Wizards 113, Bulls 90

Maybe the Wizards should get the Prez season tickets. For whatever reason, they looked like a real, legitimate NBA team tonight. Started well, answered Chicago's runs and closed strong. For only the second time all season, all five starters scored in double figures and for the first time since 1993 when they were the Bulles, 8 different Wizards scored in double digits.

A couple of observations:
-Props to the President for sitting courtside and actually paying attention to the game. He even had a brew. Cool.

-Dominic McGuire is a player. His stat line (10 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and three blocks) doesn't really do his effort justice. He made several key plays to help win this game. Ed Tapscott on McGuire: "I think he's made as much progress as anyone on the team. Part of that is that he really understands his role. He takes timely shots in rhythm, he doesn't force plays, he's a great passer, he defends two or three positions and he rebounds every night."

-Chicago's effort was shameless. Really, really bad. Obama should dump them as his team after that one. Did Ben Gordon even play tonight?

-Another solid Antawn Jamison night: 27 points, 11 rebounds and even a super rare reverse dunk. "Every now and then I have to show the young fellas that I can still get up there," he said.


By Ivan Carter |  February 27, 2009; 10:20 PM ET
Previous: Wizards (13-44) vs. Bulls (26-32) | Next: The Other Side: Milwaukee Bucks

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Yay, McGuire. He is playing fantastic and looks like a guy who can average 10,10,4 and defend.

Actually, Ben Gordons terrible performance can be credited to McGuire shutting him down. McGuires numbers arent as impressive as his defense.

Posted by: UltimateFootballNetwork | February 27, 2009 10:39 PM

Ivan,

I've never understood why Grunfeld gave Pecherov a $1.4M extension. It's clearly not because we value his current contributions to the team (he basically DNPs every night - even when our 1st, 2d and 3d string centers are injured).

And there does not seem to be any interest in him from other teams so there was no reason for Grunfeld to lock him up based on future development.

Am I missing something? Was Grunfeld afraid he'd go back to Europe if he did not get an extension? But if Grunfeld likes him so much why does he never play.

It just seems strange when we have so little money to commit to our young guys Nick Young, McGuire and McGee, that Ernie would choose to pay Pecherov so much.

Posted by: read2 | February 27, 2009 10:45 PM

"Ivan,

I've never understood why Grunfeld gave Pecherov a $1.4M extension. It's clearly not because we value his current contributions to the team (he basically DNPs every night - even when our 1st, 2d and 3d string centers are injured).

And there does not seem to be any interest in him from other teams so there was no reason for Grunfeld to lock him up based on future development.

Am I missing something? Was Grunfeld afraid he'd go back to Europe if he did not get an extension? But if Grunfeld likes him so much why does he never play.

It just seems strange when we have so little money to commit to our young guys Nick Young, McGuire and McGee, that Ernie would choose to pay Pecherov so much.

Posted by: read2 | February 27, 2009 10:45 PM "

Why is this news?

Go look at other examples such as ET, Party John, giving AB a new contract after getting arrested, not tendering Mason an offer while signing Dee Brown, bringing on Tom T. who then backs out and goes to Boston, etc.

It makes you think that EG didn't pull any trades last week because he's probably more afraid of goofing up and making a mistake again to be criticized, so instead, he just stuck with status quo and use injuries as an excuse.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | February 28, 2009 1:21 AM

anybody have a video of the jamison dunk?

Posted by: crs-one | February 28, 2009 2:49 AM

DC, those examples are entirely different. Although you and I may disagree with the ET signing, etc. at least I can understand Grunfeld's reasoning. He may have been wrong, but at least he could offer some justification. With Pecherov, I honestly cannot think of one reason why Ernie gave him an extension.

Pointing to Ernie's mistakes does not help. There must have been some reason, whether right or wrong, for giving Pech the extension. I'm just trying to figure out what it was.

Posted by: read2 | February 28, 2009 5:35 AM

"-Chicago's effort was shameless. Really, really bad. Obama should dump them as his team after that one. Did Ben Gordon even play tonight?"

I don't know about shameless, but they definitely looked confused. You can see the talent on that team, but they weren't playing together -- that's why Gordon seemed to disappear -- and you have to wonder what the hell is going on.

You know who the Bulls looked like tonight? that Wiz squad that shows up every so often and gets embarrassed -- I guess you could call them Bizarro Wiz. They look like the real thing and they have the same uniforms, but you get the feeling their memories have been erased and they've never met one another before....

Posted by: Samson151 | February 28, 2009 5:48 AM

Too bad Jamison doesn't try to show the young fellas he can block shots.

Mike James 36 minutes; Critt and McGee only got around 10 minutes each - absurd. When is Tap going to understand that the young players need time in order to develop.

Posted by: BulletsFan1 | February 28, 2009 7:08 AM

bulletsfan1:"Mike James 36 minutes; Critt and McGee only got around 10 minutes each - absurd. When is Tap going to understand that the young players need time in order to develop."

A fair question, but I think Tapscott has already answered it. He plays rotations for six or seven games at a stretch, then changes them. The rotations always include a mix of vets and young players, which he considers essential to player development. Last night he had McGuire on the court for 39 minutes, Blatche for 23 minutes and Nick Young for 26. He gave McGee and Crittenton a token 10 or 12 and Pech got up for a few minutes, too. Dixon didn't play at all. Presumably if he'd subbed for James, it would have been Dixon, not one of the others.

Even when the team wins, we criticize the coach for not doing something else during the game...

Posted by: Samson151 | February 28, 2009 7:59 AM

Of course, he may have another reason for not playing Dixon...

Posted by: Samson151 | February 28, 2009 8:16 AM

READ2: You're kidding about Grunfeld right? don't point out his mistakes!! this is not his first "rodeo" this is his third job as a GM,he has screwed up enough this season, from the Jordan firing to letting Mason get away and don't get me started on the Arenas,Jamison contract's Grunfeld needs to go before he does more damage.

Posted by: dargregmag | February 28, 2009 9:12 AM

The Bulls really embarrassed themselves last night, they looked really bad. I'm glad it was them and not us who came to play last night.

Posted by: closg | February 28, 2009 9:26 AM

why has dixon not been playing? am I missing something? everytime i've seen him i've been impressed and i like the guy...have i seen him at the wrong times? does he secretly suck?

Posted by: crs-one | February 28, 2009 10:36 AM

Ivan finally had something positive to say about a young player (presumably from the mouth of management). He now is saying McGuire's progress "likely made him a key piece to the team's future".

That's a bit premature. The guy is averaging only 4.5 points a game in the games he has started against teams above .500.

But there's a valuable lesson here. Last night, I counted at least 6 mistakes by McGuire. But no one - including McGuire - thought he would be pulled. He played 39 minutes. The coach had confidence in him and he played with confidence. Compared to last year or even the start of this year under EJ, he has shown tremendous progress. But he's still not even an average NBA player.

Now imagine that sort of progress for McGee, Blatche, Young or Crit. McGee would be an all-star if he showed the progress McGuire has experienced this year. But that would require more minutes and a new attitude from the coach. Likely? Heck no.

But Obama probably left the game wondering who ran the court and dunked the ball, and I'm not talking about Jamison, Butler or McGuire.

Posted by: Izman | February 28, 2009 10:57 AM

Seems like the atmosphere and excitement of the POTUS's visit spurred the Team to an inspiring performance. Can't say it happened because the opponent was Chicago, becuase we mostly suck against everybody.

But, too bad Ed Taps haven't figured out how to inspire the Team himself.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | February 28, 2009 11:17 AM

Izman:

You analysis is on point McGuire is becoming a solid basketball player, whoihas benefited form consistent maturely managed playing time. Its a shame as you point out, that the other young guys are wer not sfforded the opportunity to play nonpunitively, particularly in a season where the franchise has nothing to lose.
At 14-45 it is mystifying to look at the lineups that are on the floor. I mean in 23 games this season is over and several of the players namely James and Songalia can't realistically be apart of your future.

You are right McGee will be a star in this league but probablyn not with us since you factor in salaries and the way he has been mishandled by this bunch.


Posted by: NewManagement | February 28, 2009 11:23 AM

Izman, NewManagement, you guys are right. Thats why I have always been one to say lay of the players when some get highly critical of one or the other. Countless times when I have used the term bad, bad, coaching philosophy, it is exactly what you guys and others are saying in so many ways.

It is also what is continually retarding this Team and makes them look extremely worse than they really are.

I know for one know that this Team even with the players not available this year, it is still a lot better than what we see night in and night out.

If Ernie makes the right moves this offseason this Team won't be any less than 4th in the East next year.

I'm a' tellin' ya' and ahh' can't' wait.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | February 28, 2009 12:05 PM

Izman:

I disagree with your assessment of MCGuire. I understand and agree with the general proposition that the youngsters need more minutes to develop. (Specifically McGee, that one handed alley-oop was SICK!!) But to call McGuire a below average player is puzzling to me.

If you look purely at his scoring ability (which seems to be the only measure that matters to you) then a weak argument could be made that Dom is a "below average player." But if you look at his ball handling, passing, decision making, rebounding, ability to block shots, and most importantly his DEFENSE, McGuire's value is unmistakable. Further, the young man has come a LONG way offensively since last season. Seems to me like you have already made up your mind that McGuire is below average despite evidence that suggests otherwise (see, 10 pts, 11 boards, 4 assists, and 3 blocks last night). What type of numbers would McGuire have to put up before you would consider him merely average? I'm curious...

Posted by: MEssex | February 28, 2009 12:43 PM

Izman - I usually agree with all of your posts and for the most part this past one you just made about McGuire. You and others probably already know about my total disdain for Ed "The Waterboy Coach" Tapscott from past posts.

However, it looks to me like he gives the young boys minutes only if they play on the "defensive side" of the floor correctly (in his eyes only). Remember, CB and AJ are not subject to this rule though.

Tapscott does not care what the young boys do or can do on the offensive end, it is the defensive side of the court where he wants to see them excel at.

Thus, NY, Critt, AB, and esp. McGee are affected by this type of coaching. They are all great "offensive" players when on the other hand DMac is a great "defensive" player. DMac just wants to play "d", and Tapscott loves that about the guy.

Tapscott is going to pick who plays defense vs. offense everytime. Trust me, if AJ, Song, and CB did not get into foul trouble in the first half of this game, McGee would not have gotten into the game. Thank goodness they got in foul trouble because I would have been ticked if McGee got a DNP.

If you noticed the last game against the 76er's AB did a behind the back pass to McGhee for a highlight dunk. Next time out Ed "The Waterboy Coach" Tapscott yanks McGee out and he never gets back in the rest of the game. AB also received little minutes after that too.

Thank goodness McGee looks like he is mentally tough and I have a feeling he is not letting Tapscott's juvenile coaching techniques bother his game.....

Posted by: BulletsFever | February 28, 2009 12:45 PM

Izman - I forgot my point I wanted to make. You are right if Tapscott coached McGee like he coaches DMac McGee would be nasty by the end of the year.

Now I disagree with you about him not being even an "average NBA player". That is crazy. Did you see Salmons light it up on us last night. Salmons was the same type ball player DMac was when he came into the league with the 76er's. Now look at him.

The dude played lockdown defense like DMac does and he worked on his offensive game. Another example of a player DMac reminds you of is Bruce Bowen and Patterson who used to play with Portland.

I understand your fustration with the way Tapscott handles McGee, trust me it ticks me off too. But until McGee plays the type of defense Tapscott wants him to play he will not see any minutes no matter how good he is on the offensive side of the floor.

Lastly to McGee's defense, it is not fair to him to have him "showing" so high on the court and then expecting a 7 footer to scramble back down to the post quickly enough and still establish good rebounding position. Dumbest defensive sets I have ever seen.

Song. can do that because he is smaller. The Wiz need to keep their "5's" down in the paint and stop flashing them all of the dang time making for wide open opposing "5's" under the basket and the whole court being unbalanced because of all of the STUPID switching the Wiz do.......!!!!!

Posted by: BulletsFever | February 28, 2009 1:02 PM

"But until McGee plays the type of defense Tapscott wants him to play he will not see any minutes no matter how good he is on the offensive side of the floor."

Could be. But I think we have to assume that --since Tapscott is Grunfeld's guy and is only coaching because his friend asked him to -- Grunfeld fully supports the minutes he's giving to various young players.

Because if he didn't, all it would take is a ringy-dingy-dingy...

Posted by: Samson151 | February 28, 2009 1:07 PM

I agree that Salmons has improved on O. He's now slightly better than the average NBA player (but not when looking over his whole career). He makes about $5M a year, which is the NBA average.

I'd like to see McGuire continue to improve. I'm surprised though that several people think he's better than the average NBA player. He will need plenty of minutes to continue to improve. If he gets those minutes, he could follow Salmons' trajectory. However, they odds are against it.

I'd put his next contract at $2-2.5M a year. If somebody offered him $5M a year, I'd let him walk and use the money to get a quality 2 guard to play alongside Arenas.

If you think he's worth $5M, then there are more pieces to the puzzle that need to be addressed.

Posted by: Izman | February 28, 2009 2:38 PM

"Lastly to McGee's defense, it is not fair to him to have him "showing" so high on the court and then expecting a 7 footer to scramble back down to the post quickly enough and still establish good rebounding position. Dumbest defensive sets I have ever seen.

Song. can do that because he is smaller."

He's also older, slower, heavier, less mobile, less athletic, and has a surgically repaired back. By any objective measure, McGee should be more physically able to show on screen rolls and get back to his man better and quicker than Songaila. The fact he can't is most likely a result of him not hustling hard enough or not understanding where he should be defensively during the play (a problem that's not confined to screen and roll defense). Either way, it pretty easily explains his lack of extended PT.

Posted by: kalo_rama | February 28, 2009 3:24 PM


Both Songalia and McGee have trouble with screen-roll, 27 feet from the basket because it is ineffectively utilized. Hedging is not meant to be the panacea in playing man to man defense. WQith the athleticism and quickness of the guards at this level, it is stupid to think that your center is going to turn back the point guard consistently. Normally tems will try a variety of looks including going under the screen, fighting through the screen or a hard trap, using a variety of looks.

Songalia is more experienced and will foul to prevent the guard from turning the corner (he had 3 by halftime last night). The problem with Songalia is if he does get back he has no resistance at the rim. The other problem is that the guard has to either effectuate the trap out front or be strong enough to hold up the center on his roll to the basket. And finally, the 4 has the reponsibility to protect the rim (Jamison). Good teams like Boston and Cleveland have capable big men to proteect the rim and each other. With Jamison as the weak side help you are futher impotent in defending the rim.

At some point players have to own up to their individual on ball defense. The Wizards have never demanded that their perimeter players commit to on ball defense. I can't think of one instance whwere a Wizard has fought over the top of a pick, got flattened running through a pick or knocked the picker on his a$$.

This scheme is predicated upon tricking the opposition into throwing the ball in the corner. 60 games into the season competent coaching would have at least had a different scheme to employ. Tapscott's evaluation of McGee's pick and roll defense may be his justification for limiting his playing time but a 14-45 record indicates that the scheme can't be efficiently employed by those who are playing the bulk of the minutes.

Posted by: NewManagement | February 28, 2009 4:07 PM

newmanagement: "I can't think of one instance whwere a Wizard has fought over the top of a pick, got flattened running through a pick or knocked the picker on his a$$."

Don't mean to quibble, but I seem to remember a couple of instances of the above by the same player -- DeShawn Stevenson.

Apologies for bringing up that name, to DeShawn haters everywhere.

No question the team's weak in perimeter defense. Argument seems to be about causes and (hopefully) solutions.

I find myself leaning towards the idea that the players we have who know where to go on the floor (and when to go there) are getting older and slower, while the athletic youngsters like Young and McGee are still working on what sort of dance moves to use after a particularly eye-catching slam dunk.

That's why I like McGuire -- a young guy who seems to be learning at a faster pace than his peers. Maybe it's true that he'll never be as good in the long run, but for now, he's often better.


As the Brits sometimes say: it's a bit of kerfuffle at times.

Posted by: Samson151 | February 28, 2009 4:46 PM

I find myself leaning towards the idea that the players we have who know where to go on the floor (and when to go there) are getting older and slower, while the athletic youngsters like Young and McGee are still working on what sort of dance moves to use after a particularly eye-catching slam dunk.

That's why I like McGuire -- a young guy who seems to be learning at a faster pace than his peers. Maybe it's true that he'll never be as good in the long run, but for now, he's often better.

Agreed on all counts. People harp on what McGuire may lack in terms of stat sheet stuffing results, while ignoring the one thing he does have that all of the of the other young guys (with the exception of Crittenton who, while ahead of the others is still behind McGuire) seriously lack, the one thing that all of the raw physical talent in the world doesn't make up for: an actual understanding of how to play basketball. A jumpshot and a dribble can be improved with some extra work in the guy during practice and over the summer. But a working understanding of the game requires more than just addition PT or on-the-floor practice. It requires all kinds of mental work and commitment that most of the other Wiz kids (again, side from Crittenton, who seems to get it) haven't shown much inclination to put in.

Posted by: kalo_rama | February 28, 2009 5:19 PM

SAMSON151: Please refrain from using the words coaching and Tapscott in the same sentence. The man hasn't coached in twenty years and the only reason he has this job is because of the teams dumb azz GM.

Posted by: dargregmag | February 28, 2009 6:19 PM

Well they definately are playing better since the allstar break. Blatche makes a big difference, and he's been playing pretty well. McGuire is getting better all the time. I also like Javaris alot.. I wish we had kept AD though because he'd be a great mentor for him IMO.

Is there any word on Stevenson or Etan. It would be nice to get them back before the end of the season, if they play well at all they might actually be tradable this offseason.

Other teams are starting to move ahead of the Wizards in the lottery... Clippers, Kings, Memphis & Oklahoma City all in position to pass us.

It's just nice to see the team playing well, and that they haven't given in and still seem to have a good attitude.

Posted by: Darnell1 | February 28, 2009 6:32 PM

DarGreg,

Seriously dude, why don't you go away! You have nothing positive to say ever...it's ridiculous!

This team is playing hard these days and young players like McGuire and Blatche are really coming around - and getting tons of playing time as they deserve (two second round gems from EG). Crittenton is also showing signs that he will be a real keeper as well. Yeah, god, Tap and EG just really are clueless. When we return next year a highly competitive team built around a nice mixture of veterans and young guys what are all you negative people in here going to complain about then? It's going to be fun making you eat crow!!!

Tap has actually done a real good job under the circumstances especially recently and he has not lost the team in a lost season whatsoever. Just check comments from the team captain recently if you don't believe me. Of course, DarGreg and the other misers in here probably know better!!!

Yeah, I guess the 1.4 million extension Pech got. That is the new pointless gripe in this thread. First, 1.4 million is nothing in the NBA and, second, it should not even be on anyone's mind bc it does not matter one iota except to Pech's bank account.

Posted by: rphilli721 | February 28, 2009 7:48 PM

Samson 51

Nobody on this team is playing effective perimeter or pick and roll defense, that was my point. Also there is no defense at the rim with the veterans, which is more evident with Songalia. It is impossible for that defense to work becuase of distance and recovery time irregardless of who is playing. I respect your opinion but the 14-45 record belies the assertion that the older guys are in position or can defend when they do get back. I watch a lot of NBA ball and I never see teams extend the hedge out past the three point line like the Wizards do (that is a gimmick to make up for poor perimeter defense and an unreluctant coaching staff to call out veteran players).

But you are right DeShawn was a decent defender, one of the few on the team that actually put effort on that end. Unfortunately, his other deficiencies more than negate his average defensive contribution.

Frankly, I have never seen either of the young guys dance after a dunk. The closest I have seen to a celebration is the salute McGee did last night when Obama was at the game, which was cool. Hell most of the old guys hang on the rim for several seconds to profile. Moreover, as the father of a 21 year old college student, I can appreciate that at 21 you might not be as mature as the 32-34 year old veteran. But these kids have done nothing to make me bellieve that they fundamentally don't take their craft seriously or are knuckleheads. In contrast, I think they have shown team camaraderie (See Caron Butler game winning shot against Indiana) and mental toughness in spite of an unprofessional amateurish coaching staff.

Posted by: NewManagement | February 28, 2009 7:54 PM

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