Hold on tight
First of all, happy birthday to me. I'm 32 today. Getting old but still hanging in there...
We've seen enough recent evidence to suggest that the Wizards are going to be in games like last night's for the rest of the season. It appears they simply can't have it any other way. As was the case with every game during the West Coast (slip) trip, the Wiz played well enough to get a halftime lead over the 76ers but had a fight on their hands in the fourth quarter.
Getting Caron Butler back was obviously a big key. Another was the play of DeShawn Stevenson, who dropped 26 points through three quarters and then sat for most of the fourth before draining that big shot from the wing with 1:17 left. Like many of you, I'm not sure why DeShawn was on the pine that long but things worked out in the end.
One issue that has popped up recently is the absolute dissapearance of Brendan Haywood. In the last three games, he's missed all seven shots he's taken, grabbed eight boards and blocked not a single shot. He played 11 minutes, 32 seconds last night and wasn't happy about it.
Eddie Jordan said something about Brendan having a head cold after the game but that doesn't smell right. Prediction: don't be shocked if Eddie changes things up and starts either Etan Thomas or Calvin Booth if Brendan continues to struggle. I also wouldn't be shocked if he went "small" and started Darius Songaila at center or at least played him more there, particularly against any opponent with a smaller front line.
The last time they played the Raptors, a VC on March 6, the Wiz put together one of their most complete efforts of the season. The 129-109 win was the product of great ball movement and shot making, excellent screening, good defense and a level of concentration that did not allow the Raptors to believe they could get a run together to make things interesting. Toronto suffered a big loss the other day when Wiz PR man Brian Sereno's favorite player, Jorge Garbajose, went down for the season with a leg injury.
Still, the Raps beat Miami last night and are dangerous because they are one of the few teams in the East who can put five scorers on the floor at the same time. (Six players scored in double figures in the win over Miami last night, including everyone's favorite Terp, Juan Dixon). You really have to give Sam Mitchell some credit for getting that team over an early season hump and into the position it is in now.
Had an interesting conversation in the lockeroom before last night's game with Antonio Daniels. The subject was outdoor basketball. When I got off the flight from Salt Lake City Tuesday afternoon, I rapped out my Wiz stuff for the following day's paper, grabbed my dog and my rock and headed up the street to the court at Rose Park here in G-town. It was a perfect day. Warm. No wind. The fellas were out playing and the ladies were out jogging. Like I said, perfect. Anyway, I mentioned this to Antonio and he said something about not having played outside in years.
I said: "how the heck could you play on a cement court? The way you play, you'd kill yourself."
AD: "I played the same way."
Me: "No way. The way you fall to the floor all of the time, you'd be killing yourself on the pole or something. Can't leave your feet like that on the outdoor courts."
AD: "Yes you can. That's how I learned to land. There's an art to it."
Me: "An art?:
AD: "Yeah, I have a technique. That's why I never get hurt. I was talking to the guys about it the other day."
I'll give AD this, the man does have a knack for going down hard but popping right back up. Still don't know about doing that on the outdoors but maybe I'll get him out there this summer and find out. Me, I'm sticking with the tried and true: jumpshots baby!
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