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Wizards (7-30) at Knicks (14-22)

Nick Young actually has come up with a name for the clumsy crossover that sent Charlotte's Gerald Wallace to the floor on Saturday. "The herky jerk. That's my new name," Young said.

Young smiled as he described the play, in which he nearly lost his dribble, patted the ball between his legs, spun and dished a pass to JaVale McGee for a dunk. The entire time, McGee and Dominic McGuire rolled their eyes and shook their heads.

"I'm trying to bring out a little creative move," Young said, smiling. "I kind of lost [the ball] but I got it back together in the end. Did the figure eight, spun off him, did the Magic [Johnson] pass to JaVale. I kind of felt like Chris Paul to Tyson Chandler."

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

Knicks: Chris Duhon, Jared Jeffries, Wilson Chandler, Quentin Richardson, David Lee

Refs: Dan Crawford, James Capers, Ron Olesiak

Line: Knicks by 4.5.

Notables: Knicks guard Nate Robinson is averaging 22 points, five rebounds and six assists in two games against the Wizards this season . . . Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison are both averaging 26.5 points per game against the Knicks this season . . . It's hard to say which loss stings the most when a team has 30 before the 41-game mark, but the Nov. 22 game was especially bad because the Knicks only had seven players. It also spelled doom for Eddie Jordan . . . The Knicks are returning home after a four-game road trip in Oklahoma City, Dallas, Houston and New Orleans. The Knicks lost to Oklahoma City, but beat the Hornets. Go figure. They are 8-16 since making those trades for Al Harrington, Tim Thomas and Cuttino Mobley. Mobley has since retired.

By Michael Lee  |  January 14, 2009; 6:50 PM ET
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Next: Knicks 128, Wizards 122


Even with time in the dog house, on a per 40 basis:

McGee is averaging 16 points and 10 boards


Blatche is averaging 17 points and 9 boards.

These dudes need to be on the floor together. Earth to Taps.

Posted by: Izman | January 14, 2009 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Why isn't EG exploring trades for Butler or Jamison? We've won 7 games, no one on this team should be considered untouchable!
And don't demand that Etan gets traded, he's got a year left on his contract, trading him wouldn't accomplish anything.

Posted by: twigmuffin | January 14, 2009 8:15 PM | Report abuse

The Knicks goal is to outscore you first. So if you don't outscore them they are fine with everything else.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 14, 2009 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Clearly the Knicks work on offense first foremost and last.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 14, 2009 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Clearly, if the Wizs keep the shootout mentality, they have a chance.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 14, 2009 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Blatche was being tended to by the staff when he checked out at the 9 min mark in Q1 after collecting his first foul. He didn't play after that in the first half; any word on him?

Posted by: -CN- | January 14, 2009 8:47 PM | Report abuse

I couldn't agree more that blatche and mcgee need to be on the floor together. Having jamison standing next to one of them still leaves our d helpless but if they are both on the floor we could actually be tough on the interior. Songaila challenges nothing around the rim neither does jamison, having them reliably playing together is awful coaching, almost as bad as leaving jamison as the five at the end of the half, where'd blatche go? nate robinson took a drive right songaila and despite being a foot shorter went right over top of him for the deuce. Playing songaila at the center spot ensures that whoever we play will have guards finishing at the rim on drives and bigs gobbling up offensive rebounds resulting in dunks at a voracious pace. Does tap not notice that no guard even tries to challenge mcgee near the whole? And when mcgee was in he kept a bunch of balls alive resulting in extra possessions. Put him and blatche out there together, nick young not getting a single minute in the first is laughable, he only went 3-4 with 12 points in his twelve second quarter minutes, why would it be important to play such a talented scorer early and often? Blatche?

Posted by: bford1kb | January 14, 2009 8:52 PM | Report abuse

The Wizards are now surging in the quest for ping pong balls. Give DeShawn and Eton max minutes, we'll get that #1 pick yet. Is there another Kwame available to build around in 2009?

Posted by: randysbailin | January 14, 2009 9:06 PM | Report abuse

You can look at this Knicks Team and see they have a focus to score the ball. That is there Niche.

What is our Niche? Our coaching imprint is all over the place. KISS. Keep It Simple Stupid. Thats why I've always said, Run and Gun First, and we'll get the rest Second.


Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 14, 2009 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Chenier just said about switching. We did not need to switch on a certain play and by switching it made our defense suspect.

I been saying time and time again, Man to Man means stay with your man. Do not switch. If you are constantly losing your man and always need help, then you need to be benched.

Defense ain't as important as Teams make it out to be. It's almost like when you playing Defense you got to pull all the stops like it is an emergency. No, just stay with your man by playing good position defense. It's that simple.


Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 14, 2009 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Damn, if they could play D the Wiz would take this game.

Posted by: jcbcmb68 | January 14, 2009 9:27 PM | Report abuse

The knicks have also a point to rebound offensively by staying under the basket when a shot is taken.

They do not automatically think set for defense when they shoot as the Wizs do.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 14, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Fire Tap. Why isn't NY starting again?

Tap must not have read my last posts.

Put CB back at the 3 and start NY at the 2. That solves our scoring problems and at least then we may be back to where we were last year...scoring but not defending.

Posted by: original_mark | January 14, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Pretty curious, I didn't get to watch the game, but in looking at the box score, I saw this:

Blatche - 16 min
McGee - 16 min
Songaila - 7 min
Pech - 1 min

Even if you add all of them together, they only equal 40 minutes. Who was playing down low?

Posted by: psps23 | January 14, 2009 10:10 PM | Report abuse

There is one thing I like about Taps. It is his demeanor on the sidelines. He's got that right.

I think the players knew they just had to outscore the Knicks. But, that hill was too hard to climb, when you have been taught to play set up basketball.

Outscoring a Team is spontaneous, it is non-scripted and you must do this as a matter of strategy.

The Wizs should be a scoring Team first and they have the players to fit this philosophy and also, most importantly, they have the players to be a much better defensive Team than they are now.

New York was Jordaness tonight. You feel me.


Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 14, 2009 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Not playing NY in the first quarter is just plain sabotage. I'd like to hear an explanation for that one from ET.

Posted by: t-train | January 14, 2009 10:21 PM | Report abuse


Good question and observation. At one point in the 4th the Knicks had more offensive rebounds than we had rebounds.

Go figure, our guys are not that bad. Seems like bad subbing again.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 14, 2009 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Pretty curious, I didn't get to watch the game, but in looking at the box score, I saw this:

Blatche - 16 min
McGee - 16 min
Songaila - 7 min
Pech - 1 min

Even if you add all of them together, they only equal 40 minutes. Who was playing down low?

Posted by: psps23 | January 14, 2009 10:10 PM

No one, that's why we lost this game. The entire fourth quarter Tap decided to go with Jamison as our big and we couldn't get a friggin rebound against Jeffries and Lee. You do not go small ball if you aren't running. We were playing a half court set offense and leaning on Nick's hot hand, which is fine, but put in some bigs to grab boards and play some defense down low. Lee destroyed us in the fourth.

Posted by: ManuteBogues | January 14, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

NY is getting off. What the hell would he avg. if he played for D'Antonio?!

Does anyone remember a sick run of games by one Leon Wood who registered career highs in something like 6-7 consecutive games about 20 years back for this club? Draining 3 after 3 from 5-7 ft behind the line. It looked like he might bust out to become a big-time NBA scorer but then came back to earth and anonymity. Later went on to become an NBA ref.

Posted by: The_Shadow_Knows | January 14, 2009 10:29 PM | Report abuse

AJ and CB played a combined 79 minutes? Why? Even if we make the playoffs (better known as a pipe dream), they will be half dead by then. We won two games when Caron didn't play at all. Why aren't Blatche and McGee getting more minutes? Is this some sort of variation on the dog house? Did Taps cut class when they taught deductive reasoning? Why o' why, dear sir Tapscott?

Posted by: Izman | January 14, 2009 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Lee destroyed us in the fourth.

That is exactly what happened. Taps, who's starring in the next Dumb and Dumber sequel, tried to get away with McGuire and Antawn guarding Lee. Of course, Lee killed them again and again with easy putbacks, lay-ins and assorted rebounds with no resistance whatsoever.

He kept Blatche and McGee glued to the bench (although Blatche may have still been injured; he's probably got a torn ACL, the way this year's going), although either (especially McGee, given his size and hustle -- he was very effective again, albeit AGAIN in limited minutes) would have done a million times better against Lee.

But having the IQ of a Cocker Spaniel doesn't lend itself to good coaching decisions. It's clear, right-freaking-now, that Crittenton, Young and McGee should be starting and getting the majority of the PT. Instead, they come off the bench and, except for Young, get far-too-limited minutes.

I'm about to scream.

Posted by: keithward64 | January 14, 2009 10:35 PM | Report abuse

...I assume AB was not available later in the game due to injury. Was anything of this nature explained during the game? ETapp and WesJr really are awful floor coachs. I agree it is time to stop all the switching off and just play man. Also lets drop the Princeton weave and run some basic plays, pick and roll. I believe the Wiz could have flat out outscored the NYN if they wouldnt have wasted so much time with each of their possesions running the weave. Also, there is still something not right with CB. Not hitting his free throws, making bad passes, not moving well without the ball, just forcing it in general and not really getting into the flow. I guess losing like this has really f'd with his head.

Posted by: oddjob2 | January 14, 2009 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Free T-Shirt

Fire Ernie Grunfeld

Email mailing address to

Posted by: erniegone | January 14, 2009 10:41 PM | Report abuse


Les BouleS shoot better than the Knicks for 2.

Les BouleS shoot better than the Knicks for 3.

Les BouleS still lose.

I'm glad I missed the game and didn't waste 2.5 hrs. of my life.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | January 14, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Good lord...more blah blah blah.

Blatche had two fouls in the first four mins and did not play well when reinserted.

McGee had his usual two/three good plays and many other poor ones. He does not "guard" or "own" the paint as well as some in here seem to believe for some reason. In fact, apart from an occasional dunk or swat he often gets abused as David Lee did to both him and Blatche this game. He is out of position more often than any other person on the team on offense and defense. That is saying something.

The per 40 stat is the biggest load of crap I've ever heard. Blatche and McGee aren't even close to good enough to warrant playing 40 mins or 30 mins for that matter. Stop playing statistician and watch the actual games!

Posted by: rphilli721 | January 14, 2009 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Umm to Keith and whomever,

McGee was abused just as bad by Lee as everyone else. He played him and did NOTHING to stop him either. So why the fuss?

I agree NY played great and he played virtually the entire 2nd half. I have no problem with the minutes he got.

Posted by: rphilli721 | January 14, 2009 11:04 PM | Report abuse

All we are saying is that the lineup used most of the fourth is not going to work in a slowed-down half court game. Crit, Young, McGee, Butler, and Twan is just too small for that tempo a game. Lee and Jeffries were going right over our players on the boards. You need a big in there to grab some boards.

Posted by: ManuteBogues | January 14, 2009 11:10 PM | Report abuse

McGee was abused just as bad by Lee as everyone else.

That's just completely, utterly false. McGee was on the bench in the 2nd half when the game was lost. McGee had 8 points and 4 OFFENSIVE rebounds in 16 minutes - those are very strong numbers. His hustle, including tipping the ball, keeps many possessions alive. That is production. He also alters and blocks shots, something Songaila/Jamison/whoever else plays the 5 doesn't do.

What game, exactly, are you watching? Do you enjoy the layup drill/opposing team offensive rebounding clinic that occurs when other Wiz centers are on the floor? I love the automatic assumption that because McGee's a rook, he wouldn't possibly be even more productive with more minutes. Let's give him real minutes, and see what he can do.

Posted by: keithward64 | January 14, 2009 11:18 PM | Report abuse

"McGee was abused just as bad by Lee as everyone else. He played him and did NOTHING to stop him either. So why the fuss?"

So McGee gets "abused" just as badly as the other guys on the Wizards team. Because of this, McGee has not "earned" his PT, and by default, the other guys on the Wizards should take his minutes (even though they're no better). Is this the logic that Taps uses?

A couple points:

(1) Even if McGee gets "abused", the Wizards do NOT improve by sitting him. He needs to play in order to learn how to defend quality players like Lee.

(2) Even if you use the argument that McGee gets "abused", the other "bigs" that replace him are no better (save for Blatche). As much as McGee should need to earn his PT, the other guys, even vets like Thomas and Songaila, need to earn theirs as well. Nothing they have done warrants taking PT from McGee, even taking out the factor of McGee being a raw rookie.

Posted by: psps23 | January 14, 2009 11:21 PM | Report abuse


Les BouleS shoot better than the Knicks for 2.

Les BouleS shoot better than the Knicks for 3.

Les BouleS still lose.

I'm glad I missed the game and didn't waste 2.5 hrs. of my life.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | January 14, 2009 10:49 PM

Well, I dont even watch it anymore since dec15th. so I save bunch of hours by switchin to geico lol

Posted by: forbid | January 14, 2009 11:41 PM | Report abuse

The problem wasn't McGee or Blatche (who did get outmuscled by Lee in the few possessions they were matched up head to head). The problem was that the Wiz either (A) keep switching the pick and roll and ended up with smaller defenders on Lee in the post (Lee isn't a natural post player, but when he's got a 6' 4" guy on him, he looks pretty good) or (B) got caught scrambling defensively when they were broken down off the dribble, with their "bigs" trying to cover the lane, leaving the Knicks bigs open to hit midrange jumpers or roll to the basket to catch easy lead passes.

None of the Knicks bigs are really set-up post players, but they dominate the offensive glass and get easy scores in the paint off second chance points. None, and I mean none, of the Wiz bigs have the strength to physically dominate on the glass. Jamison at least fights down there, but he's over-matched physically. McGee is too skinny and gets pushed around too easily. Blatche is softer than a silk purse. Songaila has the strength, but if he doesn't get his hands on the ball right away he usually ends up losing out to more mobile and athletic guys who can tip the ball around and go after it.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 14, 2009 11:47 PM | Report abuse

Bad ball movement and timing on the offensive side. The offense isn't in sync.

On the defensive side too many breakdowns. There's some good energy, but opponents are still shooting for too high a percentage -- the Wiz make teams work, but don't close out each defensive possession. It's like the recent games in a microcosm. Too many mental breakdowns and not closing out strong -- that's on the coach; that's preparation off the court.

Most nights the Wizards are the low-scoring team that other teams beat in the 4th period. Tonight the Wizards played an uptempo game against a team that plays an uptempo game. The Wiz are letting other teams dictate the timing and pace of the game.

What's this team's personality?

Just seems like the players don't trust the coach or each other. Tapscot probably has a great understanding of the game and a good eye for talent, but he hasn't translated that understanding into a winning formula yet on the court. He doesn't seem to have a clear vision for what he wants this team to be, or how he's going to get them there. Some of this is on the players, but mental lapses at the end of games are about preparation -- that's coaching.

Posted by: JPRS | January 14, 2009 11:47 PM | Report abuse

Tonight was awful, jamison playing the five for even a single second means you should never coach ever anywhere, not even american, but thats exactly how tap responded and then seemed to like giving the knicks extra possessions, three, four chances for one, we actually went back to this utter disaster of a front line, i didn't think it could get worse than darius but it just did and the fact that the knicks don't have a true center is certainly no excuse, rather it is even more valuable to have some bigs against the unconventional knicks look, at one point they had 4 sf's (harrington, chandler, richardson, thomas) and nate on the floor, and nate saw song back there drove right at him and elevated over him for a layup, song is only a foot taller, tap has to be watching the game right? he's sitting right there, blatche's minutes getting slashed is pitiful, songaila should lose time or jamison/cb should be scaled back, and yes nick needs to start, he scored 0 in the first because tap did not play him in the first, big mistake. Now nick knows what it's like to be caron or aj or a nightly basis watching your hard work be squandered by horribly inadequate coaching that leaves the paint wide open in the most important stretches and continues to jerk around it's players never clearly defining their roles, what's blatche thinking, he's not allowed to play power forward ever again and darius get's minutes over him? this is fundamentally flawed. Both jamison and songaila are horrible defenders, this needs to be understood and worked around, playing them together is utterly devoid of any silver lining, their basketball iq's don't help a lick on d when they get blown by or elevated over, notice this and finally mercifully play mcgee and blatche a heavy dose of minutes with a fair amount together. 1. james/crit 2.nick 3. caron 4.aj 5. blatche
dom and javale get the bulk of bench minutes, songaila should fake an injury for the betterment of the squad since tap can't use him correctly

Posted by: bford1kb | January 14, 2009 11:52 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, McGee gets muscled, but his incredible length bothers shooters driving to the hole or trying to score in close. The offense is always aware of McGee when he's in. It's not just about bulk. He's a shot swatter and alterer.

Posted by: keithward64 | January 15, 2009 12:02 AM | Report abuse

For sure, guards don't even think about challenging him, and he makes shots difficult around the rim, they all come out of the shooter's hand a little odd when he's lurking. we need to run. crit, javale, nick, dom and ab have their most potential in a high speed game, squads do not have bigs that can run with blatche and mcgee and crit is a natural in the open floor. Get pech some time for songaila, we've seen enough of the original slowfoot.

Posted by: bford1kb | January 15, 2009 12:09 AM | Report abuse

McGee will get the occasional highlight reel block, but he's far from being the kind of defensive threat that puts opponent's heads on a swivel.

His lack of strength and inability to hold position under the basket at either end makes it fairly easy for opposing bigs to root him out and seal him off with their bodies. And his generally poor understanding of defensive positioning principles often has him in the wrong place and too far out of the defensive play.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 15, 2009 12:27 AM | Report abuse

and this makes him worse than songaila or jamison at the five? mcgee playing helps mitigate other players defensive inability, i.e. jamison, oh i forgot with all this winning we've been doing you gotta be pretty flawless to crack the rotation, down the stretch we put song and aj in to protect the paint and we lose in a familiar fashion because of it

Posted by: bford1kb | January 15, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

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