Wizards (7-26) vs. Raptors (14-21)

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

Inactives: DeShawn Stevenson, Gilbert Arenas, Brendan Haywood.

Raptors: Will Solomon, Anthony Parker, Joey Graham, Chris Bosh, Andrea Bargnani.

Line: WIzards by 2 1/2.

Notables: This is the first of three meetings between the teams this season....Toronto will again play without Jermaine O'Neal (knee) or Jose Calderon (hamstring)....The Raptors are 6-12 since replacing Sam Mitchell with Jay Triano as coach...In four games since being inserted into the starting lineup Dec. 31 at Denver, Bargnani is averaging 21.0 points and 6.2 rebounds while shooting 52.5 percent.

-Blatche is back in the starting lineup tonight after being replaced by Darius Songaila last night for what interim coach Ed Tapscott labeled a "team matter." It stemmed from the way Blatche reacted after being taken out of Sunday's loss to Cleveland. Still, Blatche played heavy minutes last night and he's back in his old spot tonight. I asked Blatche about what happened Sunday and he said: "It was just frustration, that was all. It was an emotional game."

One thing about Tapscott, I don't get any impression that he's the kind of coach who holds grudges. He did what he felt he had to do with a young player who showed him up, Blatche responded well and that is that.

-DeShawn Stevenson had a shot in his lower back this morning and will remain out for between 10 days to two weeks at which point he will be re-evaluated. Stevenson has been bothered by a disk issue that has progressively gotten worse since training camp. He told me last night that he would like to do whatever he can to avoid surgery.

-Songaila still can't talk after getting hit in the throat by Dwight Howard last night and Blatche had some fun with that before the game. Blatche was sitting in front of Songaila's locker stall next to Nick Young and Dominic McGuire when Songaila approached.
Blatche: "You want me to move."
Songaila shook his head.
Blatche; "What:? Can't hear you."


By Ivan Carter |  January 7, 2009; 4:31 PM ET
Previous: The Other Side: Toronto Raptors | Next: Raptors 99, Wizards 93

Comments

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Songalia should have drop kicked Blatche in his man-area for that.

Posted by: Barno1 | January 7, 2009 6:48 PM

So when are we going to hear from Ernie Grunfeld? Didn't he say we have 2 All-Stars we have enough to get it done? Caron and Antawn are healthy and putting up numbers but Tapscott is still .333 as a coach. Why was Eddie Jordan fired again?

Posted by: twigmuffin | January 7, 2009 7:21 PM

Blatche (aka Manute Jr.) is way too touchy touchy with the rebounds.

Hey SpongeBoy, elbow somebody out of the way and grab the board with both hands already

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | January 7, 2009 7:30 PM

46-25...Character..Commitment...

Posted by: ptp23 | January 7, 2009 7:55 PM

46-25...Character..Commitment...

Posted by: ptp23 | January 7, 2009 7:55 PM

The other guys get paid too, moron. And maybe you don't pay attention to the little details, such as the fact that we are playing on the 2nd leg of a back to back with no rest and the Raptors are coming off 2 days rest.

Get a clue.

Posted by: Barno1 | January 7, 2009 8:16 PM

Anyone getting tired of the so-called Princeton offense? Just seems like there's too much perimeter to perimter passing. Sometimes we burn five to 10 seconds before we even look underneath. Too many people standing around. Someone like Nick Young should be running people off screens.

Posted by: jweber1 | January 7, 2009 8:39 PM

The Ed Tapscott press conference:

"We got in a hole early, the guys did a great job digging out of it but a little fatigue and late game mistakes didn't allow us to get over the hump. We'll keep working hard in pratice to correct these mistakes, just a few executions and we'll be right there. I am glad we were competitive with a very good Toronto team, boy is Chris Bosh a great player, that's why he's an Olympian."

Tune in for the same record after the next loss.

Posted by: twigmuffin | January 7, 2009 8:58 PM

The Princeton offense is dependent on the personnel, when Jason Kidd was running it when the Nets went to back to back NBA finals, it didn't look boring at all. We never had the Kenyon Martin type player who would cut and throw down a dunk though.

Posted by: twigmuffin | January 7, 2009 9:07 PM

Uh... I hate to say this my Wiz peeps, but this is a BAD team with an even WORSE coach. If you can't beat a 14-21 team whose best PG and strongest inside player were out... AT HOME... you're a BAD team and your coach is even worse.

20 games under .500 now. The Wiz ain't goin' nowhere this season ladies and gentlemen. No playoffs in their future. So just sit back and try to enjoy the inevitable. Sad.

Posted by: eclectik56 | January 7, 2009 9:38 PM

Time to hire Pamela McGee as coach.

Posted by: Izman | January 7, 2009 9:39 PM

Crittenton showed some very encouraging signs of being able to create tonight, aside from that it was pretty depressing, getting down 21 to a team that isn't very good to begin with and is missing three starters, is just plain shameful, dom's pt taking a hit hurt us defensively

Posted by: bford1kb | January 7, 2009 9:41 PM

I'm listening to Tapscott now and he sounds like a pseudo-intellectual idiot that accepts no responsibility for the Wizards' losing.

He's GOT TO GO. The pro game is way over his head. He needs to go back to American U. and coach the kids again.

Posted by: eclectik56 | January 7, 2009 9:42 PM

he's certainly over his head, you can't blame him for it but he cannot coach us any longer, randy ayers is perfectly qualified, keeping tap on as head coach is waving a white flag

Posted by: bford1kb | January 7, 2009 9:45 PM

Speaking of McGee, it would be nice to JaVale get more minutes, say 25-30 per game no matter what. They should really try to develop him as much as possible this year, if we are going to be a lottery team anyway.

Posted by: cannontl | January 7, 2009 9:46 PM

The McGuire experiment should end soon. If he's no getting 10 rebounds or 6 assists or playing stellar defense, he shouldn't be in the game.

AB should be starting at SF with JMm in there at C against some teams.

Posted by: original_mark | January 7, 2009 9:47 PM

Pam Mcgee's wnba playing time probably does make her a better head coach than tap's losing record at american made him

Posted by: bford1kb | January 7, 2009 9:48 PM

Still not watching the games but the stats of the day are Raptors shoot 54.4% from the field and 50% 3 point shots? You can't win too many games that way.

Sorry Larry a team does need to play defense to win a championship. My question is why would a team resign two players (that kill your cap space since CHEAP ABE will not go over the luxury cap) who do not play defense? Yes that is you AJ and Gil.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 7, 2009 9:58 PM

The 1st woman coach of an NBA team? As a man, I kinda like the idea. Besides, she can't be any worse than Tapscott and at least she understands the game on a "pro" level.

I'm tellin' you, even as a diehard Pistons fan who also digs the Wiz, their demise this season has been hard to watch. I never miss a televised Wiz game and have been to several at the VC and I can see that this team is in serious trouble and SERIOS changes have to be made NOW, at least around the All-Star break.

Because once you become "comfortable" with a culture of losing, it's hard to come out of that. I watched my Pistons make necessary changes to make them go from average to contenders to champions and I know what needs to be done if the Wiz are to be playoff contenders again.

What's hap'nin now ain't gonna make it. No way, no how. Better B-ball minds are needed ASAP.

Posted by: eclectik56 | January 7, 2009 10:00 PM

I watched my Pistons make necessary changes to make them go from average to contenders to champions and I know what needs to be done if the Wiz are to be playoff contenders again.

Posted by: eclectik56 | January 7, 2009 10:00 PM

Then spill the beans, my friend!

-------------------------------

The McGuire experiment should end soon. If he's no getting 10 rebounds or 6 assists or playing stellar defense, he shouldn't be in the game.

AB should be starting at SF with JMm in there at C against some teams.

Posted by: original_mark | January 7, 2009 9:47 PM

mark, I normally enjoy your posts, but you blew me with this one. Teams have adjusted to McGuire. that's what teams do. They scout their opponents. In time, he will make the proper adjustments, his jump shot will improve, and all will be well. This is no experiment, I want McGuire on this team for the next decade.

Posted by: jones-y | January 7, 2009 10:15 PM

Why isnt AB playing 35-40 minutes per night? I still think he needs to be in better shape and playing him may be the only way to do it...and only then can we really see what he can do. Though one rebound? I didnt see the game and dont get it...

Posted by: oddjob2 | January 7, 2009 10:23 PM

A disc issue in his back? Stevenson is now officially untradable.


Regarding McGuire... I loved the replay of him sticking his hand over the ballhandler's eyes. Even if he's not getting boards he is effective on D, blocks out, alters shots and keeps balls alive with tips and deflections.


Liked what I saw of Crittenton.


Posted by: Darnell1 | January 7, 2009 10:28 PM

The thing that gets me about most of the posters here is the complete lack of patience, and to a lesser degree, perspective.

Bring a new coach in now? Who? How will they install their system with no training camp? How many good to very good coaches are available right now? How many will be available in June?

Play JM? Start JM? Folks, in case you didn't notice, thats what got EJ fired. Giving JM all of AB's minutes, when clearly, AB is, at this point, the far better option. The boy is freakish. He has pogo sticks for legs. But. HE'S NOT READY...

Play the young guys more? They're already getting almost half the 240 minutes available per game. They got 112 minutes tonight. And that's not an aberration, they're averaging almost that many minutes.

The vets are taking valuable minutes from the young guys? Yeah about 50-60 of them a night. What a travesty. Its not like we don't need every healthy body we have. Its an 82 game season.

Posted by: jones-y | January 7, 2009 10:31 PM

Posted by: jones-y | January 7, 2009 10:15 PM

Then spill the beans, my friend!

LOL! Ah-ight. 1st, you need to develop your young big men... JaVale and Blatche. Stop taking Blatche out of the game during crunch time. He has to learn how to play under pressure.

2nd, get a PG that can facilitate the ball to scorers like Caron and Antwan so they won't have to work so hard to score and keep the Wiz in close games. James is a shooter, not a facilitator... so is Dixon.

3rd, tighten up that perimeter D. Make players D up beyond the arc as well as they do in the paint.

4th, improve your half-court offense with better pick and roll options. Double the playbook to insure that every time you're on offense, you have plays that all but guarantees you'll score.

And 5th... DEFENSE, DEFENSE, DEFENSE. All over the court, all the time.

That's how the Pistons have been so successful over the past 7 years and the Wiz are almost a mirror image of them. They just need guidance and smarter heads.

Peace.

Posted by: eclectik56 | January 7, 2009 10:32 PM

Why isnt AB playing 35-40 minutes per night? I still think he needs to be in better shape and playing him may be the only way to do it...and only then can we really see what he can do. Though one rebound? I didnt see the game and dont get it...

Posted by: oddjob2 | January 7, 2009 10:23 PM

He was out on the perimeter guarding somebody most of the night.

Posted by: jones-y | January 7, 2009 10:34 PM

If you can't beat a 14-21 team whose best PG and strongest inside player were out... AT HOME... you're a BAD team and your coach is even worse.

Posted by: eclectik56 | January 7, 2009 9:38 PM

Okay, so besides the fact that Bosh was, is, and will continue to be their best inside player, were we not also missing our best interior defender and best PG?

Perspective my friend:

If you can't beat a 7-27 team whose best PG and strongest inside player were out...

Posted by: jones-y | January 7, 2009 10:38 PM

Good to see Crittenton & Young each play more than half the game. I think McGee will start getting steady minutes later this month and will begin being, at least, the #2 guy at center.

The fact that Crittenton & Young have seen increased playing time, coinciding with Stevenson's injury, does show the team's shift to giving the guys some minutes. Also, that backcourt duo closed out the game for the team, with James also being mixed in.

In seeing that Crittenton seemingly came out of nowhere to get minutes, I have hope for McGee...

Posted by: -CN- | January 7, 2009 10:38 PM

If Pam McGee was walking down the hall and Tapscott saw her coming, I gaurantee he would duck into the next available door.

We don't let women coach in the NBA, but if Pamela coached the Wizards, she would do a lot better than Tapscott. You Heard.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 7, 2009 10:42 PM

LOL! Ah-ight. 1st, you need to develop your young big men... JaVale and Blatche. Stop taking Blatche out of the game during crunch time. He has to learn how to play under pressure.


Agreed. However, do you not also agree that they are being developed as we speak? I definitely agree about crunchtime for AB. This being his third full year, he's gonna need that experience, to begin to pull it all together.
--------

2nd, get a PG that can facilitate the ball to scorers like Caron and Antwan so they won't have to work so hard to score and keep the Wiz in close games. James is a shooter, not a facilitator... so is Dixon.


Well, I see where you're going, but this team is going a different route. Our philosophy centers around the scoring point guard who opens it up for the forwards by putting the ball in the hole. Unfortunately Mike James is no substitute for Gil, and he's been on the shelf since forever. But since we needed backcourt production so bad, we had to give up a valuable facilitator in AD. Excellent backup PG, not so excellent 82 game starter.
--------

3rd, tighten up that perimeter D. Make players D up beyond the arc as well as they do in the paint.


Agreed, but that is obviously easier said than done. And its dependent on personnel.
---------

4th, improve your half-court offense with better pick and roll options. Double the playbook to insure that every time you're on offense, you have plays that all but guarantees you'll score.


Agreed again. However, that's the sort of thing you need an offseason to implement.
---------

And 5th... DEFENSE, DEFENSE, DEFENSE. All over the court, all the time.

Agreed again, but again, personnel.
---------

But overall, none of these are right-now types of changes. They take an offseason or two, some personnel changes, and a coaching change, to put in place. We've got the coaching change coming this offseason, the others will also come over time...

Posted by: jones-y | January 7, 2009 10:52 PM

I was also very impressed with Critt. I don't however, think its out of the blue. First, he's undeniably talented, and second I think that he has caught on quickly, and that he must've been demonstrating that in practice for the last couple of weeks, for ETaps to go with him down the stretch in this, or any, game.

Posted by: jones-y | January 7, 2009 11:02 PM

Posted by: Barno1 | January 7, 2009 8:16 PM
The other guys get paid too, moron. And maybe you don't pay attention to the little details, such as the fact that we are playing on the 2nd leg of a back to back with no rest and the Raptors are coming off 2 days rest.

Get a clue.
_____________
Wow..name calling? Shows your character. Just make your point. I'll stack my knowledge of basketball against you any day...Character..Commitment..

Posted by: ptp23 | January 7, 2009 11:32 PM

BulletFans78,

Not inferring that champioships do not require Defense. They certainly do.

I am inferring that, you should not compromise scoring and a good offensive philosophy for the sake of Defense.

Defense is extremely important, thats why you better make damn sure your offense can meet or surpass the test.

Cause for a Team like the Wizards, Superior Offense is the only way for them to win. Once they perfect their Offensive Play then it will be easier for them to achieve the Defensive play to make them successful.

Most all championship Teams have good, sound Defense, but their Offense has always been superior. Lakers, Boston, Bulls, Houston, Spurs, even Detroit all had good Defensive squads, but all the offenses were better.

For some reason, the Wizards think they can build defense first, with a controlled half court game. Can you name one team that went about it that way.

You remember when the Knicks had Jackson at the Point and they traded him because they thought they had two star guards and only needed one. Ewing and their Defense stayed the same, but they did not get any closer to a championship without Jackson. His offensive chemistry made them a better Team.

The biggest mistake that Avery made with Dallas is that he took a superior Offensive team and changed it for the sake of Defense. He should have left the Offense alone, except to encourage it, and made the Defense better. He did in fact make the Defense better, but their offense had been sabotaged. So in reality that Team that he took over was no better when he was fired.

Check, Dallas did not trade for Kidd cause they needed defense, their offense was not clicking anymore.

If you remember back in your playing days, the hardest Teams to beat were the ones you could not keep from scoring. You played your best Defense, but if you were not outscoring them your best Defense meant nothing.

Hence my analogy of the Wizs when they were at their best:

"Their Best Defense was their Offense."

LarryInClintonMD

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 8, 2009 12:05 AM

Ewings' Knicks made it to two NBA Finals without Jackson. If memory serves, they didn't make it out of the second round with him. Hell, the very next season after Jackson left, they got to the conference Finals. That's "closer" by any reasonable definition.

And to say "Ewing and their defense stayed the same" is an outright falsehood. Jackson's first 4 season in NY, he was coached by Rick Pitino, Stu Jackson, John McLeod, not exactly NBA HoFers. Pat Riley didn't show up until Jackson's last season in New York, which he built rebuilding the team (including trading Jackson). Starting the following season (after Jackson was gone), Riley turned the Knicks into one of the best, most physical defensive teams of the era (for which he won a COY award the season after Jackson was traded). When Riley left Jeff Van Gundy took over (with a brief Nellie interval) and didn't miss a beat. The Knicks teams that followed Jackson's departure were light years better defensively than the ones he played on.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 8, 2009 12:36 AM

And yes, Rick Pitino may well end up in the HoF, but it'll be for his work as a college coach, not the NBA.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 8, 2009 12:37 AM

Kalo_rama, point taken and well put. You are right, the Knicks Defense did get better. But this still lends credence to the point that your offense has to be better.

With the trading of Jackson there Offense did not get better. It was better with Jackson.

If Riley had kept Jackson, they might have gotten a Ring.

Even you Kalo_rama, would have to admit that a Defensive guru/specialist that Riley was, he won his Rings with Superior Offensive Players.

Without superior Offensive Players/Play, Riley's Defense never got it done.

For all of SHAQ's strength's his Offense is his strongest.

At the end of the day, Defense was elevated to stop Offense and those Teams that execute Defensely but also have better Offenses always win.

Thanks Kalo_rama, LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 8, 2009 11:15 AM

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