Butler may go tonight against Bobcats

Caron Butler, who has been bothered by sprains in both of his ankles, went through shootaround this morning here in Charlotte and it's looking as though he'll be in the lineup tonight against the Bobcats. That's good news because the Wiz need to get this three-game losing skid snapped quickly.

No real update on Antonio Daniels. He's been hoping to be back as soon as Saturday night against Miami but the feeling I'm getting from him and Coach Eddie Jordan is that a more realistic target is the Jan. 2 home game against Detroit.

By Ivan Carter |  December 26, 2007; 2:03 PM ET
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merry xmas

Posted by: mark | December 26, 2007 2:38 PM

EJ, please restrict his minutes!

Posted by: Zonker | December 26, 2007 3:30 PM

Lets go WIZARDS!

Posted by: Burg w/ a U | December 26, 2007 4:04 PM

So, overtime and needing 39 points from Tuff Juice tonight would be a bad idea, right?

The Wiz have scored 84, 92, and 85 points in the 3 losses during this 3 game losing streak. Gotta get that over a hundo.

Eddie won't have to play Caron so much if the other starters (not talking to you AJ) AND the bench contribute with scoring -- and not just making buckets by being lucky or hot, but by running the offense and getting good, efficient looks at the basket.

We need this one.

Posted by: TruthAboutit.net | December 26, 2007 4:06 PM

I was wondering Ivan what's the latest on Pecherov? Is he progressing ok since taking the boot off and starting to work out? Is he still just working out on his own, or is he ready to do some light practice yet?

The good news is that there has been a little break in the schedule so Butler hasn't missed too many games.

Great for the team and you guys that cover them that there was a break that allowed Christmas at home. Hope you all had a Merry Christmas and got to enjoy the time with family and friends.

Hope the team is ready to go tonight, it would be great to steal a road win while they're still somewhat depleted. Hope Tough Juice gets back doesn't have any lingering effects from the ankles.

I'd rather see him miss a couple of more games than see him hobbling along for an extended period.

Posted by: GM | December 26, 2007 4:09 PM

go get em Wiz!

Posted by: khrabb | December 26, 2007 5:10 PM

Haven't you heard? Pecherov is 2-3 weeks away.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 26, 2007 5:35 PM

I said not to rush back dude.

Posted by: Tom deSabla | December 26, 2007 6:47 PM

Is this on TV? I've got Comcast in Arlington and its supposed to be on Comcast+ (77) but it's showing C-Span.

There showing a tour of the Franklin Roosevelt Library. Maybe Caron Butler can swipe FDR's wheelchair.

Posted by: garbaggio | December 26, 2007 7:46 PM

GM, Pecherov is 2-3 weeks away. I didn't get to see the game, how did McGuire do in his minute?

I wonder if McGuire could have played some defense on anyone and spell Butler (coming off sprained ankles).

Good to win.

Posted by: Brandon in PA | December 26, 2007 11:05 PM

Happy 200th Win EJ!

Not sure who gets credit for Roger Mason being with the team, but I'm starting to see why RC Buford offered him a multiyear deal. Seems like he has longer solid stretches each game. Good composure and nice professional team player. He's gotta be feeling great about his decision right now.

So who goes to the bench when AD comes back? Stevenson or Mason? Two weeks ago I would've instantly said DeShawn is the starter. Now I'm not so sure... it's seems pretty even to me. DS probably is the superior defender, but RM is not awful on defense. 3pt shooting seems like a lean for RM, and may be based on the last 10 games, but is actually a dead heat. 2pt fg% gives an edge to RM. Hmmm. I think I'd still vote for DS, but only if he shaves. (Dude, you can't feel your face because you've got 2 inches of fuzz on top of it. Lose that bet.)

I like Nick's game, but other teams have figured out that he is a weak defender. He's still developing on that side of the ball.

Haywood's juke-spin move. Sam Vincent just starting laughing to himself - that move was not in the scouting report.

Posted by: Pauly B. | December 26, 2007 11:24 PM

I didn't see the game but did catch the highlights. We can psychoanalyze Brendan and try to pin the production to a number of different factors, but I really see a physical difference in his moves. From the highlights (which I acknowledge aren't necessarily representative) BH seems to have developed an arsenal and shows off a couple of new moves every week.

So much more aggressive it seems. Are the days of the fallaway clanging jumper over?

Posted by: duk | December 27, 2007 12:43 AM

Those were some suspect calls at the end of the game. 3 of them in a row that were impossible to miss... I hate that I now doubt the integrity of this game.

Posted by: oddjob | December 27, 2007 1:06 AM

yeah, what was up at the end of the game... that no call when Antawn got smacked was ridiculous... and then they one upped themselves with the 'offensive foul' for lifting his hands up to pass.

I was scrambling to see what the spread for the game was. Nuttyness.

Posted by: dizwiz | December 27, 2007 5:09 AM

It's nice that BTH has improved and can be a decent defender, but he has the worst hands in the NBA, and can't rebound to save his life. I've lost count of the times I have seen smaller players out-rebounding him, including Earl Boykins.

Masons hot shooting saved out butts last night.

Posted by: Observer | December 27, 2007 7:48 AM

Observer, were you watching Haywood or kwame brown? You are describing haywood from years ago maybe but this guy has good hands for a center. if he played 40 minutes, he'd probably lead the league in rebounds. what are you talking about?

Posted by: Anonymous | December 27, 2007 7:56 AM

I think Observer is in a time warp.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 27, 2007 8:03 AM

Thanks guys, I knew the official line was 2-3 weeks, but hasn't that been the case for 2-3 months? Stress fractures can take forever to heal sometimes, I was just wondering if it seemed to be progressing ok once Pecherov started working on it.

I did see him on the bench and he seemed to be walking without the boot and moving well, so maybe things are progressing now.
I'm old enough to remember when Walton went on the shelf for years with foot problems that ended up being recurring stress fractures.

oddjob, I was wondering if I was the only one that noticed that string of no calls last night. I thought the ref crew must of had early dinner reservations, then when they called the offensive foul on AJ and I thought about the spread too.

Haywood was diligently working on his post moves last year with Hubbard, Unseld and Grant in pregame workouts. Once a guy gets comfortable with the basics the other stuff just starts to follow along. I don't think Haywood was a guy that had ever been asked to develop a post game in college, so it's come very slow for him in the pros.

Mason must be praying daily at a shrine that he's built to Bruce Bowen "the Patron Saint of the Basketball Gypsy". I'm sure when a guy's trying to make an NBA roster for about billionth time he's got to be thinking, "maybe home renovations aeren't such a bad living after all".

I got trashed on here for rooting for the hometown guy to make it a couple of times, now some are wondering if Roger shouldn't continue to start when Daniels gets back. Way to go Roger! That shot is looking really sweet right now.

Tough Juice, the man made a hell of a move to the rack and threw down a dunk with TWO sprained ankles! Can't say too much about the guy and what he's bringing to the team right now. And Jamison, the guy's putting up Allstar numbers night after night.

If this team can get all of the parts back and healthy for the playoffs it could be fun to watch. Just hope Jamison and Butler don't wear themselves out carrying it on their backs til they get there.

Posted by: GM | December 27, 2007 8:26 AM

lead the league in rebounds? ok, ok, please put the kool aid down. i like haywood, he's tall and long for rebounds but isn't quick enough for those out of reach rebounds to lead the league. the best rebounders have that quickness and instinct plus the length to gobble up everything remotely near them. remember how ben wallace was, in his younger days and prime? haywood is not the prototypical rebounder but he can be effective especially on the offensive glass.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 27, 2007 8:35 AM

Haywood is averaging 8.1 RPG in only 27.1 minutes. That's near the top of the league in per-minute average.

Last night, he got 20/9 in 29 minutes. Eddie *still* continues to under-use him.

Mason's getting it done, no doubt. He's developing real confidence that he can score in the NBA.

If "2-3 weeks away" Pecherov can give us some decent minutes when he gets back, and Gil returns in March, giving us more guard depth, we could have one of the better benches in the league.

On the negative side, it's looking like Young and McGuire aren't going to give us much but flashes of potential this year. Nick seems to have regressed, and McGuire just isn't doing much when he's out there, from what I can see.

Posted by: Keithinator | December 27, 2007 8:36 AM

I wouldn't neccessarily say Haywood has good hands, but he's far from having "Kwame Brown" hands - those are fighting words, my man. He is basketball's version of Roberto Duran.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 27, 2007 8:42 AM

BTW, I'll just throw it out there: Caron is a better player than Arenas- even Gil at his all-star best.

I'm a big Gil fan; as a scorer, he's top 4 in the league. And we need him, especially his ability to get to the hoop with penetration and hit big shots. This isn't a slap at Gil at all.

But Caron just brings more overall game. He's tougher, nastier, and much more active defensively. With his improved shooting this year, he's become a more complete player than Gil. His intangibles are just off the charts. I believe if you had a full roster of players, you'd lose more games with Caron out than with Gil out.

Posted by: Keithinator | December 27, 2007 8:43 AM

For probably the first time I can remember, I have to respectfully disagree with you, Keithinator. I like Caron a lot but defensively, he's a sieve. Wallace (and most other guys that are bigger than him) eat him alive. I haven't looked at stats but based on memory he probably gives up almost as many as he scores. His toughness, scoring and steals make him a good player but all things considered, I think he's very good, not great. I believe that GA is a great player with the main difference between CB and GA being the ice water in GA's veins when we really need a basket. One way I measure greatness is deciding who I want to have the ball with the game undecided. If you have 5 seconds on the clock and are down by one, would you rather have GA or CB with the ball in his hands? I'd take GA every time. Also, do you cringe more when CB's man or GA's man has the ball with 5 seconds and we're up by one? Both scare me.
Defensively, we really haven't seen what GA can do this year. With backstops like BTH and AB this year, maybe he can stay on his man. In previous years, he was asked to double down and it left his man open or 3's. I'm thinking he will step it up on D. Caron is undersized for a SF and there's nothing he can do about it. GA should be able to keep up with most PG's. We'll see.

Posted by: mark | December 27, 2007 9:05 AM

We can go on and on with the discussion as to whether Gil or Caron are more valuable to the team. Only time will tell. In the meantime, as GM and others have noted, Gil seems to be smart guy and is no doubt watching the success the Wiz have shown (at least before AD went down) with a more team-oriented style of play.

As for leadership, I was at the Atlanta game the other night and noted - as Ivan reported the next day - how Gil pulled NY over after he missed the 3 pointer at the end of the game, and gave him what was obviously a pep talk.

Also, it was interesting to note that in his Blog (yes, I admit that I read it from time to time) Gil mentions that he has been reading Clyde Frazier's new book, and that he greatly admires Clyde and how he played. Hopefully, he is taking some lessons from the book regarding the importance of defense, team play, and emphasis of getting team mates in the game (BTW, there is a great passage in the book about how Willis Reed never used to hustle back on offence before Clyde joined the Knicks, but that once he - Clyde - got there, he would make a pont of getting to ball to Willis every time he blocked a shot or grabbed a key defensive rebound. After that Willis would bust his ass to get downcourt) Great lesson for today's PGs, Gil included...

Posted by: PK1 | December 27, 2007 9:07 AM

BTH certainly does not have THE worst hands in the NBA, but he's pretty bad. God helps us if he has to take more than one dribble, he often freezes with the ball, and waits for another player to bail him out. His touch around the basket is also horrible.

BTH's current ranking is #33 in total rebounds, and #36 in RPG.

BTH's strength is just putting those hands up, and altering shots, that alone warrants 30+ MPG.

Kudos to him for working on his FT's and overall offensive game.

Posted by: Observer | December 27, 2007 9:27 AM

I have to agree - haywood can't catch - he drops a few easy rebounds very time i watch him. he's playing much better thou.

Posted by: wanted man | December 27, 2007 9:31 AM

I understand its "Christmas" and all perhaps some of you guys been "dreaming" but I can't believe you're celebrating the Wizards "STRUGGLING" to beat one of the worse & weakest teams scraping the bottom of the SE? You're desperate.

OK then, I guess you'll really throw a party - pop the Crystall when they play the drowning HEAT, KNICKS or 419 76'rs? Its Fools Gold folks. Unless Arenas is on the floor - this team goes no-where - troll man Mason & Stevenson or not. What a hoot the posts applauding the troll and begging for Pech to come back..

When this band of gypsys plays a "real" b-ball team - they're as lost as Alice in Wonderland..without Arenas. Its called reality. Its called truth.

Posted by: Tank | December 27, 2007 9:32 AM

The spread for the game was Charlotte by 4.5 earlier in the day, so I don't know if that would really be a factor (though I'm not sure what the over/under was). Either way, strange calls in the last minute of the game...

Posted by: JWiz | December 27, 2007 9:32 AM

I enjoyed the game, and the refs calls, amazing.
I was very concerned in the first half, as Caron was obviously hurting, or just timid. He had no lift and was just waving defensively...and came up short even on layups.
He did get in the flow in the second half, but am concerned again by the minutes.
It does seem that EJ is so very short sighted, and always coaching for his job, This does not bode well long term.
I do give EJ ups for sitting Songalia. This guy is just not athletic enough to compete in this league. He is slow can not jump, and playing a position he is just too small and untalented to play. EJ did sit him which allowed BH and AB to control inside.
The problem with " small ball" is just that AS is not the man for that style.
A good win and let's hope our stars and everyone hold up...you know more injuries will come.
Interested to see if Ab severely hurt his hand, what a problem that would be...more Songalia, ughhh!

Posted by: mricklen | December 27, 2007 9:34 AM

BH seems to be getting more rebounds this year and has more energy around the basket. He gets more tip rebounds than he used to.

BH actually has been working on his offensive moves since he has been in the league, and he appears to still be improving. That is one reason I never got totally down on BH.

I would like to see all our big men also have a 10-15 foot jump shot in their bag of tricks, i.e. BH and ET. I think this would make them even more effective on offense.

Posted by: Tim | December 27, 2007 9:38 AM

Those were some suspect calls at the end of the game. 3 of them in a row that were impossible to miss... I hate that I now doubt the integrity of this game.

Posted by: oddjob | December 27, 2007 01:06 AM

Suspect calls and about three non-calls. LIke the one where the ball was stolen by one of the Bobcats - reached in with his right hand to grab the ball that was on Caron's left side. no call. I think it was not about altering the game for the Bobcats to win. I think it was enough to reduce the spread. - There I've said it!

The referee management is very bad, the NBA needs to step up after game audits to be conducted by an audit committee. Of course with each team playing 82 games, that's not going to be manageable. But the referees are getting away with garbage right now, there's got to be something that can be done.

Posted by: rgz | December 27, 2007 9:42 AM

Look tank, a majority (maybe it's a thin one, but it is one) understand that ultimately Gil needs to come back and play well for this team to make some waves in the East. Everyone here understands why they are struggling against really good teams without Gil and that is what you seem to miss.
Not only that, it is the understanding of this situation that leads to some celebrating when they beat a bad team, because a) the Wizards have had trouble beating bad teams in the past and are much better at it this year and b) that is who they have to beat to keep their heads above water until Gil returns.
Save your supposed basketball knowledge superiority for some other board. There are a lot of people who know what the hell is going on around here.

For Ivan: any chance you will give some props to the Skins during this holiday time?

Posted by: George Templeton | December 27, 2007 9:43 AM

Alot of teams in this league "tank it" when their best player is out. The Wizards have hung together and still have a winning record since Arenas went down.

With Thomas, Arenas, Pecherov, and Daniels all still out any win on the road is worth celebrating. If they beat the Nets on Friday night I might even have some early bubbly, but I like Champagne so I have been quilty of making up excuses to drink it. Always keep a bottle chilled, something good could happen, if it doesn't just drink to better times.

As for Mason being a troll, hey you got to take your hat off to a guy that works hard and sticks with it. How old was Bowen when he finally stuck? Guys that continue to work hard and improve their craft should be admired in my book.

I'm not claiming he's a starter but he's developing into a solid NBA player that can be part of the rotation of a playoff caliber NBA team. He's a guy that can come in and play at three different positions and he's finding his stroke with the increased playing time.

Sometimes injuries can be blessings in diguise, guys that hadn't gotten a shot yet step up and make the best of their chance. A good example is the articale today about the young guys on the Redskins that are part of the playoff push.

So if Arenas, Daniels, Pecherov and even Thomas can make it back by playoff time this can be a far deeper team then Eddie's ever had to work with.

Sounds like something to pop a cork to to me! Oh, and Merry Christmas too!

Posted by: GM | December 27, 2007 10:02 AM

Agreed. Doesn't matter to me which one is more important between CB and GA. In fact, some would argue that AJ with his rebounding and scoring is the MVP of this team so far. Like I said before, I have never seen him so aggressively go after rebounds. For a guy that is consistently undersized compared to his opponents, he's doing an amazing job. One thing I'm noticing is that this team wins because we don't turn the ball over a lot and we are poised.We have a veteran team that is also talented. No more Roundfield or Gus Williams or any of the other teams that had experience but were old. The mix that we have now is good enough to get us to the Finals if we can stay healthy. I'm convinced that regardless of what happens right now, if we can get healty in Jan/Feb, we will make some serious noise in the playoffs. How cool is it that we rely on guys like Mason and Daniels now rather than Ruffin and Booth? Our bench will be the difference between going out in the first round and advancing. These injuries are a blessing in disguise.

Posted by: mark | December 27, 2007 10:05 AM

One last thing... Seems like every time Mason plays solid minutes at the PG position, the opposing PG struggles a bit. I REALLY like his defense but it's not often mentioned here. He's much quicker than I thought and actually stays in front of most pg's.

Posted by: mark | December 27, 2007 10:08 AM


I agree that Gil has more overall talent than Caron. If he worked as hard on D as I believe Caron does, he'd be a top-5 player in this league. But one reason Gil needs to make so many game-winners is that his man regularly torches him, keeping the game close.

Again, I like Arenas very much. But at least I see Caron making an effort on D, and more than just playing the passing lanes (although he still does that, and every bit as well as Hughes did). My perception might be a little off on his defensive effectiveness, though -- I'd be interested in the opinions of other veteran Wiz watchers on this point.

For Gil's part, I almost never see him put in any real effort on D. With his incredible quickness and athleticism, he could lock down most PGs in the league -- heck, with even moderate effort, he could make things difficult for them. But he chooses not to. That's what keeps him from being an elite player, IMO, what separates him from the greats like Kobe, Duncan, KG, etc.

Observer, I was talking about Haywood's per-minute rebounds. He doesn't grab as many as some other centers because Eddie doesn't play him nearly as much.

Tank, you can't just state that the Wiz haven't played anyone. Yes, being in the East helps, but you have to remember that this has been a team at half strength all season. Without Arenas, Thomas and Pecherov for every game, and without Daniels for a long stretch, that pretty much levels the playing field, doesn't it? How many teams could lose a top-5 scorer and starting PG, backup C, backup C/F, and backup PG, and play better than .500 ball?

It's not like the Celtics, who are winning at an incredible clip. They've been full strength all season, and haven't played anyone yet. That's why people are wondering just how good they are. Don't get me wrong -- they're plenty good; but at full strength, against a Charmin schedule, it's hard to gauge just how good.

Posted by: Keithinator | December 27, 2007 10:15 AM

Sorry, on that last post I should have said Arenas for most of the games.

Posted by: Keithinator | December 27, 2007 10:18 AM

If you weed out all the low-minute scrubs who have played less than 500 total minutes, Haywood ranks 19th in rebounds per minute.

Haywood ranks 24th in rebound percentage, which is a better measurement.

(Raw per-minute rebounding numbers don't account for the fact that some teams play faster than other and some teams miss more than others. Rebounding is better judged by determining who grabs the most of the available rebounds.)

Posted by: nate33 | December 27, 2007 10:42 AM

On another note, am I the only one concerned about AB's production lately? He's still getting minutes but doesn't seem to be doing much with them. Did he hit the rookie wall already? Considering the fact that he's never played a lot before this season, he probably still has rookie stamina. His body may still not be used to playing so many games. Maybe playing him in the middle has worn him down some. He's probably a natural SF based on body type and strength. Don't know how many of you are from the DC area but he has the skill set and body type of Earl Jones.I just hope he can find his niche and regain some effectiveness. He's too talented to let him flounder.

Posted by: mark | December 27, 2007 11:27 AM

When did the Caron is a great defender myth start? He obviously hustles more than most of our guys, but he gets burned quite often too.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 27, 2007 11:28 AM

...google "Earl Jones + UDC" if you don't know who he is. He was a 7 footer with ball handling/passing skills back in the early 80's when 7 footers were expected to play under the hoop. He wound up on the lakers but they never found a role for him. If he were playing today, he'd be a lottery pick for sure.

Posted by: mark | December 27, 2007 11:30 AM

Who's better? Gilby or CB or AJ? Who knows? Who should care? Look at Larry Hughes. It matters who you're playing with. Any player will perform differently in different contexts and on different teams. Like others in this forum, I've been wary of Arenas' tendency to be less of a team player, but I'm encouraged by reports that he may be learning some good lessons from Frazier's book, and that he's giving pep talks to the likes of NY. No doubt he's smart. Now, when he's finally back on the court, will he have the wisdom and self-discipline to put into action those lessons about team play that he's had all this time to learn while watching from the sidelines? If he returns more of a team player and less of a self-centered "star," he'll be a greater player and the Wiz will be dangerous.
BTW, kudos to Roger Mason. And Randy Ayres has made a positive difference.

Posted by: 7snider7 | December 27, 2007 11:33 AM

The great thing about Gil, Caron, and Jamison is that they have complimentry talents. When they're on the floor together the team clicks, and with Caron's expanded range and and catch and shoot game it'll be even better when all hands are on deck.

Add in Brendan's new found confidence and aggressiveness along with Jamison rebounding like a demon and there are some things to get excited about. Jamison seems to be gaining that veteran edge in rebounding where he seems to know how different guys' shots will come off of different rims.

Caron seems to be picking up that knack for playing for the steal at key points in the game. When guys are helping on D like they are now it's easier to go for steals knowing that someone's going to cover up for you. That will be one component of Gil playing better D when he gets back.

Keithinator, when you look at the Wizards record over the past years when Gil dropped in 30 or more points it's pretty evident why Eddie gave him the green light to shoot. With the improved balance and increased offensive firepower this team has over the rosters of the last few years, Gil won't be asked to put up 30 just to get a win.

I remember Gil from his early days at Golden State and even in his first year here he was known as a better defensive point then an offensive point. Scoring 30 in an NBA game takes alot of effort, not many leading scorers that have been on the all defensive team.

A more well rounded team should allow Gil to play a more well rounded game and be a factor at both ends of the court. And more of a diverse weapon on offense as well.

The toughest thing to find is that guy that wants the ball in his hand when the clock's clicking down and the game's on the line. A more balanced team around him will only make Gil more dangerous come crunch time.

Posted by: GM | December 27, 2007 11:33 AM

check out this old David Dupree Post article about the '84 draft. It says that the sixers were trying to trade up but might be 'left with Barkley'. Ha ! Jordan 'might be the second coming of Julius Erving'. Funny stuff since we know what happened.


Posted by: mark | December 27, 2007 11:41 AM

Yes mark, AB's struggles are troublesome, but I would like to think it will be the natural up and downs of getting a lot of minutes for the first time. Hopefully he snaps out of it soon.

Posted by: George Templeton | December 27, 2007 12:06 PM

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