Phoenix 103, Wizards 87

It's official. The team with the worst record in the NBA resides in the nation's capital. About a half hour after the Washington Wizards lost for the 35th time this season, the Oklahoma City Thunder won for the 10th time this season. Now the Wizards (9-35) sit alone at the cellar of the league for the first time since opening the season at 0-6.

The Oklahoma City Thunder has gone 7-7 over its past 14 games to surpass the Wizards, who have proven to be consistently bad, if anything else. "Groundhog day," as Antawn Jamison described the loss to Phoenix.

Once again, the Wizards got all that they could out of Jamison and Caron Butler, but they couldn't find a third or fourth offensive weapon to keep pace with the high-scoring Suns, who had three players score at least 20 points in Shaquille O'Neal (29), Leandro Barbosa (23) and Amare Stoudemire (22). Butler led the Wizards with 28 points and Jamison had his 21st double-double with 27 points and 13 rebounds. They combined to shoot 17 for 40, accounting for almost half of the Wizards' 81 field goal attempts. The rest of the team shot 15 of 41.

The key to the game was the fourth quarter, when the Suns outscored the Wizards 28-14. Barbosa scored 10 points during a 12-6 run that opened the period and gave Phoenix an 87-79 lead. The Wizards had a scare with 4:11 in the period when Andray Blatche tried to take Shaq one-on-one along the baseline. O'Neal appeared to kick Blatche in the left leg, and as Blatche tried to dribble the ball between his legs he went sprawling to the floor, where he rolled around for several minutes, writhing in pain. He had an X-ray afterward, which Blatche said didn't reveal anything.

Blatche said afterward that he didn't know exactly what caused the injury, which the team is listing as a left knee strain. Blatche put a protective sleeve on his left knee after the game and limped out of the locker room, dragging his leg. "It's fine when I don't put pressure on it. When I start walking, it hurts," said Blatche, adding that he will attempt to practice on Tuesday. "That was the scariest thing ever. I thought it was something serious. I felt a pop. It should be fine. I should be back out at practice."

By Michael Lee |  January 26, 2009; 11:39 PM ET
Previous: Suns (24-18) at Wizards (9-34) | Next: Butler Still Hoping for All-Star Invitation

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Get Ernie Gone!

Posted by: erniegone | January 26, 2009 11:53 PM

Yes! My man Tankscott is doing an admirable job. You folks have yet to acknowledge the skill and finesse it takes to do what he's doing: play your vets enough to get them decent stats, thus strengthening their trade value, yet a the same time create enough bad matchups to assure the loss. And he's doing a better job than Ari Fleisher in explaining his decisions to the entranced public. My man is going to have a nice seat waiting for him in the front office again next season, hopefully as we bring in Griffin, a guy who will have no problem defending the Crab Dribble. Thabeet could probably do it to, but I'd rather have Griffin.

Posted by: dpclark | January 27, 2009 12:35 AM

There are a lot of things that can be debated this season, but this is not one of them: Caron and Antawn should not be playing 40+ minutes in any game.

Posted by: what5 | January 27, 2009 2:34 AM

DONT TRUST THE MEDICAL STAFF'S OPINION DRAY!

Posted by: AWizinLA | January 27, 2009 3:47 AM

Ligament damage would not show up on an xray. If he felt a pop, they need to do a MRI to find out if it is serious. Well, the silver lining is everyone wants to see Pech and Mcgee play...

Posted by: yankeevicar | January 27, 2009 6:34 AM

Ivan, where was our third scorer last year when we won 43 games? There's enough in that locker room to win- Grunfeld's words not mine. That's why Eddie Jordan got fired, remember?

Posted by: twigmuffin | January 27, 2009 7:18 AM

Hands-up, Shaq and his 400 pounds, bumped his knee into Andray, I saw it on the replay. That's what happened Andray.

Posted by: closg | January 27, 2009 8:04 AM

It sure would be nice to hear Caron Butler say that he needs to play better, rather than insisting that he is an all-star. How out of touch and entitled.

Posted by: disgruntledfan | January 27, 2009 8:15 AM

I guess it is time to start paying closer attention to College ball:
http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/recap?gameId=290260197

Posted by: lameotron | January 27, 2009 8:20 AM

OUCH.

Posted by: rachel216 | January 27, 2009 8:51 AM

"That was the scariest thing ever. I thought it was something serious. I felt a pop. It should be fine. I should be back out at practice."

That's the one of the more ominous things you can hear. An x-ray won't tell you anything. I've done my acl twice, and I can tell you the "pop" is what gets you...

Posted by: psps23 | January 27, 2009 9:33 AM

We've moved ahead of OKC and Sacramento in the ping-pong ball race. If the lottery was held today, the Wizards would have a 25% chance at Blake Griffin. Tank baby, tank!

Next season's starting 5...

Arenas
Butler
Jamison
Griffin
Haywood

Coming off the bench...

Blatche
Young
McGee
McGuire
Songaila
Crittenton
Others (?)

Fire up the trade machine for...

Thomas (expiring contract)
Stevenson

Leaving...

Dixon (out of contract)
James (player option)
Pech (Europe?)

Posted by: Kev29 | January 27, 2009 9:33 AM

OKC and Minnesota are improving. Wiz continue to stagnate. When will the Wizards management be called out by the Post?

Mike Wise was always eager to talk about Eddie Jordan on the hotseat. The Post isn't afraid to call out the 'Skins or Nats.

Wilbon, Wise, Michael Lee, Ivan -- will somebody please write something about what a mess this season has become.

Posted by: SteveC28 | January 27, 2009 9:35 AM

I can understand the frustration of people that have season tickets (I'm glad I didn't pull the trigger on a pair last summer) - but this team needs to quietly tank. The front office already fired the coach. I don't see the point in firing Grunfeld. Does this team really have a player personnel issue? They already made the big move by signing Arenas - what's a new GM going to do, undue that contract?

They need to make the best coaching hire possible this winter/spring and work with that they've got. A draft pick, trade and maybe low level free agent could add to the team. Work has got to be under way for next season. The only thing I care about this season is Caron and Antawn not getting too down/beat up with all these losses.

Posted by: Kev29 | January 27, 2009 9:47 AM

I've seen a lot of talk about Blake Griffin, who is a sophomore and is 6-10 and 250.

Why isn't anybody talking about Luke Harangody of Notre Dame as a potential PF draft pick? He's a junior, 6-7. 250, and he is averaging 25 ppg and 13 rpg. If you need a pf, what's wrong with that?

Posted by: PostSubscriber | January 27, 2009 11:11 AM

"Why isn't anybody talking about Luke Harangody of Notre Dame as a potential PF draft pick? He's a junior, 6-7. 250, and he is averaging 25 ppg and 13 rpg. If you need a pf, what's wrong with that?"

You mean aside from the 6' 7" part?

First of all, I doubt Harangody comes out this year. Second, if he does, he'll make a nice late first round pick, but you don't draft a 6' 7" interior player with no hops and limited range with a lottery pick.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 27, 2009 11:49 AM

Harongody is a nice player - very effective. But I watched him last night and thought to myself, "he's no more than 6-6"

He'll probably be a second round pick in 2010, so he won't come out this year.

I like Dionte Christmas for the Wizards in this year's second round, would be a nice backup for Caron...

Posted by: Kev29 | January 27, 2009 11:54 AM

And I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't get taken until the second round.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 27, 2009 11:55 AM

I'm not a Notre Dame fan, so I'm not interested really in defending Harangody. I've seen Harangody listed as 6-8 and as 6-7, but not as 6-6. Whatever his height, his stats in the Big East suggest to me that he can play in the NBA, especially his rebounding performance. How do you rebound that well if you don't have some hops? I guess if Harangody had hops he would be at 18rpg, like Wes Unseld or Charles Barkley in college.

If the Wizards can't get Blake Griffin, should they try to trade down, say with the Timberwolves?

Posted by: PostSubscriber | January 27, 2009 12:51 PM

First of all I want to thank Ivan for the nice article about McGee's playing time. Nice to see once the question of playing the kid hit the paper Tapps used the kid much like many on this site have been calling for. The Kid didn't put up a bad line agianst Shaq.

No he's not ready to play center 40 minutes a night, but he should be seeing consistant time like last night. Run him for a spurt, then work with him on the bench. For all of the critics that want to fire Ernie, take a close look, he may have found the plum of this draft.

25% chance of getting the #1 pick. If Ernie gets it, look for him to deal. I've got the feeling that OK City will pay very well for a shot at Blake Griffin. He may well be the best player in the draft but I think the Wizards can swing a deal to grab
a couple of more pcs. and maybe dump a contract or two in the process.

There's a batch of other guys that will go in the top ten that could be as good or better pick then Griffin and some might be a better fit for the Wizards.

I'd look for Amare to hit the trade market, him and Shaq don't fit on the court together. They both want the ball on the same spot on the floor so it's not working. Jamison would be a better fit for that team right now in my eyes.

Posted by: flohrtv | January 27, 2009 12:59 PM

"I've seen Harangody listed as 6-8 and as 6-7, but not as 6-6. "

Kevin Love and Micahel Beasley were both listed at 6' 10" and turned out to be about 6' 7". If Harangody is listed at 6' 7", what does that suggest?

"Whatever his height, his stats in the Big East suggest to me that he can play in the NBA,"

I don't believe anyone here has suggested he can't play in the NBA. We're suggesting that he's not worth using a lottery pick on, a viewpoint shared by most every draft rating I've seen of him.

"How do you rebound that well if you don't have some hops?"

By playing against some guys who also don't have great hops, are also not overly tall, and aren't as strong as him, which describes a lot of college "big" men. He's very good at using his big, wide body to seal off players under the basket, which is a lot easier to do against college players than it is against the bigger, stronger, more athletic frontline players in the NBA.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 27, 2009 1:07 PM

25% chance of getting the #1 pick. If Ernie gets it, look for him to deal. I've got the feeling that OK City will pay very well for a shot at Blake Griffin. He may well be the best player in the draft but I think the Wizards can swing a deal to grab
a couple of more pcs. and maybe dump a contract or two in the process.

Posted by: flohrtv | January 27, 2009 12:59 PM

Good points. OKC will definitely be obsessed with Griffin, if a good deal can be done, Ernie would take it. Look how well the Celtics have done by trading Jeff Green in '07 - and that was only the 5th pick. I don't think the Wizards can be as dramatic as the Celtics two years ago, but that tank job/rebuild should be a model.

Posted by: Kev29 | January 27, 2009 1:34 PM

Our 2 PGs shot 1 for 6 and scored 2 points in 51 minutes combined!

NY didn't play well either, he shot 1 for 6 and scored 4 pints. We got NOTHING from our guards!

Posted by: sagaliba | January 27, 2009 1:49 PM

If the Wizards end up with the top pick, they'd be foolish to trade it for anything short of a still young, immediate impact player. And the odds of getting one of those are slim. If Griffin is truly NBA ready in both body and game for the NBA, they need to take him because he fills a pretty desperate need for this team, both now and in the future.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 27, 2009 1:54 PM

In the long term, Thabeet maybe the player with the most upside. He's only been playing organized ball for 4 yrs. 7'3" 260lbs. long arms, and not bad feet. Often compared to Motombo. In a center deprived league, he could play for a long time and be a force in the slower paced playoff action.

I like Jordan Hill, guy's got a long build.Really long armed rangy player, I think his game maybe more NBA ready then Griffin. I'm not sure about Griffin's defensive ability.

Hardin looks like a protypical NBA 2. Judging by the actual production that the Wizards are getting at the 2 that's a real sore spot. And if there's a question about Arenas's health Curry can flat out shoot the rock. He's got NBA scorer's stones all over him.

If OK City is sitting anywhere from 2 to 5 a deal might be struck swapping picks and picking up some other assets to use in a another deal or a 3 way. OK City's got 3 #1's in this draft. Plus lots of cap space,they can take on a contract without giving one back to be a player in a three way deal to find an impact player.

I'd target coming away with Thabeet, Jordan, Hardin, or Curry and an extra pick. While also packaging a deadwood vet contract or two into the deal (Songaila, James, or Thomas).

Point is to convert the pick into a young player and an impact player. OK City doesn't have an impact player to give up, but they could help the Wizards accumulate the pcs. to make another deal or turn a three way.


Posted by: flohrtv | January 27, 2009 3:15 PM

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