76ers 104, Wizards 94

And the march to draft lottery continues ... Tonight's loss to the 76ers felt an awful like so many this season as the Wiz dug an early hole, fought back to make it a game and then were overwhelmed down the stretch.

- The slow start killed, but the deciding stretch came after Antawn Jamison scored to draw the Wiz within 85-84 with 6:58 to go. Philly then ripped off a quick 6-0 run that included a drive and layup by Louis Williams, a Williams three and a Reggie Evans free throw. The Wiz never really threatened again.

- Good play from Javaris Crittenton tonight. In fact, the score would not have been nearly as close had he not played so well. Really played with confidence, was aggressive on the pick-and-roll and made some really nice passes while going back-and-forth with fellow Atlanta native Louis Williams.

Interim coach Ed Tapscott praised Crittenton, whom the coach has been working with closely, but stopped short of saying that he would consider starting him over the struggling Mike James.

"That's something I would consider after we finish this segment of games with some practices," Tapscott said. "Right now, he did a nice job off the bench. He had a nice rhythm and nice flow when he came off the bench so a lot of times, when you get something good why would you change it? So, all things are open when a team has its struggles but right now, I like where we are."

- Dominic McGuire scored a career-high 16 points but didn't look too happy afterward. "I'd rather have the win. That's all that matters," he said.

- The 9-win Wizards host the 10-win Clippers Saturday night in a doozy. I'm not sure how the players feel but I feel like I've been on the road non-stop for weeks. The good news is that the next five are at home. Not sure what that means for this team but I'm sure going to appreciate it.

By Ivan Carter |  January 30, 2009; 10:39 PM ET
Previous: WIzards (9-36) at 76ers (22-22) | Next: The Other Side: Los Angeles Clippers

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Get Ernie Gone

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Posted by: erniegone | January 31, 2009 12:11 AM

I don't blame Ernie for the lack of heart in some of the players tonight. Seriously, 20 points for Willie Green on 9-15 shooting? You have to be joking.

Somehow Stevenson, in his first game back, gets 23 minutes. It's not surprising that he shot 0-6 from the field either. And yet, Nick Young sits on the bench for most of the game, playing just 10 minutes.

Crittenton looked great and there's no question he should start in place of James. But that won't happen.

It's getting harder and harder to watch the Wizards as this season rolls along.

Posted by: mkremnitzer0 | January 31, 2009 12:30 AM

Get Ernie Gone

Fire Ernie free t-shirt

Email address to

ErnieGone@Hotmail.com

Posted by: erniegone | January 31, 2009 12:11 AM

Has anyone ventured to respond to Eddie Jordan and his constant pleading to move the gross of shirts he ordered after being fired?

As usual I skipped the game but it's nice to see that Critt seems to be getting more comfortable. Looks like DMac also had a nice game; did he hit any jumpers? Nice numbers from AJ as well.

I guess NY has returned to his shell. Too bad, thought we might have one player break out. Tough line for DS as well.

Wondering if anyone is planning on going to the Clippers game. If yes, God bless you.

Posted by: The_Shadow_Knows | January 31, 2009 12:33 AM

This is what I just read about the Pistons...

The Pistons this season, at the behest of president Joe Dumars, are about retooling on the fly and serving the youthful likes of Stuckey, Amir Johnson, Arron Afflalo and Jason Maxiell. Those are rookie coach Michael Curry's marching orders and that's why Curry is the man calling the cadence

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 31, 2009 12:55 AM

...all right neither CB nor AJ made the allstar game. So why are they still playing 40 min a night? Come on, 30 min max for each of them and keep DSong to 20 min. DSteve gets no more than 20 min too. Get NY back up to 25+ min per game, same with McGee and Crit. What do you have to lose, really, come on! And while youre at it give Pech a consistent 10 min per game too...let him find his niche. Firgure it out ETap.

Posted by: oddjob2 | January 31, 2009 1:16 AM

Les BouleS officially the worst team in the NBA.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/standings?season=2009&group=league&seasontype=2&standType=standings

Where are the people who said 0-5 start for this season didn't mean anything?

MeTawn, the ultimate stats guy, gets another 20-10, but the team still loses.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | January 31, 2009 1:24 AM

tapscott used jamison at center once song got 5 fouls and actually pulled crit from the floor when he was being the only productive member of the squad, is it a surprise that we got smashed once jamison was playing the five? we treated darius as if he was valuable enough to safe for later with 5 fouls, then we actually downgraded from song to aj at the 5, another brilliant coaching effort.

Posted by: bford1kb | January 31, 2009 1:56 AM

So this team is no longer able to be COMPETITIVE in the NBA despite 2 all-star-caliber players but Eddie Tapscott thinks it is a bad idea to make a lineup change because we arent at the end one of the 11.8% season segments.

This is insanity.

Pulling a hot Crittendon in crunch time for a struggling veteran?

WTF?

Posted by: UltimateFootballNetwork | January 31, 2009 2:40 AM

Not much to say about this game except:

-- the Sixers pushed the ball, and that's Crittenton's game. We got to see a scheme where he'd be most effective. You just can't count on him hitting those outside jumpers.

-- Louis Williams could be a really good one someday.

Wonder how Elton Brand would fit on the Wiz.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 31, 2009 4:49 AM

I actually think crit was pulled at the right time. Yes he has been hot but right before he got pulled the previous 2 or 3 possesions were going back down hill.

I just hope he gets more consistent playing time so we can see what he can do on a nightly basis.

Posted by: riskus | January 31, 2009 6:32 AM

Nice game for Crittenton. I noticed that he finally got more playing time than James. Maybe the Waterboy is phasing James out and phasing Crittenton in. I hope that this trend continues.

Nice game for McGuire. He's a solid rebounder and defender, and has been all year, but it's nice to see him score a little. Season high last night. I hope that this trend continues.

This is all we've got to root for - seeing some encouraging trends. Wins - I've given up. 9-73, for all I care anymore.

Posted by: ajedwardsjr | January 31, 2009 8:02 AM

Tapscott is seriously an idiot... what is he trying to do?, the Wiz obviously don't have a chance for the playoffs so why is he not freaking playing JaVale????? No more Tapscott!

Posted by: rachel216 | January 31, 2009 8:21 AM

Awesome game for Crit. He got pulled when he got winded. That was evident. But I like the way he attacked the basket, distributed the ball, and ran the pick and roll. Our offense looked fluid with him out there.

McGee looks better and better each game. Its too soon to say light bulb, but he's understanding the game a little better. Still a great deal of mistakes (evident and not so evident) and weaknesses though.

McGuire had a monster game. I hope he can continue to develop his attack the basket game. It was effective last night.

Now, to put some perspective on the performance of Crit and McGuire. Phily is not the best defensive team (and they lost their paint defender dalembert early in the game). On top of that, there is no book on Crit/DMac yet (well... the book on DMac says 'no offensive game'). That means defenses don't yet know how to prepare for them, what their tendencies are, etc...

So while it was awesome to see Crit and DMac attack the basket last night, it remains to be seen whether 1) they can do it against better defenses, and particularly defenses that protect the paint well, 2) how long it will take opposing defenses to key in on those tendencies and try to cut off their driving lanes and do other things to neutralize them (that's what happened to NY after his hot stretch), and 3) whether they can fight through opposing defensive strategies and continue to be effective attacking the basket like last night.

And if Crit can remain effective through those 3 factors, he will be a starter before the end of the season.

Posted by: jones-y | January 31, 2009 8:30 AM

Looks like DMac also had a nice game; did he hit any jumpers?

He may have hit 1 or 2, but the rest of his points were at the basket. Dribble penetration for dunks/layups, and putbacks.

Posted by: jones-y | January 31, 2009 8:33 AM

Ivan quoted Tapscott as saying:

"[Javaris] had a nice rhythm and nice flow when he came off the bench so a lot of times, when you get something good why would you change it? So, all things are open when a team has its struggles but right now, I like where we are."

What Ivan didn't tell us is that Tapscott was smoking a joint as he said this, and wasn't wearing any pants.

I don't care what anybody says, I love seeing those Wizards veterans execute. Beautiful to watch!!

Posted by: disgruntledfan | January 31, 2009 8:34 AM

Looks like DMac also had a nice game; did he hit any jumpers?

He may have hit 1 or 2, but the rest of his points were at the basket. Dribble penetration for dunks/layups, and putbacks.

Posted by: jones-y | January 31, 2009 8:33 AM

Excellent. Good to see somebody getting some penetration.

Posted by: crs-one | January 31, 2009 9:23 AM

As Ivan said after the Heat game, the gap between the Wizard's players from roughly #4-12 verus others team's #4-12 is truly scary.

Even if Arenas and Haywood come back strong, that gives this team perhaps 5 quality players (AJ, CB, GA, BH and I'll include Blatche) and then a mix of inconsistent or "unknown" guys at 6-12.

Having 5 quality players and then a bunch of question marks is not the fault of the head coach (yeah, I have no idea what Tapscott is trying to do other than win the game at hand).

Given the injuries, Grunfeld deserves another year; but the clock is ticking.

Posted by: SteveMG | January 31, 2009 9:38 AM

I usually do make comments, but I have to express my dissatisfaction with this team - in particular the coaching staff. Tapscott has no idea what he is doing out there and he should not and will not be retained at the end of the year.

I understand this team has gone through a rash of injuries and has a limited bench but he does not come close to utilizing this teams potential. Concerning this game, how on earth is Deshawn getting 23 minutes of playing time - in his first game back. He has regressed since all of the injuries and is not the defensive stopper as he is claimed to be. I do not see how at the 6:00 minute mark with Philly pulling away, Tapscott can sub McGee for Caron. Are you serious? How can you let Deshawn stay in the game and pull arguably your best player? Then, around the 3:00 minute mark he pulls Crittenton who is having a career night and leaves Deshawn in the game with no energy and a 0 for 6 shooting night. And how does Young not get any PT? This team is struggling to score at moments and his is instant offense. Sure, he has defensive deficiencies and can become lackadaisical, but so can everyone else on this team.

There is no focus and team commitment. The most unobservable part of this team is their defense. They are constantly getting lost on pick and rolls and leaving shooters wide open. They have no clue how to rotate and are beat on the offensive glass numerous times.

This has nothing to do with how cheap Abe is or Ernie's moves (even though losing Roger was a bad move) - it is the coaching and to be honest these issues were present when Eddie was there but he had the talent to mask this deficiencies. Ernie will need to take a long look at the coaching candidates this offseason if he wants this team to be successful, and of course, hopefully everyone gets healthy.

Posted by: jomama2323 | January 31, 2009 9:50 AM

not to be a downer but I dont think mcguires game was all that great. Stevenson could have made the shots he hit.
He was also a team worst -21.

Dont get me wrong I like the guy but like jones-y said no one was really concerned about covering him.

Posted by: riskus | January 31, 2009 10:15 AM

Occurs to me that the way the two teams are playing now, Jamison would fit better than Brand on the Sixers, and Brand could really help the Wiz...

Not that the contracts would fit.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 31, 2009 10:16 AM

For the first time, I saw that even the Wizards post game announcers Roonie Thompson is also questioning why McGee is not being allowed to play through his mistakes. Thompson " If McGee can't play when with Blatche,Haywood and Thomas out, when can he play? There must be something else going on that they are not saying because how will this guy develop when all of them are back?"

A lot of people are saying that Haywood's absense is the reason the Wizards are so awful this year since Gil was out last year adn they still made the play-offs with Haywood.

I am concerned that the Wiz will overpay Haywood since I believe he is a free agent while McGee who is already more athletic but needs experience and weight will never develop. Haywood's serviceable but don't get carried away with his impact because of our record. The Wiizards problems are way deeper than what Haywood can solve.

For example-Every team has at least 2-3 guys when they are open for a three, you are more shocked that it didn't go in. The Wiz are the worst 3 pointing shooting team in the league.

Is there anyone on the Wiz when left wide open with a thee you automatically say "buckets". Antawn? Caron? DeShawn?

Who on the Wizards demand a double team in the post that causes teams to switch? Antawn? Rarely.

Why do the Wizards continue to double team players in the post who have demonstrated no low post game and thus send them in a scramble to the open 3 point shooter. It's not just the Wiz that do this but other NBA teams as well.

Posted by: ptp23 | January 31, 2009 10:19 AM

Note to All: Where is LaSmooth/HerkyJerk aka Nick Young? as i said in an earlier post when oppossing teams that actually have a defensive mindset start to guard him the kid will become a non factor he is one dimensional, this is another player "who wasn't given a chance" under EJ's "reign of terror".The only player who has played well in my opinion, and who hustles and has shown improvement is McGuire

Posted by: dargregmag | January 31, 2009 10:47 AM

UVA Women on the front of the sports page instead of Wiz.

This is a very low low.

Posted by: erniegone | January 31, 2009 10:56 AM

I am concerned that the Wiz will overpay Haywood since I believe he is a free agent

Haywood's contract expires after next season. They'll probably try to extend him this offseason, and if not, then I doubt that they'll bid for him as a free agent the following offseason.

He'll either be resigned next offseason or traded at some point between next offseason and the following season's trade deadline.

Haywood's serviceable

Agreed. However, a serviceable center is a high value commodity in a league where there aren't enough serviceable centers to go around. There are 16 teams that would take Haywood right now, including contenders like Boston.

Then, around the 3:00 minute mark he pulls Crittenton who is having a career night

Crit was winded and it showed in his play.

Posted by: jones-y | January 31, 2009 10:59 AM

My apologies to all for hitting the submit button before i finished my thoughts, Dominic plays hard and is showing signs of playing smart,while the injured Andray Blatche has flashes of brilliance then reverts back to AAU ball.DCMAN88 while you think Antwan is "MeTawn" he consistently gets the most out of his skillset yes he put up stats(20&10) what else is he supposed to do? Please don't tell me that he is selfish that word is reserved for one Gilbert Arenas who has been lying to the Wizard fan base since the season started, Antawn and Caron have played hard all year long with very little help, thanks mostly to the ineptitude of their GM and head coach,April can't get here fast enough!

Posted by: dargregmag | January 31, 2009 11:03 AM

In this game as in so many others this season, I was reminded of one of the most unlikely side-effects of Brendan Haywood's absence this season: the opposition hit lots of threes. Wizards defenders don't dare get up on their opponent, because they know that when the opponent blows past them, either no other Wizards defenders will stop him at the hoop, or someone will be out of position when the guy with the ball makes his pass.

When Haywood was on the floor, the other players didn't have to worry so much, and they could play up on their opponents, preventing easy looks from three-point land. It wouldn't surprise me if Washington gave up a higher percentage of threes this season than any other team in the league.

Posted by: satchmore | January 31, 2009 11:07 AM

The only player who has played well in my opinion, and who hustles and has shown improvement is McGuire

I think this is the most troubling part of the team this year. The failure of the younger players to show consistency and improvement.

They'll have one or two good games and they'll be given more minutes. Then an opponent will focus more attention on them and they can't adjust.

Back to square one. One step forward, two steps back.

My guess is that _____(fill in the blank) will have a good game at home one evening. Then the next game, nothing.


Posted by: SteveMG | January 31, 2009 11:08 AM

I would sincerely hope that Ernie G. and Mr. Polin are not making an egregious mistake.

It appears they believe that the answer is to wait till the end of the season, then get a new coach and go from there.

That may work and if that is there plan, I hope they are right.

However, that being said, what are they doing now in order to create a winning Team, a winning organization, if you know what I mean.

What I see going on now will not change overnight. A culture of losing and a lack of positive direction and philosophy puts a new coach and the players needlessly behind the power curve.

I do not see anything going on that is contributal to success in the future.

Sure, one might argue they are coaching for the #1 pick, but to this I say, so what, it does not guarantee anything.

With still basically half a season left, how can you not start now when everyone has been knowing for awhile now that this DOG CANNOT HUNT, that is, this interim coach cannot coach.

A coach NOW that looks at everything and does everthing now to ensure success for the future is a dire need.

Is this organization truly a winning one, or are they just settling for mediocracy, or worst yet, FAILURE.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 31, 2009 12:04 PM

32 minutes, 1 rebound.

Ladies and gentlemen your starting center.......Darius Songaila.


Tap's gotta go. I know he's an interim guy but he needs to go NOW.

Posted by: original_mark | January 31, 2009 1:19 PM

not to be a downer but I dont think mcguires game was all that great. Stevenson could have made the shots he hit. He was also a team worst -21.

Dont get me wrong I like the guy but like jones-y said no one was really concerned about covering him.

When was the last time Stevenson threw down a 2-handed dunk of his own missed jumpshot?

There are plenty of guys in the NBA that teams don't game plan for defensively. But not all of them can take advantage of that fact the way McGuire did.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 31, 2009 2:01 PM

New Coach???
I just don't see the problem with Ed T.
Tell me who could do a better job?
Look at the roster. Look at the 76'ers roster. They cudda won by 30.
There ain't no power off the bench and not much in the starters.
Why waste time talking about a coach.
What we need is talent.

Posted by: VBFan | January 31, 2009 3:33 PM

Unless the Wizards somehow manage to find themselves in serious title contention between now and then, my guess is that Haywood is gone when his contract expires. He'll turn 31 years old between the end of the 09/10 and 10/11 seasons (when he's a FA), looking at probably his last chance at big money on a multi-year deal, and have some attractiveness as a FA to a number of playoff caliber teams. If the Wizards are still on the same roller coaster ride they've been on for the past few years, I'd be surprised if he didn't decide to go somewhere with more stability and better odds of winning in the short term.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 31, 2009 3:38 PM

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