Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: MrMichaelLee and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  E-mail alerts: Redskins and Sports  |  RSS

Wiz and Suns makes for fun


As an NBA writer, games tend to start running together this time of the season. You don't so much look forward to a particular matchup as much as you hope it doesn't go to overtime so you can make deadline. That's a great night. Not tonight however. Like anyone else who loves the game of basketball, I'm looking forward to tonight's game between the Wizards and Suns and hope it's one of the best games of the season. The first meeting back in December was a classic and came on an night when the Wizards were on the back end of a back-to-back and the Suns were late arriving because they were stuck in Denver.

Both teams should be fresh tonight so I'm looking for a high-scoring, highly entertaining game. The key for the Wiz in that first game was that they outrebounded Phoenix and made their three-pointers. Gilbert was unstoppable of course and Caron Butler put 34 and 10 up. Amare Stoudemire almost killed the Wiz late because he's such a difficult matchup for Antawn Jamison (remember that baseline spin move and dunk?) but the Wiz held on.

One key for Phoenix lately has been the play of backup PG Leandro Barbosa. He's scored exactly 20 points in the last three games and gives the Suns something the Wiz lack: Consistent scoring and playmaking behind the PG spot. Like the Wiz, the Suns primarily ride a 7-man rotation so both teams having last night off will be crucial. Gilbert torched Nash, Raja Bell, Barbosa, Shawn Marion and anyone else Mike D'Antoni put on him in that first meeting and I don't see much changing. He's been better at home all season and he's due for a big game.

By Ivan Carter  |  January 23, 2007; 12:20 PM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The Key Player in the AI-Melo Marriage
Next: The Should-Be All-Stars

Comments

We need 46 from Agent Zero tonight to fulfill his prophecy. Gil's chances of an MVP are riding on the game tonight. Two victories over Nash will sway some votes.

Steve Nash = Chad.

The Wiz Kids need another big one from Butler. Jamison will have to spend all his energy "trying" to guard Amare. Screw it, he won't be able to stop him. Just score tonight Antawn.

GO WIZ!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Mike | January 23, 2007 12:58 PM | Report abuse

As I remember from the first game, Haywood had a terrific 1st qtr. which helped the Wiz get off to a good start. Hopefully tonight the combo of Haywood and Etan will keep the rebound battle close, especially since Kurt Thomas is out for the Suns. Antawn will also need some help on Amare.

Posted by: AMG | January 23, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse

I don't remember being this excited about a pre-March/April regular season game other than opening night.

Posted by: Henry | January 23, 2007 1:10 PM | Report abuse

I find it amusing that people point out (not here) that the Wizards snapped the Suns win streak in their last match up because the Suns arrived late for the game due to the snowstorm.

The Wizards were on the second game of a back to back, on the road, while the Suns had the previous TWO nights off.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

It starts tonight.

Posted by: Wei | January 23, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse


love the comments. i'm also very excited about this one. i hope the wiz bring the energy that we're all hoping for.

shouldn't this one be on national tv?

Posted by: AC | January 23, 2007 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Hope the Wiz win, Gil goes off and he calls this his State of the Union address.
True statement Wei about the snow deal. Wiz didnt have it easy either.

Posted by: Tyrone Muggsy | January 23, 2007 2:01 PM | Report abuse

"I find it amusing that people point out (not here) that the Wizards snapped the Suns win streak in their last match up because the Suns arrived late for the game due to the snowstorm."

Yeah, Wei, tru dat. The Wiz had a Thursday night game at Golden State then went over to Phoenix. Suns had two nights off in Denver after playing the Nuggets.

I hope for two things:
1) A Wiz win; and
2) A game that is delivers excitement as advertised. Let there be serious BALLIN' tonight in Chinatown!

Posted by: iceberg | January 23, 2007 2:15 PM | Report abuse

I am really scared about this one. Hope that Gil goes off because the Hibachi has been malfunctioning as of late.

Vote for the Swag Ticket: Hibachi / Tough Juice '08!

Posted by: Gack | January 23, 2007 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Prescience: Gil - 35 and 9, Caron - 22 and 7, Jamison 24 and 12. Wizards win.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 23, 2007 2:51 PM | Report abuse

AJ shouldn't be guarding Amare unless EJ goes w/ smallball. Etan/Haywood/Blatche will all get their chance w/ Amare. I agree w/ Mike, just score 'Tawn!

Wiz win - Big 3 combine for at least l00pts

Posted by: TOM | January 23, 2007 2:51 PM | Report abuse

"Gil - 35 and 9, Caron - 22 and 7, Jamison 24 and 12"

I don't think 81 is gonna get it done from the Big 3 - that means we'd need to rely on about 60 points from our bench :)

Yeah TOM, 100 and we'll get it done.

Posted by: Aaron | January 23, 2007 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Tim Russert must be so mad that he has to work tonight.

Posted by: Joe | January 23, 2007 3:20 PM | Report abuse

I think that Antawn & Haywood are the keys to a victory tonight....but Antawn already had his best outting vs Orlando the other night, can he have another?

Wood, we need him to alter enough shots to be the difference in a high scoring game.

EJ needs to rotate smartly (something he does not do well)so that we have enough juice to close out. Please don't grind the trio down with 40+ minutes.

Well have to be just about perfect to beat the Suns tonight.

Posted by: Wizzy | January 23, 2007 3:20 PM | Report abuse

I'm so pumped for the game!

Much like the article today pointed out, I think tonights game will be determined on the boards. If they can outrebound the Suns, with as many shots as will be put up, they can control the game.

Posted by: JoseM | January 23, 2007 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Joe your comment is dead on and I am afraid the comment about the big 3 needing 100 might be accurate as well. Keep the turnovers down and the transition defense good and the Wizards can do it to the Suns again!

Posted by: George Templeton | January 23, 2007 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Gil's gonna get 82 tonight. Along with 15 assists, 12 rebounds and 10 steals for the first quadruple double in team history.

Kobe who?

Posted by: Nickels | January 23, 2007 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Prediction
201-199, first 200 point game in NBA history

Gil scores 87, solidifies himself as the MVP

Posted by: Ben | January 23, 2007 3:54 PM | Report abuse

I think Gil is going to post another 50 pointer against the Suns tonight. He is playing it low key, saying that his next 50 point game will come on Feb 11th against Portland - but I think he is still burning up inside and badly wants to stick it to Jerry Colangelo and Mike D'Antoni again.

More incentive for Gilbert - if the Wiz can win tonight, he will be 2-0 vs Nash this season. That could sway some MVP votes in his direction at the end of the season.

Last point - No one has mentioned what might be the key to the game......the home crowd. Winning 10 games in a row at home is no fluke. When the crowd gets roaring, the Wiz can be extremely tough to beat. Forget rebounding and defense - the crowd needs to get crazy and the Wiz need to drop about 130 points (50 by Gilbert) and blast the Suns out of DC.

Posted by: MCCC | January 23, 2007 3:56 PM | Report abuse

As I recall, Etan was out last time the teams played, and Blatche was getting no minutes. That makes the Wiz a little deeper this time around.
I assume Jamison is going to be guarding Diaw, Butler will guard Marion, while Haywood will guard Stoudamire. And as you can see from this, Jamison played almost the entire game last time:

http://popcornmachine.net/cgi-bin/gameflow.cgi?date=20061222&game=WASPHO&rl=14

Posted by: Steven | January 23, 2007 3:59 PM | Report abuse


still loving all the comments; especially Joe's about Tim Russert.

i have to correct myself - the game is on nationally on NBA TV, just not on a more established basic cable or network station.

Posted by: AC | January 23, 2007 4:15 PM | Report abuse

If Gilbert doesn't score at least 40, the Wizards don't win (unless Phoenix rigs its defense to stop him). Nash can't guard him, and Bell can't stop him, so if Gilbert doesn't go for 40, it's a bad performance. He needs to rev it up, drive, draw fouls to get Phoenix's bigs in foul trouble, and the rest will fall into place from there.

Posted by: Sean | January 23, 2007 4:17 PM | Report abuse

people don't realize how good these Wizards are. all over the league, the so called "experts" say that they play in the (L)East, and everyone sucks compared to the West, but it's all a bunch of crap. Look at the Wiz's schedule. Of the 16 losses, 9 of them were in the first month. Clearly, it can be seen that this team started out rough, and have had time to gel. They are much more consistent now (though not enough). 9 Losses in November alone, and only 7 losses in December and almost all of January. Catch my drift? Not to mention we've been playing the whole season without Songaila, whose game is similar to Laettner's in the sense he can hit the mid range jumper, but better in the sense he can play aggressively down low and give us a defensive presence.

According to the current record, the Wiz are on pace for 49 wins, but, hell, I say we get to 55 for sure. That requires a 31-12 record, which is clearly do-able. hopefully that will shut the critics up.

Posted by: k-man | January 23, 2007 5:37 PM | Report abuse

I hate to be a downer (I love the Wiz) but I think the Suns will win handily....could be a blow out....

Posted by: Lisa | January 23, 2007 7:04 PM | Report abuse

jeesh, just turned ont the gamecast thingy from espn before going home... not looking too good.. let's hope it looks better by the time i get home (i'm not expecting it though... ;p)

Posted by: hmmmmm | January 23, 2007 7:30 PM | Report abuse

This is what I was worried about. The Hibachi is broken, people... and if Gil doesn't get it working, then EVERYBODY suffers.

Posted by: Gack | January 23, 2007 7:31 PM | Report abuse

This could be (and probably will be) painfully UGLY!

Posted by: Lisa | January 23, 2007 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Ben might be right, the Suns might get to 200 in regulation. The way we're playing, we'll end up losing 200-109.

I was just about to post "Ya know, mad props to Brendan for that solid defense and rejection" and then he goes and gives up a four point swing by fouling a guy making a triple.

This is embarrassing. R-E-S-P-E-C-T: it begins next week.

Posted by: Gack | January 23, 2007 7:39 PM | Report abuse

This is U G L Y you ain't got no alibi kind of ugly right now.

Posted by: George Templeton | January 23, 2007 7:52 PM | Report abuse

PAINFUL to watch....and that's putting it mildly.....

Posted by: Lisa | January 23, 2007 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Did Comcast just switch to a commercial in the middle of a play 2 min before halftime for anyone else?

I hate that damn channel...

And crazy as it sounds, I think it's to the Suns advantage to have Stoudamire on the bench. Creates a mismatch on the perimeter and adds another shooter to the floor for Phoenix, or else forces the Wiz to go smallball (and we all know what that means)...

Posted by: Aaron | January 23, 2007 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Somebody give me one good reason I should grin and bear it and watch the second half of this?

See, the thing that irritates me here is that, regardless of how well Phoenix is playing (I mean, they're just unconscious, nobody can play like that for an entire game, can they?!?!?), you know what's going to happen here is that if we get blown out, it becomes a referendum on The Wiz being just another crap team from the Least and Gilbert's just another mad gunner, Kobe was right.

That's the thing that irritates me the most. We fight for respect for the past two months and it's all going to evaporate because we came out ice cold and they came out red hot.

On a side note, we're close in rebounding! I guess that doesn't matter much when the other team is shooting 67% from the floor and 58% from the arc.

Pure agony. I'm in pure agony. And I only bought a 6-pack for tonight. I'm going to need to hit the hard stuff to drown out the bad memories of this game, I think.

Posted by: Gack | January 23, 2007 8:12 PM | Report abuse

BTW, did anybody see Boris Diaw flat out holding AD's arm when he was trying to get around him to go for a steal on Nash? I couldn't believe that wasn't called -- AD was coming up behind Nash and Diaw just grabs his arm and stops him. Damndest thing I ever saw!

Posted by: Gack | January 23, 2007 8:14 PM | Report abuse

That putback by Marion when the lead was 15 was a damn killer. That dude is such a freak.

Posted by: George Templeton | January 23, 2007 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Not much you can say about this one; except maybe: Steve Nash MVP.

Posted by: JP | January 23, 2007 9:12 PM | Report abuse

This loss was pretty much disgraceful. I'm *extremely* irritated, because IMO, as well as PHX was shooting, for us to get it to a 13-point lead, meant that we could have taken them if we could play any defense whatsoever.

Admittedly, they were just shooting from another planet tonight, but you just can't go like 20% or whatever we shot in the first, and expect to win games against the best team in the NBA.

Man, this is enfuriating.

Posted by: Gack | January 23, 2007 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Even though this wasn't on national basic cable, this is a real disappointing effort. You know the rest of the league is watching and to see the team with the best record in the East not come up with goods at home against an elite Western team doesn't look very good.

Posted by: George Templeton | January 23, 2007 9:21 PM | Report abuse

this is what we have to deal with for the rest of the season:

WASHINGTON (AP) -Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns made Gilbert Arenas and the Washington Wizards look more like pretenders than contenders, putting the so-called "Phoenix Suns of the East" in their place with a 127-105 thumping Tuesday night.

Posted by: k-man | January 23, 2007 9:24 PM | Report abuse

The Wizards looked weak compared to the Suns tonight. I'm kinda worried for the wizards come second half of the regular season.

Posted by: bdunkadunk | January 23, 2007 9:26 PM | Report abuse

hopefully this loss will light a fire under the Wiz's bottoms and get them to at least attempt playing defense. no doubt phoenix is light years ahead any Eastern conference team, but to lose by 22 at home, no excuses.
the silver lining is that we were able to hang with them for the last 3 quarters...take out that first quarter, and it's pretty much an even game.

even after this loss, i think we're still gonna be the #1 seed in the east tomorrow morning. let's hope we can build up some momentum by friday when we head to Auburn Hills, and increase our lead as the #1 seed in the Eastern conference.

Posted by: k-man | January 23, 2007 9:29 PM | Report abuse

The Wizard's big 3 versus the Sun's Big 7. Just look at the box score. We need more contributions other 2 or more players.

Posted by: bdunkadunk | January 23, 2007 9:35 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't worry bdunkadunk, all the Wizards flaws have been out there for some time. Sometimes it is easier to shake off a blowout loss than it is a close defeat. Beat the Pistons on Friday and the good feelings comeback again.

Posted by: George Templeton | January 23, 2007 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Funk the national media. They're on a love-fest with Nash and the Suns and it's too easy to resist taking jabs at "pretenders" like us.

We just live and die by our shooting, and giving up 21 points in the first quarter is a Buckhantz Dagger right then and there.

Posted by: Gack | January 23, 2007 9:56 PM | Report abuse

BTW, big props to AD tonight, he really showed me a lot, and I feel that we can rely on him down the stretch and especially in the playoffs.

Caron showed a lot of fire and was flat out mauled at least twice that I saw in situations where he got no-calls on misses (the crowd REALLY let 'em know they boned it, too)....

Jamison really let us down tonight, IMO -- 9 points on 2-8 shooting? He puts up his average or steps it up a little and we're looking at maybe a tie game and OT.

Posted by: Gack | January 23, 2007 10:00 PM | Report abuse

As a basketball fan, it has been a joy to watch San Antonio, Utah and Phoenix play the last couple of weeks. Those teams are disciplined, and execute and play solid ball.
The Wizards aren't going to get there overnight, and getting their backsides handed to them only furthers their education. Let's hope they learn something from this loss and don't just shake it off as a bad night.

Posted by: Henry | January 23, 2007 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Agreed Henry. :)

The Suns came out firing with thier "A" game. So far, San Antonio and the Suns have been treating the Wiz like they are genuine Finals contenders. The Wiz need to get used to that in a hurry.

Ivan, Jamison's shots were ALL short. No excuses on the time he was given to rest on this one. How is his knee REALLY doing?

He's still wearing that wrap.

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 23, 2007 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Lisa called it - blowout. JP said - Steve Nash is the MVP. Hands down. He ran circles around the the Wiz tonight. When Phoenix is hitting its 3-pointers at such a high percentage, they're impossible to stop.

Posted by: Bullets Fan in L.A. | January 23, 2007 10:55 PM | Report abuse

We should simply take solice in the fact that we are in the Eastern Conference. This fact alone should assure us a deep and entertaining playoff run. I have noticed a few bloggers over the past month or so take offense to the notion that we would be struggling to make the playoffs in the West, but I feel our record against the West (8-8) accurately portrays how we would fit into the Western Conference. I'm simply hoping to make it out of the second round this year while enjoying the hell out of the season.
GO WIZ!!!!!!!

Posted by: MikeinSeoul | January 23, 2007 11:24 PM | Report abuse

A few lessons learned tonight:

1) Good thing the Wizards are in the Eastern Conference, where their main focus should be on holding off Orlando and the Heat.

2) Arenas is great, but his team is simply good.

3) It was fun thinking the Wizards could go toe to toe against a true NBA force, and as fans we need that, but realistically, let's all be happy with 50 wins (whoever they happen to be against) and a competitive second round of the playoffs.

4) I don't care if Brendan played the whole game at all 5 positions, his +/- ratio or whatever you guys pull out of your you-know-whats wasn't going to save the Wizards tonight.


Tuck this little nugget in the back of your mind: Perhaps EJ didn't get this team ready to be competitive tonight, in what was definately a big game for both teams... was this past contract extension his last?

Posted by: Wei | January 24, 2007 12:24 AM | Report abuse

I was at the game tonight. The Suns shooting was unbelievable. They either shot a 3 or got a lay-up. They put 3 guys outside the 3 , 1 inside and let Nash penetrate. It's the scariest offense you'll ever see when they are on. It even appears their defense has gotten better. Wizards were not getting the open 3s they normally get. Big props to Caron. In the second half he got so fed up with the bad calls that he just started attacking the rim. I think he made like 9 out of 13 points as they cut the lead to 15 but they always had an answer.

Gil's not stroking it like he was. I wonder if he's still getting use to the old ball. I know he really liked the other ball. If he has it going, all the Wiz seem to pick up their games.

Hayes is Courtney Alexander. If his shot is off, you get absolutely nothing else out of him.

Posted by: PTP23 | January 24, 2007 12:36 AM | Report abuse

courtney alexander! that's a blast from the past. What about Calbert Cheaney?

Posted by: ct fan | January 24, 2007 1:03 AM | Report abuse

BIG DIS OF THE WIZARDS:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Phoenix Suns wannabes have quite a ways to go before they can be mistaken for the real thing.

Steve Nash and the Suns made Gilbert Arenas and the Washington Wizards look more like pretenders than contenders Tuesday night, putting the East's top-scoring team in its place with a 127-105 thumping.

"I did hear that they wanted to be the Phoenix Suns of the East," said Amare Stoudemire, who had 15 points on 5-for-6 shooting. "I think there's only one Phoenix Suns, and we rest in the West. And that's how it's going to be for a while."

Posted by: Anonymous | January 24, 2007 1:04 AM | Report abuse

CT Fan - Yeah-Calbert Chaney is comparable. Thanks for reminding me but at least he played some d. Is he still with Golden State?

Posted by: PTP23 | January 24, 2007 1:07 AM | Report abuse

Well guys I won't say I saw this coming bc I did not post beforehand, but I did...lol. When we played them last, we were playing our A++ game and still barely pulled out a victory. Other than the Orlando game the Wiz are just not playing that well lately (B-/C+ range). Gilbert looks like he has come back down to earth and my hope is his shoulder is still bothering him and he gets back on track soon. He also seems to be missing that extra gear. I remember during that Lakers game Buckhantz said "looks like Gilbert is playing with a jet pack on his back". Well, the jet pack is missing as of now (i.e. energy level is noticeably different). Otherwise, with the way this team is currently coached 30 pts and 5 assts from Arenas is a formula for a first or second round playoff exit. You can't be one of the worst teams in the league in so many defensive statistical categories. You gotta take something away.

Jamison scoring 8 pts is a real liability bc he brings virtually nothing else.

Tough Juice played the best game of any Wizard. Love that guy!!! He is a championship caliber player and pushing Arenas as my favorite player.

Taylor looks decent especially on D, but continues to get little to no minutes as does Blatche and Mason. I would have stuck Taylor on Nash to see what would happen. Taylor is probably our best on the ball defender from the guard position.

I thought it was the kind of game Blatche would have excelled in, but he got no burn even down soooo many points.

Saw smallball for about 2/3 possessions and gave up 2 layups to Diaw I believe, but at least EJ was quicker to quit that strategy!

Oh well, it's just one lose. I just want to see some bench contribution/rotation, any improvement on D, etc... That's more disappointing to me. As the season progresses our weaknesses are NOT improving.

Posted by: Rob P | January 24, 2007 2:41 AM | Report abuse

Just a quick shout out to Nash. I always thought he was good, but was not sure about his MVP's. This guy just controls the entire game in a way I have never seen. He's awesome and I believe the Arenas for MVP bandwagon is broken down on the side of the road right now, unfortunately. Gotta see where Charles and Kenny get their "Gilbert is good at making Gilbert great. He needs to get better at making his team great". I hate to admit it, but it's true. Nash makes that whole team great night in and night out.

Baring injury I think we just played the NBA champs tonight. And, they played their A game.

Posted by: Rob P | January 24, 2007 2:51 AM | Report abuse

was at the game and have a few thoughts...

Nash may make that team better, but they are already great. That team is loaded with talent. I think nash is excellent, but he has a lot of great talent around him. They were making everything in the first half.

Love Caron, and when he turned it up in the thrid I started to think maybe we could make a run. But I have to say I think he was a bit of a defensive liability at times last night. There were a couple times where he didn't get a call and he would hang his head and mope while the suns were in transition. And other times when he would make a big play and not turn and get into the defensive play. The suns feast on that.

I'm really curious on this last point if anyone has thoughts on it. Sometimes, while coming back on defense the suns would make a pass to a forward in transition who would seem to have a ton of space to cut to the basket for an easy layup. It seemed to me if the wizards on the outside would have spaced themselves even a step or two further out, it would make those transition passes a lot harder to complete. Any thoughts?

Also, watching the game it seemed like most times that the suns took the ball to the top of the key, they would pass to their left first, especially when pressured.

Sucked to lose, but I think it might help motivate the team a bit down the stretch.

I want Jarvis to be better than he is, and i don't think he is helping his trade stock... pau for jarvis seems to be right out ;) i would really like to see mason, or blatche or donell (who easily had the best pass of the night, better than nash's) get some of the minutes jarvis is taking.

Big line at willcall, and i didn't mind the tools yelling about wanting to rush the doors... just happy to see the peeps out at a zards game... even if they were tools... which they were.

Posted by: greg | January 24, 2007 5:26 AM | Report abuse

PTP23 said that, "Hayes is Courtney Alexander. If his shot is off, you get absolutely nothing else out of him." I disagree slightly -- I think he is playing like Courtney Alexander. I think Hayes has a variety of skills, but in his mind, the only way he can contribute is to fire away. As soon as that changes (and as soon as he starts getting half his shots on drives), he'll be fine.

Posted by: Sean | January 24, 2007 7:56 AM | Report abuse

Jarvis is dead. Arvis is back in town, baby. And by town, I mean "Brick City"...

Maybe it's blind homer rage, but I thought that Nash had a workmanlike but unspectacular game. Other than the fact that he didn't miss more than few shots (which, let's be honest here, was more about our porous interior defense than Nash being godlike), I agree with Greg that the rest of that team is already pretty sick. EVERYBODY on that team shot the 3-ball well.

I've been saying for a few games that something is wrong with the Hibachi and it wasn't until the third that any heat at all started coming back. All you guys who keep saying it's all about Brendan better recognize, that's what happens when we take the Hibachi for granted...

Also, it has to be said -- everyone slams us for playing no defense, but what about PHX? Other than a handful of blocks by Amare, those guys played ZERO defense. How many times did you see AD just run it up, hesitate, then drive to the rack unchallenged and lay it in? Caron split two defenders and dunked at least 3 times that I saw, and two other times he was mauled and got no call.

If we don't shoot ice cold in the first quarter, and instead come out with our normal home "A" game, I think this game looks pretty damn close to even in the 4th, maybe the fans are more into it, etc.

It's just funny for Amare (who had a horrible game) to talk trash about us being the "Suns of the East", when we nearly were -- with the exception of a horrible shooting first quarter. Other than the obvious gap in assists, look at the shot selection and other stat categories.

Thinking about it today, I hope we get ridiculed in the press. I have a new theory, that the Hibachi has gone on the fritz since Gil and the team started getting coverage and love from the national media. Once we go back to being jokes in their eyes, he'll go crazy again.

I hope.

Posted by: Gack | January 24, 2007 8:32 AM | Report abuse

PHX is 32-2 in the last 34 for a reason.

It's funny seeing all the people already jumping ship. LOL The Wiz had a bad game get over it. I'll take splitting with the top 2 teams NBA any time.

Posted by: dc | January 24, 2007 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Well, Wizards claims to be the Phoenix of the East. But there is one glaring difference, Phoenix is the best assist team in NBA, with a differential of +8.7, while Wizards is the 3rd worst, at -3.17.

It showed last night. The Suns offense flows so well, while Wizards cannot get it going when outside shots weren't falling. (Granted, when shots are falling, Wizards is tough to beat. But you just cannot expect shots are falling all the time.)

Posted by: sagaliba | January 24, 2007 9:34 AM | Report abuse

The only reason the normally humble Suns had anything to say in the media about this win was the way the Wiz behaved in their win over Phx. If you come into a teams home court and you yell Hibachi every time you make a basket, plus you puiblicly call out the Suns head coach because he had to make a decision regarding the Olympic team, and you in general thump your chest and over-celebrate; well it's called DISRESPECT. The Suns did not appreciate the antics in Phx and they were hell bent to deliver a message to the Wiz.

Posted by: GaryAZ | January 24, 2007 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Yeah.

MVP, 2 words: Steve Nash.

Wiz are playing well, but shouldn't get carried away. The East is a mediocre conference at best. Outside a *HEALTHY* Miami team, no East team can compete with the Mavs, Spurs and Suns.

Posted by: 761-091 | January 24, 2007 10:03 AM | Report abuse


GACK:
"Also, it has to be said -- everyone slams us for playing no defense, but what about PHX? Other than a handful of blocks by Amare, those guys played ZERO defense. How many times did you see AD just run it up, hesitate, then drive to the rack unchallenged and lay it in? Caron split two defenders and dunked at least 3 times that I saw, and two other times he was mauled and got no call."

You should watch the Suns more often. They dont need to play defense. If you can't slow the tempo of the game down, they will outshoot you. Once they get going from 3 and hit their jump shots, NO TEAM IN THE NBA, can keep up with them. NONE.

Once you miss your shots, they are half way down the court and scoring easy baskets and it just gets worse from there.

Who said you need to play 1990's style Knicks defense to win games?

Posted by: 761-091 | January 24, 2007 10:07 AM | Report abuse

A fair point, Gary. And I think the Wizards showed appropriate respect in their comments after this one.

I also have been concerned recently about Gilbert's rising national profile. Ironically it has coincided with one of his worst stretches of play this season. I'm hoping that this slap in the face causes the Wizards to step up their play. The last second wins recently have allowed them (and us fans - at least when we're not complaining) to overlook some mistakes - with the exception of the very nice game at Orlando.

Only a few games until Feb. 4th when the all-star coaches are set. Cleveland looks to have the easier schedule between now and then, but I'm hopeful that our boys will get on a run in response to last night's game and that Cleveland will continue their recent poor play.

Posted by: AC | January 24, 2007 10:34 AM | Report abuse

"You should watch the Suns more often. They dont need to play defense. If you can't slow the tempo of the game down, they will outshoot you. Once they get going from 3 and hit their jump shots, NO TEAM IN THE NBA, can keep up with them. NONE.

Once you miss your shots, they are half way down the court and scoring easy baskets and it just gets worse from there. "

This is my point exactly. People bash the Wiz for failing to play defense, and aside from our stone-cold first quarter in which the Suns shot lights-out, the Wiz played nearly EXACTLY the same style of game, and did exactly what you posted above: when Suns shooters went a little cold and started missing outside jumpers, we rebounded, ran the break, and went on a 9-0 run.

sagaliba points out the one thing we need to be doing better if we want to succeed with this style of play, and that's distribute the ball better, rather than rely on red-hot shooting all the time.

Gary from AZ, nice to see some out-of-towners in here to rub it in. Means we made an impression when we beat you in your house. Just remember, everyone starts back at zero come mid-April.

I wonder whether either of our squads will have the legs then, but I hope we meet again.

Posted by: Gack | January 24, 2007 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Gack --
I disagree that the Wiz and Suns play the same style of game. The Suns take a lot of open 3s and layups. The Wizards take a lot of 18-22 foot jump shoots. As a result, the Wizards' effective FG% is around 50%; the Suns', 56%. But you also point about that if the Wiz are to play an uptempo style, they need to distribute the ball better (presumably to get better shots), which is my point, so maybe we are on the same page.

Posted by: Joe | January 24, 2007 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Gack: Yeah, if you think that 11-13, 27 points, 14 assists, and absolutely dominating the game beginning to end is "workmanlike but unspectacular", then you are definitely in a blind homer rage. Unless by "workmanlike" you mean "MVP quality".

Maybe it wasn't Vince Carter/rim rattling/chest
thumping spectacular, but it certainly was amazing in its own quiet way.

All I can is that from a Wizard's fan's standpoint, I would have cheefully allowed the Suns to substitute any other player in the NBA for Nash last night. Maybe any two players.

Posted by: burke | January 24, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Burke...I'm with ya! Anyone thinking Nash was unspectacular last night just does not know basketball. He dominated the game.

Couple of other points being discussed:

Suns D - maybe not the greatest, but still much better than the Wiz. They close out on jumpshooters fairly well and Amare can be pretty intimidating inside at times. Arenas had a hand in his face all night. Did Nash, Barbosa, Diaw etc...? NO!

Nash's impact - yeah the Suns have decent players, but Nash allows them to play the style they do that makes them ALL better. Without Nash they are a middle of the pack playoff team at best. Maybe not even that good. Remember their rotation only goes 7 deep, which I would not be happy with as a Phoenix fan. Hard to win it all with that short of a bench.

Posted by: Rob P | January 24, 2007 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Just a side note, and I'm not saying this woulda changed the game, but the refs definitely took the air out of the wiz a few times.

Arenas gets burned for a blocking foul when he gets his feet set, daniels and butler draw tons of contact without a call, and phoenix runs a moving screen about as well as anyone. I think the officiating was really uneven.

Posted by: greg | January 24, 2007 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Did anyone else think the officiating was unusually bad last night?

It went both ways and it obviously didn't change the outcome, but those refs seemed overmatched by the speed of the game. Amare's second charge, which I think was his fourth foul, didn't look much like a charge to me. And on Gil's 4th foul, I think, there wasn't any contact at all. Caron obviously didn't like a couple of no calls on his drives and there were 2-3 times when the ref blew his whistle (albeit to make a correct call) far later than normal.

I hope the NBA keeps track of bad games by refs and somehow rewards/punishes the refs for their performances. Or at least I hope the refs are required to watch replays of their calls to see the mistakes made.

Posted by: AC | January 24, 2007 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Suns have gone to the Western Conference Finals two years in a row. Last year they came closer to reaching the finals with Amare out all season, and a whole bunch of injuries and playing only 7.

This year the bench seems more solid and they can go 8 deep and have Amare healthy.

I KNOW the Suns will have all of their legs come April and May, dunno about the Wizards.

Posted by: 761-091 | January 24, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

I really hope this was a signal to Ernie G that we have got to make an upgrade if we wish to make noise. Jamison was COMPLETELY overmatched and was rendered useless. Those 2 turnovers where he threw the ball into Marion's elbows were indicitive of his effectiveness.

Posted by: Bernard King | January 24, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Oh yeah, forgot to mention, Barbosa has really improved this year and when Nash is on the bench the Suns are still able to run their offense when he's got the ball - this was not the case last year and the year before, the usually looked lost whenever Nash was sitting down.

Also, their bench, they can play 8 - thats not counting Jalen Rose. He might come in usefull come playoff time and be able o contribute a few minutes a game.

Posted by: 761-091 | January 24, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

"Arenas got off to a slow start Tuesday against the Suns. He had said he already proved his point about getting ousted from Team USA by scoring 54 points the last time he played the Suns, coached by USA assistant Mike D'Antoni. He says the Blazers are next to feel his wrath with Team USA assistant Nate McMillan. D'Antoni jokes that he can't wait to see how Arenas plays against Duke. "

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/dailydime?page=dailydime-070124

Posted by: 761-091 | January 24, 2007 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Burke/Rob,

All I'm saying is that Nash was being typical Nash (and obviously that's really good). Pick & rolls, give & go's, inside dishes, a couple of outside jumpers. Nothing extraordinarily flashy, not even as good of a game as he had against us when we played back in PHX.

As I said, the most impressive thing was his FG %, but again, I chalk that up to the fact that we just don't defend the interior at all. Five of his makes were in the paint, and four of them were right at the hoop.

But I guess I don't know basketball because I'm not bowing down at the altar on that one. I know when another player is dominating, and last night wasn't domination by a single player. If you want to say that we were dominated as a team by a team, I'll go with that, but I'm going to stand by my assertion about the individual performances.

Posted by: Gack | January 24, 2007 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Joe,

I encourage you to view the shot charts from last night's game and get back to me if you still think the shot selection for PHX is markedly better than the Wiz:

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/shotchart?gameId=270123027

Fact is, The Wiz were cold, and Phoenix was hot. Suns do a much better job of dishing to the open man, while the Wiz still rely too much on iso's, but both teams do plenty of drive-and-kick, and taking long jumpers.

You can also check:
http://www.nba.com/hotzones/

And show total shot attempts/makes/pct by both teams this season, and you'll note that the Wizards actually take more shots in the paint, but the Suns complete more (which seems to indict our big men).

While it is true we take more 18-22 footers (~900 att's by the Wiz vs ~700 for the Suns), both teams rely on 3-pointers (~800 vs ~900 att's), the main difference is the preferred location of said attempts.

There are certainly differences between both team's shot selection, but not nearly as many as you might think - the Wiz and the Suns are worlds more closely aligned, than say, the Wiz and the Magic, for example.

Posted by: Gack | January 24, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

The Wiz are similar to the Suns in the way they like to run and gun w/ defense more or less an afterthought. There are more differences than similarities between the teams though.

The Suns have six players that average 15+ppg and ALL are willing to pass the ball in a wide open offense that spreads the defense out to the corners, allowing their shooters to make teams pay for helping out on Nash's penetration. They don't have great one on one players (except maybe Barbosa), but they don't really need to be, especially b/c Nash is such a good playmaker. This is the beauty and genius of of Mike D'Antoni's offense.

The Wizards counter w/ the Big Three averaging about 70ppg TOTAL. In Gil, the Wiz have one of the best one on one players in the league who can just about take over a game at will. Antawn is a great offensive player that's starting to slow down a bit, but for the most part, he is very effective playing off of Gil. Caron can do so many things well while meshing perfectly with Gil and Antawn.

A few posters have said that if the Wiz's Big Three were really on, last night's game would have been very close. And that's very true, but it's important to point out relying on three players has its consequences for the Wiz, good and bad.

The bad - w/ just three big time contributors, if they're not performing well, it seriously cuts down the chance the Wiz can win games. When Gil struggles, the Wiz have a very hard time compensating for that b/c he is the main threat to score and as a secondary option, to pass. With the Suns, six players that can contribute offensively, even if a couple are off, the others can pick up the slack more readily. Nash, being more of a passer and only a scorer as a secondary option, it is not as crucial when he struggles w/ his shot (of course that has been very rare this season - over 50% FG shooting) compared to Gil. He'll just break you down and pass off to his five other scorers.

Consequently, the good - if all three Wiz players have it going, they are extremely tough to beat. With "only" three having to play well at the same time, as opposed to all six (w/ the Suns), statistically there is a better chance of it happening.

In short, b/c of the reliance on just three players to contribute a huge percentage of the team's offense, their success (or lack thereof) causes major swings in the team's success or failure as opposed to the Suns reliance on six players. This can explain some of the inconsistencies in the Wiz's wins and losses during the last few seasons. The Suns, having six players to run their offense through, the variation between having off nights and hot nights are much less extreme, hence making them more consistent. And with the amount of collective talent they have, it's not hard to see them win consistently.

Apologies for the extremely long post.

Posted by: Going G.A.G.A. over Gilbert | January 24, 2007 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Nice post, GAGA. One extremely enviable aspect of the Suns is the fact that nearly all of their squad is capable of shooting the deep ball well. I think something like 5 or 6 different players nailed a trey last night.

We had 3.

Posted by: Gack | January 24, 2007 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Gack: "Wizards actually take more shots in the paint, but the Suns complete more (which seems to indict our big men)."

Not necessarily. Suns may have more assisted dunks. Judged by the assist differential between Suns and Wizards, that is very likely the case, IMHO.

Posted by: sagaliba | January 24, 2007 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Agreed Gack and GAGA.

Truth is there isn't a whole lot you can do when a team is shooting 60% from the field, and almost 40% from 3 point range (the Suns got cold towards the end--I remember when they were shooting almost 50% from 3 point range). 35 assists too. I'd say the answer is to play some defense, but the bottom line is that the Suns are almost unbeatable when they are on.

Posted by: JP | January 24, 2007 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Gack -- reviewed the shot chart. I stand by what I said. Just because two dots on the shot chart show shots three feet from the basket doesn't mean they are the same shot. One could be (and was last night) an uncontested layup while the other was a contested post up.

Posted by: Joe | January 24, 2007 2:41 PM | Report abuse

sagaliba:

I'm with you on the dunk disparity -- the Suns get a lot of mileage out of Alley-Oops and dish-dunks, whereas it's rare to see the Wiz flush a dunk as part of a play or natural rotation progression. If we dunk, it's usually a solo thing, like with Caron's last night, or the rare putback dunk (I wish Haywood would do that more often).

I can't remember the last time I saw the Wiz complete an alley-oop for a dunk, though.

Joe:

No, it doesn't mean they are the same shot, but it does mean their shot selection is more similar than it is different. Try the Hotzone link I posted, and compare the Wiz and the Suns, and then random other teams like the Cavs, Magic, Spurs, etc. I think you will see the Wiz and Suns a lot more alike than the others.

Posted by: Gack | January 24, 2007 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Gack.

I really like the Suns approach on personnel. The key to being a very successful team is underpaying for good/great talents in the league. ALWAYS try to make deals w/ bad teams. These teams are desperate to change their losing ways and more or less will overpay for certain players that look good on winning teams. So if you're a winning team, your player looks better in their eyes, so you can essentially get a good or better player than you are giving up. And when he joins your team, he has a better chance to become that much better.

Great examples are the Bullets/Wizards players of old (both Wallaces, Webber, Rip, etc...) when they got traded away became all-stars on other teams whereas the new players coming into the Bullets/Wizards had the worst years of their careers. This shows how bad the management/coaching/environment that the Bullets/Wizards had cultivated during those years. Thankfully that's changed recently.

Back to the Suns, look how much a better and clutch player Tim Thomas and James Jones became playing for the Suns compared to their previous team. They are just put in situations where they're more likely to succeed. They also target players that really fit their vision for a successful team.

Grunfeld has had a great history of drafts and making good deals throughout his time in NY, Milwaukee, and here in Washington. He was able to pry Caron away from LA since they had just lost Shaq and was desperate for post help. EG will continue to try to find ways to help improve this team. The structure is obviously there for continued success. Now let's see how he can steal a good player or two from Boston, Charlotte, Atlanta, Philly, Seattle, etc... :D

Posted by: Going G.A.G.A. over Gilbert | January 24, 2007 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Rob P., on one of your earlier posts you mentioned the smallball and how Diaw toasted the Wiz in the post. He did, but IMO, last night was as a good a night as any to try the smallball.

The Wiz needed a spark AND Amare was plagued w/ foul trouble, so the big lineup wasn't needed as much. BUT the dumbest part of that lineup was EJ putting the 6'4" AD on the 6'8" Diaw on both of those postups when he had Jarvis and Jamison on the floor. Obviously neither are as good a defensive player as AD, but then again 4 inches and 40 pounds is too much to make up in the post NO MATTER how good a D you play. If you watch the Suns a lot, you'll notice that not only is Diaw versatile, but that he's also a lot like Caron is - he's one of the few physical guys the Suns have. He gets away w/ grabbing and holding most of the time when defending or setting picks. This is just a really bad matchup to have AD play. Otherwise the smallball ALMOST got them back into the game. It may have been one of the few nights where you could say they scored more than they gave up w/ that lineup ALL YEAR LONG!

Posted by: Going G.A.G.A. over Gilbert | January 24, 2007 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Gack,

The last alley-oop dunk I remember was from Stevenson to Haywood in an away game (when Etan was out with injury, but I do not remember which game). I agree with you, it is far and in between.

One reason for that, is our big men are less athletic than Suns and that our PF Jamison does not like to dunk. The second reason is, our penetrates are less likely to dump off the ball. Both Arenas and Butler like to finish, and they are good at it. But I really wish they can dump off sometimes (may not be an alley-oop, but the big guy can still dunk it).

Butler for instance, often draws charges, and last night, he was frustrated with many no-calls. If they could learn to dump off to the big man in the middle, they would find their going a lot easier. Last night, when Nash penetrated, I can see our big man hesitated in trying to cover him for fear that he would dump off to their big guy that he was guarding.

Another thing about our defense is that we simply do not cover the 3 point line well. People may pick fault with Suns defense, but I do not see Jamison got open much behind 3 point line last night (he was 1 for 2).

Posted by: sagaliba | January 24, 2007 4:05 PM | Report abuse

sagaliba: I went to look up Phoenix' 3pt% allowed, fully expecting them to be in the middle of the pack, but, yeah, they're 6th best in the league there.

BTW, we aren't the worst team at defending the 3 anymore! Now Indy and the Grizz have dropped below us.. :P

Posted by: Gack | January 24, 2007 5:08 PM | Report abuse

sagaliba, dump off to who? Haywood? He and Etan only have a 50% chance of catching the ball if he passes to them the way your describing. They don't exactly have great hands.

Going GaGa, yeah I agree last night would seem to have been a better night to stick with the smallball. EJ is always matching up and often poorly I might add to the other team. Why not throw a lineup out there that makes the other team match up to us? I might have gone "small" with Blatche in the linuep. Thought it would be a good game for him to play decent minutes too!!! AD on Diaw is dumb (I don't recall it being a switch either) and that happens too many times on this team, IMHO.

Posted by: Rob P | January 24, 2007 7:18 PM | Report abuse

If nothing else: Did anyone hear Brendan Haywood's comments to Chick Hernandez last night? I can see why he has a few disagreements with EJ & his teammates.

Hernandez asked his take on the game. Brendan stated: "they played team basketball - everyone involved. The Wiz do one on one depending mainly on one shooter.
He felt if you want to be a championship team - you "have to play team ball"

Hernandez asked Did he think everybody was aware? You are obviously but what about your teammates? I don't know -they should but obviously we don't. We play one on one - with one man gettin his shots..thats not team ball. To play championship ball we gotta play team ball. Not good.

Gilbert does what he does for Gilbert.
He makes the declarations as to what "HE" will do not "our team." "I'll drop 50, etc. He has "Hibachi'd himself - not the Wizards on the NBA page daily. That was his goal. As for Butler? Thank God(a force to reckon with himself) his "game" brings his notariety and fame.

EJ hasn't been all that flowery in his comments about Arenas's quest for stardom either. He plays it down as best he can. What we have is a team not fully prepared at all times but a point with an eye on stardom not team. The Suns are amazing.
Steve Nash - Amazing and yes Gack - they play that way all nite. Amare sat out 3/4's of the game - Nash most of the 4th. The score could have been 135-140 easy. They came for repect not revenge.

Posted by: Robin | January 24, 2007 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Quote of the Day
"We knew that they remember Gilbert yelling 'Hibachi,' scoring 50 and Caron [Butler] yelling after the game. We knew that, so it's a surprise for us to come out and just not play well at all. "
-- Wizards forward Antawn Jamison, on the Suns avenging an earlier loss to Washington

Posted by: Anonymous | January 24, 2007 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Considering the last two few posts - everything isn't kosher in Wizland. Has Gilbert in his quest for stardom irritated his teammates? So far two have spoken out to the press..not good.

Posted by: G | January 24, 2007 7:47 PM | Report abuse

I read a good analysis by Legler on ESPN (which is rare, because 99% of the time, ol' Timmy is spouting total garbage on there) -- basically he said Gil keeps pushing himself to get the respect he feels he isn't getting -- and once he gets there, he'll mature and start thinking about the bigger picture, namely, winning games for and with his team, in pursuit of a championship.

Posted by: Gack | January 24, 2007 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Hey, everyone. Grunfeld is doing a chat on Washpost.com on Thursday. Get your questions in! (You know I already submitted a smallball question.)

P.S. If someone submits a stupid Garnett question, we will find you and beat you.

Posted by: Henry | January 24, 2007 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Ok Henry, I promise no KG questions. But I gotta ask about Gasol. Just did a trade on espn's trade machine with Gasol and Dahntay Jones for Jamison and Garbage Hayes. I say give em the rights to Pecherov, 2 first rounders and make this deal happen.

Posted by: C.Bell | January 24, 2007 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Gack, I gotta correct U on something. Tim Legler is NEVER right. Especially when it comes to the Wizards. I've never seen anyone hold a grudge this bad since Sarah Michelle Gellar! That's why I can't wait to see the game on espn Friday. I hope the Wiz kill em just so I can hear Legler try to spin it into something negative. That's all he does. The first time we beat Phx all he could say was "they're not gonna win a championship giving up that many points". He don't just drink hater-ade, he bootlegs it in his basement!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 24, 2007 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Legler actually wrote in the Suns-Wiz recap that the Suns still have to prove that they can beat the elite in the West... WTF???

He had a quote in there from Jimmy Lynam, too. Just weird. I have no idea why he hates the Wiz so much, but I'm starting to think he's just one of these dbags who just takes the contrary position to the generally accepted reality.

Posted by: Gack | January 24, 2007 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Hey Ivan, I got one for U. Last nite Letoya Luckett was at the game. Can U find out if she was there to root for somebody on Phx (me and my friend both said Amare)? Or is she tryna use her Gilbert Express card. Inquiring minds (or just me) wanna know

Posted by: C.Bell | January 24, 2007 10:51 PM | Report abuse

"P.S. If someone submits a stupid Garnett question, we will find you and beat you."

;)

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | January 24, 2007 11:54 PM | Report abuse

Aw man, it didn't post what I had. :(

Oh well....

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | January 24, 2007 11:55 PM | Report abuse

Arenas was on PTI today in case anyone missed that and he showed Wilbon and Korny how he said "Hibachi" when he made a bucket.

I had to laugh. :)

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | January 24, 2007 11:57 PM | Report abuse

Just repeating what every1 else knows:
we're a perimeter Jump shooting create your own offense team that plays no defense.

Not good enough for the big boys.

Choking during the big games.

Now that I got that out. Lets move on & keep that chip on our shoulders & work @ the craft boys!

Posted by: Victor | January 25, 2007 1:47 AM | Report abuse

Both the Suns and the Wizards have an offensive scheme designed to use the talents of their personnel to the best ability. Phoenix has a superb past-first point guard and a befy of shooters and athletic slashers that function well when catching and shooting/slashing. The Wizards have three stars that are among the best one-on-one players in the league, and a center who's biggest strength is getting offensive rebounds. Both styles are effective; the Suns and Wizards are 1-2 in offensive efficiency. The Wizards offense shouldn't play like the Suns; they don't have the personnel. They should play their offensive style and go with it. It's proven effective thus far.

The problem in this game was that Arenas, Butler, and Jamison were settling for long 2s instead of trying to take the ball to the rim on the designed isos. These long 2s were also coming too early in the shot clock. During Phoenix's 28-8 run in the first quarter, the Wizards only worked the shot clock under 10 three times, which in and of itself isn't a huge problem, because that's how they play. But during that stretch, they only attempted one layup and drew two fouls. That's three possessions during a 20 point run that didn't end in a long jumper.

Phoenix's scheme is desgined to give away the jump shot to some degree. Sure, they contest it, but not so heavily, because the long two is the worst shot you can take in the game (low reward, high risk). Those missed shots lead to long rebounds, which lead to fast breaks. To beat them, you need to slash to the rim for easy hoops. Force them to foul you or relinquish the two. In the first quarter, Arenas, Butler, and Jamison weren't doing that.

The blame therefore has to go on the Big 3 themselves. They just didn't execute the gameplan necessary to beat the Suns. You can overpower them on isos, as the Lakers did in the playoff series. But if you jack up 20 foot jumpers, you're toast.

http://bulletsforever.com/story/2007/1/24/0130/59050

-Pradamaster
Bullets Forever, your Washington Wizards blog
www.bulletsforever.com

Posted by: Pradamaster | January 25, 2007 1:51 AM | Report abuse

I can see that we came out shooting cold, but I think when we are cold we need to lock down on defense.

Take out the first quarter and it is essentially a tie game the rest of the way.

Back to my earlier point on the spacing in transition, maybe it was my eagle eye view from the top of the stadium, but I felt like our spacing on transition defense was not very tight. It's a little thing, but with a passer like Nash who is so capable of keying the offense tightening up our spacing on transition can make a big difference. Let Nash see an open lane and trust haywood et. all to shut that down.

Songaila practices... yeah... i thought some of you knew he wouldn't be back this season.

Posted by: greg | January 25, 2007 2:26 AM | Report abuse

"Songaila practices... yeah... i thought some of you knew he wouldn't be back this season."

He's not in uniform yet, is he? :)

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | January 25, 2007 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Getting back to those comments by Haywood, how many teams actually play or CAN play like the Suns? Like Prada said, you play to the strengths of your personnel. There is only ONE Nash, nobody like him. There is a reason why he's going for his 3rd straight MVP.

You'd wish all point guards could involve everybody like he does, but it takes extraordinary skills and vision to play like he does. Those skills were the result of playing in the league for over a decade and improving it year in and year out. Pass first points are too rare and not the norm for a lot of players growing up. Scoring point guards have been the rage for so many years now and they have had their successes as well. Gil just happens to be one, if not the best scoring point guards in the game. You have an electric talent like Gil and you wanna try to fit his game to that of Nash's? You know the square peg saying...it ain't gonna work.

Everybody has their strengths and weaknesses, take advantage of your team's strengths and try to improve your weaknesses - the Suns and Nash certainly do. The Wiz should continue to do the same.

I certainly acknowledge Haywood's frustration right after the game, but I'm quite disappointed with his comments. It's not professional and it's something that should be discussed in-house. I hope this won't be a big distraction or cancerous for the team.

Posted by: Going G.A.G.A. over Gilbert | January 25, 2007 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Careful, GAGA. Ye shalt not take the name of Haywood in vain here, lest ye be punished by His Worshippers.

Really nice analysis, Prada. One wonders if Eddie establishes set gameplans like this, or simply assigns defensive matchups and has them "run the Princeton", making adjustments when things start getting out of hand?

Got me to thinking about the whole "player's coach" vs "disciplinarian" thing, and whether EJ is really able to say to someone like Gilbert during practice, "hey, I know you're the leading scorer in the league and just knocked down ten 26-footers in a row, but maybe you ought to penetrate and dish to a cutter more"...

Posted by: Gack | January 25, 2007 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Gaga:
Haywood didn't say that Gil needs to play like Nash. He said there is too much one-on-one action, which is absolutely true. And more to the point, that is what Jordan preaches. Recall Jordan telling Ivan to ask Butler after the Knicks game whether good things happen when you share the ball. So Haywood was not off on his own complaining about the team's style of play, he was echoing the philosophy of his best buddy, Coach Jordan.

Posted by: Sean | January 25, 2007 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Robin,

Is your post all quotes from Haywood or some are your own comments? Especially the part after "He makes the declarations as to what 'HE' will do not 'our team' ...

If Haywood really said that, then it is quite inappropriate.

I also noticed one thing for a long time. When a player shot (or missed) the first free throw, and was waiting for the second one, other teammates usually would go up and give a low-five or some kind of acknowledgement, but Haywood and Etan never did that. I've always wondered about that.

Posted by: sagaliba | January 25, 2007 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Whats does Tim Leglar know about winning a Championship? What did he win one on Playstation?

Posted by: dc | January 25, 2007 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Great question sagaliba, I took those remarks as actually Haywood's. I could be wrong, but it flowed w/ the rest of what he said. All he did was call Gil out on that part.

Sean, not sure on EJ preaching the one on one isos, I would say maybe more resigned b/c of the team's strength's. Obviously being a proponent of the Princeton, he'd (as many more here) would LOVE to see more passing, movement, and cutting but it's just one of the things the team has to learn thru experience and maturation. AI went thru much of the same predicament Gil is.

Gack, I share your sentiment on EJ's players' coach label. IMO, a players' coach allows a player to blossom and showcase his skills but a disciplinarian coach REFINES a good or great player's skills to the next level. I too worry that EJ will not and CAN NOT be overly critical of Gil or any *star* player. I just don't think it's in him. EVENTUALLY, Gil IS going to NEED that type of coach in order for him to maximize his potential as a player in the NBA.

Posted by: Going G.A.G.A. over Gilbert | January 25, 2007 11:34 AM | Report abuse

I read that part of Robin's post as being his thoughts, not Haywood's. If Haywood actually said those things, I think we would be reading about them in the Post, seeing commentary on Comcast, etc.
Did anyone tape the postgame show, and can you post a transcript of that interview so we actually know what we are talking about? Thanks!

Posted by: Steve | January 25, 2007 11:37 AM | Report abuse

sagaliba, about Haywood/Thomas not doing low-fives: big man's prerogative. They don't have to move if they don't want to.

Anybody remember when the compulsive hand-slapping at the foul line began? I don't remember that back in, say, the Magic/Bird era.

I think it's kind of funny: you have this game that's moving at mind-boggling speed with bursts of insane athleticism, and then in the middle of it, there's this little piece of social awkwardness: "Should I slap hands? Fist bump? Oh, man, he doesn't see my hand out. Yo, don't leaving me hanging here. Now I'm going to have to go up to him and force him to notice so that I'm not embarrassed. I can't believe Caron didn't bump me. Is he mad at me for not passing the ball enough?..."

Posted by: burke | January 25, 2007 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Sagaliba

They wrote were Haywood's comments to Hernandez. The fact that his teammates Thomas, Haywood & Jamison "say these things to the press." With all the trouble in Philly and Dallas - only one player from Dallas commented on T.O.'s actions. Declaring "I'll drop 60 or whatever on a team? Then can't deliver... I don't know about anybody else but to me - No Good.

I've not played pro ball but in reading Sam Smith's "The Jordan Rules" The Bulls were not able to fully achieve until Phil Jackson got inside M.J.'s head & programed him that he will "pass the ball." Only after watching one Knick player try to win the game himself - rackin up points yet loss to the Bulls - Did M.J. finally get it. He didn't get it perfectly but he learned to lean on Pippen, Wennington, Armstrong - he didn't like Kucoc. Thus the 1996 championship. Phil got in their heads.

Posted by: Robin | January 25, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse


anyone else doing some premature around-the-conference scoreboard watching? some seemingly positive results for the Wizards - both long-term for playoff positioning and short-term for EJ getting to coach the all-star game - last night. (i say seemingly because it's too early to tell whether a team like indy winning over miami is in the wizards' best interest).

cavs lose to philly at home.
miami loses shaq's first game back at indy.
sacto beat the bucks (who are now way, way back at 17-25).
and the nets lost at golden state.

Posted by: AC | January 25, 2007 12:16 PM | Report abuse

I enjoyed the chat yesterday gents. I did notice how any trade suggestions were summarily dismissed. I pose this question to our esteemed writing tandem: what would YOU do to prevent this team from being an also-ran that can never get over the hump because it's tragically flawed?

Titles are precious. They are hard to get. Just ask the eagles (Thank God). Things can happen so quickly in pro sports to disrupt a team (Jamison opts out, an injury etc.). What is to stop us from being the Celtics of a few years ago (pierce and walker, a couple 2nd rounds and then bupkas)? How can we not do anything we can to get that missing piece!?!?!?

Gasol? Kirilenko? A real NBA power forward? Why can other teams do it and not us?

Posted by: Bernard King | January 25, 2007 12:20 PM | Report abuse

I'm not one to go around raining on parades -- OK, sometimes I rain on parades, though I do not enjoy it -- but this magical Wizards season will crash unless they add depth. Right now, Washington has one decent two-way player off the bench, Antonio Daniels, and even he is on the decline. Etan Thomas is a fine high-energy fill in, but he is inept offensively and knows it. Jarvis Hayes is the only other guy who gets minutes, but he is shooting 38.9 percent. If I'm Ernie Grunfeld, I'd be very active at the trade deadline, even if it means parting with some youth, such as Andray Blatche or last year's draftee, Oleksiy Pecherov. With the East as weak as it is, the Wiz have a chance to torch their way into the Finals, but not with the bench they have.

Posted by: SD | January 25, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse

GACK:
"Legler actually wrote in the Suns-Wiz recap that the Suns still have to prove that they can beat the elite in the West... WTF???"

They kinda do, that is why I'm not sold on the Suns reaching the finals. 0-2 against the Mavs and 0-1 agsinst the Spurs this year.

1-3 against the Spurs the last 2 years and 1-4 in the WCF 2 years ago.

lost the WCF against the Mavs 4-2 last year. I think it was 2-2 in the regular season last year.

I'm not worried about the Lakers, in a 7 game series they are better.

The Mavs are playing the best basketball right now. They can play up-tempo or slow the game down, which is what they do when they play against the Suns.

Posted by: 761-091 | January 25, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

I've been trying to post questions for Grunfeld's chat, but he is notoriously tight-lipped, and won't reveal much of anything. So it's hard to ask a question that he won't avoid or will answer with a blah non-answer. He should be the White House Press Secretary. He is the Chinese food of GMs -- 30 minutes later, you're still hungry (for information).
Any good ideas for questions?

Posted by: Henry | January 25, 2007 1:27 PM | Report abuse

I love Jamison's production almost every night, but I for one, would trade that 20/9 production for a really good sized defensive PF that can get us 10/12 instead on a nightly basis. Of course, big guys like that are not the easiest to find. In his prime, Kurt Thomas, was so underappreciated but he would have fit in extremely well on this team.

When you have your 4 and 5 protecting the paint and not needing help constantly, the perimeter players will concentrate on playing defense on their own perimeter opponents as opposed to worrying about someone posting up and vice versa. You can't win championships w/o playing defense especially during crunch time. Like everyone, I hope Pech, Blatche, or Veremeenko will fill that role soon.

Posted by: Going G.A.G.A. over Gilbert | January 25, 2007 1:27 PM | Report abuse

This is for Michael Lee. I completely agree with Bernard King and I was disappointed with Michael Lee's mightier-than-though looking down on reader suggestions regarding trades. Who are you? So you were on the Kobe beat for a few years and now you're the man? AI talks to you in a press scrum and you're better than everyone? FYI- you came across as a jerk to people that read your "chat" yesterday. You're not Tony Kornheiser or Michael Wilbon and you haven't earned the right to be condescending because no one even knows you. I appreciate the fact that you are going out of your way to do these blogs etc. but I wouldn't alienate your readership.

Posted by: The Governor | January 25, 2007 2:02 PM | Report abuse

prada, once again great analysis:
"
In short, b/c of the reliance on just three players to contribute a huge percentage of the team's offense, their success (or lack thereof) causes major swings in the team's success or failure as opposed to the Suns reliance on six players. This can explain some of the inconsistencies in the Wiz's wins and losses during the last few seasons. The Suns, having six players to run their offense through, the variation between having off nights and hot nights are much less extreme, hence making them more consistent. And with the amount of collective talent they have, it's not hard to see them win consistently."

The Wiz are still a work in progress. The offense is still predicated on passing the ball around @ the top of the 3 point arc to all 5 players & then pick & rolls to the big 3 leading to a jump shot usually. And if all fails, then 1 on 1 from Gil, Caron, or Antawn.

When they swing it around like the Suns during the early part of the 3rd vs Boston (be4 the meltdown), there is no question the potential is there (when DeShawn gets to shoot a spotup is when they've done a good job!). But the 1 on 1 mindset of the Big3 & EJ's lack of adjustments & not benching guys for not playing the system will always be an impediment.

But hey, these are all signs of a growing winning team. I'm sure the Suns had all their warts pointed out the last 2-3 years during their ascension.

Gotta run to Ernie's chat STAT!

Posted by: Victor | January 25, 2007 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Can the Wizards imitate the Suns model without Steve Nash? (A rhetorical question--I think the answer is no).

I think the Wizards have to develop an uptempo style around their strengths.

As a secondary question:

What is the common denominator of the teams who have had success against Phoenix--LA Clippers (two wins), Utah (two wins), Dallas (two wins), Seattle (one win), San Antonio (one win), Washington (one win)?

At least part of the answer seems to be that these teams win the rebounding battle consistently and keep opponents off the boards, and they have high shooting percentages.

Posted by: JP | January 25, 2007 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Governor: not that Ivan or Michael needs me defending them, but I'm 100% with them on dissing trade talk. This is boring fantasy-league stuff.

There are a zillion different fantasy trades you can propose, and all of them are boring. Jamison for KG, Jamison for Kirilenko, Kwame for a can of tuna fish, blah, blah, blah.

Really, what is there of interest to say about any trade proposal? "Uhh, Roger Mason for Shaq and Wade put together? Yeah, that'd be a good one...". Whatever.

Unless you're a GM and are talking to other GMs, and have some clue about who's actually available,
what is possible given salary implications, etc., talking trades is just pointless.

Posted by: burke | January 25, 2007 3:00 PM | Report abuse

JP is right re: grabbing boards. There is just no excuse for poor rebounding. We can talk about bad defense, but rebounding is maybe the easiest of all fundamental basketball skills to develop. It takes only energy, guts, and a *teeny* bit of basketball knowledge and experience.

Sure, it means you might be late running down the floor on the break, but IMO, you look at a guy like David Lee and realize that he's waxing you on the boards? It says only one thing, that you are lazy, or just have no heart.

Sure, there are freaks of nature like D-Howard who may outmuscle you for a board, but if you can get position, box out, and work hard on the glass, you're going to get trips to the line, garbage putbacks, posession-savers, and you'll have the side benefit of racking up fouls on the other team and wearing down their players.

Posted by: Gack | January 25, 2007 3:19 PM | Report abuse

BTW, if PHX played us like they did the Knicks, is there any doubt we win the game?

Posted by: Gack | January 25, 2007 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Gack , The Knicks games was the second game of a back to back after the Knicks got blown out by a Miami team without Wade or Shaq thereby ensuring a motivated and rested team for the Suns to play - yet the Suns still won. The SUNS BLEW OUT the Wiz - get over it. BTW the SUNS only lost the 1st game because they got snowed in Denver and arrived at the arena 2 hours before game time with the Wiz waiting in town for a couple of days. Do ya think the Wiz woulda won if the Wiz had arrived only 2 hrs. before game time ? Your hate of the suns has made you delusional.

Posted by: Mike | January 25, 2007 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Mike!

Notice the Suns back to back to back on the road yesterday. They rolled into NY beat the Knicks but the staggering thing is the Knicks -who lost to D.C. only lost about 5 points. They probably won't take it all but they keep basketball exciting.
Now we'll have Denver.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 25, 2007 4:17 PM | Report abuse

LOL @ Mike, way to totally go ad hominem and insert the first WAS-PHX game AND the red herring "snowstorm" excuse. As I recall, the Wiz weren't exactly sitting around for a week resting. Gosh, I think we were even on the back-end of a backto-back, something you just used to defend the Suns by?

And I don't hate the Suns at all, far from it, so I don't understand that comment. You may be misinterpreting my disappointment with Tuesday's game, or the fact that I'm more impressed with the depth of Phoenix' bench than the single-game performance of Nash in that game.

But really, I think if I'm gonna hate some teams, it's the Cavs and the Lakers. Thanks for playing, though.

BTW, am I supposed to be happy my team lost or something? Is that how it is now, we have to bash our team because we're not the Phoenix Suns or Dallas Mavs? Must I bow my head in unworthiness and fawn over Bryant, Nowitski, and Nash, and start referring to our conference as "The Least"?

It really is starting to feel like the Redskins Insider blog in here sometimes. Good Lord.

Posted by: Gack | January 25, 2007 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Talk about delusional! The Wiz's game w/ the Suns was a back to back on the road from Sactown. No hatred here - all the credit goes to the Suns for showing up the Wiz on Tuesday, but don't talk like the Suns played poorly and were tired in that game at Phx.

Posted by: Going G.A.G.A. over Gilbert | January 25, 2007 4:25 PM | Report abuse

You're insane GAGA, first you dare to question The Haywood, now you're agreeing with me (at least partially). Mind your manners!

Say three Hail Dirks and repent your sins.

Posted by: Gack | January 25, 2007 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Gack , you may not appreciate Nash's game but Gilbert does . You'll excuse me if I put more stock in Agent zeros opinion than yours considering he actually plays the game and is the best player on your team. Nash has had three different teams in the last 3 years and the result is the same - two division titles and likely a third. Only 3 players remain from his 1st year in Phoenix , Amare ,Marion and Barbosa. Last year they got to the conference finals without Amare , Kurt Thomas , and a gimpy Raja Bell.This year with Amare healthy they're 34-8 and the common thread in all 3 years is Nash . Don't dis him because he's not sensational but the suns only play the way they do because of him. If you watch any suns games at all you'll notice that the offence really slows down when he's on the bench. They don't go on any 20 or 30 point runs without him on the floor. Take it from Greg Popovich who calls Nash "the head of the snake" The Suns may have "depth" but the guy that makes it work is Nash.

Posted by: Mike | January 25, 2007 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Jesus Mike, get a grip man. All I said was that Nash's game Tuesday was solid and workmanlike and not "spectacular" or "dominating" as some have portrayed it.

If you'll look to my last post I said AGAIN that I was impressed with the Suns as a team but NOT Nash's all around game on Tuesday. And if you recall, the Suns actually kept the lead (and IIRC even added a few points to it) while Nash rested in the first half.

Nash is an excellent point, maybe the best of our generation. His TEAM destroyed the Wizards. Tuesday night was not one man singlehandedly dissassembling another team.

Seriously, next time you want to have a good-natured debate, maybe try actually responding to what I've actually written, not whatever agenda you're trying to push. kthxbye.

Posted by: Gack | January 25, 2007 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Not that I plan on further beating this brutalized equine, but in that last reply I meant to write something more like this:

"I was impressed with the Suns as a team, but nothing about Nash's all around game on Tuesday was particularly dominating, in my opinion"

Was trying to finish my post while the wife was calling me :P

Posted by: Gack | January 25, 2007 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Hate to say it, but Michael should have a right to shoot down most trade proposals. There are very few teams who have even a remote interest in Antawn Jamison and his 16 million dollar contract. It would have been nice if he explained in calm terms why Jamison is not desirable to any team, but the fact of the matter is he's not going anywhere.

Here's why Jamison isn't going anywhere.

-He's on the wrong side of 30
-He has a horrendous contract (16 million through 08)
-He doesn't play D, and he's too slow to play the 3
-He gets overpowered as a traditional 4
-He's looked exhausted recently
-He's a player that has maxed out because of the Wizards system.

Think about it. The Wizards are a perimeter oriented team that shoots a lot of shots, particularly jumpers. Long misses lead to long rebounds, making it less important to have a physical, traditional 4 man. Jamison's still very crafty with those types of rebounds. He has developed a solid 3 point shot, but on a team that's more traditional stylistically, he'll be eaten alive on both ends.

Utah already stinks defensively with Kirilenko, so why would they want a guy like Jamison who can't defend anyone? Not to mention that Jamison is 7 years older than AK47 and still has a comporable contract. Utah could use more depth, not a Jamison type. If AK47 is traded, it'll be for younger pieces.

Memphis has no use for Jamison either. They're going to a youth movement, so what good would he be? They're hoping the bulk of their rebuilding happens this offseason, and Jamison's contract isn't officially up until next offseason. He's not going to opt out and leave 16 million on the table this year. Considering that Gasol is younger, better, cheaper, and more marketable, it's just not going to happen. Memphis would rather get young pieces and expiring contracts, things the Bulls have in excess.

Again, I think it would have been nice for Michael to explain this, but there's no way Jamison is getting traded. It's simply a waste of energy and time to talk about it.

-Pradamaster
Bullets Forever, your Washington Wizards blog
www.bulletsforever.com

Posted by: Pradamaster | January 25, 2007 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Prada, again an excellent, excellent post with thorough points on Jamison. Thanks for putting some of us wishful thinkers back to reality on those trade scenarios. It can certainly be exasperating reading about those extremely slanted trade combinations many fans throw out. It isn't realistic and it's not going to happen.

I'll say let EG do his thing. Victor said it best recently, "The Wiz are still a work in progress." Rome wasn't built in one day...

Posted by: Going G.A.G.A. over Gilbert | January 26, 2007 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Victor, thanks for the great summary. Somehow you tied it all up so succintly whereas in my post it seemed I rambled on and on... lol I need to work on cutting to the chase.

Posted by: Going G.A.G.A. over Gilbert | January 26, 2007 8:31 AM | Report abuse

GAGA:

"Talk about delusional! The Wiz's game w/ the Suns was a back to back on the road from Sactown. No hatred here - all the credit goes to the Suns for showing up the Wiz on Tuesday, but don't talk like the Suns played poorly and were tired in that game at Phx"


But also remember the Suns were stuck in Denver for 3 days due to the snowstorm and got to Pheonix 2.5 hours BEFORE the game. They got to the arena 2 hours before game time.

Rested? Probably, but probably a bit out of sync, who knows how much practice they got in while being stuck in Dnever.

Posted by: Vic | January 26, 2007 12:28 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company