No Butler or Jamison and a slow start

If you're watching the game, you already know: Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison are not playing again tonight. Butler was officially active, meaning his was eligible to play but at some point in the 15 or so minutes leading up to the tip, the team determined that his lower back was not ready go. The decision to deactivate Jamison was made at least an hour before the game.

I watched Antawn shoot for a good 15 minutes during pre-game. He was wearing a brace on that left knee and looked pretty mobile while draining shots but because I didn't see him moving, cutting or putting his body on anyone, I can't say for sure where he's at. The word is that he'll go Friday night against Atlanta. Butler isn't sitting on the team bench so I don't know how he's doing. I'll try to catch him after the game.

Other news: The team released C James Lang and signed former GW star Mike Hall to a 10-day contract. Hall went to camp with the team and saw action during the preseason but was the final cut after getting slowed up by a knee sprain. He was playing for Tulsa in the D-League.

By Ivan Carter |  February 28, 2007; 7:22 PM ET
Previous: Wiz make it, Butler out | Next: Butler and Jamison practice and will play Friday night

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Ivan, can you PLEASE tell me why they are not playing Jamison? He says he is ready....he's practicing...and we desperately needed him last night and tonight with Caron out....especially tonight. We could have won tonight if either Butler or Jamison had played.

Posted by: Lisa | February 28, 2007 9:39 PM

HIBACHIIIIIIIIIIIII!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well, I guess I incorrectly predicted that Les Boules would win. Oooops.

One play during the 2nd quarter pretty much summed up what's wrong with Les Boules. With 20 seconds left in the 2nd quarter, Gilby (3-18, 0-8 from 3 pts, 4 assists) gets the ball and proceeds to milk the clock until he makes a move towards the basket.

Most teams, at least those with good structured offenses, run a play to find get the best shot. Unforunately for Gilby, the ball gets stolen during his move and it's egg on Gilby's face. At least Posey missed the dunk, but gotta give credit to Jarvis for his hustle to contest the shot.

On the bright side, Les Boules have a softer schedule coming up where they'll be playing Atlanta (2x), Golden State, and New York.

Posted by: DC Man88 | February 28, 2007 10:08 PM

My...how is Gilbert Arenas supposed to heat up his hibachi grill without having 2 great scorers being out there and spread the defense? A lot of pressure is being held on Hayes and Stevenson because they know they need to help out with the scoring load, and I don't think both of them are ready to do that yet. I don't know when Hayes will ever be able to sink shots consistenly again, but if he develops himself more as a defensive player being able to grab rebounds and contest shots like a block he had on Kapono, I think he'd fit a lot better. Right now though, he can't sink a shot to save his life and we're getting restless.

Posted by: Will | March 1, 2007 12:42 AM

Is there any reason why Lang couldn't have been sent down to the D League instead of cut?

Posted by: Jake | March 1, 2007 1:15 AM

I think missing Caron and AJ allows the opposing team to double down on Gilbert when he drives to the hole, but there's really no excuse for Gilby to miss wide open 3's. I mean, he was 0-8 last night from 3, and 1-11 a few nights ago from 3. That has nothing to do with Caron and AJ not being in the lineup.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 1, 2007 7:00 AM

If were gonna sign Mike Hall to a ten-day then why not use him? Last night was probably too soon, but next game they should put him in and see what he can do...he's certainly better than Arvis.

Posted by: Wizzy | March 1, 2007 8:07 AM

gil has been taking way too many ill advised 3s lately. Killing momentum half the time.

Yes, caron and jamison out hurts him a lot but not to the point that he needs to jack up 3s. If he is the only thread on the court and is getting doubles SOMEBODY should be open for an uncontested shot.

Posted by: riskus | March 1, 2007 8:39 AM

"Gilby" is is just about the stupidest nickname ever. Unless you're a preteen girl (or want to sound like one), I'd move on to "Gil", "Gilbert", "Arenas"--there are options. I'm just sayin'...

Posted by: Anonymous | March 1, 2007 8:58 AM

This has been a tough stretch for the Wizards. Came out of the Allstar break with two good solid wins. Were in the Bulls game until mid 4th. And then they got caught in weather and spent 12 hrs. on bus and plane getting to Minn. from Chicago.
Not many options til Butler and Jamison get healthy. Growing up on a farm you learn that scurges come and scurges go. You can do everything right, plant your crops take care of everything the way it should be and then along come locusts or grasshoppers and destroy everything.
Funny thing about locust and grasshoppers they really don't eat your whole crop they actually just crap on everything so nothing is left that is fit for human beings to consume. They just move through and leave a path of destruction in their wake. In the old days farmers used to burn their fields behind them because everything left behind was so dirty and vile.
But then everything is ok after they're gone. I think the Wizards will be a better team than before when AJ and Butler get back. Starting at the Portland game Every team has played a similar defensive set. Everyone is sliding a step or so off their man to limit Gil's drives, they're challenging the other shooters to shoot and the realize Gil's the only real scoring option.
The good news is the team is concentrating much better on D. Tempo has been a problem because AJ isn't there on the boards and we can't get out and run. Offensively AJ is our really low post scorer. With out a low post threat and lack of three point shooting to spread the floor teams can make small adjustments to get Gil off his game.
So like on the farm things will get better when the grasshoppers and locusts are gone!

Posted by: GM | March 1, 2007 8:58 AM

""Gilby" is is just about the stupidest nickname ever. Unless you're a preteen girl (or want to sound like one), I'd move on to "Gil", "Gilbert", "Arenas"--there are options. I'm just sayin'..."

I hear you. I only call him "Gilby" as a way to address someone who's pretty much a goofball....not a term of endearment by any stretch.

Krusty the clown....Dubya is called Bushy sometimes....Clinton is called Slick Willy....Gilby the wannabe great...you get it...

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 1, 2007 9:08 AM

With CB and AJ, you have 3 great weapons which let you overcome a lot of issues. Without them the overall weakness in terms of team execution gets exposed by tougher and better organized teams like Chicago and Miami.

Interesting discourse on grasshoppers. I thought I was reading Scientific American for a moment (a brief moment).

Posted by: Mitch | March 1, 2007 9:11 AM

I just wish old bumpkins would just stick to their promises:

"This has become stranger than fiction and I really don't see the point in participating in a Wizard's Fan Site where I'm mocked for owning season tickets. Thank you to those that have engaged in a thoughtful exchange of ideas."

I guess with old age comes memory loss. With how the season has gone on after the ASW, I guess it must not be too bad being an old bumpkin with a bad memory, especially with Lefty having taken your missus back to your barn while you're doing the team's laundry.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 1, 2007 9:13 AM

Didn't we establish that there's a winning team who already has Deron Williams (or, alternatively, there are lots of teams who don't have anybody named "Gilby" on the roster) and are always looking for "thoughtful" posters?

Posted by: Gack | March 1, 2007 9:19 AM

Maybe if I was an old bumpkin living in Utah with my 10 wives locked in the barn, then maybe I'd cheer for Utah.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 1, 2007 9:23 AM

Keep in mind, all you die hard Gilby fans, that if your superstar, the one whom you seem to pin all your basketball hopes and dreams on, actually played like a superstar, and carried this team, without having excuses such as other players being out or focus on Defense, then there would be no ammo.

Focus your anger on the person whom you are bankrolling with your season ticket monies to pay for his parties, Ferraris, etc., not me. I'm sure the sellout crowd last night appreciated their money well spent. They were better off staying home and watching the Terps game.

When you're like Arenas and you bring all this attention to yourself with your self hype and your self promotion, then make sure you can handle the criticism that comes with it when you don't produce. Shaq didn't give Gilby respect during ASW, and nothing done last night changed his perception. None of the champions out there have ever made excuses. Gilby's got time, but he needs to step it up because the opportunity is right in front of him.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 1, 2007 9:35 AM

IC and Michael,

Any word on Ruffin? Is he ok? Word was that he experienced dizziness a couple of days ago. Was it serious?

I hope all is well with him. He may not be the most skilled baller out there, but he's a first class guy.

Nick

Posted by: Nick | March 1, 2007 10:00 AM

Everyone PLEASE just ignore him. Pass over his remarks and keep going. It's generally just an attack on Gilbert, a shout out to Jarvis, and/or derogatory remarks made to one of us anyway.

Posted by: Lisa | March 1, 2007 10:03 AM

i was at the game last night (first time since jamison's injury) and was curious to hear how the fans are reacting to the slump.

in short, they were pretty positive -- as good as could be expected in what was a really ugly performance. a few quiet mutterings over gilbert's shot selection and jarvis, the usual 10% opposition fans (thanks suze), and one guy yelling "mason and taylor". but no kwame-style moaning. it seems the fans, like the team, are trying to stay positive and hope the scourge passes soon.

Posted by: mike | March 1, 2007 10:07 AM

thoughts from the game:

1. where's antonio?

2. nice to see mason's good play continuing

3. songaila had an off night

4. eddie jordan gets a star in my book for making the switch to pressure the ball and get the heat out of their walk-it-up, dump-to-shaq offense. it gave us a boost when it looked like it might be a blowout early.

5. agree that gilbert just about played within himself. he's never going to be jason kidd, but he didn't really force that many shots.

6. jarvis was actually having a pretty decent all-around game last night, but then right when we were making a run in the 4th, who should pop up with 2 wince-inducing airballs? this guy just kills rallies -- it's uncanny. he makes cal cheaney look like robert horry.

7. i would like to more booth. not a lot, just some.

Posted by: mike | March 1, 2007 10:14 AM

at least one of those airballs was a wide open look...less jarvis, more mason, more games against the hawks...

Posted by: CreditZard | March 1, 2007 10:23 AM

Mike,

Antonio played last night...

Posted by: Lisa | March 1, 2007 10:38 AM

"Everyone PLEASE just ignore him. Pass over his remarks and keep going. It's generally just an attack on Gilbert, a shout out to Jarvis, and/or derogatory remarks made to one of us anyway."

Lisa, why don't you take some of your own advice and stop being so preoccupied with me.

BTW, I think AB has some real potential too, but too bad he doesn't have a PG that'll get him the ball. If EJ is going to sit AD out, why not sit Gilby out too!

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 1, 2007 10:49 AM

DC Man, there are 2 players alive in the whole world who are capable of consistently winning games with the personnel we had available last night: Dwayne Wade and Kobe. That's it.

All this is proving to me, is that our supporting players are way below what is needed for us to really be a good team.

Gilbert is a star, but not a superstar. He's not MJ, he's not even Iverson but is it fair to compare him? Not even a little. He is what he is. Holding him to that kind of standard and complaining that he isn't the best player in the world capable of lifting a group of children, re-treads, and under-talented slobs to wins single-handedly is a joke.

You could put any other comparable star in his place and we still wouldn't beat people. Michael Redd, Ray Allen, Joe Johnson, none of them could make Brendan Haywood and Donnell Taylor into Parish and Dennis Johnson.

Posted by: Bernard King | March 1, 2007 10:51 AM

For those who attended the game, what was the reaction/vibe from the crowd when Gilby got his pocket picked clean right before halftime while he was making his move against Posey?

I think Songaila had a decent workman's night, but spent most of it on the defensive end. He was mixing it up big time with Zo and Udonis, and nobody else was even close to stepping up to those two guys. He got 6 pts, 5 rebs, 3 blks, and 2 steals for just playing 19 minutes.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 1, 2007 10:55 AM

"Michael Redd, Ray Allen, Joe Johnson, none of them could make Brendan Haywood and Donnell Taylor into Parish and Dennis Johnson."

Bernard,

I don't expect Gilby to be MJ. But I do expect him to do more than just shoot 3-18, 0-8 from 3, and 3 assists. This is not one game, but a very long stretch. He was a nonfactor last night. Other guys are stepping up their game (Mason and DS).

I'm glad you mentioned Redd, Johnson, and Ray Allen, b/c those are some of the most unassuming guys out there who produce. I mean, even AI used to carry his team, and never hyped himself up as much as Gilby does.

I think Gilby holds himself up to that high standard, and sells it to us that he can. If he didn't mouth off about wanting to get revenge and score 50 on Portland, or wishing he could take a season off and play Duke once so he could score 80 on them, then he'd draw less attention to himself, but that's what he loves, attention, so he's getting it now also when he's slumping.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 1, 2007 11:02 AM

It has to be clear to everyone that Gilbert is hurting. With few exceptions his outside shooting has been horrendous since he hurt his shoulder about 6-8 weeks ago. The games he scored well have been from driving to the hoop and getting free throws. This is not a slump! It is inconceivable that he could shoot this poorly for so long. And so many of his wide open shots are not even close to going in. I feel the team should address it in some way...has he been diagnosed with any specific injury? Should he sit for a few game after Jamison and Butler get back? It certainly doesn't seem to be getting any better by playing and the question is what does this mean for the next crucial month?

Posted by: amg | March 1, 2007 11:04 AM

Please, can Arenas update his blog again or do more interviews while the Wiz are slipping down the standings faster than he can say "hibachi?"

Posted by: 761-091 | March 1, 2007 11:06 AM

"Gilbert is a star, but not a superstar."

I think that's fair. But I'm going to add how many players at Gil's age are genuine "superstars?"

Very, very, short list and I think Kobe and D-Wade are in that group. Tim Duncan maybe? Shaq before him?

If things don't improve when Jamison comes back then Washington has something to worry about. Again, the worst thing they could do is rush him back.

My question is if he doesn't need surgery then why is he wearing a brace?

I never thought the Wiz would make a push to win everything this year, but next year and the year after could be very interesting.

If nothing else the injuries have weeded out who can play and who cannot. I'd really like them to play Blatche more, but for whatever reason broken knee Jarvis Hayes is on the floor more often then not. And Booth continues to sit. Jordan needs to stop being over-loyal to certain players and put the best line-up on the floor every night and he's not doing that.

His rotations are just horrid even with the injuries.

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | March 1, 2007 11:12 AM

I couldn't agree with U more Ray. That man has no rhyme or reason to his rotations. My dad swears Eddie only subs because the other team subs. BK, Gilbert is a superstar. He has a coach who doesn't know how to control him. You mentioned that Wade and Kobe could win with our personnel, but what about with our coach? Those guys have coaches who know how to handle superstars. Even Lebron suffers from not having the right coach. It takes a certain type of coach, someone with a strong personality to handle these players. Look around the league. Dirk has Avery. T-Mac has Van Gundy. Duncan and Manu has Popavich. Hell, Pop don't even start Manu at times! And you can even go back to the days when Byron Scott was in Jersey. He took that team to back to back Finals. The only exception to this rule is Steve Nash; who is a coach in his own way.

Posted by: C.Bell | March 1, 2007 11:34 AM

Another thing that bothers me is the lack of effort this team plays with. Or should I say intensity. The Heat played like a championship team (even without Wade) while the Wiz played like a team who already secured home court advantage or something. No energy. No sense of urgency. No intensity (not even from the coaches or the bench). This team lacks a killer instinct.

Posted by: C.Bell | March 1, 2007 11:49 AM

I think EJ handled or is handling the Gilby situation pretty well. Here's a direct quote from him in today's Post:

"We shared the basketball, we played the right way, we competed, we were physical and active," Jordan said. "It just wasn't enough because we couldn't make shots."

"Gil's taking this the right way," Jordan said. "He's carrying this whole franchise on his shoulders right now. He's finding his teammates and we had open looks as a result of Gil playing a good floor game. Sometimes he feels compelled -- and he's correct -- that he has to beat double teams if nobody's making shots, that he has to beat triple teams. And he's getting hit out there, there are a lot of calls that should probably be made for him and yet he's playing the right way, he's focused. We can't ask anything more of him."

Whether or not these quotes are believable is another story, but EJ's not going to get down hard on Arenas and certainly if he does, won't be taking it public anymore. EJ will ruin his career by going against the team's star.

Here are some quotes from everybody's favorite sports writer, Wilbon:

"On a night when Shaq went for 23 points and 10 rebounds, Arenas shot 3 for 18 in yet another performance at home where he didn't come up with the goods when challenged by a legit contender."

"Miami can shoot 41.8 percent, as it did last night, and win because they can lock down defensively and take a game. The Wizards aren't going to win many games shooting 35.8 percent, as they did last night, because they can't play that kind of defense.""

"Jordan made a very savvy coaching move after the game when he talked publicly about how Arenas has been playing within the offense, not taking crazy shots, and taking special care to find his teammates when he is double-covered."

"Arenas missed 15 of 18 shots last night. He missed all eight of his three-point attempts. He missed open jumpers, layups, you name it. The Hibachi is in desperate need of some coals. Arenas was so ineffective that the Wizards wound up looking to DeShawn Stevenson and Roger Mason to make shots down the stretch, and that's not the formula to break a losing streak."

And for you die hards who keep talking about Caron and AJ coming back, here's EJ:

"Asked about getting Butler and Jamison back, Jordan said, "Even if the cavalry comes riding in, it doesn't guarantee you're going to get a win. Quite frankly, the guys are going to be rusty coming back.""

Posted by: Dc Man88 | March 1, 2007 12:46 PM

A funny quote from Ivan on today's Post Chat:

"When that J isn't falling, Gilbert almost has look like he doesn't know what to do."

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 1, 2007 1:02 PM

Ivan Carter: Gilbert asked for the shoe deal, the commercials, the starting spot in the All Star game, the attention, the adulation, the party, the rep etc. Basically, he asked for superstar status and now he has to learn to deal with everything that comes with it. When you lose, you have to answer for it and whether accurate or not, you're going to get the blame. That's the way it's always been and he's going to have to adjust.

Posted by: Dc Man88 | March 1, 2007 1:12 PM

Yeah, I saw the game last night, and Daniels is certainly there physically, but what I want to know is where did his game go? I have loved seeing how he plays the last two years, but this season, for some reason he can't get anything to happen for him, even when he tries those nice driving layups (as pretty in their own way as Jamison's running jumper in the lane). I'm not sure if it's that the refs decided they hate him this year and aren't going to give him that whistle, or if the league isn't giving anyone that whistle this year, or what, but he used to score good points with that move, and this year, no way, no how.

It makes me sad, because I really do love AD's game - he's got such a great veteran presence and no-nonsense attitude to him. Plus he's as old as I am so I have extra appreciation for his use of wiliness to compensate for age.

Posted by: Josh | March 1, 2007 1:25 PM

Josh,

I agree with you about AD - I love the guy and his toughness. Plus, he's great in the locker room. Hope things improve with his game.

Posted by: Lisa | March 1, 2007 1:35 PM

By giving one of your veteran players a DNP and telling reporters you're benching him b/c of his lack of output, you're basically taking away any leadership and veteran credibility he may have with the younger players. I don't think it was a smart decision by EJ. Surely, AD is not to blame for our losing streak.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 1, 2007 2:08 PM

At this point EJ should just start Taylor instead of Gilby, he just chucks it up out there. Wasn't very good to start with and now he's the worst PG in the league. If EJ had a real star, he might coach better.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 1, 2007 6:05 PM

He has stars and he still can't coach. Caron and Tawn are all-stars. Gil is hurt and needs to sit down. And for the love of nicknames, can we stop this Gilby crap?!?

Posted by: C.Bell | March 1, 2007 7:17 PM

I agree. As much as I pull for Gilbert, I think Taylor should start.

Posted by: GM | March 1, 2007 9:10 PM

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