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Suns (24-18) at Wizards (9-34)

Wizards starters: Mike James, Caron Butler, Dominic McGuire, Antawn Jamison, Andray Blatche.

Suns: Steve Nash, Jason Richardson, Shaquille O'Neal, Grant Hill, Amare Stoudemire.


Refs: Ed F. Rush, David Jones, and David Guthrie

Line: Phoenix by 4.

Shaquille O'Neal will play tonight. The Suns have tried to rest O'Neal on the second end of back-to-back games, but O'Neal will play after scoring 19 points with 11 rebounds. Andray Blatche will surely have some fun guarding O'Neal, who appears to weigh much more than his listed 321 pounds. It's hard to estimate what he actually weighs. He's built like an NFL offensive lineman but he is about 10 inches taller than most of them. "We'd like to play defense by hordes, but we don't have hordes. We'll have to try it by committee," Coach Ed Tapscott said. The only problem is that the Wizards are depleted without Etan Thomas. The Wizards are pretty slim with Blatche and JaVale McGee. "I'm not saying we are going to employ the Hack-a-Shaq, but I'm not saying we're not either." When a reporter reminded Tapscott that O'Neal is shooting a career best 61.5 percent, Tapscott responded, "But when he gets the ball in the paint, it's about 96 percent, so you do the math." ... The Suns have gone 2-3 on this East Coast road trip, which has included some disappointing losses to former Coach Mike D'Antoni in New York and former Suns Boris Diaw and Raja Bell in Charlotte ... Wizards guard DeShawn Stevenson said he plans on playing some time this weekend, either Friday against Philadelphia or Saturday against the Los Angeles Clippers. Coach Ed Tapscott said he would like to get Stevenson a few practices before playing him. ... Big game tonight. The Wizards need to bank on a win or an Oklahoma City loss against New Jersey to stay out of the league cellar for at least one more night.


By Michael Lee  |  January 26, 2009; 7:07 PM ET
 
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Next: Phoenix 103, Wizards 87

Comments

"Wizards guard DeShawn Stevenson said he plans on playing some time this weekend, either Friday against Philadelphia or Saturday against the Los Angeles Clippers. Coach Ed Tapscott said he would like to get Stevenson a few practices before playing him."

Good, we need somebody else to blame around here. Give Tapscott and Songaila a break. Spread the wealth, y'know?

Posted by: Samson151 | January 26, 2009 8:32 PM | Report abuse

"Wizards starters: Mike James, Caron Butler, Dominic McGuire, Antawn Jamison, Andray Blatche.

Suns: Steve Nash, Jason Richardson, Shaquille O'Neal, Grant Hill, Amare Stoudemire."

Jeez, looks like the Suns should win by 25, judging by the lineup. Bet the Suns' fans are even testier than ours.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 26, 2009 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Forget the records and the standings.... the Wiz can beat Phoenix. But I would like to see Blatche get "gorilla" inside... he's too much of a finesse center and that's not gonna get it done in today's NBA.

Posted by: eclectik56 | January 26, 2009 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Crittendon hit a J?! What... did hell freeze over? LOL!

Posted by: eclectik56 | January 26, 2009 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Mike,

I beg to differ that our frontcourt is depleted with Etan not playing. We are better without Etan because he is no good fit atall.

AB, with all his shortcomings at center is way better than Etan and when they do let JM play, he outplays Etan with one eye closed.

Thats how bad Etan is. I'm sorry. Put hime on the practice squad.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 26, 2009 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Get "gorilla" inside? That's kind of a poor choice of words.

Posted by: twigmuffin | January 26, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Uh... will Tapscott ever decide to D up on Barbosa... or will he wait until he scores 30 in 30 minutes?

Tapscott... what an ultra-maroon. LOL!

Posted by: eclectik56 | January 26, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Get "gorilla" inside? That's kind of a poor choice of words.

I think it's more of a poor choice of "thinking" on your part. "Gettin gorilla" means gettin' tough and fearless IN SPORTS. Obviously, you've either never played or you're too sensitive.

David Lee... a WHITE man... gets "gorilla" EVERY game.

Posted by: eclectik56 | January 26, 2009 9:05 PM | Report abuse

I don't know how long its gonna take for this Team to realize that the 4th Q is Gametime. It's when the curtains go up. It's showtime. It's when you have your best smile, your Sunday suit, your new car, your best shoes, and your best dice roll and you don't crap out till you have cashed in your winnings.

The Wizs play the like they scacred to win.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 26, 2009 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Blatche is too much of a "finesse" player for a 7 ft. center. He's gotta get stronger and meaner. "Gorilla".

Posted by: eclectik56 | January 26, 2009 9:08 PM | Report abuse

I can see Kalo_rama's face on that last play.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 26, 2009 9:11 PM | Report abuse

And there's my point. Blatche is down and out from a hit from Shaq... and he's on my fantasy team too.

He's GOT TO get stronger and stop playin' like a guard and take it to big bruisers like Shaq and Amare if he wants to be successful in this league.

Posted by: eclectik56 | January 26, 2009 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Just as I was looking at the Wiz upcoming games, I was thinking they would win 3 to 5 games straight then all sudden AB went down. Damn!

Posted by: demonj21 | January 26, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

This one is over ladies and gentlemen... loss 35 for the Wiz.

I'm a diehard Pistons fan but I dig the Wiz... they're my 2nd fav team (Portland 3rd) Tapscott has to go. No doubt. If I have to hear him pseudo-intellectualize another game he just lost one more time, I'll holla and throw up both my hands. LOL!

Posted by: eclectik56 | January 26, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

AB has skillz, no doubt. But if he's gonna survive in the NBA as a center, he has gotta get meaner and stronger.

Now, if you move him to the 3 or 4, his skills may seriously benefit the Wiz. But as long as he plays C, he'll ALWAYS get injured. Bet.

Posted by: eclectik56 | January 26, 2009 9:20 PM | Report abuse

That play I'm talking about is when Blatche thought he could bring the ball out of the corner with some fancy dribbling on Shaq. Don't he know that Shaq is old school and you ain't coming out the corner on him. That's one foul Shaq gonna use and he did. I pray that Blatche's knee is only just a little bruised.

The only way to get by Shaq is to have room to run in the open floor. Don't ever Andrae Blatche think you can Rope A Dope Shaq and leave him standing while you drive to the hoop.

Lesson Learned. Who's coaching this squad?

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 26, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

You're right on ALL count L.I.C. Tryin' to finesse Shaq is a dope move for a player like Blatche.

I hope his knee is alright too. This is the 2nd time he's left the floor due to injury and he came back the 1st time. I only hope that he shakes this one off too.

Posted by: eclectik56 | January 26, 2009 9:27 PM | Report abuse

... and don't even get me started on the coaching. Some of the worst I've ever seen... and I've seen a lot.

Posted by: eclectik56 | January 26, 2009 9:28 PM | Report abuse

"He's GOT TO get stronger and stop playin' like a guard and take it to big bruisers like Shaq and Amare if he wants to be successful in this league."

Posted by: eclectik56 | January 26, 2009 9:11 PM

Haven't you heard? Blatche is physically incapable of toughness and aggression. His physical toolset doesn't allow for it. He's limited by his very physiology to be a soft fadeaway jump shooter.

So sad.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 26, 2009 9:38 PM | Report abuse

No real shock here. They stayed close for most of it then faded down the stretch. Another day in the Booth.

The more I see of Crittenton the more I like his potential and his instincts. He really needs to lock himself in the gym this summer and develop a jumper. if he can come up with a solid off-the-dribble mid-range pull up, he'll be a credible triple-threat whenever he penetrates into the lane, making him much tougher to guard and making it easier for him to create open looks for teammates off penetration.

I liked a lot of what I saw from mcGee. Sure Shaq worked him over, but you expect that. I liked his energy and activity. And it finally looked like the light came on and he realized that he can't play post defense with his hips while waving his arms in the air. He actually got down and tried to dig into Shaq when he posted. Of course, it didn't stop Shaq from going over, around, and through him on his way to the hoop, but at least McGee finally got a lue on how it's supposed to be done.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 26, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

I'm watching the Oklahoma-OK State game right now...I can't believe I heard people say they are unimpressed with Blake Griffin. This guy is definitely an elite talent. Big, strong, can handle the ball, can run the floor, and is a very underrated passer in the half-court. And he's an aggressive force on the boards. He's going to be an all-star in a very short time in the league. I absolutely would advocate a tank job in order to get this guy.

And anybody that thinks Thabeet would be a better selection than Griffin is absolutely out of their mind.

Posted by: psps23 | January 26, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

"Haven't you heard? Blatche is physically incapable of toughness and aggression. His physical toolset doesn't allow for it. He's limited by his very physiology to be a soft fadeaway jump shooter."

LOL!! Well, there's these two things that's been available to players like Blatche for years, only they don't seem to kow about it... they're called "FOOD" and "WEIGHTS". Maybe he should try 'em out for a while.

LOL!! Well

Posted by: eclectik56 | January 26, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

WIZARDS - not worth the price of admission. O.K. let the rebuilding and tampering begin. 2009-2010:

Lottery pick THABEET/HAYWOOD at the five. McGEE/BLATCHE/SONGAILA/JAMISON at four. BLATCHE/McGUIRE/JAMISON/BUTLER at three. BUTLER/YOUNG/#2 draft pick at two. ARENAS/CRITTENTON/JAMES at one. PECHEROV and DIXON sometime bench players. STEVENSON/THOMAS gone.

Posted by: glawrence007 | January 26, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Haha. Coach Tapscott says Aaron Gray is a bad matchup for McGee, but tonight he has McGee guard Shaq and Stoudemire. Tapscott is funny because he is a liar.

Posted by: disgruntledfan | January 26, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

"LOL!! Well, there's these two things that's been available to players like Blatche for years, only they don't seem to kow about it... they're called "FOOD" and "WEIGHTS". Maybe he should try 'em out for a while."

It's fairly apparent that he spent some time trying out the food over the summer. The weight thing still seems to escape him, however.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 26, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

From Michael Lee's Monday Morning Point Guard:
And, finally, when asked about returning this season, Arenas mentioned the Wizards' lousy record and asked back rhetorically, "Would you?"

This should clear it up for anyone uncertain about the character and leadership abilities of our franchise player. Note to the Wizards front office, Gil's words are an inspiration and I will not be showing up to games either.

Posted by: The_Shadow_Knows | January 26, 2009 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Glad to see you appreciating the young guy, Kal.
It WAS good to see him getting some run.

Posted by: original_mark | January 26, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Comments like that reinforce my opinion that ARENAS is pure poison for this team.

Posted by: glawrence007 | January 26, 2009 10:10 PM | Report abuse

For those of you who don't think this obvious lottery pick we're going to get shouldn't be a 7'3" 265 double-double man, what's the alternative? We need to back-up HAYWOOD this season. He's thirty. You don't get the chance to pick a franchise center often. HT appears to be the best possibility this year. JEFF ADRIEN is a 6'10' PF in my estimation. We already have two power forwards in McGEE and BLATCHE. JAMISON is a three playing at the four. BLAKE GRIFFIN is CARON BUTLER at 6'7" 240. We already have BUTLER AND McGUIRE. We apparantly have our future #1 in CRITTENTON at least in the current management's eyes. We need the best #5 who's on the market this year. To me that's THABEET if he comes out. Otherwise ????.

Posted by: glawrence007 | January 26, 2009 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Peter John Ramos anyone.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 26, 2009 10:20 PM | Report abuse

"We already have two power forwards in McGEE and BLATCHE. BLAKE GRIFFIN is CARON BUTLER at 6'7" 240."

Are you just making things up? Blake Griffin is 6'10, 251 lbs. And McGee is 7'0 with a wingspan longer than most centers in the league -- he's nowhere near a PF. I appreciate the passion for Thabeet, but try not to butcher the measurables of these two players just to make your point.

Posted by: psps23 | January 26, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Is he available?

Posted by: glawrence007 | January 26, 2009 10:26 PM | Report abuse

I see the bed-wetters are out in full force tonight. Hopefully you'll change your pampers before going to bed.

Posted by: Izman | January 26, 2009 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Oklahoma City just won their game. We are officially the worst team in the league. After last year's season did anyone think we would be THIS bad?

Posted by: GoBullets | January 26, 2009 10:28 PM | Report abuse

My bad. Got the names of Adrien and Griffin reversed. But still, we don't need a 6'10 251 PF. We need a 7'3" 265 center. McGEE is not going to become a 7'3" 300 beast around the basket. I believe THABEET will.

Posted by: glawrence007 | January 26, 2009 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Funniest line of the night goes to Ivan, who ran away from the competition with this gem in his post above:

"The only problem is that the Wizards are depleted without Etan Thomas."

Posted by: disgruntledfan | January 26, 2009 10:33 PM | Report abuse

No.

Posted by: glawrence007 | January 26, 2009 10:36 PM | Report abuse

IVAN said that? Sounds as clueless as we are.

Posted by: glawrence007 | January 26, 2009 10:37 PM | Report abuse

I've only seen a little of Thabeet, and from what I've seen I think he'll be a big time defensive presence and a good rebounding threat. I'm not sure about his ability to score.

Griffin has all 3. I don't care that we have Jamison and Blatche already, passing up on a talent like Griffin would be suicide. It would be like the Pistons passing up on Carmelo, Bosh, and Wade for a big-man project -- only we're not as good as the Pistons to withstand a bust.

Posted by: psps23 | January 26, 2009 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Kalo_rama, spot on in your assessment of JM. I was really surprised that Tapps gave him the time to mix it up a little.

The_Shadow_Knows, Yeah, I saw Mark Jackson as a player for the Knicks and the chemistry he had on the floor with Ewing kept the Garden in a Tizzy.

I still maintain to this very day that even though Riley came in made them a tougher Defensive Team, but had he kept Mark they would have gotten a Ring.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 26, 2009 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Yeah Disgruntledfan, that line was funny, but I had to bust his chops (see above) and bring him back to sanity. But, I wonder, maybe we ought yo give Mike some credit, for surely he must have been jesting.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 26, 2009 10:58 PM | Report abuse

"I still maintain to this very day that even though Riley came in made them a tougher Defensive Team, but had he kept Mark they would have gotten a Ring."

I don't agree that had they had Jackson they could have won the title. But even with Jackson, the only reason they would have a had a chance to win was the defense (which got them to the Finals twice even without a high-quality PG to run the offense).

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 26, 2009 11:01 PM | Report abuse

That should be: "I don't disagree that had they had Jackson they could have won the title.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 26, 2009 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Watching Oklahoma play and anyone that might want to pass on Blake Griffin is insane.

Griffin is EXACTLY the tough enforcer/rebounder this squad needs. And he can score in a variety of ways without having plays called for him.

If you add Blake Griffin, Brendan Haywood and a healthy Gilbert Arenas to this roster things could get very good very quickly.

Posted by: UltimateFootballNetwork | January 26, 2009 11:10 PM | Report abuse

"Griffin is EXACTLY the tough enforcer/rebounder this squad needs."

My thoughts exactly. He would instantly add the one major missing piece of the offense after Arenas returns. And he draws fouls. A lot of them. He's exactly what this team needs.

Posted by: psps23 | January 26, 2009 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and I completely refuse to comment on the horrible Wizards game.

The veterans who supposedly earned their playing time continue to play no defense, hog the ball and take terrible shots and have terrible turnovers.

Even though in past games McGee did not play because of bad matchups, he played big minutes against Shaq, who is truly the worst matchup in the NBA for him. I would assume that a coach mentally yanking around a player is far more detrimental to his development than getting beaten up by Shaq or anyone else.

And did anyone else notice that right after Shaq posterized McGee that MCGEE CAME RIGHT BACK AND WENT AT SHAQ.

He missed his shot badly, but that is about the best thing you can see out of a young player. HE NEEDS PT. No ifs ands or buts.

Posted by: UltimateFootballNetwork | January 26, 2009 11:19 PM | Report abuse

And McGee altered at least 5 shots that didnt show up in the stat sheet as blocks.

Posted by: UltimateFootballNetwork | January 26, 2009 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Griffin or Thabeet... I hate to burst some bubbles, but the track record of this organization whether they get the 1st draft pick or the 3rd assuming they end up worst in the league is: Tyler Hansboro will be the pick.

I for one can live with it because what you see in Hansboro is the same you gonna see in the pros but at the 4. Tyler Hansboro is cut from the mold of Alonzo Mourning.

Mourning always amazed me how he scored underneath whether he went through you or over you, or just plain beat you with the ball, then scored for an and-one.

That grit and blood guts is the same way Tyler Hansboro plays. Ain't know one in college ball today tougher than he is. Like Mourning he has no fear on the court and he will fight you to the last second.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 26, 2009 11:21 PM | Report abuse

I am just at a loss for words...I have no idea what happened to this team. It is almost like they pulled an Arizona Cardinals in reverse.

Posted by: BT23 | January 26, 2009 11:29 PM | Report abuse

barbosa threw the ball over the backboard trying to get his shot over javale and in one stretch he forced shaq, amare and amundson to travel in the span of 5 possessions. He did about as well as anyone could have hoped considering that shaq is actually rolling again this year.

Posted by: bford1kb | January 27, 2009 2:31 AM | Report abuse

You goofs...I think it's pretty obvious that Ivan meant without Etan we are depleted in the STRENGTH/POWER department. If you add Blatche and McGee together, they are not as strong as Etan.

Still sick of all the TAP bashing. The guy has no team to win with. After the injuries, we're a very young team. Hell, we have all new PG's from the start of the season and completely different C's from last season. Wait until next year. We'll have a new coach hand picked by EG, a new lottery player, and Arenas/BH back. I think the turnaround will be fairly drastic!

Posted by: rphilli721 | January 27, 2009 3:02 AM | Report abuse

And it finally looked like the light came on and he realized that he can't play post defense with his hips while waving his arms in the air. He actually got down and tried to dig into Shaq when he posted. Of course, it didn't stop Shaq from going over, around, and through him on his way to the hoop, but at least McGee finally got a lue on how it's supposed to be done.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 26, 2009 9:44 PM

I agree totally. His man up D, while he's slightly to the right of where he needs to be (and that's why Shaq was consistently able to get straight to the front of the rim and dunk on JM - whereas against AB, Shaq was shooting 3-4 footers from the middle of the paint) was significantly better than the hips and flailing arms it has been in the past.

And his picks looked a little better (back screens were still a little lacking though). And he wasn't out of position nearly as much as he has been in the past, although he did get pushed around quite a bit. But as you say, to be expected against a frontline of Shaq and Amare.

I did like that he wasn't afraid to take it right back at Shaq, even though he had about zero chance... But most importantly, Taps rewarded him with more PT because of his improvements!

Posted by: jones-y | January 27, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

AW-W jones-y, don't you miss SONGAILA?

Posted by: glawrence007 | January 27, 2009 9:27 PM | Report abuse

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