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Wizards (4-18) at Pistons (13-9)

A quick note: I know it's rough for Wiz fans right now but just be happy you're not a Detroit sports fan. I caught some local sports talk radio on the drive out to snowy Auburn Hills today and actually heard Lions fans debating whether they wanted to see their team go winless or not. The thinking is that if they go 0-16, the Ford family will be forced to make some major changes. Painful.....

Information on tonight's game:

Wizards starters: Andray Blatche, Antawn Jamison, Caron Butler, DeShawn Stevenson, Mike James.

Inactives: Etan Thomas, Brendan Haywood, Gilbert Arenas.

Pistons starters: Rasheed Wallace, Tayshaun Prince, Richard Hamilton, Allen Iverson, Rodney Stuckey.

Refs: Jim Clark, Bob Delaney, Derrick Collins.

Notables: James gets his first start as a Wizard, replacing Juan Dixon....The teams have split the season series so far, 1-1....with the Pistons winning 117-109 here in Detroit on Nov. 1 and the Wizards winning 107-94 at VC last week....The Pistons have won two straight while the Wizards have lost three straight since that game in Washington...Iverson is averaging 21.1 points in Pistons wins and 13.8 in Pistons losses...

-Coach Ed Tapscott said he decided to start James after a close review of the veteran guard's history. Also, it pairs up Dixon with Nick Young, an off-the-bench tandem that clicked some earlier in the season.

-Thomas is back with the team after having his heart checkup but will be inactive because he hasn't played or practiced in a few days. That makes Pecherov active.

By Ivan Carter  |  December 17, 2008; 5:57 PM ET
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Next: Pistons 88, Wizards 74


"Coach Ed Tapscott said he decided to start James after a close review of the veteran guard's history."

Which "history" would that be? His appearance on Supernanny? His Wikipedia page?

Posted by: disgruntledfan | December 17, 2008 6:59 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry, but James starting is the straw. The team isn't just uninterested in winning, but now actually gives the impression of actively trying to lose.

Posted by: goaway41 | December 17, 2008 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Obviously the Wizards organization must maintain they are still focused on making the playoffs...can barely type that with a straight face.

Since we do not have to concern ourselves with marketing, and understand the Skins have a better chance of making the playoffs than the Wiz right now, how does this affect Gil's return?

Will he try to be a leader and return at the soonest allowable timeframe? Lifting spirits, selling tickets and inspiring the kids to a new level but also potentially risking a top 3 lottery pick.


Does he rationalize there is no upside for him to return and scratch the year? Grotto should be near completion in the spring and it could be an amazing party season, DC will be hopping and Gil is on-board the Obama bandwagon now.

Posted by: The_Shadow_Knows | December 17, 2008 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Gil needs to come back this year if only to prepare him for next season. Maybe he should take longer to come back and when he does see limited action but it would serve him more to play this year rather than wait til next.

Posted by: riskus | December 17, 2008 7:35 PM | Report abuse

wtf? james for dixon. what ever happened to rewarding good play?

what history is he looking at? james versus the pistons or james versus iverson? either way this sucks. a week ago the team had a good win against the pistons due to dixon (songaila and butler).

Posted by: PindarPushkin | December 17, 2008 7:40 PM | Report abuse

"Coach Ed Tapscott said he decided to start James after a close review of the veteran guard's history."

Which "history" would that be? His appearance on Supernanny? His Wikipedia page?

Posted by: disgruntledfan | December 17, 2008 6:59 PM

Haha nice, this comment made me laugh

Posted by: KShark28 | December 17, 2008 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Buckhantz just said "Tapscott said James is the type of player that needs minutes".

1.) He may need them, but no one should award him those minutes.

2.) Dixon is the same way, and I would say given his last performance against Detroit that he is more worthy.

Posted by: KShark28 | December 17, 2008 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Taps is right. Juan and Young are a good tandem. He should absolutely put them together.

Like. at the start of the game.

Posted by: crs-one | December 17, 2008 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Young and McGee are looking at the bench after each mistake. That means that they are thinking negatively.

Taps is addicted to playing AJ, even with a broken thumb.

What's with the coaches in Washington?

Posted by: Izman | December 17, 2008 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Man, McDyess is having his way with our bigs. And so is Maxcell. Jamison's softness really is exposed when teams like this rough him up. His scoop stuff just isn't going to get it done. I'm seeing rebounds after Piston shots where there is literally no one without 15 feet of the basket. We come out pretty well and played them tough for a couple of quarters but we need a bully down low in a major way.

Posted by: jweber1 | December 17, 2008 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Be happy we're not a Detroit sports fan?

The Pistons are 13-9 (14-9 soon), the Red Wings are defending world champs and 20-6-4 leading their division, the Tigers struggled this past year but they're still pretty good.

The Caps are the only winning team in DC of the 4 major sports. Which is worse? DC is still worse in comparison...

Posted by: sargeantmofo | December 17, 2008 9:57 PM | Report abuse

caron only took 4 shots. whats up with that?

Blatche actually showed some determination at one point. i hope he learns that getting stronger will make that easier.

Posted by: riskus | December 17, 2008 10:02 PM | Report abuse

When Jamison and Butler start playing fewer than 35 mpg, THEN the team will be tanking. But it's clear from the looks on their faces that if there is some kind of nefarious master plan to throw games, they aren't in on it.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 17, 2008 10:08 PM | Report abuse

I cannot fathom a team that, even for all of their faults and lack of talent, while in the game through three quarters, repeatedly WILL NOT run their offense and attack the basket once the fourth quarter starts. What is up with the quick out-of-sync jump shots when the game is in doubt??

Yeah, Jamison got hurt tonight, but still. I have no idea if they're tired or they're scared or just not very bright. And it can't be ego. How could they have any ego left after winning about 4 games so far. No clue.

Posted by: fenderdeluxe | December 17, 2008 10:13 PM | Report abuse

james deserves the nod and showed this tonight, only he and blatche were positives tonight and blatche struggled mightily from the field. I'm glad the only center we had got 2 minutes, brilliant approach, we need blatche at the four, being productive alongside mcgee
1. James 2. Caron 3. aj 4. ab 5. javale

Posted by: bford1kb | December 17, 2008 10:13 PM | Report abuse

this, of all years, would be the WORST year to tank games. the top pick in the draft (if we get it) would guarantee nothing. this year's draft class ain't all that. Blake griffin looks good, but is he a guy that will CHANGE a team immediately? i donno, but i dont get that feeling.

Posted by: kman2 | December 17, 2008 10:17 PM | Report abuse

At this point they should just focus on developing young guys. Forget winning - it's over and I'd rather get a good lottery pick and have our young guys feeling confident next season.

Let Gil rest up until the last couple months of the season. No need to have him coming back risking injuring that dam knee again making it necessary for his fourth surgery.

1. Give young guys lots of playing time so they'll be ready for next year.
2. Don't worry about improving our record - the playoffs aren't happening, so get a good lottery pick.
3. Don't rush Gil and end up setting him back another year - let him heal completely before you even think about putting him in.

Let's use this season as a time to improve our young ones, heal, find a decent coach, make some trades, and get a great lottery pick.

Posted by: Independent11 | December 17, 2008 10:20 PM | Report abuse

The Zards have completely lost all confidence. CB's play over the last two games confirms it. Even he looks disinterested on the court. Veteran or not, watching DeShawn Stevenson play would drain the life out of any player. Tapscott needs to provide De Shawn with a mercy killing and put him on the disable list for five games. Make up an injury and get him off the court for his own good.

Posted by: bozomoeman | December 17, 2008 10:29 PM | Report abuse

The Wiz close to within one midway in the 4th. I comment to my wife, this is where the opponent goes on a 12-0 run. (I was wrong -- it was a 12-3 run.) It's uncanny. The Wiz enter the Bermuda Triangle again! How is this happening?

Posted by: 7snider7 | December 17, 2008 10:31 PM | Report abuse

First off...CAN someone explain to me why DESHAWN is starting...does he own the team? Last I checked he has been turning the ball over, missing free throws, and airballing 3's?

Second this team needs so much least play OUR YOUNG GUYS and figure out who we want to keep and who we should let go. BLATCHE WILL NOT CUT IT IN THIS LEAGUE...he CANT contribute enough...

Posted by: DCSPORTS | December 17, 2008 10:32 PM | Report abuse

The Wiz won't use or commit to develop next year's draft pick. Thus, it's worth more elsewhere.

They should trade the draft pick and Stevenson for somebody like Stuckey (although Detroit would no longer go for that trade now that Stuckey has shown his worth as a starter).

BTW, Stuckey, Young and Crit all were similar draft numbers, which shows how influential a commitment to player development can be.

Posted by: Izman | December 17, 2008 10:42 PM | Report abuse

This team is sad...and no coach is going to turn it around. Even Caron didn't look motivated tonight and AJ gutted it out with a sprained thumb. NY should be starting and DSS getting limited minutes off the bench...he's terrible.

If Arenas doesn't play this year, it will mean he hasn't played but 15 games in the last two years and that was when his knee was still injured. He's got something to prove this year regardless of any chance for the Wiz making the playoffs. I'd like to think he wants to prove he's still an All-Star and deserves his millions.

Posted by: wizfan89 | December 17, 2008 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Why would Grunfeld pass over O'Koren and Ayers after he fired Eddie Jordan? because Grunfeld is coaching the team from behind the scene i mean think about it ETAP is in way over his head this team is not improving in any phase of the game and Tapscott has all but lost the players,you can see it in their faces.We are quickly becomming if we are not already the laughingstock of the NBA.

Posted by: dargregmag | December 17, 2008 10:48 PM | Report abuse

"First off...CAN someone explain to me why DESHAWN is starting...does he own the team? Last I checked he has been turning the ball over, missing free throws, and airballing 3's?"

Come on now, you have to give him the benefit of the doubt. I mean he's ONLY a shooting guard, and he shoots 32% from the field, 28% from the 3-point line, and a 61% from the free throw line. You can't really ask for much more than that...

Posted by: psps23 | December 17, 2008 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Blatche had a double-double and outplayed Butler and Jamison (two all-stars) despite being played out of position.

Given the number of minutes he played in his first 3 seasons, Blatche is equivalent to a young, second year player. He's already averaging 18 points and 9 rebounds over 40 minutes, and has room for improvement with more playing time.

Based on the game performance, I wonder if the youngsters called out the vets in the locker room.

Posted by: Izman | December 17, 2008 10:50 PM | Report abuse


I have to say your "only chance" theory is just plain wrong. McGee is a RAW talent and will have a very bright future, hopefully. But, the guy is simply not playing well. He get's lost on defense and you can't pass him the ball on offense or the offense stops. Unless, of course, it is an alley-oop dunk! Tonight he gave his man a layup while, well, I don't know what the hell he was doing. Sleeping maybe. And, he immediately turned the ball over. Careful what you wish for and don't throw the kid to the wolves just for the sake of "on the job training" in a lost season.

Let's try some POSITIVES:

- Blatche is really playing solid smart basketball these days and I like him starting at center for now. His passing from the center position has been fairly impressive and he definitely has a good basketball IQ. Now, let's hope his professionalism, consistency, and maturity continues on an upward slope!

- I also like Mike James starting at point and he had a nice game. He can actually get the offense in a flow already and is much better than JD as a starting PG. Sorry, I was getting tired of watching JD dribble the basketball as rapidly as possible while you get the feeling he is completely uncomfortable doing it and worried about getting the ball stolen from him. Plus, most of the time his dribbling is really accomplishing nothing except eating up shot clock. Keep him as a second unit spark plug where he belongs!

Lastly, what the hell was CB doing tonight? Had he played half as well as he can, we might have won. He played as bad a game as I've ever seen him play! Dare I say it looked like he quit tonight. If I were Tap, I might have benched his ass by the start of the 4th, but who do you play instead?

- Rob P

Posted by: rphilli721 | December 17, 2008 11:02 PM | Report abuse

"Careful what you wish for and don't throw the kid to the wolves just for the sake of "on the job training" in a lost season."

As opposed to having him sit and learn from veterans that can't get it right themselves in a lost season?

Posted by: psps23 | December 17, 2008 11:04 PM | Report abuse

I think the players on this team know that losing ain't all their fault. Sure, they have to go out and play, but when they are constantly asked to perform in a flawed coaching scheme, they cannot perform to their best abilities.

I really feel sorry for the players. If GA and BH were to suit up tommorrow, would it make a difference? Unless this coaching staff is faking it, I don't think so.


Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 17, 2008 11:05 PM | Report abuse

if there was anything positive from that.... Blatche played with some fire, and Jamison was a trooper. And Iverson is really fun to watch.

butler should donate tonight's salary to charity. that was a super half-assed effort. young still hasn't learned how to play basketball.

Posted by: stevie2 | December 17, 2008 11:10 PM | Report abuse

I must be delusional, but from where I sit, there is no way that this coaching can be allowed to go on for the rest of the season. All the stats and combo's and reason why that everyone has given to make this team better is not even close to the coaching philosophy by the Wiz's. How can so many of you, us, be so far off.

Must be too close to the team. Just cannot see how the organization can let this year play out like this.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 17, 2008 11:16 PM | Report abuse


As opposed to having Blatche start as he IS playing well right now! Much better overall than McGee can or would at this point. Sorry, your missing out on a possible spectacular dunk or a couple of nice blocked shots a game.

I almost wish JD, McGee, and NY would all start for about a 5 game stretch just so their clueless fan club bandwagon for these guys in here can see how uncompetitive and bad that would be. It would be an absolute joke and teach these guys nothing about earning minutes - NY,McGee.


You ever going to post something that does not focus on and/or mention Eddie Jordan? Ever? Dude, he's gone! Get over it! It's getting old.

Posted by: rphilli721 | December 17, 2008 11:20 PM | Report abuse

And it continues to amaze me how many of you still think the players are the ones stinking up the joint. Go figure.


Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 17, 2008 11:22 PM | Report abuse


You lost me on the second sentence in your last post. I will say Tap is doing as good a job as Eddie at a minimum and we did regain some crispness after he took over then the trade happened and then you had a stretch where JD was our starting PG. He would not even play at all or make the roster on about half the teams in the league as a shooter much less a PG!

Also, the offensive and defensive philosophies have not changed. This is EJ's offense and Ayer's defense still. The only think Tap is doing is game management and, from what I can tell, "trying" to develop the young players in a more productive fashion than EJ was.

Again, we are a bad team right now without GA and BH. NO coach would turn this team into consistent winners without them. You want to assess this team fairly wait til next year!

Posted by: rphilli721 | December 17, 2008 11:39 PM | Report abuse

After every game I'm shaking my head at DeShawn. Tonight he was TWO of EIGHT from the foul line. Fifth graders in a church league shoot better from the line than that.

The look on CB's face during the timeout with under 3 minutes remaining said it all about this team. They are OVER it, and I don't blame them...the only thing keeping me going is Gil and Brendan coming back in '09

Posted by: richardharless | December 18, 2008 12:14 AM | Report abuse

You guys are only kidding about BTH, right?
You don't seriously think he will make a difference. He will be as effective as Etan has been.
Neither is skilled or physically talented enough to make an ounce of Difference.
They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, but these post are very trying.
BTH is miserable and unskilled...he has no hands, takes off most of the time he is allotted, and he can't jump or shoot.
GA will make a difference, but even that will not save this team.
It is time to blow it up. Go young and get a strong coach that will sit down vets for non perfosrmance, and not be afraid of losing.
How much integrity does it take to see that DS is begging to be sat down or dismissed?
And yes CB is also falling into that personna...he is lackadaisical and disinterested.
None of them play or apparently care about defense, and the only time they look effective offensively is when they pass the ball, and drive to the basket. Not out of control, but with a purpose.
Defensively, Midget League is more coordinated and skilled than this team of coyotes.
No foot movement, just grabbing and disinterest.
Blow them up now...good bye vets, hello youngins...the only reason to consider watching this disaster....

Posted by: maxman2162 | December 18, 2008 1:18 AM | Report abuse

mcgee of late hasn't gotten enough minutes to get into any rhythm, and due to tap's mismanagement is playing scared,just ask blatche how getting yanked repeatedly helped him. right now, our squad has a single center who averages about 10 mins over the last ten, blatche improves tremendously by playing his true position and standing next to another guy his size (jm), tawn improves by not being in any way responsible for protecting the paint as a pf, cb to 2 makes solve our league worst back court issue, and song improves by being asked to play less minutes himself out of position, this is our best lineup, the o loses only the deuce, which is nothing but brick upon brick, even from the line, javale will score more and shoot better % than deshawn, who disappears in the lineup i pray for, plus mcgee actually commands some respect when a guard goes to the rim, who else on the squad does that, maybe dom and blache if he's not playing out of position and shackled to a much bigger man. I'd rather have 7-6 wingspan in the back of our d, mitigating some of our awful d, in the lineup than a shooting guard who couldn't beat a blind gerbil in horse

Posted by: bford1kb | December 18, 2008 2:17 AM | Report abuse

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