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Portland 100, Wizards 87

The story of the night was turnovers. The WIzards coughed the ball up a season-high 27 times and the Trail Blazers turned those mistakes into 36 points. Obviously, this team is not going to win like that. Caron Butler led the Wizards with 31 points and 10 rebounds but he also had a season-high and team-high nine turnovers.

Portland's Brandon Roy, who killed the Wizards in a Blazers win at Verizon Center in December, threw up this sublime stat line: 22 points, 10 steals, seven assists and five rebounds. The 10 steals tied a franchise record held by Clyde Drexler (my favorite player as a kid) and Larry Steele.

"They got into us pretty good, disrupted our guard play and made it tough for us all night," interim coach Ed Tapscott said. "When we got into our sets, we were pretty good but we just had way too many turnovers obviously. That allowed them to run out and score."

Portland led only 39-31after a weird first half in which it shot 31 percent and made only one of 10 three-pointers but blew the game open in the third with a 17-7 run that included threes by Nicolas Batum, Roy and Sergio Rodriguez, a dunk by Batum, and two dunks by Greg Oden, who finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds.

The team is flying back after the game and will not practice Sunday.

By Ivan Carter  |  January 25, 2009; 1:11 AM ET
 
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Comments

This one was particularly hard to watch because it was obvious that if we could hold onto the ball we would have had a fair chance to put it in the hole on most posessions.

Sure sign of the team quitting. Or at least certain team members who better have monster years next year to make amends to the fans that had to view the stinking corpse of a product they put out there on the floor tonight...

Posted by: jones-y | January 25, 2009 4:05 AM | Report abuse

And the person that should be held most responsible for that stinking corpse of a team rigth now is Tappscott. What ever the Interim was supposed to be we've seen enough of this mess.

The Blazers gave the Wizards problems with their length all night. But the three longest Wizards at their position, Crittenton, McGee and Young all got around 5 minutes of playing time.

I'd have liked to have seen Tapps given McGee a fairly good run against Oden. When developing a young player it's nice to let the guy go out on the court and gauge himself agianst the gold standard at his position, and also against the other young up and comers. Against the gold standard a coach needs to watch close and not let his guy get crushed before getting him out.

But against an up and comer, who could someday be the best in the game, you let him play his way off the court. Let your guy gauge himself and see if you can fire some competitive juices. Tapps gave McGee barely enough time to break a sweat while Songaila/Jamison/Blatche gave up 14 rebounds to Oden. Songaila got Two! That's way Too few to help the team.

Against a YOUNG,RAW,LONG,frontline that was abusing Snogaila/Jamison like a couple of new guys in prison, wouldn't the thought of putting McGee/Blatche and McGuire in together cross your mind?

I know the season has boiled down to letting Butler(he seems to be the guy the Wiz are trying to feature)try and put up numbers for an Allstar berth. But Jones-y laid out what Grunfeld's roster moves have been. The Wizards now have a very young core to develop to go with Arenas/Haywood/Jamison/Butler.

The goals now should be to get Arenas and Haywood healthy. Keep Jamison and Butler healthy and not wear them down. See if the Wiz can find a taker for any of their deadwood which are carrying deals that expire after next year. And develop that young core.

They need a coach in place that will spend the second half of this season developing rotations that will give those youngsters the on court developmental time they need.

Or they could stick with Tapps and we could continue to watch a "stinking corpse of a product". I would have rather seen the Wizards lose by 25 and have given the young core a decent run, then to have watched Songaila get abused in the paint by two guys that he clearly was physically over matched against.

Hey, they didn't take their big guys off the floor when the Wiz went small. If anything came out of last night, Tapps and Company, should have learned that lesson...

Posted by: flohrtv | January 25, 2009 8:53 AM | Report abuse

And the person that should be held most responsible for that stinking corpse of a team rigth now is Tappscott. What ever the Interim was supposed to be we've seen enough of this mess.

The Blazers gave the Wizards problems with their length all night. But the three longest Wizards at their position, Crittenton, McGee and Young all got around 5 minutes of playing time.

I'd have liked to have seen Tapps given McGee a fairly good run against Oden. When developing a young player it's nice to let the guy go out on the court and gauge himself agianst the gold standard at his position, and also against the other young up and comers. Against the gold standard a coach needs to watch close and not let his guy get crushed before getting him out.

But against an up and comer, who could someday be the best in the game, you let him play his way off the court. Let your guy gauge himself and see if you can fire some competitive juices. Tapps gave McGee barely enough time to break a sweat while Songaila/Jamison/Blatche gave up 14 rebounds to Oden. Songaila got Two! That's way Too few to help the team.

Against a YOUNG,RAW,LONG,frontline that was abusing Snogaila/Jamison like a couple of new guys in prison, wouldn't the thought of putting McGee/Blatche and McGuire in together cross your mind?

I know the season has boiled down to letting Butler(he seems to be the guy the Wiz are trying to feature)try and put up numbers for an Allstar berth. But Jones-y laid out what Grunfeld's roster moves have been. The Wizards now have a very young core to develop to go with Arenas/Haywood/Jamison/Butler.

The goals now should be to get Arenas and Haywood healthy. Keep Jamison and Butler healthy and not wear them down. See if the Wiz can find a taker for any of their deadwood which are carrying deals that expire after next year. And develop that young core.

They need a coach in place that will spend the second half of this season developing rotations that will give those youngsters the on court developmental time they need.

Or they could stick with Tapps and we could continue to watch a "stinking corpse of a product". I would have rather seen the Wizards lose by 25 and have given the young core a decent run, then to have watched Songaila get abused in the paint by two guys that he clearly was physically over matched against.

Hey, they didn't take their big guys off the floor when the Wiz went small. If anything came out of last night, Tapps and Company, should have learned that lesson...

Posted by: flohrtv | January 25, 2009 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Don't know why this system double posts sometimes... GM

Posted by: flohrtv | January 25, 2009 8:54 AM | Report abuse

What if we all start calling the ticket purchase hotline... and then right before we buy ask if McGee and all the youngster will be getting a guaranteed ~25 minutes... as that is the only entertainment.... and can we have refund if they don't?

Posted by: dante232 | January 25, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Ivan,

Can you TRY and write something new please other then how bad the Wizards seem to lose every night and how Taps comes up with new excuses as to how they lost?

Thanks, much appreciated!

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | January 25, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

I missed the game, but I see that Young played 8 seconds in the first half and missed one shot. He's in the dog house. Go Taps!

I can't wait til Stevenson returns so we can see James, Stevenson, Butler, Jamison, and Song lose by 30.

Posted by: Izman | January 25, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Amidst the complaints about the kids not getting into the game more, I just wanted to point out that last night illustrates the extent to which the Wiz are missing a QB-type.

Butler's turnovers came from having to handle the ball against a superior defender. That's just not his forte.

And note how scattered the Wiz seemed in the second half, even with the vets on the floor. My point is that exact same thing happens to the Pistons, the Suns, the Spurs when they face an aggressive defense and Chauncey Billups, Steve Nash, or Tony Parker aren't available.

Oh yeah, Billups is in Denver now. Well, the same thing happens there when he doesn't play.

We don't notice it more because most NBA clubs don't play aggressive defense til the playoffs -- if then.

Mike James isn't the guy to settle a team down during the first three or four minutes of the second half or late in the fourth quarter. Crittenton isn't ready. Butler needs to score, not set up inside plays. Jamison needs to camp by the basket.

The Wiz need a lot of things, but above all, they need a leader. Guard, forward, who cares? Somebody to calm the team when the heat is on.

Which brings me to the subject of Minnesota. 9 and 2 in 2009. What a turnaround. Admittedly, against the weakest part of the league (except Phoenix), but on the road as well as at home. The difference? McHale would say it's Randy Foye, but I'd suspect it's the team playing calmer, more focused. Even Sebastian Telfair looks relaxed. And I wonder if it isn't Kevin Love's fault. He did the same thing with UCLA -- now that he's realized he may never score that much against those big, quick, NBAers, he's gone back to rebounding and especially passing, the sort of thing that gets the scorers the ball when they want it, where they want it.

It's still not a playoff team. But that may be a quasi-ROY performance in the making.

Now watch him go in the tank. Law of perverse consequences.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 25, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

"General Manager Kevin Pritchard has used sound drafting and wise personnel moves (plus the luck of landing the number one pick, and with it Oden, in the 2007 draft lottery)."

Wait, Ivan -- it was sound drafting and luck to get Oden? I thought you said you would pick McGee over Oden? Still think that way?

Posted by: disgruntledfan | January 25, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

TEAM CONTINUITY!! Yep thats what's missing we lost it when EJ was fired and for whatever reason EG didn't hire one of EJ's assistant's Terrance Moore(AJC)columnist said in a saturday article that when you fire the coach you almost always take a huge step backward unless the team has great talent, John Saunders host of the ESPN Sunday show the Sports Reporters said in his closing remarks today that GM's of NBA team's really don't know when they make change's. The Wizard's were 45-26 under Jordan when Gilbert,Antwan,Caron and Brendan were on the court and when the team had injuries they still thrived,Moore of the AJC also noted that when the season start's off poorly PAITENCE is required not a knee jerk reaction that will send your team and your season spirialing downward into a dismal abyss.

Posted by: dargregmag | January 25, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Question:

"I thought you said you would pick McGee over Oden? Still think that way?"

I'd rather have McGee than Oden, but McGee is doomed if he stays in Washington. If I were McGee I'd buy out the contract, and go to Europe for a year or two.

Posted by: Izman | January 25, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

I watched that game and I saw two major things that affected the outcome of the game.

1) It appeared that the Wizards were directed to throw the ball inside to get foul Prone Oden into foul trouble. It did not work, what it did was contribute to force feeding passes that were not there and contributed to the high rate of turnovers, 10 by the 1st Q.

Bad Bad Bad Strategy.

2) On Offense, Portland came down court with the Ball looking to score, whether it was a shot or a drive. They looked for the first open opportunity and they Shaked and Baked with relish. They put the ball in the basket by playing straight up BBall. Not by some grand design, but just bring the ball down the court and score. Stop me if you can attitude.

Thats Ball the Wizards can play, but Tapscott has some Grand Design of what Offense is and constantly makes decisions on negative immaterial things, instead of just letting his players just Play The Damn Game.

Nuff Said.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 25, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

You can't blame Tapps. Blame the Wiz GM, who had a decent coach already, a guy the Wiz owed millions of dollars whether he stayed with the team or not. Eddie was not perfect, but he had the respect of the team, and understood how to search within his roster to get the most out of his team. Eddie understood player rotations. Tapps can't do that. No fault of his. He does not have Eddie's background.

Here's what bothers me the most: Portland knows how to build a team to produce future success. The Wiz have no idea. The bight ideas of the Wiz:

Let's give all our cap money to a guy with bum knees.

Let's give Antawn a multiyear contract, so that he starts with the Wiz into his basketball old age.

Let's give Antonio Daniels a long contract so we have to keep paying him when his legs give in. Then trade him for an equally old, past-his-prime guy.

The Wiz painted themselves in a corner with many of these moves, and had no choice with some. Antawn is playing great,
for example. But the problem with the Wiz is that they do not look far enough in the future and build like the Blazers do.

The last time the Wiz had a collection of young guys who looked interesting was Rip Hamilton, Rascheed Wallace, Chris Webber and Juwan. But of course they had to bust all that up and get old guys. Do you know they traded their #1 during that time for Mark Price, a very old, injured guard--when the #1 pick they gave up could have been Kobe Bryant. Look it up!

Anyway, at some point the Wiz must start to think beyond the first couple inches in front of the front office's faces.

Posted by: EdDC | January 25, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Flohrtv,

Never hit the submit button twice or double click it. The submit can go slow at times, so don't hit it a second time thinking your submission did not go through.

Also, when you have a long comment, copy it before you submit. I found out the hardway and lost my entire input. The site says your input has been held, but thats not true. It's just a glitch.

Sometimes your comment gets stuck, copy it, go out and come back in and if its not there, paste in back in and submit.

LarryInclintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 25, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

EdDC,

Where did you come from? I like your analogy even though I do not wholly agree. In any event, it is sound and well put.

Don't recall seeing you EdDC jumping in on a regular basis. Introduce yourself.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 25, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

I was lingering around after watching the first half last night. It was mid fourth quarter when I decided to check back in and I saw that we were down by double digits. I figured I'd get to see the end of the bench so I stayed with it a while.

To my surprise Taps decided to stay with it as well...to stay with Jamison and Butler though it was garbage time. When it was 2 minutes to go and we were down by 20, I shut it down for thing good in amazement. I guess we were hoping for a 18-0 run in the last 2 minutes?

This is getting to be really funny. It is amazing that we keep on doing the same unsuccessful thing.

BmoreRev

Posted by: stanlong23 | January 25, 2009 10:22 PM | Report abuse

While in Dallasn, Jamison was the NBA's best sixth man. He still is. Unfortunately for Washington, he's a starter.

Posted by: iamdawalrus | January 27, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

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