What makes a rivalry?

Mike Lee was the beat man covering the Wizards during the 2004-2005 season but I was helping out late in the regular season and the playoffs. When the Miami Heat completed a sweep of the Wizards in the second round with a win at Verizon Center, I was amazed to walk into the home locker room after Game 4 and see players giving interviews with smiles or talking about that night's plans (except Antawn Jamison. I can say that. He wasn't happy). The general mood was ridiculously jovial.

Having just covered the NFL for five seasons as a beat man in Kansas City, this shocked me. That doesn't happen in an NFL locker room when a team has been crushed by an opponent. True, the NBA is different and the Wizards broke through that season by making the playoffs and taking a series off of Chicago but still, shouldn't losing hurt just a little, especially in a sweep?

That's what has me thinking about last night when DeShawn Stevenson spoke up and shared some thoughts never previously discussed publically by a Wizards player. He talked about meeting the trash talk coming his way from Damon Jones and LeBron Jones with words of his own. And after the game, Stevenson called James "overrated." My thought was: it's about time.

Cleveland has put this team out of the playoffs two straight years and offered a classic beatdown in C-town earllier this season and yet, in all of the games played between them, I can recall no real hard fouls (Brendan Haywood has delivered two love taps on James in three seasons) and no real animosity.

Of course, none of that should come from the Cleveland side because they've won. They can walk in, give the Wiz a pound and then go out and play because in their collective minds, they know they'll win. It's the basketball version of a pat on the head. "Thanks for coming," the Cavs say. "You're a nice little team but we'll win because we always do. Now, go enjoy your summer."

To me, that's not a true rivalry. Celtics-Lakers was a rivalry. Bulls-Pistons was a rivalry. Pistons-Celtics was a rivalry. Those teams hated one another and their fans felt the same way. Elbows were thrown. Ejections sometimes took place. Dudes called each other in the media. If a Celts fan and a Lakers fan wound up in the same bar, looks were exchanged and words followed.

Wizards-Cavaliers is a matchup.

And then last night, I saw Caron Butler trading elbows with Sasha Pavolovic and Stevenson not backing down for King James. Haywood even put a hard foul on the King, who reacted as if he'd been clocked in the dome by Rick Mahorn or something.

If I'm a Wizards fan, I think DeShawn did a good thing and I'm thrilled that Butler is back and feeling healthy. From Butler's overall play to Jamison's consistent double-doubles to Stevenson's swag to Antonio Daniels attacking the rim like a running back and Haywood's periodic hard foul, this is a tougher team than in recent seasons. And that's not mentioning Darius Songaila, Andray Blatche, Nick Young, Roger Mason Jr. and Dom McGuire who give the Wiz a much better bench than the one the team brought into that classic series two years ago.

If nothing else, it's becoming obvious that losing hurts this bunch and that's a very good thing.

By Ivan Carter |  March 14, 2008; 6:29 PM ET
Previous: Feeling good | Next: Arenas close? Haywood out

Comments

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I definitely agree. I'm tired of LeBron James, and apparently so is Stevenson. It's about time...

Posted by: Krem | March 14, 2008 7:18 PM

right on ivan - the stuff you describe is also what builds a team and team elan. It is about time we developed it.

I was so happy to see that it is possible that a ref might call LeBron for a charge - if I am not mistaken I think he got hit with a walk at some point as well.

Fingers crossed but if Gil gets back we may be in a position to make some noise against Orlando or Cleveland in the playoffs.

Posted by: charles jones | March 14, 2008 7:19 PM

I watched the C. Barkley 1/2 time show last nite.
If the Wizzies watch a replay that might also fire them up. Seemed all they could talk about was Shaq & the Suns. What about the game that was going on.
Big statement game.
How'd they win getting outrebounded so bad. Lets hope the Wiz can hold down the fort while Gil HEALS. Don't come back if you aint ready Gil.

Posted by: VB Fan | March 14, 2008 7:34 PM

That's funny.

It kind of reminds me of how great Scottie Pippen was, but whenever he played Anthony Mason, he'd come up with a migraine or take the night off.

I think the Tough Juice is being passed around the locker room, and that's a good sign. It brings the team together. It wasn't long ago when BTH and Antonio Davis got into it, but no one stepped up to back BTH.

Nobody last night really stepped up to back Lebron. I'd expect Ben Wallace too, but didn't see that. That's the value of having a guy like Artest or Oakley on the team. They'll take one for the team.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 14, 2008 7:34 PM

Dan Gilbert - Abe Pollin cage match, please.

Two men enter. One man leave.


Posted by: Pauly B. | March 14, 2008 8:03 PM

The only thing I worry about is giving a guy like James motivational material... Overrated? Depends who's rating him I guess. I still see some liabilities in his game, but physically he's just a freak of nature, and you don't want to get him all fired up as well. Talk the talk in the game, even a hard foul, great, but no bulletin board material, please. That's the same kind of thing Jordan used to get off on--just anything to get a competitive edge.

Posted by: Andrew | March 14, 2008 8:56 PM

Ivan, I too saw some things last night that indicate a subtle change in the team from years past. And, not just last night.

Stevenson's jawing with LeBron and Jones was just part of it.

Daniels showed 'His Majesty' how to take a hard foul and just get up and go to the line (and make BOTH free throws!). That's something that Bron-bron has not learned yet. Example, Haywood's hard foul (showing the 'Anointed One' that he wouldn't be able to just prance into the lane for a dunk late in the game) - and Bron's subsequent glare and indignation.

Jamison was jawing all game too, and keeping his teammates focused.

The Damon Jones 3-on-the-platter hand gesture that Stevenson did after Jones dissed his "can't feel my face" move.

The Young dunk in the last game - The rookie, I think is picking up a little attitude from his mentors. (He still needs to harness it, but I think he's beginning to feel that NOBODY can stop him - and the Vets are cultivating that).

Even Blatche seems to be getting tougher.

And the funny thing is that, last night, I think the Referees noticed the change as well. LeTravel got called for travelling. AND he also got called for a charge late in the game (both are calls that normally would NOT have been made against 'His Holiness').

I sense the beginning of an alteration of the team's personality; and I think it is
something that Butler and Stevenson are providing -.... A "we won't back down" attitude that is rubbing off on the rest of the team.

I like it.

Posted by: Rook | March 14, 2008 9:11 PM

TOUGH JUICE!!!

Posted by: Dante | March 14, 2008 9:40 PM

Anybody who said the crew last night was biased for the Cavs have to give them credit for one thing. They showed the dunk that NY had on Lebron and Reggie Miller chimed in that Lebron can't make an excuse that he wasn't in the picture for that dunk.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 14, 2008 10:10 PM

Blatche started to go after Wally S last night after getting a hard foul. Good for him and Andre took a charge from BronBron like a man even though the Refs blew the call.

Posted by: Bridgewater | March 14, 2008 11:19 PM

BTH steppin' up? Before this season my memories of BTH have been cream-puff fouls that lead to and-1s, lots of slowhand dropped passes, a few dozen missed layups instead of flushes, plenty of cloppity-clop traveling calls, and him running backwards in the face of skinny-boy Tyson Chandler coming after him.

He's definitely toughened up this year, and we're all lovin his aggressiveness and concentration. I hope it lasts forever. But let's not project this year backwards.

Posted by: Prazak | March 14, 2008 11:21 PM

DcMann88......

you made a little sense for the first time in your life...i'd like to congratulate you...

Posted by: Fulvio | March 15, 2008 12:14 AM

I agree 100%. I love Deshawn and Caron. No one is asking these guys to jump of a bridge when they lose, but show you got some pride and that your job means something to you. This team has always needed a toughness. Looks like they are getting there.

Lebron is a great player but he is still a spoiled brat and was never given the beatings Jordan took. He needs to stop chewing his finger nails and giving that stupid Lebron face he makes when things don't go his way.

Posted by: Jeff B | March 15, 2008 12:56 AM

"But let's not project this year backwards."

Good advice delivered several months too late.

Posted by: kalorama | March 15, 2008 1:20 AM

DC "Man"88 is gay.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 15, 2008 1:23 AM

Great post Ivan!!!!!!

Posted by: Darnell | March 15, 2008 2:00 AM

true that. great to see a team come together like this. gives me a bit of faith in professional sports when i hear deshawn unwisely but cogently speak his mind. go wiz.

Posted by: thickman | March 15, 2008 5:17 AM

Great article Ivan. I think it is about time the Wiz showed some agression on the court. It bothered me that they played around so much with opposing players and then lose the game against them and it appeared like it was no big deal to the players. I for one am glad Stevenson called him out. I give Lebron major props because he does have game. But he can be talked crap too like every other player. If and when the Wiz meets the Cavs again,they will be ready because it is now evident that there is no love lost between these two teams. I hope the Wiz also hear about the dis they got from LeBarkley and his crew. Maybe it will fire them up and make them play even harder.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 15, 2008 8:23 AM

I think it's bc we are taking on "Tough Juices" personality and not GA's.

That's a good thing!

The DCMan bashing continues for no apparent reason. Grow up! Unless I've missed something he has stayed on topic for sometime now. I think you guys just like to see how he'll respond like a bunch of 5th graders!

Posted by: Rob P | March 15, 2008 9:13 AM

This Cleveland game brought out an interesting side to the Wizards...finally someone else on the team is getting their tough juices flowing. I agree with the previous BH comment, he has gotten his juices flowing in the past, only to see no one back him up. Part of this is probably due to AJ's constitution and as a leader of this team many have followed. Not to mention GA's flakiness. Now if GA came back fully healed and with a new set of balls to compliment DS and CB, then the Wiz would really have something.

One comment with regard to the personal attacks. I don't enjoy them, they are not entertaining, simply pathetic. If need that type of environment please leave this post and go back to your family of origin where all your fears can be reinforced.

Posted by: oddjob | March 15, 2008 9:49 AM

Ivan, Since that Miami series you spoke of Grunfeld has step by step rebuilt the Wiz without alot of people apparently noticing.

As much as I liked Larry Hughes, he was an easy going soft spoken guy in the lockerroom. Two years in a row Grunfeld failed to match contracts for Hughes and Jeffries. And he pulled off the trade of Kwame Brown for Caron Butler.

Net effect, Hughes, Jeffries, and Kwame Brown for Daniels, Butler, and Stevenson, almost a mice for men swap. Jeffries and Kwame's games and lockerroom prescense were almost none existant.

Hughes is a good player, I think if Gil is healthy and Cleveland and the Wizards meet in the playoffs the Cavs will really miss him. Without Larry, I don't think the Cavs can matchup with Arenas.

That changes how the Wiz can play LaBron, the Wiz can afford to play his highness straight up like the did in the 4th the other night. Stevenson gained a measure of confidence against LaBron and won't back down from the growl and the scowl, we'll get a chance to see what LeBron can really do.

If LeBron goes for 40 Gil could match him and they'll be a wash. Then we'll get to see what the rest of the Cleveland team can produce played straight up. That should be interesting.

But with a core of Jamison, Butler, Daniels, Stevenson, and now even Haywood(some guys are followers and will change to be a part of who ever's leading) this Wizards team is a much tougher group.
Add in another largely overlooked Grunfeld signing in Songaila and the Wiz have a playoff hardened toughminded core.

Butler, Daniels, Stevenson, and Songaila all weren't here against Miami and all were brought here as much for attitude as talent. With that core around him Jamison felt confident enough to re-arrange the lockerroom seating and call out the youngsters to make sure they were on the first bus and acting like Pros.

Add Etan and Arenas when they get back and the Wiz have a core to go to battle with. Blatche has slowly transformed from the kid that hung with "Party John" Ramos to a talented young NBA Big man.

Arenas, Or as Jamison sometimes refers to him as little brother, is tougher then he lets on. Any guy with his back ground ends up being tough even if they project any easygoing exterior. Laidback guys don't score 26 pts a game in the NBA.

Earl "The Pearl" Monroe was one of the most laid back, smiling, good natured men to ever play in the NBA. Gil reminds me alot of "The Pearl" and his personality. Some said Monroe wasn't a leader, wasn't a winner, couldn't play no D, didn't know how to play in an offense, and on and on.

Earl proved them all wrong in NY, I hope this time the Wiz are smart enough to let Gil do it here with the team Grunfeld's put together. After the other night I'm almost hoping we do get Cleveland in the playoffs. I can feel this team getting "juiced" for a run now!

Posted by: GM | March 15, 2008 9:52 AM

This is as should be,no bs from the Lebrons whatsoever take losing as coach George Allen used to say "is like death" start taking each contest seriously,when you have an opponent down "crush them like a grape" ask no quater and give none.Develop a no nonsense reputation and it starts with EJ AND EG. I have been very critical of Darius(tippy toes) in this blog but I must admit he is stepping up big time I think EJ is using him in the correct manner,the Clippers are here tonite no need for a letdown the Hawks crushed them last night and we should do the same,Deshawn: just a word of thanks for not backing down thursday night and playing hard on every possesion.

Posted by: DARGREGMAG@AOL.COM | March 15, 2008 10:19 AM

Nice post GM - thoughtful and insightful as always.

The key to the Wizards playoff seeding will be this upcoming West Coast trip.

Toronto has 17 games left. 10 at home, and only 6 against teams over 500. BUT, they've not been playing good ball lately, especially with Bosh out of the lineup.

The Wizards have 18 games left. 10 at home, and 8 against teams over 500. They've got some games against cupcake Eastern Conference competition (Miami twice, Milwaukee, Indiana, etc...)

The key will be how they fare on that brutal 5 game West Coast trip (against Portland, Seattle, Sacramento, L.A. Lakers, Utah). The Portland/Seattle and the LA/Utah games are back-to-back. (Whoever sets up the NBA schedule must be a sadist)

If they go 1-4, we'll probably have to play Orlando.... but if they go 3-2, and if they could win just one game out of the remaining over-500 clubs (Twice at Orlando, Detroit at home and away, or Boston at home), I think they can catch Toronto.

Philly has a brutal schedule. They have 9 out of their remaining 16 games at home, but they also have 9 games against teams above-500. And not just good teams - the Best teams (San Antonio, Phoenix, Orlando, Boston, Detroit, etc..) And even the below 500 teams they will play are fighting for playoff berths (New Jersey twice, Atlanta twice). Their schedule includes two more back-to-back sets, Including Indiana/Washington late in the year. So, I don't see Philly catching Washington for the 6th spot.

Posted by: Rook | March 15, 2008 10:22 AM

Sorry, Philly has 3 sets of back-to-backs...
Orlando (Away) /New Jersey (Home)
Atlanta (Away) /Atlanta (Home)
Indiana (Home) /Washington (Away)

Posted by: Rook | March 15, 2008 10:28 AM

GM's typical pie in the sky comments only serve to talk about best case scenarios, but not necessary reality, as he makes huge assumptions about the future of Les BouleS.

"As much as I liked Larry Hughes, he was an easy going soft spoken guy in the lockerroom. Two years in a row Grunfeld failed to match contracts for Hughes and Jeffries. And he pulled off the trade of Kwame Brown for Caron Butler."

Missing from this meaningless post is that Les BouleS, under Abe's watchful eye, wasted 2 drafts by picking Jared Jeffries and Jarvis Hayes, either didn't develop them or they were bad picks, and then let them walk.

"If LeBron goes for 40 Gil could match him and they'll be a wash. "

Whatever. Gilby can't even go two days without his knee feeling sore, and you're talking about him busting 40 in a playoff game? On this team where Caron is the go to guy and MVP? Gilby can't even match NY in practice without cheating and changing the rules!

"Earl "The Pearl" Monroe was one of the most laid back, smiling, good natured men to ever play in the NBA. Gil reminds me alot of "The Pearl" and his personality. Some said Monroe wasn't a leader, wasn't a winner, couldn't play no D, didn't know how to play in an offense, and on and on."

Who cares about Earl Monroe? Apparently only GM, Buckhantz, and Chenier. Apparently he was so good that Les BouleS traded him to NY and that's where he did his best work, winning a championship.

I guess that started the legacy (or Curse of Les Boulez) where Les BouleS get rid of players who end up doing much better for their new teams.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 15, 2008 10:56 AM

"The DCMan bashing continues for no apparent reason. Grow up! Unless I've missed something he has stayed on topic for sometime now. I think you guys just like to see how he'll respond like a bunch of 5th graders!

Posted by: Rob P | March 15, 2008 09:13 AM "

I'm glad you noticed that.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 15, 2008 10:57 AM

"DcMann88......

you made a little sense for the first time in your life...i'd like to congratulate you...

Posted by: Fulvio | March 15, 2008 12:14 AM "

I congratulate you. Did you just pass 2nd grade reading comprehension? I try to dial down my comments for people on this blog, like you, who can only understand up to about the 2nd grade level.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 15, 2008 10:59 AM

GM's post was about EG rebuilding a soft team into a tough team.

Once again, 88 missed the point of a post completely - and went off on a completely off-topic and meaningless post with his usual 'Gilby' vitriol, and a strange nonsensical paragraph about the previous General Manager's "wasted picks"...

Oh, and by the way, many NBA fans "care" about the past great players of the game.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 15, 2008 11:07 AM

Travel wise two of those could be a problem, having to go from Orlando to Philadelphia and to go from Atlanta to Philadelphia.
Hell of a comeback by the 76ers last night though. Mo Cheeks deserves a lot of credit for what is happening up there.

Posted by: George Templeton | March 15, 2008 11:10 AM

Travel wise two of those could be a problem, having to go from Orlando to Philadelphia and to go from Atlanta to Philadelphia.
Hell of a comeback by the 76ers last night though. Mo Cheeks deserves a lot of credit for what is happening up there.

Posted by: George Templeton | March 15, 2008 11:10 AM

Yeah George - I agree. I respect what he's been able to accomplish with that team. They made a great run... winning 8 of their last 10 (6 wins on the road) against pretty good teams - including impressive wins against Orlando, and at Phoenix and at Detroit.

But they close out March with:
San Antonio (Home)
Denver (Home)
Orlando (Away)
New Jersey (Home) second night of a back-to-back
Boston (Away)
Chicago (Home)
Phoenix (Home)
Cleveland (Away)

That's a pretty tough schedule - and I don't see them staying in the hunt for the 6th spot.

Posted by: Rook | March 15, 2008 11:26 AM

88 must be looking up "vitriol"....

Posted by: Anonymous | March 15, 2008 11:27 AM

It is a good thing for us that they are struggling. My question is that if both the Wizards and the 76ers struggle because of the upcoming schedule could somelike New Jersey or Atlanta take advantage and catch both teams.

Posted by: George Templeton | March 15, 2008 11:30 AM

George - I think that Atlanta and New Jersey are both just too far behind at this point to challenge... They are 5 1/2 games behind the Wizards and 4 1/2 games behind Philadelphia.

Both Philly and Washington would have to really tank it for NJ or the Hawks to sneak into the 6th spot.

Not to mention the fact that neither NJ (3-7 in their last 10) nor Atlanta (4-6) is playing very well right now.

Stranger things have happened, but I really don't think either team will move up in the standings.

Posted by: Rook | March 15, 2008 11:45 AM

By the way George, I think that Atlanta has a better shot at the 8th spot than New Jersey...

Posted by: Rook | March 15, 2008 11:47 AM

Hey - while we're discussing possible Playoff seedings - I thought it would be interesting to dust off some early predictions. Here's John Hollinger's Projected Eastern Conference Standings from pre-season:

1.Chicago Bulls 55-27 1st in Central
2.Cleveland Cavaliers 54-28 2nd in Central
3.Boston Celtics 51-31 1st in Atlantic -
4.Orlando Magic 49-33 1st in Southeast
5.Detroit Pistons 48-34 3rd in Central
6.Miami Heat 43-39 2nd in Southeast
7.Atlanta Hawks 42-40 3rd in Southeast
8.Charlotte Bobcats 40-42 4th in Southeast
T-9.New Jersey Nets 39-43 T-2nd in Atlantic
T-9.Toronto Raptors 39-43 T-2nd in Atlantic
11.New York Knicks 38-44 4th in Atlantic
12.Milwaukee Bucks 35-47 4th in Central
13.Washington Wizards 33-49 LAST in Southeast
14.Indiana Pacers 28-54 5th in Central
15.Philadelphia 76ers 21-61 LAST in Atlantic

WOW - Somebody should pay that guy to be an NBA analyst....

Posted by: Rook | March 15, 2008 11:56 AM

Oh - and here are my original predictions from back in October....

Anyone else save theirs?


POSTED October 3, 2007:
GM, Ray? Predictions for the year?

Here are mine - constructive criticism and discussion are welcomed.


Detroit 50 32
Didn't add or subtract, unless you count adding Jarvis Hayes. I count that as subtraction by addition. Detroit is still the team to beat, although they're getting older. They play the best defense in the Eastern Conference so they should be in almost every game. The rest of the Conference improved, so they should lose a couple more games this year.

Cleveland 49 33
I'm not sure how Cleveland keeps doing it every year. Larry Hughes has not been the player they expected. Every time I see Zydrunas Ilgauskas he looks slower and slower. Recent bad news about Eric Snow (Left knee tear) doesn't help; although they did pick up Devin Brown. Perhaps their Finals loss will motivate the rest of the team, and King James can get some consistant scoring help. But an injury to James, and this team isn't even mediocre. Tiebreaker to Cleveland, because they always seem to find a way to travel, um... I mean... defeat Washington head-to-head.

Washington 49 33
A better team simply because they're healthy. Led the Eastern conference last year, until injuries hit. Darius Songaila healthy from the beginning of the season will also help. Washington's bench last year was astonishingly bad. Although the players added to this year's bench (Young, McGuire, Pecherov) are all young, they can't be any worse than last year's bench. Blatche needs to step up this year. Barring injury, Washington should be near the top of the Conference, and poised to make some noise in the playoffs. If they play even a little defense, they could be contenders for the Eastern Conference Title.

Toronto 47 35
Toronto is poised to be considered an elite team in the east.

Chicago 46 36
Second best defense in the Conference, in my opinion. They really didn't do anything in the off-season to improve via Free Agency, but they had a good draft. They will still have trouble scoring the ball.

Orlando 45 37
The addition of Rashard Lewis makes them a better team in the short term; but not elite. The addition of Rashard Lewis' contract cripples the Magic for the next several years. Forget them signing any new free agents. So they better hope that they can fill in the vital role players through the draft. I also think that the loss of Grant Hill will hurt.

Boston 44 38
I'm not one of those people that jumped on the Boston band wagon just because they went out and got Allen and Garnett. Which of those three is going to play second (or third) fiddle for the good of the team? And how long will it be before they mesh? The mish-mash of "who's that?", "I thought he retired", and "Is he still in the league" players they have on the bench - well, they will be improved over last year and in the playoff hunt; but I don't expect Boston to be an elite team.

New Jersey 41 41
I think New Jersey peaked last year. They lost Mikki Moore (to Sacramento) and Eddie House (to Boston) to Free Agency, and replaced them with Jamaal Magloire (from Portland) and Malik Allen (from Chicago) - not an improvement in my opinion.

Charlotte 41 41
This is a team that retained much of their core from last year, and added a proven scorer in Jason Richardson. I think the extra year playing together, along with the addition of Richardson should mean an improvement of 8-10 games over last year. Contending for a playoff spot...

Indiana 40 42
How motivated is Jermaine O'Neal. How will the trade rumors (O'Neal to the Lakers) affect the team? I don't see how they improved...but if O'Neal stays motivated, they could make up some ground over last year's finish.

Atlanta 35 47
They had a very good draft, adding to a core group of good young players. They will make steady improvement this year but still fall short. Look for Al Horford, #3 pick in this year's draft, to get some love in the Rookie of the year race.

Miami 38 44
With Dwayne Wade out until at least Mid-November, along with some new (old) faces, I think it's gonna be at least mid-December before the Heat learn how to play together. By that time, I think they'll be too far gone. The wild card here is Penny Hardaway. If he can contribute in a big way, they may finish better.

Philadelphia 25 57
They got a lot younger with 4 draft picks expected to make the team. No improvement through trades or free agency, although they did pick up Calvin Booth...! Don't look for them to contend for several years.


Milwaukee 24 58
I think that Yi Jianlian will be a good player - some day. They signed Desmond Mason, but they also signed Samaki Walker and Michael Ruffin - nuff said. Bottom dweller.


New York 22 60
Although they picked up Zach Randolph, I really belive the Knicks will be worse this year than last. How you going to feed two post players (Randolph and Curry)? I love David Lee's game, but where will he play now? I think the whole Isiah Thomas issue will linger through the first half of the season, unless he's fired now. Either way, the distraction will be too much, even for players used to the spotlight in New York. I think New York will implode.

Posted by: Rook | October 3, 2007 08:35 PM


Posted by: Rook | March 15, 2008 12:08 PM

Proof that everyone has hits and misses, even if your misses Rook aren't as bad as Hollinger's misses.

Posted by: George Templeton | March 15, 2008 12:15 PM

And here are my two largers misses in my predictions:

"The Eastern Conference will go through Chicago."
"Toronto will still win the Atlantic Divison."

Oops.

Posted by: George Templeton | March 15, 2008 12:21 PM

Yeah - I didn't see Boston having such a successful integration of the three stars. And Garnett simply wills that team to victories.

Chicago's complete disintegration early in the year floored me. Did not see it coming. The only explanation I can come up with is that Skiles just grated on the players to the point that they quit...

And Philly has been much better than I thought. Andre Iguodala has been a beast this year. (He should have been an All-Star). They have really turned it up the second half.

Posted by: Rook | March 15, 2008 12:27 PM

"Toronto will still win the Atlantic Divison."

Oops.

Posted by: George Templeton | March 15, 2008 12:21 PM

Yeah - you and I both didn't anticipate Boston's dominance ....

Posted by: Rook | March 15, 2008 12:29 PM

Rob P, I think you are DCMan. You are always defending him.

As for him staying "on target" just the other night he called Lisa a "wh*re" but the WaPo deleted it almost right away.

Posted by: Spanky | March 15, 2008 12:55 PM

Whatchu got against Earl Monroe, sucka?

Posted by: T | March 15, 2008 12:59 PM

Lets be fair to BTH, he did not knock James, or anyone else for the that matter, down with a good solid foul but neither has Etan. That has been an infuriating aspect of the Wiz, before this season, giving up 3 point plays because of soft fouls. I love the BTH gave James the shoulder. Well done. That is how the game is played. If you are going to foul, make it count. Not dirty but hard.

Posted by: Chad | March 15, 2008 1:01 PM

Is it possible to hate on Gilbert Arenas AND Earl Monroe and somehow still be a Wizards/Bullets fan? Beyond that, the assertion that Pearl played his best ball in NY is just stupid. In his last year with the Bullets, the year that he led them to the Finals and was first-team all-NBA, he averaged 26 ppg. He never got even close to those numbers as a Knick (on the 72-73 championship team, he averaged just under 16). Abe traded him to NY because of a contract dispute, which Monroe has said that he regrets. The Bullets got two Knicks reserves, Mike Riordan and Dave Stallworth, in return, which was nearly as lopsided as the Caron-for-Kwame deal (I say nearly, because Riordan and Stallworth could actually play some).

Posted by: John Brisker | March 15, 2008 2:08 PM

John, you should know better than to introduce FACTS to 88....

Posted by: Anonymous | March 15, 2008 2:12 PM

As a very brief college b-ball aside: Georgia beat Kentucky in the SEC Tournament today. If the committee puts Kentucky in it will be a disgrace.

Posted by: George Templeton | March 15, 2008 2:40 PM

Here's a recent clip of LeTravel shuffling his feet after the "hop" but no travel call:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVIBGxzrhas

Just horrible how he gets those calls most of the time, even when he's running right into the defender. Youtube has a lot more clips when he's taking more than just three steps, too.

Posted by: DC | March 15, 2008 3:35 PM

Some NBA Rules on Block/Charge:

"A defensive player is permitted to establish a legal guarding position in the path of a dribbler regardless of his speed and distance."

"If an offensive player causes contact with a defensive player who has established a legal position, an offensive foul shall be called and no points may be scored."

"A defensive player may turn slightly to protect himself, but is never allowed to bend over and submarine an opponent."

For those Cleveland fans upset that 'His Majesty' was called for a Charge late in the game; The NBA rules DO NOT say that a player must be standing still to take a charge.

Posted by: Rook | March 15, 2008 4:34 PM

Uhhh... CSN just said that Caron had a hand injury and may not play tonight against the Clippers. Also BTH has an undisclosed injury and may not play.
WTF!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: CN | March 15, 2008 6:28 PM

"Is it possible to hate on Gilbert Arenas AND Earl Monroe and somehow still be a Wizards/Bullets fan? Beyond that, the assertion that Pearl played his best ball in NY is just stupid. In his last year with the Bullets, the year that he led them to the Finals and was first-team all-NBA, he averaged 26 ppg. He never got even close to those numbers as a Knick (on the 72-73 championship team, he averaged just under 16). Abe traded him to NY because of a contract dispute, which Monroe has said that he regrets. The Bullets got two Knicks reserves, Mike Riordan and Dave Stallworth, in return, which was nearly as lopsided as the Caron-for-Kwame deal (I say nearly, because Riordan and Stallworth could actually play some).

Posted by: John Brisker | March 15, 2008 02:08 PM "

Gosh, should anyone be surprised that a player left Les BouleS b/c of a contract dispute.

In any regard, Brisket is another idiot caught up in stats. Monroe won a championship in NY and didn't win jack here, so any other BS about scoring averages doesn't mean jack sh#t.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 15, 2008 10:39 PM

"As for him staying "on target" just the other night he called Lisa a "wh*re" but the WaPo deleted it almost right away.

Posted by: Spanky | March 15, 2008 12:55 PM "

I called Lisa a wh#re because she initiated with an attack on me...dummy.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 15, 2008 10:41 PM

Spanky, I guess you grew up getting a spanking on your head which makes you so dumb.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 15, 2008 10:41 PM

"Whatchu got against Earl Monroe, sucka?

Posted by: T | March 15, 2008 12:59 PM "

Only you, Spanky, GM, and the comcast crew care about Earl Monroe. What you got against me not caring about Monroe, sucka?

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 15, 2008 10:42 PM

"

GM's post was about EG rebuilding a soft team into a tough team.

Once again, 88 missed the point of a post completely - and went off on a completely off-topic and meaningless post with his usual 'Gilby' vitriol, and a strange nonsensical paragraph about the previous General Manager's "wasted picks"...

Oh, and by the way, many NBA fans "care" about the past great players of the game.

Posted by: | March 15, 2008 11:07 AM "

I guess you and your idiot self, Lisa, totally missed the point that the "wasted picks" happened under the same ownership that hired the idiot GM's and coaches, and then tied their hands with tight budgets. Let's see, Unseld, Nash, MJ, Leonard Hamilton, Gar Heard, Doug Collins, etc.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 15, 2008 10:45 PM

DC "Man"88 has so much class. He always takes the high road and limits his comments to basketball instead of personal attacks.

Yeah, right. Retard.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2008 3:11 AM

Only you, Spanky, GM, and the comcast crew care about Earl Monroe. What you got against me not caring about Monroe, sucka?

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 15, 2008 10:42 PM
-------------------------------------------
It doesn't matter, I was just curious. Seems like a lot better people to hate on than one of the 50 greatest.

Posted by: T | March 16, 2008 12:13 PM

I guess you and your idiot self, Lisa, totally missed the point that the "wasted picks" happened under the same ownership that hired the idiot GM's and coaches, and then tied their hands with tight budgets. Let's see, Unseld, Nash, MJ, Leonard Hamilton, Gar Heard, Doug Collins, etc.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 15, 2008 10:45 PM
-------------------------------------------So are you not a fan of lEs bOULEs, Abe Polin, or both?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 16, 2008 12:44 PM

"It doesn't matter, I was just curious. Seems like a lot better people to hate on than one of the 50 greatest.

Posted by: T | March 16, 2008 12:13 PM "

Just b/c I don't give a crap about Earl Monroe doesn't mean I "hate on him."

I seriously could give a rats @ss about him, but old farts like Bucky, Chenier, and GM keep bringing him up.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 16, 2008 7:15 PM

I'm always a fan of the underdog (AKA the Wiz), and that's why I've never liked LeBron. All the analysts think that we should be afraid of the Cavs...and I'm just hoping that we can move up one spot to meet the Cavs in Round 1. It's about time the Wiz realize that fearing one man is absolutely INSANE!

Posted by: CK | March 17, 2008 2:13 AM

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