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Wizards (9-35) at Miami (24-19)

Wizards starters: Mike James, Caron Butler, Darius Songaila, Antawn Jamison, Dominic McGuire.

Heat starters: Mario Chalmers, Dwyane Wade, Jamaal Magloire, Udonis Haslem, Yakhouba Diawara.

Season series: Heat lead 2-0.

Refs: Bennet Salvatore, James Capers, Ron Olesiak.

Line: Miami by 9.

-With Andray Blatche out (left knee) two-to-four weeks, Songaila gets the start at center tonight. I was almost scared to write those words for fear that a few heads will explode our there in what remains of Wiz nation but it is what it is.

Tapscott on the decision: "He's a veteran guy who gives us a chance to get off to a solid start. I know what to expect of him. We want to be solid at the start of games obvioulsy. There's an interesting stat: when the Heat win the first quarter, they have a phenominal record."

-Shawn Marion is out for the Heat tonight (groin).

-Wade is having a huge season for the Heat but keep an eye on Chalmers. The rookie out of Kansas has been nothing short of revelation considering that he lasted until the second round. Word is that the Wizards may have taken him with their first round pick had JaVale McGee not been there or, at the very least, Ernie Grunfeld may have tried to move back and still get Chalmers. Among rooks, he ranks in the top 10 in steals, assists and minutes.

By Ivan Carter  |  January 28, 2009; 6:41 PM ET
 
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Next: Heat 93, Wizards 71

Comments

RABBLE RABBLE!

Posted by: crs-one | January 28, 2009 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Taps has got to be faking it, and really just trying to maximize the number of lottery balls. No one is this dumb and that stubborn.

BTW, if Chalmers were selected by the Wiz, he'd have gotten no minutes this year. But that won't stop him from burning the Wiz tonight for the Heat. I wonder if Taps knows he is a rookie.

Posted by: Izman | January 28, 2009 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Tapscott really is going to start Ds at center. are you serious really i mean are you serious Tapscott needs to go Nowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

Posted by: brandonjamal13 | January 28, 2009 7:05 PM | Report abuse

"Word is that the Wizards may have taken him with their first round pick had JaVale McGee not been there..."

Really? I heard the Wiz wanted Roy Hibbert and would have taken him over McGee if he had been there. Which would mean McGee surprised them as much as the rest of us.

Songaila actually matches up pretty well against Jamaal Magloire. He's the sort of patient, position-conscious defender who annoys Magloire and makes him lose his concentration. Of course, Haslem is the real problem down low. I don't know who gets him.

Chalmers is heady, hard-working, and a team player. What he's not is a player with a lot of upside. That's why he fell to Miami. If he was playing next to somebody other than Wade (say, on the Wiz), he'd struggle more. Still, he is the sort of player who settles the team down and gets them focused during the game -- something I wish the Wiz had.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 28, 2009 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Regarding DS getting the start at center and people on this blog not liking it, note below what Riley told the Palm Beach Post:

"However, the Heat doesn't have a true big man who can provide a low-post presence. And Riley said while the rest of the NBA is playing 'small ball,' he's not a fan of that style.

"I don't think that game's going to win you a title,'" Riley said.

Posted by: jweber1 | January 28, 2009 7:25 PM | Report abuse

All I can say is THE WATERBOY COACH has earned this title and he should wear it well. Now that I heard that I am going to watch American Idol. Wow........

Posted by: BulletsFever | January 28, 2009 7:32 PM | Report abuse

This is ridiculous. Why is it that everyone in the league not calling the shots for the Wizards considers McGee a stud and a future star? What would it hurt to start him, anyways? McGee's big weakness is man-to-man d, and it's not like the Heat have a low-post scorer. What they do have, though, is a bunch of perimeter guys who love to get into the paint, which would kind of necessitate us having a good help side defender in there.

Posted by: PantslessYoda1 | January 28, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Wow! I am watching American Idol too.

Posted by: tundey | January 28, 2009 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Mike Lee asked Phil C. how do you stop Dwayne Wade? Phil answered with the standard mumbo jumbo.

But, the way you stop D Wade is, you better be scoring on the end. D Wade is only leading the league in scoring and you ain't stopping him. You better be scoring yourself, or you can just call your Girlfriend Katie and tell her to bar the door.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 28, 2009 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Damn, forgot that American Idol come on tonight, thanks to tuney and bulletfever for reminding me. Heck I rather have Simmon as our coach over Etap.

Posted by: demonj21 | January 28, 2009 8:00 PM | Report abuse

songaila starting would hurt if I didn't know it would happen the second andray crumpled to the floor, can't wait for deshawn to get back and round out our stable group of vets

Posted by: bford1kb | January 28, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

"Word is that the Wizards may have taken him with their first round pick had JaVale McGee not been there"

What? Chalmers was a second round pick! But he did play better than any of Wizards' PGs this season!

Man, James is terrible, a shoot-first PG who cannot shoot!

Posted by: sagaliba | January 28, 2009 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Ivan,
I know many think it unfair to bash Tapscott. They would argue that it's not his fault, he is in over his head in a horrible situation and he is simply trying to do his job.
Wrong. I would sympathize with Tapscott being in over his head, if Tapscott were not so arrogant. He has refused to accept that a 9-34 season is a lost season in terms of making the playoffs, and therefore accept the corollary that the Wizards should work towards other goals than winning such as developing young players.
He has also bucked the conventional wisdom, which if you wiser than the c.w. you are a genious if you are not as wise as the c.w. but claim to be via bucking it then you are an arrogant fool. Bucking the c.w. by choosing Songaila and Thomas over McGee, and Stevenson over Young has been proven a mistake by the superior play of the exiled youngsters over the veterans.

So an interim coach with his depressingly unimpressive resume refused to relinquish playoff hopes at 9-34, and had the balls to buck the overwhelming c.w. It's okay to be mad.

Posted by: emmet1 | January 28, 2009 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Ivan,

I have to agree that the Tapscott criticism is warranted.

He talks about bad matchups for McGee and then plays him big minutes vs Shaq.

He says there are no roles for seven-foot 3 point shooters except Okur and Nowitzki look like good examples to me...and then he mentions that Pech is a good rebounder. Seems to me that this team needs rebounding, size and 3pt shooting yet will not give Pech a chance.

He says that status is earned and then does not hold players accountable for poor effort and terrible play. Earned status without accountability does not mean anything.

The truth is he contradicts himself and refuses to stop staying with things that repeatedly do not work.

And none of this has anything to do with the shortsighted view of not developing the youth for next year. Look how long it took the young Hawks to figure it out?

Posted by: UltimateFootballNetwork | January 28, 2009 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Has anybody considered that EG may be influencing the way Tapscott is coaching the team, i.e. playing to win or play as well as possible and make the young guys earn their minutes?

Tim

Posted by: cannontl | January 28, 2009 8:43 PM | Report abuse

I miss Etan.

Posted by: PostSubscriber | January 28, 2009 8:50 PM | Report abuse

#1 goes down again in College BBall, Wake over Duke.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 28, 2009 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Miami. Wow! Just play basketball baby. Strategy is meant for those that ain't got game. If the Wizards got any game genius tappscott makes sure they don't show it.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 28, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

This is stomach-turning kind of bad.I think Ed Tapscott has to be the worst coach ever. Really what has he done to help this team? Every game, his team finds new and old ways to lose games. Sure they've lost some players to injury but to be this bad? I wonder what they do in practice.

And why do people still keep pointing out just how smart, well-spoken, knowledgeable and articulate Tapscott is. Who cares? The dude sucks at coaching. And he's doing exactly zero to improve the team for next year. Last year when the Heat sucked, Pat Riley was taking games off to scout college talent. Sure it was borderline tanking the season but he was doing something to improve his team for this season. We can see the results. Next season, the wizards will be just as bad, if not worse. All because Ed Tapscott wants to keep this stupid charade of earning playing time.

Posted by: tundey | January 28, 2009 9:18 PM | Report abuse

I really wish there was no NBA lottery. I mean, the Wizards aren't tanking games, they're just really, really bad. They can't help but lose, even when they try really hard. This isn't fair because the Wizards really need the 1st overall pick.

Posted by: rachel216 | January 28, 2009 9:23 PM | Report abuse

And while I'm thinking about it, there is no way that AJ and CB should be added to the AllStar team.

Sure, they have played good enough stat wise, but as leaders they have not demanded the right roles and stood up for what is best for this team. They should know that this is not a slow team and that the rotations all year have sucked like a old mans socks.

Say what you want about about Gilbert Arenas, but when the Wizards were kicking butts by outscoring teams and Eddie changed to focus to Defense...At least he had the courage to come out and say he did not agree and that they should continue to do the things that had brought them success.

We have not heard one whimper from either one of these guys, Antwann or Caron, about the bad, incompetent, coaching philosophy, they have been subjected too game after game.

Leaders do more than just play, they also voice there opinions.

I seem to recall that some prominent coaches have seen their tenure come to an end based on some choice opinions from there star players.

Majic and Michael sent coaches packing and I'm sure they are not the only ones.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 28, 2009 9:36 PM | Report abuse

I feel bad for Phil Chenier and Steve Buckhantz... they must be really bored...

Posted by: rachel216 | January 28, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

So much for the savy veteran and experience of Songala, don't mean much without talent. The same goes for Thomas, toughness and strength and hustle, don't mean much without talent.

You see the big difference between them two above and Haywood, and Blatch, and McGee, and possibly Peck, is Talent.

Every player will eventually get experience, they can get tougher, and stronger, and they can hustle.

But one thing they cannot get if they don't already have it is Talent.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 28, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

I cannot believe how poorly coached this team is.

I am not a reactionary or a name caller but Tapscott is one of the worst coaches I have seen on any level of basketball (and I have coached myself).

Posted by: UltimateFootballNetwork | January 28, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

McGee's big weakness is man-to-man d, and it's not like the Heat have a low-post scorer. What they do have, though, is a bunch of perimeter guys who love to get into the paint, which would kind of necessitate us having a good help side defender in there.

McGee's big weakness is positioning (getting and keeping it). It affects almost all aspects of his game, from man to man D, to helpside D, to rebounding, to offensive post moves.

I would sympathize with Tapscott being in over his head, if Tapscott were not so arrogant. He has refused to accept that a 9-34 season is a lost season in terms of making the playoffs, and therefore accept the corollary that the Wizards should work towards other goals than winning such as developing young players.

That's not his decision to make.

Has anybody considered that EG may be influencing the way Tapscott is coaching the team, i.e. playing to win or play as well as possible and make the young guys earn their minutes?

Of course. He's also influenced by AJ and CB.

Last year when the Heat sucked, Pat Riley was taking games off to scout college talent. Sure it was borderline tanking the season but he was doing something to improve his team for this season. We can see the results.

Results which have more to do with a healthy DWade than anything Riley did in the offseason. Maybe he shouldn't have been coaching if he was spread so thin that he had to take games off to perform other necessary duties...

Posted by: jones-y | January 28, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Last year when the Heat sucked, Pat Riley was taking games off to scout college talent.
Posted by: tundey | January 28, 2009 9:18 PM

Didn't Riley catch a lot of heat for that?

No pun intended.

Posted by: crs-one | January 28, 2009 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Just when you thought it couldn't get worse.

It's getting worse.

Absolutely no direction or purpose behind anything Tapscott does except, perhaps, for that game and that instance.

Zero long term planning. Zero long term development of players. Zero long term goals.

Just get by that one game.

Posted by: SteveMG | January 28, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse

The easy, basic way to judge Tapscott is not just wins and loses, but is the team getting better? I don't see any improvement in any aspect of their performance or their on-court mental toughness. Sloppy play, lousy D, breakdowns, late-game meltdowns. And, again, playing Caron and AJ 40 minutes a game at this point in the season is just stupid. They're putting lots of miles on these players, when they should save them for when GA comes back, be it this year or next.

Posted by: jweber1 | January 28, 2009 10:12 PM | Report abuse

If Grunfeld suposedly wanted Chalmers why didn't he move up from the 2nd round pick to get him? They could of dealt the 2nd round pick with the conditional 1st we got for Navarro to move up ahead of Miami.

Instead we sold our 2nd round pick for cash.

Posted by: Darnell1 | January 28, 2009 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Another brick in the wall!
These dudes suck! Ha Ha
I mean come on...
The other teams are toying with them!
If OKC has a better record in the end then the team
should be moved to Havana!

Posted by: jimmydeanroundsausages | January 28, 2009 10:16 PM | Report abuse

TAP has to go. Crittendon plays only a handful of minutes, while MJames bricks the Wiz toward another loss. Playing Songaila while McGee rides the pine in a rebuilding year where you need to let the young guys take their lumps? This is insane. ERNIE, THE CALLS FOR YOUR JOB ARE COMING NEXT IF YOU DON'T FIRE TAP.

Posted by: BulletsFan1 | January 28, 2009 10:17 PM | Report abuse

On the game, what was evident is that the Heat made halftime adjustments. The Wiz didn't.

Tale of two halves.

First half, they couldn't get open looks, and we got every rebound. We got to the rim at will and DSong looked like an all-star against their front line. Second half, they were wide open from outside, got to the bucket for easy scores, and they got all the rebounds. They shut all the driving lanes down, and we started putting up contested jumpers. Then after a while their shots started to fall from outside as our D collapsed to defend the paint. And that was the game.

McGee played well again. Couple of nice plays,couple of mistakes, but most importantly, it appears that he's starting to understand where to go and where to be on the floor. It showed in his rebounding most of all. His picks were awful again.

Pech was mostly invisible when he was out there. It looked like Taps took his game away from him (what little game he has... did he even record a statistic???), as he said he would in Michael Lee's article. Sad.

Posted by: jones-y | January 28, 2009 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Glad we had veteran Songaila play most of the game at C. Without him in there, this game might have been a blowout!

Song: 31 minutes, 3 boards. McGee: 17 minutes, 6 boards. Hmmm...

Critt: 8 minutes. Young: 8 minutes. James: 32 minutes, Caron 40, Antawn 42. Yeah, good thing the vets grabbed all the minutes and the youngsters, again, got little or no burn. Otherwise, this game might have been a blowout!

Posted by: keithward64 | January 28, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

"Just when you thought it couldn't get worse."

Well, there's your problem right there. Why in God's name would you think that?

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

Now Pech is scared to shoot because of Tap's comments. And why exactly is he playing pf and matched up against Beasley? Even our pf can't stay with him. What chance does Pech have?

Gotta love that DSong. 31 minutes, 3 rebounds. 5-13? Yet he'll be starting the next game, I'm sure.

Tap gotta go.

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

After a brief, tantalizing tease early in his stint that he might be able to play a team game, Mike James has reverted to form, chucking it up early and often, without hesitation or remorse. At least 3 times during the first quarter, the Wiz got a turnover or rebound and ran transition. Songaila got up the floor ahead of the pack, in position for a layup. James didn't even look in his direction, each time pulling up behind the line for an off balance long bomb that clanked off the rim.

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

Songala - 30 minutes - Three Rebounds.
McGee - 17 minutes - Six Rebounds.

I'll take McGees mistakes anyday.

Jweber1, What you say is genius. Is Tapps improving the team is what he should be judged by. Absolutely correct.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 28, 2009 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Absolutely no direction or purpose behind anything Tapscott does except, perhaps, for that game and that instance.

Zero long term planning. Zero long term development of players. Zero long term goals.

Just get by that one game.

Posted by: SteveMG | January 28, 2009 10:05 PM


That's true, but it's also to be expected. Tapscott is the interim coach, period. He has no chance (and most likely no interest) in returning as coach next season. He's a seat warmer. Of course he's not looking past the end of the season, because it won't be his problem past the end of this season.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 28, 2009 10:35 PM | Report abuse

So Tappscott was/is the development coach. How do you develop players without playing time? Tonight Song got 30 minutes, McGee got 17, Crit 8, and Pec 8. Tappscott doesn't have the guts to pull the vets when the game is over.

I think that Tappscott has just removed himself from any future coaching anywhere.

Maybe playing Jamison and Butler for 40+ minutes a night brings the losses to less than 30 points.

Posted by: JoeC2 | January 28, 2009 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Ivan,
Very nice work of late in an obviously challenging season. I was pretty aggressive in my criticism of some of the coverage a short while back and I want to recognize the strong contributions of late. Thank you.

Concerning the Wiz coaching, I am starting to feel this can't possibly just be Tapscott anymore. EJ was fired after going 1-11 (which I endorsed, just thought he was capped out for where he could take us) but the current situation is beyond comprehension. There are folks who exert more effort in avoiding work than they would expend in actually performing their jobs. This looks to the case here, it seems to me it takes a certain focus and desire to not only be this bad but then to consistently raise the bar of bad play with each game. It would almost be impressive if I did not have some vestment in this organization. In any respect, I ceased buying tickets some time ago, I now no longer watch the games or even listen on radio. Just check the box score and hop on here to get a sense of the evening's disaster.

Posted by: The_Shadow_Knows | January 28, 2009 10:48 PM | Report abuse

I doubt Tapscott has no future interest in coaching. I expect that, given his druthers, he'd rather not be coaching now. It's been 20 years since his last coaching job, and despite having held various position s in the NBA since, and despite having been praised for years from various fronts for his basketball smarts, he doesn't appear to have pursued any coaching jobs. He doesn't seem to have any interest in a coaching career.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 28, 2009 10:51 PM | Report abuse

D. Wade helped Miami win tonight. But the real story is that the Heat are playing and developing four youngsters this year.

Beasley Rookie 24 minutes/game
Chalmers Rookie 31 minutes/game
Cook 2nd year 25 minutes/game
Anthony 2nd year 17 minutes/game

Other than Beas, these were low picks. They are improving already. And they will be better next year.

It's starting to look like Taps chose to give minutes to the one young guy in the NBA who will not improve with minutes (McGuire).

Just think - Stevenson and Songalia may be in the starting line-up with James on Friday. This has the possibility of the worst team even fielded in an NBA game. I can't wait!

Posted by: Izman | January 28, 2009 10:57 PM | Report abuse

Tapscott is plain awful. javale has needed time all year and now we have no one left at center but jm and he still sees songaila get 30 in front of him. He has yet to realize that nick should start and continues to rely far too heavily on antawn, caron and mike james. James has been awful of late and really why should he play anymore, we can't be planning on bringing him back. There is nothing positive about this situation as tap is handling it, does anyone above tap care at all?

Posted by: bford1kb | January 28, 2009 11:16 PM | Report abuse

please write a truthful, scathing article about tapscott's inability, it is way past due.

Posted by: bford1kb | January 29, 2009 1:07 AM | Report abuse

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