Wizards 96, Knicks 89

The really funny thing is that I was sitting there writing my first edition story (I have to file about two minutes after the buzzer) in the fourth quarter with typical "Wizards go down" angle when the Wizards used a 15-2 end-of-game run to pull it out. It was stunning. Mike James hit two huge threes and Nick Young followed a block on Chris Duhon by nailing a jumper in transition.

Five Washington players hit double figures in scoring and the Wiz really bucked down defensively late. The Knicks missed nine straight shots and had two turnovers down the stretch.

James: "The difference tonight was that we made plays and normally in the fourth quarter, we don't make the plays that are needed." Well said.

By Ivan Carter |  January 16, 2009; 10:39 PM ET
Previous: Knicks (15-22) at Wizards (7-31) | Next: What's Up With the Songaila Bashing?


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We were lucky. I'm embarrassed I saw Darius Songalia for so much of the second half. Limited skill set and can't play the pick and roll against David Lee (possibly the only person who rivals Songalia in lack of speed).

Also, is Crittenton in some sort of secret competition with Tyron Lue for ugliest shot in the NBA? I've seen better form at the special olympics.

Posted by: awb9h | January 16, 2009 11:07 PM

What would Obama do with Ernie??

Fire Ernie

Bring change to the Wizards

Email ErnieGone@Hotmail.com

for free high quality t-shirt -- this is no cheap t-shirt like Ernie gives out.
Send mailing address and you get a shirt.

Posted by: erniegone | January 16, 2009 11:15 PM

It's great that Les BouleS won, but they beat a team, and barely at that, which was blown up early this season for Lebron 2 years from now.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | January 16, 2009 11:37 PM

Blatche gets a double/double in the first half and gets hardly any burn in the second? I am glad we won but Songalia added nothing to the win.

Posted by: h20law2000 | January 16, 2009 11:47 PM

We won this game despite Tapscott's ****ed up rotation. Songaila gets 30 minutes and tallies 4 points and 7 rebounds. AB was playing well but got taken out.
Mike James finally was given a green light and look what happens.
Tap's gotta go.

Posted by: original_mark | January 16, 2009 11:52 PM

SONGAILA gets burn and the WIZARDS win. SONGAILA can't run, can't jump. Must be white. WHAT CHEESE. SONGAILA is unselfish and is effective against some teams. TAP plays him when he knows he'll open up shots for others. He's a great passer who knows the game thats needed. When he overmatched, he can't deliver. Dude, 6'9" 250 playing center? When he can the WIZARDS win. He's a valuable asset. But you non-believers just can't see it. When HAYWOOD's back, you'll see him get less minutes, but will go back to a four where he's more effective.

Posted by: glawrence007 | January 17, 2009 12:07 AM

Don't you feel it is a dangerous game the Wizards are playing now with Caron and particularly Jamison going 40 min a night? The man is obviously playing hurt and risking getting very hurt for what? I would really like to know. Are a few wins in a lost season going to amount to anything when Jamison has to have surgery for ligament damage? God forbid but again what are they doing, where are the priorities? Jamison is a true leader and we don't need him out. They need to let him rest. I am sure it comes down to ticket sales but with this record it is really not going to make a huge difference at this point if AJ takes 5-10 games off.

Darius had better be moved in a trade before the deadline to justify his playing time now. It is obstinate madness to continue playing him at center and not playing McGee. JaVale is an amazing physical talent who needs to play now.

Does anyone think if D’ Antonio were our coach playing time would be dictated by tenure? I realize this is rhetorical but we have a silver platter opportunity to develop significant talent and we are just re-heating leftovers.

Posted by: The_Shadow_Knows | January 17, 2009 12:37 AM

Tapscott is playing the players he thinks will give the team the best chance to win. It's that simple. Now, you can question the wisdom of that, but that's the only reason. All of the other theories are shots in the dark.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 17, 2009 12:53 AM

I agree Kal but with two starters already out, and no prosect of making the playoffs, it seems high risk and minimal reward to push AJ and Caron like this. They are the leaders and should start and get 30 min a night unless hurt. If banged up they should rest lest they risk incurring a more severe injury.

Posted by: The_Shadow_Knows | January 17, 2009 1:16 AM

Songaila played fine tonight -- good match-up against a 6'9" David Lee.

The point differential too says +8 with Songaila on the court and -5 with Blatche. AB's great, but tonight I think Tap's move is vindicated. Last game Songaila played 6 minutes; tonight he played 30. Last game in NYC McGee played 16 minutes; tonight he played 4. In both games AB played roughly the same minutes.

Other factors were at work, but tonight, I don't question Tap's personnel moves. He did a good job.

Either that, or the Knicks were thrown for a loop by the Zephyrs unis. Maybe the Wiz should try using the uniforms again and see how things work out.

Posted by: JPRS | January 17, 2009 2:59 AM

Thank you, JPRS and kalo_ rama. Get up off DARIUS, haters. He's not our problem.

Not having our best #1 and #5 options is the problem. I said before the season that losing HAYWOOD would be fatal. It has been.

Will J-CRIT replace AGENT ZERO? With the way he's playin' not anytime soon. I know he's ERNIE's and TAP's anointed one, but he's as raw at #1 as McGEE is at #5.

And maybe TAPSCOTT's trying to use SONGAILA as a role model for JaVALE - attitude-wise only. Every time on the court, DARIUS gives you what he's got, and that's all anyone can expect from a player. The dude's never gonna' make you forget KEVIN GARNETT because he can't.

Posted by: glawrence007 | January 17, 2009 9:18 AM

I know it's typical coach/player speak, but it was funny and borderline ludicrous when ETap and Caron both said last night that this win against the Knicks will somehow build momentum. Uh, momentum isn't built from one win against a sorry opponent.

BTW, where are all the homer biotches who said early in the season that we were overreacting in our criticism to the 5 game losing streak to kick off the season?

How you like it now?

These are the same homer biotches who always say BS/ludicrous statements like:

* Gilby is the best thing to happen to DC....he puts DC on the map and keeps networks interested and refs will give us calls.

* EJ is the best coach that we have had in a long time and he should not have been fired.

* etc.

All I know is that Gilby pretty much caused this extended injury to himself. EG overpaid the wrong players as usual. EJ couldn't get the team out of the 1st round for 3 consecutive seasons and can't coach defense. EJ was flat wrong about BTH. ETC.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | January 17, 2009 9:46 AM

Kalo_rama, I think you are definitely right about Taps. But thats what is so sad about this whole deal.

Thats why I so disagree to go through the rest of this season with this coaching that everyone knows is so bad.

I believe we should start now and so what if we make history by firing two coaches by the ALLStar break.

To have this coach wreak the rest of the season then to pick a new coach at seasons end and everythings gonna be ok next year is Fools Gold to me.

The only reason I can see for keeping Taps for the rest of the year is because either Ayers or Unseld is going to be named the next coach.

I shudder at thought.


Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 17, 2009 11:49 AM

Big Deal.
We beat a BAD team.
They scored 17 in the 4th Q.
Sounds like deja vu all over again except it's not us.

The seasons is what it is.
Rest the Vets.

Let's see what we got on the bench. No need to wait for "D" league to start.

Maybe there's a gamer sitting.

Is Tap afraid of hurting CB & AJ's feelings?

Posted by: VBFan | January 17, 2009 12:42 PM

Regardless of anything else, momentum isn't generated from one win.

And, on a side note, one win is not a streak, so if the the Wizards lose the next game, please don't say they had their streak broken.
Two wins in a row is not a streak; two wins is merely winning consecutive games, or back to back games.
Three wins is a streak, but only if you haven't won that many consecutive games before; otherwise it's merely that: three consecutive games.
Four games is a streak; a short streak, but a streak.

Let's not start talking about how, after losing six games in a row (that's a streak), winning one game game against a team that's five or more games under .500 changes the momentum, or is the start of a streak. Nor would it be even if they won a game against the Celtics, the Caveliers, or the Lakes. Let's hold off talk of momentum and streaks until the Wizards win two games in a row.


Posted by: Dungarees | January 17, 2009 12:50 PM

blatche getting 5 minutes in the second half after playing so well in the first is ridiculous, javale getting four minutes makes me want to fight tapscott.

Posted by: bford1kb | January 17, 2009 12:59 PM

Frankly Tapps doesn't have to be fired. Ernie simply has to say the interim is over, and he can go back to being Director of Player Development, or what ever his title was.

If Tapps isn't happy with that situation he can respond accordingly. In business or sports I think it's laughable when some one gets an "interim" job and then thinks that bestows them some special right. Like the rest of the season, etc. If it's not in the form of a written contract, it's for as long as it pleases or displeases ownership or upper management. Period. Interim, can be a day, a week, or anything else, it's up to management.

My point is that if Ernie has a canidate in mind, Sam Mitchell's name has come up around the league, there's no point in waiting.

I agree with Tapscott's premise about the value of teaching winning to the young players. Even if the Wiz would go on a nice little run to end the season they're still most likely looking at a top 5-10 pick. So keeping Tapps just to tank and try and get the top pick has debatable merit.

I see some good things in the form of the Kids don't appear to have quit. I'm glad to see Butler bounce back last night, I was getting worried about his concentration and effort. Can't say that I blame him though.

Bringing in a new coach at the AllStar break would have some merits. A new guy could get a headstart on installing his system in a year when the playoffs are not possible. It would lower the pressure of learning a new system while trying to get off to a fast start.

He'd have to wait a year on bringing in a new staff, which might not be a bad thing.
It would allow him to immerse himself in the culture of this team before he blew it up. That way he'd have a better understanding of how things got the way they are. And understand how to get from where the way things are to where he wants them to be.

Cold turkey, fire everybody, and bring in a new boss and a new management staff can set a business or team back even further then before. Sitting around with "interim" management is like sailing a sinking ship with no plan to patch the holes. A lot of state American business and some pro sports teams is the result of merger after merger, or new coach after new coach without direction ever being established.

Guys on here still keep debating Ernie's firing of Jordan. What's done is done, I'm interested in who the next coach will be? And how he's going to fit a majority of the team's players into his system?

Because as much as some want to "blow the team up" in the real world with salary and luxury caps it's really hard to do that without commiting to several years of real losing.

The sooner a new coach gets on board the better in my eyes. GM

Posted by: flohrtv | January 17, 2009 1:23 PM

Last night didn't start a streak. It might have gotten "a monkey off their back", but it's not the start of a streak... GM

Posted by: flohrtv | January 17, 2009 2:06 PM

glawrence007 -- thanks for the good words. We definitely see eye to eye on this one.

As far as playing for next year and a lottery pick goes, I think that's a bad idea right now. If raw talent and playing time were sufficient, Kwame Brown would be on his way to the NBA HOF right about now.

Teams that play like losers, and play to lose, develop losing habits. Minutes should be earned.

Posted by: JPRS | January 17, 2009 2:13 PM

I was at the game and had written us off, but Nick Young was outstanding, and we managed to win in spite of having the worst coach in the league, who's rotation makes absolutely no sense. Andre Blatch lit it up but got only 27 minutes compared to 30 for Darius Songailia, who's a mediocre backup at best. And Javale rotted on the bench while Songaila played - 4 minutes.

Why is it that even the lowly Bobcats have Larry Brown, and the Clippers have Mike Dunleavy, but we're stuck with a former girls' high school coach who appears clueless.

I'm not renewing my tickets next year if Tapscott is still the "coach" (if he can be called that).

Posted by: stratman1 | January 17, 2009 2:37 PM

This is ALL Ernie's fault. Even the injuries -- the Wiz medical staff are a significant contributing factor. Remember Jarvis Hayes's injury -- the Wiz doctors botched the diagnosis and probably ruined Jarvis's career.

Ernie's go-along-get-along attitude is the problem. All Ernie cares about is securing Abe Pollin a couple home playoff games.

Free shirt, Fire Ernie -- email your mailing address to ErnieGone@Hotmail.com

Posted by: erniegone | January 17, 2009 3:21 PM


Come on man. You're just stressed like the rest of us fools for being believers. Its cool. The club tried to sign TOM THIBODEAUX as head coach twice. Maybe third time's a charm. If he ever comes on board the 'tude toward defense will change exponentially. And we'll all be high-fiving every year deep into the play-offs.

Posted by: glawrence007 | January 17, 2009 3:36 PM


Agree. Bad habits are hard to break. Convey that wrong-headed 25% lottery-ball goal and the team's done. Nobody gets to lay down in life. NBA's no different.

Posted by: glawrence007 | January 17, 2009 3:43 PM


Interesting point that begs the question.

If a team has a blue-chip coach and loses two out of every three games, how is that any better than watching a team that loses two out of every three games with an unproven coach?

As far as last night goes, JaVale may have rotted on the bench last night, but the Wizards won. AB starts the 3rd, the Wizards blow a 12 point lead. Songaila enters the game, and the Wizards end up winning.

Maybe the blown lead isn't just on AB, but the Wizards overcame the deficit with Songaila in the game.

In NYC Songaila plays 6 minutes and the Wizards lose. Last night he plays 30 and the team wins.

Bottom line -- the team got a W.

Posted by: JPRS | January 17, 2009 3:55 PM

In NYC Songaila plays 6 minutes and the Wizards lose. Last night he plays 30 and the team wins.

Posted by: JPRS | January 17, 2009 3:55 PM

What about the other 25 games where he played 25-30 min and we lost. This is just ridiculous, we already know what Darius brings. He is a solid backup at the 4. He is not the linchpin of success for this team. Year is shot and should be dedicated to developing the young talent on this team.

Posted by: The_Shadow_Knows | January 17, 2009 4:08 PM

Hey shadow:

You remember that old T.V. show "THE SHADOW KNOWS" and "LIGHTS OUT!"

Posted by: glawrence007 | January 17, 2009 4:35 PM

Watching the asu-ucla game to check out Hardin, who's suppose to be a top 5 pick, and I have to say he's underwelming. He seems to not have good awareness. At times losing track of people in his zone on defense and on offense he had a shot clock violation when he had plenty of time to work. He just picked up his 3rd foul in the 1st half playing out of control and getting called for the charge. He has good size but for some reason they have him playing beyond the 3 point line instead of taking advantage of him being bigger than his defender. Also really passive and seems to be taken out of the game by being physical on him (only 2 shots taken for the half, no free throws). Too many possessions without him getting any touches.

Sad thing is I think he would be a good fit on the wiz. He has good offensive skills and he wouldn't be asked to carry the team here. Could feed off the big 3 and hit open shots. With him being a lefty reminds me off a less athletic calbert cheaney, who people forget was a great college player. Now I don't want the wiz to draft him since I don't think he would add a dimension to our team but if I was Hardin I would want to come here since he's not a franchise player and wouldn't be asked to carry this team.

Posted by: detox04 | January 17, 2009 4:44 PM

Hey shadow:

You remember that old T.V. show "THE SHADOW KNOWS" and "LIGHTS OUT!"

Posted by: glawrence007 | January 17, 2009 4:35 PM

Greetings Lawrence,
I have seen a few episodes of mystery series "Lights Out!" though it is a bit before my time. I'm sure there have been a multitude of Shadow TV series but I do not recall the one titled "The Shadow Knows". My folks collected antiques and on one excursion they purchased a box full of old 1920's pulp mags for me. A number of them featured the Shadow and I still have a nostalgic affinity for the character.

Posted by: The_Shadow_Knows | January 17, 2009 5:05 PM


I'm not saying Songaila is the long-time answer at the 5.

In other comments, I've said he's a more natural fit at the 3 and the 4. Ideally he's a guy coming off the bench. He's a solid veteran role player -- a great guy to have on a team.

People are razing Songaila saying that he's much worse than the other current options that the Wizards have -- or that the Wizards should just lose games, develop young talent, and play for a high lottery pick.

That's what I disagree with. I don't think any team should play to lose. I think you go with the best line-ups on any given night.

As long as Haywood is out, there are going to be nights when Songaila is the best option that the Wizards have at the 5. Songaila and AB were a good match last night. There will be other games were JaVale is the better option.

As a side note, the Wiz are 1 and 0 when Darius plays 30+ minutes. They're 3-2 when he plays 25+ minutes.

No, I'm not entirely serious when I point out that stat. Still, it's something to chew on.

Posted by: JPRS | January 17, 2009 11:07 PM

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