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Blazers First

This is one the Wiz should get tonight. I know it drives some of you crazy when I write that but the Blazers have been stinking it up lately and will be playing without Zach Randolph tonight. He was excused from the team so he could go back to Indiana and attend the funeral of a friend who was shot and killed in his hometown. According to the Oregonian, a police report indicated that the shooter was going after someone else and got Randolph's boy, Lamar Cannon, instead. Too much of that has been going on lately. Senseless.

The Blazers are 2-8 in their last 10 and looked especially bad in recent losses to the Lakers and Sonics. It will be interesting to see what Eddie Jordan does with the lineup tonight. I would assume that he'd stick with Andray Blatche as a starter at Caron Butler's forward spot but you never know with Eddie. He likes to keep us guessing. We expected Jarvis Hayes to start against New Orleans the other night and Eddie hinted before the game that he was thinking of going with Michael Ruffin but then chose Blatche just before tip-off.

I did want clarify one thing about the Blatche situation. Before the game at Indiana last week, Eddie deactivated Blatche and all but came out and said that the second-year forward would be on the outside of his "veteran" rotation the remainder of the season. Then Butler came out early in that game and the team decided to shut him down two days later. That opened the door back up for Blatche. Jordan's reasoning was that with everyone healthy (before Butler went out of course) his best move was to go with a veteran 12-man set that included everyone but Blatche, Donell Taylor and Mike Hall.

That was the plan anyway. A message to one of the posters, the real DC man 88, if that wasn't you posting the nasty stuff and some other scrub using your name, my bad for calling you out like that. I just want everyone to come in, talk Wiz hoops, argue a little bit if needed and have a good time. Leave the personal stuff out.

Speaking of personal stuff, I'll be on the new Washington Post Live show that Comcast is doing, today at around 5:45 eastern time. My goal is to get some Wizards talk inserted into all of this March Madness. Can't imagine how there is that much to say about a bunch of bad games that end 51-49. And don't chalk it up to good defense either. College hoops has really slipped. Where are the players? They can't all be in the NBA.

By Ivan Carter  |  March 20, 2007; 4:28 PM ET
 
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Next: Blatche to start

Comments

Thanks, Ivan. Fortunately or not, there's been only "one" DCmann88. Thank you so much.

I agree with your assessment of the game tonite. They should win handily. I also enjoyed the L.A. Times article by Stimers M. Lee added in his post. We need that to keep us knowledgeable and more open minded.

Nuff said about EJ's anouncements and rotations. We'll watch & see.

Thanks again, Ivan.

Posted by: Robin | March 20, 2007 4:55 PM | Report abuse

I understand Eddie's desire to go with Vets but no one else brings Blatche's energy and length. Talent has to play to be enjoyed. I can not fathom not using him to the max

Posted by: Bridgewater, VA | March 20, 2007 5:15 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand Eddie on this. Can he not see what Blatche brings to the game? Does he not understand? Andray can board, run, and block/alter shots. He's also doing some limited scoring now. How does he expect the kid to grow? It's not like Andray's killing us whenever he's in there, and Eddie feels like he has to suffer with him in order to bring him along. I think the Wiz are usually better when he's on the floor.

Posted by: Keithinator | March 20, 2007 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Ivan, if I were your agent, I would advise you to not appear on that Comcast show tonight. That thing was a train wreck yesterday (but then again, what show with Mike Wise isn't?). It could ruin all the positive vibes I developed for you with that Washingtonian feature, and pretty much kill any chances you have to hook up with a famous actress and become tabloid-fodder.

Posted by: Sean | March 20, 2007 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Ivan,

Is Blatche filling Caron's spot, or is Jamison? It seemed to me that Blatche was filling out the PF spot and that Jamison was really in all the spots Caron normally goes. But I'll admit I'm pretty ignorant of this stuff. But it sure did seem that Blatche was playing PF and that it was Jamison who slid over to SF.

-sting

Posted by: sting | March 20, 2007 5:38 PM | Report abuse

I just saw the spot on Comcast. Ivan looked good and sounded good. Nice job.

Posted by: Peter | March 20, 2007 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Great to see Ivan apologizing to DC88, the guy who ruined his blog.

Posted by: Henry | March 20, 2007 6:14 PM | Report abuse

I thought this was in interesting quote from Eddie Jordan in Ivan's article. I think these are the things Eddie is looking for Andray to do, and that Andray hasn't really done it:

"It's only one game, but we just hope that we can continue," Jordan said. "We're looking to make the extra pass, looking to share the ball, make that cut to free up a teammate. We're looking to screen better. Some of that is coming from Ruff [Michael Ruffin], Darius, Calvin -- those guys are like the intangible players that make the extra pass, make that great screen, give that second effort on the glass."

Andray is talented but for the run the Wizards are about to go on, they need production and even more importantly - execution. Ruff, Darius, Calvin all rank above him at this point in terms of execution.

Posted by: Wei | March 20, 2007 6:54 PM | Report abuse

It's still ridiculous that he would prefer to use Ruffin instead of Blatche. I'll take my chances with the young kid who's not a liability all over the floor.

Posted by: Colin | March 20, 2007 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Well Ivan there is a reason some of the regular posters here don't like it when you say the Wizards should win such-and-such game. Everytime you say that, they don't just lose, they go down in flames. SO STOP THAT! I don't know if it makes a difference who starts as long as Blatche gets the kind of time his play merits (i.e. way more than Jarvis and a little more than Booth or Ruffin). I hope Eddie doesn't forget that Booth is there if he needs it.

Posted by: George Templeton | March 20, 2007 8:31 PM | Report abuse

I am out of state on vacation so I can't see the game. But I want to say something! I don't understand why Eddie would put Ruffin in the rotation instead of Blatche. Ruffin is a veteran but has been in and out of the team all season with injuries. I think the rest of the team is actually more comfortable and cohesive with Blatche at this point, even if he is young. He has started occasionally and has practiced with the team all season since summer. He can play the PF and has been very good also when he has played center. From what I've seen Ruffin's only real talent is rebounding and Blatche does that just as well. But Blatche is a better shot blocker, better handle, passer, and much better offensively. He runs as well as Ruffin and is just as effective as a smallball option at center, and he can hit his free throws which Ruffin is terrible at.

As far as a 12 man active roster, IMO both Blatche and Booth have beat out Ruffin and deserve to stay. Why insist of forcing Ruffin into the rotation at this late point in the season is beyond me! The inactive list should be Hall, Taylor, and Ruffin. With Booth as established 3rd center, and Blatche as reserve PF and smallball center, there is no need for Ruffin.

Why does Eddie insist on going with a smallball lineup with either Jamison or Ruffin at center at the end of games?? Jamison gives no defense or toughness there. And I don't mean to bash Jamison, he has been an all-star this season IMO and shown his value offensively, but I hate seeing him at center, heck the guy really should be at SF! But neither guy intimidates or defends the rim and are simply too short. At one point last game Jamison was at center, then Eddie calls a timeout and complains about the team giving up layups!! Does he really not see the correlation? Ruffin plays hard and takes charges, but is simply too short to defend the 5 really... and at the end of games he is so terrible at free throws that alone makes him a liability.

I just don't get it. Why use Ruffin? For a center Haywood runs well, is good defensively, and better offensively and at the line than Ruffin. Where is the advantage of using Ruffin?? At least Blatche you get the better offensive game so to insert him at the 5 on occasion makes sense because he adds a different element. But what does Ruffin add that we don't already get from Haywood or Etan (defense, rebounding, etc). The only difference is he is shorter, not as good a shotblocker, and worse offensively, and from the line.

Can you explain it Ivan, or anyone?? What is it that Ruffin adds?? He gets some loose balls here and there, but he also turns it over with his bad hands. He gets some rebounds, but misses his shots. He takes some charges, but misses his free throws.

Ray, can you explain it to me?? Please?

Posted by: Darnell | March 20, 2007 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Let me channel Ray and predict his response:

"Because EJ sucks!" LOL.

Another good post Ivan and appreciate the content of your message about keeping it on topic in here. Hope *everybody* takes that to heart and loses the attacks on each other.

Posted by: Gack | March 20, 2007 9:01 PM | Report abuse

""Because EJ sucks!" LOL."

Lol, I don't even have to post anymore. :)

Sorry I missed you Ivan, I was working.

"I know it drives some of you crazy when I write that but the Blazers have been stinking it up lately..."

Com'on man the Wiz aren't at home tonight, you know that. I'm blaming you if they lose, not Jordan. :P

- Ray

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 9:24 PM | Report abuse

This is what you need to ask yourself about Andray Blatche:

1) Does he look to make the extra pass?

2) Does he make that cut to free up a teammate?

3) Does he make the great screen?

4) Does he give that second effort on the glass?

These four issues were taken directly from EJ's quote which I mentioned above. If you choose to ignore these things then yes, you are going to be confused.

Now, take those same four questions, and ask yourself - does Ruff do these things?


It's nut cracking time. This isn't XBOX 360 or PS3. The Wizards need consistency, they need execution, and they need consistent execution.

Posted by: Wei | March 20, 2007 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Wei,

1) Ruffin turns the ball over attempting to make the extra pass.

2) When does Ruffin cut? He runs from baseline to baseline and usually commits two fouls in between.

3) Ruffin's screens are about as effective as everyone else's on this team, which is to say not very effective.

4) Ruffin is not a tremendous rebounding talent. In fact, Blatche is better on the glass.

So, to answer your final question, no, Ruffin does not do all those things. And furthermore, he hampers this team offensively because he has no talent on that end and on the boards because of his size. Blatche gives this team a different dynamic and more production overall. Time to sit Ruffin for good.

Posted by: Colin | March 20, 2007 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Sean-

take your Wise bashing elsewhere...thanks...

Posted by: Looly | March 20, 2007 11:15 PM | Report abuse

Ivan, no need to apologize, but thanks anyway. I just want to stick to talking about b-ball and not get into verbal confrontations.

People on this blog are gaga about the Wizards, and can't stomach any criticism of them. I'm just trying to stay even keeled, and have even quoted you many times as you've remained as unbiased and professional as possible. Of course that wasn't received well.

I've only returned fire, never initiated it. And for sure, there is someone out there who's using my name and making random and irrelevant inputs just to make things worse. Anyone who doesn't believe this is silly because they have no access to any internet data to confirm or deny. Hopefully everyone can move on from this, as I have already.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 20, 2007 11:29 PM | Report abuse

I just finished watching the Wiz play like they didn't want to be in the arena against the Blazers.Why oh why is this team so poorly motivated? Again EJ does a poor job using his players.Please tell me why he would pull Mason when he was scoring very well. Why does he continue to give Jarvis Hayes so much playing time? Hayes does very little to aid the team.When a team consistantly plays down to the competition denotes a coaching problem.EJ needs to get a handle on this or he needs to be gone.The Wiz has enough talent to win games against non playoff bound teams.Tired of watching this team play like they don't care whether they win or lose.

Posted by: Ron | March 21, 2007 1:26 AM | Report abuse

As someone who supports both Wiz and Blazers, I sd yesterday in blog that Wiz should walk over Blazers, who were awful in last game-- very ugly loss to Sonics. Average age of Blazer team on court in second half last night was 21-- yes 21, but they played happy. Local TV sd after game that coach McMillan loosened the rope a bit and told them just to play and have a good time. How about Roy as Rookie of the Year? Mostly smart decisions all year. And Aldridge stepped up, as did fellow rookie Sergio. Webster, who two yeaars ago was playing for his Seattle high school, contributed as well. I expected Wiz to run wild and run up a big score. Yes, Blazers hoped to shut down Gilbert, but I thought all others would have career nights. Seattle is on one night and poor the next. Hope Wiz bounce back and salvage road trip!

Posted by: blazers-of-old | March 21, 2007 5:31 PM | Report abuse

train wreck?
really?

Posted by: littles | March 22, 2007 12:16 AM | Report abuse

Actually, it's not "DC Whatever's" (he probably lives in MD) criticism of the Wizards that makes us irate (although it is strange to practically live on a blog of a team that it seems he HATES)it's his purt HATRED of Gilbert - which he states OVER and OVER and OVER again. We get it. If any of us comment on this, he calls us morons or homosexual names.

Apologize to him? Please!

Posted by: Lisa | March 22, 2007 10:05 AM | Report abuse

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