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Hawks 111, Wizards 90

That was more like it. The Wiz came out flat, fell behind 9-1 early and got smacked during the second quarter with a 16-0 run that basically ended the game.

Many years from now when I'm doing whatever it is I'm doing and I think back on this season, I'll think of one play: With 3:31 left in the second quarter and the Wiz already getting run out of the building, Juan Dixon had the ball at the top of the key and started to dribble off of a screen set by Darius Songaila.

However, the two collided and the ball shot free, right towards Mike Bibby, who scooped it up and raced the other way for a layup.

Interim coach Ed Tapscott called timeout and I noticed that Songaila was grasping his arm. Turns out that Dixon hit him so hard, Songaila lost feeling in the arm, it went numb and he had to leave the game, never to return.

I'm really not making this up folks. Like I said, it sums it up.

There were a couple of bright spots though. I thought Javaris Crittenton (seven assists) really pushed the ball well at times and made some things happen and of course, JaVale McGee flashed some real good stuff.

He posted season highs of 18 points and 11 rebounds and had the Philips Arena crowd buzzing a few times. As soon as the young fella figures out how to defend a pick-and-roll and as soon as he puts on some bulk to hang down low, he's going to be a monster.

The Hawks (30-21) were simply the better team. Oh and it gets better: the Wiz are getting out late tonight because the team plane broke down.

Wow ...

By Ivan Carter  |  February 10, 2009; 10:20 PM ET
 | Tags: Crittenton, Dixon, McGee, Songaila  
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I think Javaris and JaVale should get a chance to start tomorrow. Hopefully they both get 30 minutes. Like the little i saw from Pech too. Hope he gets more time if Darius cant go tomorrow, or even if he can

Posted by: T-ROB | February 10, 2009 10:41 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: joe12341 | February 10, 2009 11:00 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: joe12341 | February 10, 2009 11:01 PM | Report abuse

I agree Javaris & Javale should start tomorrow. I think Javaris is coming along.

Posted by: djnumb | February 10, 2009 11:05 PM | Report abuse

wow....the comments are dwindling!


Just looked this up bc Mr. Chenier during the game called Juan Dixon a "shooter" after he missed a wide open 10 footer while being "surprised" he missed it.

Javaris Crittenton career shooting pct .426
Juan Dixon .414

Love the guy and his story, but he does not belong in the NBA or at least not significant playing time. Does anyone consider JC a "shooter"?

Anyway, McGee had another deceivingly good game. Numbers look ok, but when it counted he had not impact and the lane was as unattended as per usual. Once again, a few good plays and people I'm sure will be swooning. I'm a fan. Just not a start him now no matter what kind of fan of his. That's dumb and not productive towards his future.

Posted by: rphilli721 | February 10, 2009 11:06 PM | Report abuse

This game was a master class in the good and bad of Javale McGee. I'm sure the stat hangers will look at the numbers and declare him the second coming of Hakeem, and the truth is he did some nice things. The question is, did he do enough of them to counter all of his many mistakes?

As usual, he leaves his feet like he's shot out of a cannon lunging to block every shot. As usual, he doesn't get to most of them, but by throwing himself into the air and out of the play, he leaves the man he's supposed to be guarding uncovered under the rim for easy second chance opportunities on the offensive boards. (How many offensive rebounds did Pachulia have in the first half, anyway?)

Watching him try to post up Pachulia, Horford, and Smith was almost comical. Surely he must realize that (A) he's not strong enough to back Mike Bibby down into the paint, let alone those guys and (B) even if he could, he doesn't actually have any low post scoring moves.

To his credit, he did seem to finally figure out that in order to score he needed to use his quickness and mobility, and started facing up, looking to score on the move going towards the basket.

He's got the raw material, but he's got a lot of work to do to build it into something.

Posted by: kalo_rama | February 10, 2009 11:25 PM | Report abuse

Washington, D.C.: I was at the Wizards-Nuggets debacle on Friday night and one of the most disheartening part was when, at the start of the 4th quarter (with the Wiz down big and being totally embarrassed), the Jumbotron showed Nick Young goofing around and laughing! I love the vets on this team and the way they've carried themselves. But my impression is that the kids (Young in particular) just don't take the game seriously at all. What are you hearing around the league about this team?

Michael Wilbon: Just what you heard...Talked to a veteran player a few days ago who said he'd love to have Nick Young for a summer to beat the daylights out of him on the court, in terms of physical play and running him ragged and teaching him the game from that standpoint. He said he thought Young has enormous potential and causes opposing guards problem, but that's he not serious about the game, like a lot of kiddies who have to be put through boot camp, of sorts. I'm not exactly stunned by the assessment, but it was interesting to hear from an in-his-prime guard who knows the league...

Just in case you missed it. This is more proof that there are many reasons why guys like NY, JC, JM are not starting bc it's a losing season. If NY is not taking being a professional basketball player seriously, you think starting him over veterans just bc it's a losing season will help?

Posted by: rphilli721 | February 10, 2009 11:28 PM | Report abuse


Same point I was making. One or two flashy plays and people in here want him playing 40 mins a night and starting. They fail to see the multitude of mistakes he makes on both ends. Then when you say something like that the reply is, but look at Songalia...blah blah blah. Yeah, but Songalia can shoot, box out, play tough, pass, and all the other little things. McGee does little if any of those things.

If McGee actually owned the paint as some in here believe with his shot blocking and rebounding, I might agree. But, that is clearly not the case. So, I would rather have Songalia in there showing McGee all the things he is lacking in his game.

Posted by: rphilli721 | February 10, 2009 11:37 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure the stat hangers will look at the numbers and declare him the second coming of Hakeem, and the truth is he did some nice things. The question is, did he do enough of them to counter all of his many mistakes?

Posted by: kalo_rama | February 10, 2009 11:25 PM

The same could be said about AJ (the man who plays no defense)and he how long has he been in the NBA?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | February 10, 2009 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Yeah Ivan, kudos for Juan Dixon. You ever heard of friendly fire, you ever heard of the o-line letting the defense in to cream the quarterback? Maybe not by design, but the all seeing eye might be looking down on these Wizards.

DSon has no business starting on this Team at center since AB got hurt. I don't care about JM's lack of experience, lack of bulk, mistakes, or whatever else weakness anyone wants to point to. JM should have been starting every game since AB got hurt.

DSon playing center is like a Spanish matador waving his red flag anytime any player drives to the basket. Gag me.

Fate looked down on the Wizards and said, Enough already, enough of this Songala dead weight crap putting the Wizards in the hole from his porous defense, and the Young Kid has to come in and make up ground.

Let the young Kid start even steven, and get adequate minutes.

Thank you Jaun Dixon, fate has played his hand through you.


You thought we lost something when Etan went down, and now you think we lost something cause Dson goes down.

Naww, Ivan, we ain't lost nothing with them two down. We gain with them two out of the mix, because they stand in the way of progress for this Team.

And Naww, I ain't being cruel, I know when a player should be under the bench.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | February 11, 2009 12:08 AM | Report abuse

In no way do I think mcgee owned the paint but in comparison to darius that's exactly what he's doing. I like darius just fine playing his proper role. But even with his negatives, Mcgee's a better center right now and nothing about what I've seen from him on the floor suggests he'll be terribly scarred or somehow his growth will be stunted by starting and getting the chance to play his way into 35 minutes. He's by far the biggest inside presence we have even if he does overplay everything, run himself out of plays, pick up bad fouls, be way too willing to give up position and get muscled even when he does have position. Those are my negatives and the majority are to be expected from a guy who has his frame and survived on natural gifts in just one year of playing time at nevada, before suddenly being asked to man the middle in the NBA while way too thin and on a horrid defensive team. I don't see the harm putting him in a starting role and I do believe he gives us a better chance to win than darius. We should also strongly considers crit as a starter, our team needs to run. When blatche is healthy, he and mcgee should play in tandem.

Posted by: bford1kb | February 11, 2009 12:39 AM | Report abuse

In the highlight that nba tv showed of the game only one was the wizards and it was the oop to javale. They had this hilarious exchange right after the slam,
GP:That's my guy, young boy.
CWebb:Now that's your guy? That's not your guy.
Unintelligible bickering
CWebb:You ain't know him, you didn't know him.
GP:I knew about mcgee, I told him about em, he just mixing and twisting a little bit more.
CWebb:As soon as he eats some hamburgers, eats some beans and cornbread,he'll be alright, he's gotta gain about twenty pounds.
GP:He needs to eat beans and rice and everything else.

Posted by: bford1kb | February 11, 2009 1:11 AM | Report abuse

"CWebb:As soon as he eats some hamburgers, eats some beans and cornbread,he'll be alright, he's gotta gain about twenty pounds.
GP:He needs to eat beans and rice and everything else."

That is very funny.

Posted by: Samson151 | February 11, 2009 3:55 AM | Report abuse

Quote: "but Songalia can shoot, box out, play tough, pass, and all the other little things. McGee does little if any of those things".

Songalia, 15 minutes, -15 (+/-)

McGee, 26 minutes, -3 (+/-)

The object is to score more points as a team than the opponent. Putting Songalia at the center ensures that this will not happen.

If anyone thinks that McGee should not be getting more than his average of 15 minutes per game, you also probably liked the new Treasury Secretary's speech yesterday.

McGee will improve with playing time. I'm not sure about Geigther.

Posted by: Izman | February 11, 2009 7:19 AM | Report abuse

This is just like how DC United's seasons went last year. Everything that can go wrong went wrong for DCU and looks like it's happening for the Wizards.

Posted by: tundey | February 11, 2009 7:36 AM | Report abuse

If you watch the game again (or even look at the play by play), you'll notice that Songaila gave up a bunch of those rebounds to ZaZa. It wasn't just McGee. Granted JM is weak and doesn't do much well in the halfcourt game yet. DSong is a very good spot shooter.
Neither Jm nor DSong is a good defender but they're bad in different ways. DSong boxes out well but JM blocks some shots or deters some shooters.
But to say that DSong is better defensively is kinda like saying that Amy Winehouse is prettier than Courtney Love. They're both ugly but in different ways.

Posted by: original_mark | February 11, 2009 7:37 AM | Report abuse

I still like the Michael Ruffin - MoPete episode the best.


me - What you talkin' about Willis (Bucky)?

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | February 11, 2009 7:47 AM | Report abuse

Is McGee raw? Heck yeah. Hello...ROOKIE! ROOKIE! ROOKIE!

Did I mention he's a rookie? Do rookies make mistakes? Do they have a learning curve? I don't know exactly what you folks want. He's getting better every game. And the more he plays, the quicker he'll learn.

Why you prefer the "Darius Songaila opposing team dunkathon" I have no idea. Let's see, we're losing nearly every game with Song at center. We're losing nearly every game with McGee at center. But with McGee, there's hope for the future. With Song, there's only hope that he might go crazy and grab three rebounds in his 30 minutes in the paint.

I know which one I'll take.

Posted by: keithward64 | February 11, 2009 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Why no comments on McGuire? We alway heard about his potential if given a chance to play. But in terms of scoring, rebounding,defense, he seems to be invisable out there.

Posted by: browneri | February 11, 2009 8:34 AM | Report abuse

LOL. I agree wholeheartedly, Keithinator. With this lost season, I see o reason why to continue to play DSong. As for the suggestion that he might be able to teach JM something, I doubt that seriously. That's what practice is for.
As Kal (I think it was Kal) has preached before, games are for applying what you've learned in practice. Let Songaila teach JM positioning, etc in practice so that Jm can then apply it in games.
Chances are he won't be able to improve much because he's not gaining 20 lbs overnight. At least he can work on confidence and can refine his offensive game.

Posted by: original_mark | February 11, 2009 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Some people have a real problem seeing the forrest beacuase of all of the trees.

The point is about McGee, Crittenton, McGuire, and company, is that they really are inexperienced and they really need court time. If this team is to bounce back with a healthy Arenas and Haywood. And the goal is to be a playoff contender next year, is that the time to have these guys get schooled? Or is now the better time?

The Wiz will need these guys to be successful. They need court time to learn the differences between the NBA game and college. Crittenton and McGee both had limited college experience so the learning time is even more important to them.

McGee does try and make the ESPN highlights everytime he's on the court. You know who he reminds me off? Trying to dunk, run around the court and make spectacular plays while forgeting the basics. Young Chris Webber and Rasheed Wallace when Wallace was here as a rookie.

They both seemed to turn out to have slightly better careers then Songaila. This season is lost, playing the youngsters 15-20 minutes a night may even make the record worse then if the Wiz tried to grind it out with the Vets.

But at least when the kids are out there I am beginning to see how this team will put it back together. Songaila 40 minutes a night at center ain't it.

The youngsters are learning and improving as these beat downs are taking place. What's happening now is very similar to what was going on in Atlanta two years ago.

Ernie may have pulled off a real steal in the Crittenton deal. The more I see of him, the more I really like him. Needs a jump shot, how many point guards come to the pros without a good one? A lot, and a lot them learn one in the pros.

McGee still impresses me as being more of a hybred 4-5 then a pure center. He's a guy that seems more like a Rasheed Wallace, or a Pervis Ellison then a space eating big like Thabeet seems to be.

McGee strikes me as a guy that could slide back and forth between the 4 and the 5 depending on the match up. And with a good coach the Wiz might be able to dictate matchups instead of always responding to the other team.

Posted by: flohrtv | February 11, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse

McGee played well on offense and block shots, but he is also the culprit that allowed Pachulia to get tips after tips at the rim. I think McGee has a tendency to give up on defensive play too early. When Pachulia missed a point blank shot, he assumed the ball had gone in and was not in position to rebound. By the time Pachulia missed the second tip, McGee was ready to jog down court to start the offensive sequence and was no where to challenge Pachulia's 3rd try (which was a charm for Pachulia).

This is not the first time I saw McGee assume opponent's ball had gone in and allowed easy put-backs. McGee has tons of potentials, I hope coaching staffs can teach him to play basketball the right way.

Posted by: sagaliba | February 11, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Hmmmmm...Lets see Songaila or McGee the past or the future 6-9(6-8 wingspan)or7-0(7-6 wingspan)tippy toe jumping ability or jump out the gym ability,can't dunk or a dunking machine,run like a slough, or run like a deer, need i say more LET THE YOUNG MAN PLAY!!!.

Posted by: dargregmag | February 11, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

For someone to suggest that McGee is young, raw, and still makes a lot of mistakes is getting quite tiresome. Talk about beating a dead horse. He’s a rookie, the aforementioned ascertain is comical. Same can be said for 90% of the rookies in the NBA. Way to go out on a limb, geniouses.

Posted by: cj658 | February 11, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

I think most people have been clamoring for the young guys to get more playing time not because they think it'll produce more wins this season, but that it'll produce more wins next season.

Posted by: segastyle | February 11, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

"I think most people have been clamoring for the young guys to get more playing time not because they think it'll produce more wins this season, but that it'll produce more wins next season."

Even now people are still claiming McGee should start and play most of the minutes at C because "he gives them their best chance to win games" or "he's a defensive force in the middle" or "he's their best option at C." Those aren't arguments for the future. They also aren't even remotely true.

Posted by: kalo_rama | February 11, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

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