Butler update, onto Toronto
I spoke with Caron Butler before he headed out last night and he said the left hip flexor became a problem during Sunday's win at Milwaukee and really tightened up on him that night on the flight home. The decision was made that he would be better off taking a couple of days off to rest it so it didn't turn into a lingering issue. Caron didn't fly with the team to Toronto for tonight's game but said he hopes to be ready in time for Friday's game against Utah at the VC. He wasn't moving too well though so we'll see.
As for last night's win, I mean, wow. What a game. I had to re-write my early edition lead four different times. In the end, I went with an angle comparing the finish to the one from last season when former Rapter Mo Peterson hit that stunning game-tying 3 at the end of regulation after the ball caromed off of Michael Ruffin and dropped right to him. This time, Anthony Parker nailed a three in the corner with 0.8 seconds left with three Wizards running at him.
The Wiz recovered and got it done in OT becuase they made all five of their free throw attempts and because they had four offensive rebounds. Roger Mason Jr. hit a big 3, DeShawn Stevenson had another and Antawn Jamison slithered his way to the front of a rim and tipped in a Mason miss to give the Wiz a 106-101 lead with 9.9 seconds left.
That was typical Jamison. The guy is not an explosive leaper in terms of pure vertical but does any player in the league get off the ground more quickly and with the kind of anticipation he shows? It's uncanny.
As for Dominic McGuire, I'll just put it like this: After the game, one of the Toronto writers asked: "Who the heck is McGuire? He's all over the place." Dominic played a long stretch spanning the third and fourth quarters and also got some run in OT. He finished with 10 boards - six of them offensive - scored a bucket, had an assist and played some good, aggressive defense.
That was the McGuire we saw in summer league and at times during the preseason. The kid's offensive game needs heavy refinement but he's an explosive leaper, he's long and he's physical. The player I thought of when I first saw him play was Ruben Pattterson (the basketball player, not the human being). He's got this wild quality that could be a good thing coming off that bench and his ball handling and passing skills are solid. Anyway, it was good for him to experience some sucess like that. Andray Blatche (19 points and 8 rebounds) was key as well.
Dominic: "My teammates have been very encouraging. They told me to get back to what got me here; playing hard and doing what I've been doing in practice. I just have to go out and keep playing hard and hustling. The biggest thing is I really do not have to worry about scoring."
The Raptors have a stud in Chris Bosh, a terrific PG in Jose Calderon and nice parts like Parker, Chris Humphries , Jamario Moon and Juan Dixon. The problem is rebounding and it was a major issue last night. Sam Mitchell sounded like he wanted to suit up and go out and grab a board or two himself after watching the Wizards outrebound his boys 57-44 last night. The Wiz also had a 23-8 edge in second-chance.
"We have got to find a way to box out and win the ball," Mitchell said. "We aren't doing it. We let people come over our backs. I don't know if it's a foul, but if the officials don't call it, then it's not a foul. We teach it. We talk about it. We show it. We will not be a good team until we start boxing out. We played good defense but if we don't get the ball, it's going to be tough to win."
We're doing at chat at 2 p.m. so drop in with questions. I'm about to hop a flight to lovely Toronto (what a city).
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