Buck mention it, but Arroyo is "ofer" on his last 11 attempts over 2 games, so they're saying he's gotten bumped by Bogans in the rotation.

What a great win. Best defense we've played all year, equal scoring distribution (though Gil's swag is looking decidedly un-phenomenal lately and that worries me), we did our usual damage with steals and fast breaks, but also outrebounded one of the top boarding teams in the league!

On top of that, Gil didn't commit a single turnover and we set a new season low for team turnovers.

Oh, and let the Poet vs Haystacks arguments commence again :D

Posted by: Gack | January 19, 2007 9:51 PM | Report abuse

What a fantastic night for the Wizards. That is how they need to roll. All the times they have gone down to Orlando and found a way to lose and this time they show the Magic who is boss! And the #@($*#@()$*)@# Heat lost to the 76ers! Brilliant! What a hell of a job of playing team basketball and lets thank the Magic for not dumping the ball into Dewey Howard M.D. because he was killing us. That said I thought Etan and Brendan put in a good effort and how about a rare exhibition of perimeter defense from the Wizards! They can put down teams in this fashion more often.

Posted by: George Templeton | January 19, 2007 9:53 PM | Report abuse

I didn't hear that part of the commentary Gack. Thanks for telling me. I don't care how bad Arroyo's playing, he always lights our team up and I was happy as hell not to see him out there.

Posted by: George Templeton | January 19, 2007 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Best defensive game of the year I thought by far. Hopefully they can put some more like that together.

They *should* beat Boston tomorrow night at home.

Impressive win.

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | January 19, 2007 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Only caught the end of the game. Was shocked to see the Wiz up by 17 in the fourth quarter. Blanche get off the pine besides the 4th quarter. Man, Gil getting 30 is like money in the bank for a Wizard's win.

I'm feeling 45 from Gil tomorrow against Boston.

Posted by: PTP23 | January 19, 2007 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Sweet! Garbage time with 4 minutes left. Haven't seen that in a while.

Posted by: burke | January 19, 2007 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it nice Burke not to be pacing the floor and chewing your nails off in the final 3 minutes of a Wizards game.

Posted by: George Templeton | January 19, 2007 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Looks like Etan played more the Haywood. Did he start over Haywood. Etan is a 6'8 center. EJ must be crazy if he thinks he can go far with a 6'8 center.

Posted by: PTP23 | January 19, 2007 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Haywood picked up 2 fouls pretty early and so Etan had to do a lot of the work tonight. Etan seems to play his best against Howard.

Posted by: George Templeton | January 19, 2007 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Etan had a pretty good game, IMO. Rejected Howard at least once, picked his pocket, and generally did the best he could to slow him down.

Most of Howard's points were put-backs on missed inside shots by cutting guards who had beaten their man to the rack, then Etan or Brendan would confront the shooter, and that left Howard unguarded for the garbage collection, and he is nearly unguardable in that situation.

Posted by: Gack | January 19, 2007 11:28 PM | Report abuse

Also, PTP -- Etan is listed at 6'10".

Posted by: Gack | January 19, 2007 11:29 PM | Report abuse

A win this good makes me even start to like those unis! :D

Posted by: Victor | January 19, 2007 11:33 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Gack for the update.

Posted by: PTP23 | January 20, 2007 10:35 AM | Report abuse

That's because Etan plays smaller then his size.

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | January 20, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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