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Wizards (5-23) at Rockets (20-11), Butler out (left ankle)


Caron Butler was a game-time decision with a sprained left ankle but will miss his second straight game.

Wizards: Mike James, Nick Young, Dominic McGuire, Antawn Jamison, Andray Blatche
Inactive:

Rockets: Rafer Alston, Tracy McGrady, Shane Battier, Luis Scola, Yao Ming

Refs: Mark Wunderlich, Matt Boland, Gary Zielinksi.

Line: Rockets by 13 1/2.

Notables: The Wizards have lost seven straight to Houston including six in a row here at Toyota Center...The Wizards are looking for their first back-to-back wins. This is the longest the franchise has gone into a season without consecutive wins since 1966-67 when the Baltimore Bullets won three straight after a 5-23 start.

-Ed Tapscott on Butler about an hour before the game: "He said he wants to go but I advised him: 'don't be a hero.' I don't want him to turn a two or three game thing into a 10-game thing. So, if it's good, fine. If not, get it healthy."


By Ivan Carter  |  December 29, 2008; 6:29 PM ET
 
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Next: Wizards 89, Rockets 87

Comments

So what does Tapscott say to frustrated fans who believe he should give heavy minutes to players like rookie center JaVale McGee and second-year guards Nick Young and Javaris Crittenton, even if that means sacrificing games now?

"I would say to them that there is some logic to that," Tapscott said before the game. "However, that logic doesn't consider the other side of the coin, which is what do you do with your veterans? The veterans generally establish the culture of your team and if they're not participating, how do they take that leadership role? Certainly, we are going to give those young players an opportunity to secure some minutes, to get some experience but you have to take a balanced approach."

"That also smacks of throwing in the towel on the season. I expect for us to get to winning some games and I need both my veterans and my young players to do that. I'm not conceding anything with regards to this season. Our job is to get to winning."

Ivan - Thanks for asking him that question.

Now my question to you and Tapscott is how is that sacrificing games now if they young players are better then two of the veterans everyone is talking about?

Noboday is talking about sitting down AJ or CB. That is when you are then sacrificing games. We are talking about Stevenson and Song. playing way to many minutes, thus taking away time from Crittenton, NY and McGee.

The other side of the coin Tapscott is talking about where the veterans not being able to participate effects their leadership duties.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME...??? Coaches don't play and participate in the game, but they are the leaders; right?

If Tapscott is referring his statement to Stevenson, well then there in lies the whole problem. How can you be a leader "participating" and stinking up the joint night after night?

Does Tabscott really think guys like Juan, Nick and Crittention is going to understand that logic. It should be the best 5 goes on the floor.

Lastly nobody in their right mind will think you are throwing in the towel if you gave Stevenson and Song. some DNP's. We would only do that if you did it to AJ or CB. If that was not a Bill Clinton like answer from Tapscott to a question I do not know what is?????

Posted by: BulletsFever | December 29, 2008 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Sorry about CB. However, you will now see more ball movement because the ball will not be stuck in CB's hands so often.

Look forward to Yao Ming shooting plenty of sky hooks over Etan and Song. Didn't mention my boy McGee because this is as good as a game as any for Tapscott to use an excuse for not playing him.....

Posted by: BulletsFever | December 29, 2008 8:31 PM | Report abuse

looks like tap woke up, mcgee got in in the first and then to start the second we had etan, song and blatche, that's actually what you call coaching keep it coming, this is a sign of life we've been missing on the bench

Posted by: bford1kb | December 29, 2008 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Oh Oh a JCrit sighting...please get DSteve out of the game...he cant hit the broadside of a barn right now...

Posted by: insanity999 | December 29, 2008 9:21 PM | Report abuse

crit in in the first half, cut my eyes out i've seen it all, thank you for altering the stale formula we've had all year

Posted by: bford1kb | December 29, 2008 9:21 PM | Report abuse

I don't know if anyone notices, but good things seem to happen when Juan is in the game, and the team seems to feed off his energy.

That aside, MeShawn is still not producing coming off the bench. Still waiting for him to ask Tap to send him to the D-League.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | December 29, 2008 9:22 PM | Report abuse

wth kind of coaching is this....why is 5'2 Etan guarding Yao. This is ridiculous.

Posted by: insanity999 | December 29, 2008 9:28 PM | Report abuse

the mo killer was avoided thanks ron

Posted by: bford1kb | December 29, 2008 9:39 PM | Report abuse

"Sorry about CB. However, you will now see more ball movement because the ball will not be stuck in CB's hands so often.

Posted by: BulletsFever | December 29, 2008 8:31 PM "

It only gets worse, much worse, if/when Gilby returns.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | December 29, 2008 9:39 PM | Report abuse

etan preformed admirably against yao, yao hates physical play hence why etan was on him

Posted by: bford1kb | December 29, 2008 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Yao killed McGee last time they played; playing Thomas makes sense.

Posted by: stevie2 | December 29, 2008 9:45 PM | Report abuse

I am liking what I am seeing so far. Taps looks like he is finally starting to get it.

Bonehead play on NY's part. I really want the young boy to succeed but he can not be giving Taps ammo to keep him on the bench.

Lets go Wiz....

Posted by: BulletsFever | December 29, 2008 9:47 PM | Report abuse

I've been a Tapscott basher but I'll give credit where credit is due.

I love Antonio Daniels, but Mike James is what this team needed.

Posted by: twigmuffin | December 29, 2008 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Nick's gettin hot now...Tapscott was about to take him out when he drove to the rim and got fouled by Yao.

Posted by: insanity999 | December 29, 2008 10:13 PM | Report abuse

A question I'd like to pose: is Blatche going to be more effective if/when he gets moved to his more natural position of PF?

Is his effectiveness more attributable to being a mismatch on offense because he's quicker than most centers?

I really like what I've seen since EJ was fired, and I can't help but think that he's the most talented player on this roster outside of Arenas. Looks like he might finally be turning that corner.

Posted by: psps23 | December 29, 2008 10:17 PM | Report abuse

"I love Antonio Daniels, but Mike James is what this team needed.

Posted by: twigmuffin | December 29, 2008 10:12 PM "

Mike James is like Gilby on welfare.

He gets his points, but is only focused on putting the ball in the hoop and not making the smart pass.

I think he's just auditioning for his next contract.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | December 29, 2008 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Now they just got to ball. They come this far, they just have to ball. Get the desire in your gut and score the ball, stay active on D' and look to score. 74 - 71.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 29, 2008 10:28 PM | Report abuse

ok time for the wizards 4th quarter drinking game:

up by 10?

line up 10 shots of hard liquor, and take one every time the lead shrinks down.

by the time the lead completely disappears, you won't care as much!

sounds like a quality monday night for me...

Posted by: yukiwith2us | December 29, 2008 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Another couple notes:

- Deshawn Stevenson and Dominic McGuire are on the court at the same time. That should never happen. You can't have 2 guys on the court that have zero ability to score. Coincidentally, the Rockets just went on a run to pull within 3 in the 4th quarter

- I will now opine that Stevenson should be further demoted, and NY/Juan Dixon should be taking his minutes off the bench. He has become worthless. Just a body out there.

Posted by: psps23 | December 29, 2008 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Get Debrick out the game.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 29, 2008 10:30 PM | Report abuse

The Wizards are actually stronger than this team. Keep the fire stoked.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 29, 2008 10:33 PM | Report abuse

"Mike James is like Gilby on welfare.

He gets his points, but is only focused on putting the ball in the hoop and not making the smart pass.

I think he's just auditioning for his next contract."

Yeah but Mike James has always played for that.

And considering how many teams he's been on, he's ALWAYS auditioning for his next contract.

Posted by: twigmuffin | December 29, 2008 10:38 PM | Report abuse

deshawn is not getting it done, nick killed in the third where is he?

Posted by: bford1kb | December 29, 2008 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Now that time is out DStev needs to be replaced by Dixon and if AJ is ok replace DSon.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 29, 2008 10:38 PM | Report abuse

What game is Tapscott watching that this is the lineup he's choosing to go with during this Houston run?

-DStevenson, MJames, DMcguire, DSong, Blatche

Two guys with no offensive prowess to go along with an immobile, unable to create his own shot Songaila.

Posted by: psps23 | December 29, 2008 10:39 PM | Report abuse

I cannot believe we took AB out and left Debrick in.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 29, 2008 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Dixon can score and AB gets the boards. What is Etaps thinking?

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 29, 2008 10:43 PM | Report abuse

I cannot believe we took AB out and left Debrick in.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD


---------

I actually didn't think it could have gotten any worse with decisions than the lineup that was in before. Then this decision was made.

Posted by: psps23 | December 29, 2008 10:44 PM | Report abuse

man AJ doesn't care about winning at all! he just cares about his stupid STATS! that's why he's sitting out a close physical game with that bruised knee!

oh wait...

Posted by: yukiwith2us | December 29, 2008 10:44 PM | Report abuse

debrick is in to stop Barry...oh wait a minute...to try to stop him.

BmoreRev

Posted by: stanlong23 | December 29, 2008 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Les BouleS need to get rid of that stupid Character, Committment, etc. commercial.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | December 29, 2008 10:45 PM | Report abuse

And just when you think he's out, Stevenson pulls you right back in...

Posted by: psps23 | December 29, 2008 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Debrick bricked one.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 29, 2008 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Les BouleS need to get rid of that stupid Character, Committment, etc. commercial.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | December 29, 2008 10:45 PM

Amen

Posted by: yukiwith2us | December 29, 2008 10:50 PM | Report abuse

40 sec and a 4 pt lead. good

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 29, 2008 10:51 PM | Report abuse

"man AJ doesn't care about winning at all! he just cares about his stupid STATS! that's why he's sitting out a close physical game with that bruised knee!

oh wait...

Posted by: yukiwith2us | December 29, 2008 10:44 PM "

Don't contradict yourself.

You tried to be cynical by saying AJ only cared about his stats and that is why he's sitting down, which you said he isn't.

If AJ is sitting down instead of playing in the game, how could that improve his stats?

Enlighten us.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | December 29, 2008 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Don't contradict yourself.

You tried to be cynical by saying AJ only cared about his stats and that is why he's sitting down, which you said he isn't.

If AJ is sitting down instead of playing in the game, how could that improve his stats?

Enlighten us.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | December 29, 2008 10:51 PM

It's hard to convey sarcasm using just typing haha

Posted by: yukiwith2us | December 29, 2008 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Keys to game? come on Phil...We are still in it because Adelman kept Ming on bench for 2/3 of the 4th quarter.

BmoreRev

Posted by: stanlong23 | December 29, 2008 10:54 PM | Report abuse

2 GAME WINNING STREAK!!!

ANYTHING IS POSSIBLLLLLLLLLE!!!!!

Posted by: yukiwith2us | December 29, 2008 10:55 PM | Report abuse

We have the worst critical-moment offensive plays.

Great defense by Blatche the entire game. Didn't over-extend himself, did just enough to continue to bother Yao on shots and rebounds, and continued to hustle the entire game.

Posted by: psps23 | December 29, 2008 10:56 PM | Report abuse

"It's hard to convey sarcasm using just typing haha

Posted by: yukiwith2us | December 29, 2008 10:53 PM "

Maybe you're just not good at it.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | December 29, 2008 11:01 PM | Report abuse

why the hell are people always cracking on Jamison....this guy is one of the best things that happend to this team. He might not be a Michael Jordan, but he's very talented, gives you 100%, and the consummate professional that never quits.


To the game, I was impressed with the effort, kudos to the team for working so hard. I think Blatche may have turned a corner with his play, Nick Young played well as did a host of others including Etan, Darius, and Dixon.

And props to Stevenson, he wasn't great but the shot he hit was big. I hope he can turn it around and start playing at least at average with his offense.

Big win feels good for once after a toughh season, lets see if they can get one in New Orleans.

Posted by: insanity999 | December 29, 2008 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Who would have thought Blatche could produce with a little playing time?

Not EJ!

Where has Kal been? On vacation with ABE?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | December 29, 2008 11:03 PM | Report abuse

Big win obviously. The absence of Caron is only part of the picture. DMac was inserted before Caron went down. He brings hustle, defense and I think his passing has influenced Blatche who is making better passes also. James is getting comfortable with the others and Young is getting minutes. When Caron gets back the big question is whose minutes will he take and more importantly why? What is Taps thinking?

Props to DS for that fadeaway... but I still think he is liability long term. he drove the lane and gave up the ball, he let Barry drive and hit shots. He still needs to sit, in my humble opinion.

BmoreRev

Posted by: stanlong23 | December 29, 2008 11:03 PM | Report abuse

Maybe you're just not good at it.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | December 29, 2008 11:01 PM

Well happy wizards win to you too!

Posted by: yukiwith2us | December 29, 2008 11:04 PM | Report abuse

deshawn erases a season of awful play with one prayer and a much needed 1 of 2 from the line, thank you. That being said, nick not getting in during the entire fourth is just plain awful. Way to be though wiz, the squad has a new energy since dom has been starting, grunfeld needs to lock him up, give the man some loot. Tap showed something by going to a big lineup early with ab, song, and etan and did so late with blatche, jamison, and song. Javale still needs to play. blatche is playing like a full grown man but still would flourish at the four, playing the five is hindering his game, alongside etan or javale, preferably javale, we have a real front line where he isn't bogged down against the other squad's biggest man all night. jamison also benefits by working on a smaller man, posting up all night. Blatche, Jamison, and Dom killed tonight and nick did some good things as well. Nice work, you have reaffirmed my faith in a higher power. Dom's line 8 r, 6 a, 2 s, and 4 b, he did have 3 turns and notice no points (0-1 fg), but unbelievably valuable on d and quickly become a real playmaker.

Posted by: bford1kb | December 29, 2008 11:09 PM | Report abuse

agree with the Mike James being a poor man's Gilbert comparison

Posted by: bford1kb | December 29, 2008 11:11 PM | Report abuse

"why the hell are people always cracking on Jamison....this guy is one of the best things that happend to this team. He might not be a Michael Jordan, but he's very talented, gives you 100%, and the consummate professional that never quits.

Posted by: insanity999 | December 29, 2008 11:02 PM "

Sorry, but you should raise the bar a little bit higher for NBA players.

What you described should be expected from all NBA players, top to bottom.

When someone like MeTawn gets paid tens of millions of dollars though, you expect a lot more than just showing up and being professional.

You expect him to be able to help carry the team past the 1st round of the playoffs and that hasn't happened the last 3 seasons despite his lofty stats.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | December 29, 2008 11:11 PM | Report abuse

jamison can't guard people that being said he's like the best person you could ask for to coach and play next too aside from having to help with his man, thanks dom, and he can flat out score the rock, he simply puts the squad at a disadvantage logging so many minutes at the four, a physical position that doesn't quite suit him, granted he's gritty but not physically imposing or athletic, his value comes with his offense and leadership, which is why dom finally playing big minutes has benefited jamison and the squad drastically.

Posted by: bford1kb | December 29, 2008 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Let's see:

The more the Wiz play the young guys, the better they perform individually and the better the Wiz perform as a team.

Does management get it? Apparently not. For example, Taps showed no confidence in NY at the end of the game. That will cost this team down the road -- another opportunity lost to let the young guys improve.

And AB bashers, go home. Take a look at his rating on 82games.com. He's rated higher than Jamison, even playing out of position. And he held his own against the second best center in the game.

Posted by: Izman | December 29, 2008 11:20 PM | Report abuse

You expect him to be able to help carry the team past the 1st round of the playoffs and that hasn't happened the last 3 seasons despite his lofty stats.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | December 29, 2008 11:11 PM

And yet Tracy McGrady is paid 21.1 million dollars a year...

Posted by: yukiwith2us | December 29, 2008 11:21 PM | Report abuse

They did it. Big Props to the players. I know these players are good. Boy I pray that ETaps improves. To beat Houston is huge and this should give the players the confidence and fortitude to know that they can win. And once they have this, they also gonna demand that their coaching be the same.

Your heard from LarryInClintoMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 29, 2008 11:22 PM | Report abuse

very true, any blatche haters should own up and buy the man one of d.c.'s finest

Posted by: bford1kb | December 29, 2008 11:22 PM | Report abuse

"And yet Tracy McGrady is paid 21.1 million dollars a year...

Posted by: yukiwith2us | December 29, 2008 11:21 PM "

When did TMac get traded to Les BouleS?

Why would I care what TMac gets paid or has/hasn't done?

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | December 29, 2008 11:24 PM | Report abuse

So losing to the Knicks got 2 coaches fired. Is Adelman's job safe? He just lost to a team with 3 starters not playing. Oh my..

Posted by: ptp23 | December 29, 2008 11:28 PM | Report abuse

I have been watching Nick Young and agree that he should have played in the 4th quarter. He really is doing better on defense, but could do better rebounding. His shot has not been as good as the beginning of the season but we should stick with him. Celtics gave up on Joe Johnson after a couple years, and he's arguably in the top 4 shooting guards in the league now. So just be patient.

Posted by: ptp23 | December 29, 2008 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Look, I know he's playing DStev for experience and defense. But, if he gave those minutes to Juan, Young, and JC, we might not need as much defense. We might be up by 10 or 15 points.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 29, 2008 11:33 PM | Report abuse

By the way, Bullets Fever, I was beginning to think I was the only one that was really hard on ETaps.

Sometimes when I would look back at what I blogged about ETaps, I would say to myself, now Larry that was a little too tough.

But Bullets Fever, you really brought it strong to the page. I don't feel so bad now. Compadre!

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 29, 2008 11:41 PM | Report abuse

It will be interesting to see when Gil comes back, if Caron stays at the 2. Ball movement will be interesting because Caron fell into Gil's mode of trying to do to much. They need to study Celtics tapes to see how the big 3 sacrifice their games. All three guys have to play unselfish for us to win. Gil needs to be a 22-23 point scorer with about 8 assists. Caron 20 and Jamison around 18-19. That's what it's going to take. Wade's leading the league in scoring but they are going absolutely no where. Seen this before-Kobe after Shaq (and before Gasol). Gil's got to come back with that in mind. Let Wade have the scoring titles, and first round play-off exits (until he joins Lebron in NY in 2 years).

Posted by: ptp23 | December 29, 2008 11:41 PM | Report abuse

Stevenson's play getting to the hoop late was huge, but frankly, that was about the best thing he did all game. I agree, it seems a strange choice to make, putting him out there late. He's a huge liability on offense right now, and not much of an advantage defensively. Still, they got the W, and no one can argue with that.

Posted by: satchmore | December 29, 2008 11:48 PM | Report abuse

And McGuire's defense was huge all game. He also led the team in assists. They're much improved with his consistent play in the lineup. At points, we even saw Jamison play tough defense on Artest. You like to see the contagious defensive hustle.

Posted by: satchmore | December 29, 2008 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Well! I'm going to give the devil his due; Andray Blatche played well tonite,there I said it that being said he needs to hang around the rim and then he will be a force, and he needs to get to weight room so he doesn't get out muscled for rebounds and loose balls D-Mac is no joke, youngin is a player and serious defensive stopper, now all we need is a coach.

Posted by: dargregmag | December 29, 2008 11:51 PM | Report abuse

I posted this about a month ago, after a loss to Portland:

"If I had my druthers right now, McGuire would be starting. DS provides minimal defensive impact and minimal offensive impact. The only reason he plays is because he works hard, has experience, and most importantly -- it seems like there's a lack of a better option. Well that's not the case anymore. McGuire is already a better energy player than DS, clearly a better rebounder, he's a better perimeter defender, and with Stevenson's offensive output so far - starting DM wouldn't be losing much. Right now DM should be starting with Caron as the 2/3.

Posted by: psps23 | December 4, 2008 8:35 AM"

I love it when my instincts are on point. Is there any question who is better between the two right now?

Bright days are ahead with DMac and Blatche looking like true ballers in this league (not to mention the guys like Nick Young and Javale McGee that have serious potential).

Posted by: psps23 | December 30, 2008 12:22 AM | Report abuse

Anybody still want to call Blatch soft after that pick he put on Barry. Did ya noticed how long he just grouped around on the floor. It was like Mike Tyson looking for his mouthpiece after Buster Douglas has right crossed his butt.

It was Unseld like. You Go Blatch.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 30, 2008 12:27 AM | Report abuse

And as I have pointed out in the past. Scoring is the key. Get your points up, attack the basket, even Run and Gun if you dare, cause iffin' ye' do, it will make everything else ... easier.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 30, 2008 12:38 AM | Report abuse

DCMAN_88--

Sorry, but you should raise the bar a little bit higher for NBA players.

What you described should be expected from all NBA players, top to bottom.

When someone like MeTawn gets paid tens of millions of dollars though, you expect a lot more than just showing up and being professional.

You expect him to be able to help carry the team past the 1st round of the playoffs and that hasn't happened the last 3 seasons despite his lofty stats.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | December 29, 2008 11:11 PM

First off 'raise the bar for nba players'?? WTH are you talking about...the guy is averaging a 20 and 10! There aren't many guys in the league which have his leadership qualities in the league, and his work ethic. I'm not claiming hes the best player in the NBA but he's definitely a great player and a great captain. I think a lot of the credit to this team coming out and fighting every night despite their record is a testament to his leadership and Caron Butlers.

How often in the NBA do we see bad teams give no effort and not care. If the Wizards can beat New Orleans tomorrow...we may have something going here...

Posted by: insanity999 | December 30, 2008 1:04 AM | Report abuse

i'm further convinced ernie's been making good moves, acquiring gil, caron, ab, ny, dm, jm, mj, jd and forcing haywood down eddie's throat have all been good moves the resigning of jamison and gil are the next test, how will they look in a couple years is the key

Posted by: bford1kb | December 30, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

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