Wizards (14-44) at Milwaukee Bucks (28-33)

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

(note: Javaris Crittenton was a late scratch. He's sick)

Bucks starters: Ramon Sessions, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Francisco Elson, Charlie Villanueva, Richard Jefferson.

Refs:Derrick Stafford, Eric Lewis, Gary Zielinski.

Line: Bucks by 6 1/2.

-Bucks lead the season series 2-0 with a 112-105 victory here on Nov. 5 and a 97-91 win Jan. 12 at Washington.

-The Wizards are 1-11 in the second game of back-to-backs. They played one of their best games last night in a 113-90 win over the Bulls. They're going for only their third two-game winning streak of the season tonight.

Caron Butler after last night's game: "I've been screaming it all season: it's about consistency. You see us play like this, everyone gets involved and now we have a game against Milwaukee, a good team and a playoff contender. We have to bring the same energy. We gotta move the ball, execute our offense and just stay solid."

-A key stat for the Wizards continues to be rebounding. When they outboard an opponent, as they did last night, they are 12-12. When they finish with fewer or tie, they are 2-32.

-The Bucks are clinging to playoff hopes. Goingi into tonight, they are in the 8th spot, just ahead of New Jersey and Chicago. Like the Wiz, the Bucks have been ripped by injuries. Michael Redd went down with a knee injury on Jan. 24 and Andrew Bogut has been out since Feb. 3 with a lower back injury. Rookie F Joe Alexander is also out tonight (ankle).

-To answer a question e-mailed by a reader: Kevin asks why Gilbert Arenas hasn't been on the bench for most games lately. The answer that Arenas has either been working out on the practice court during games or, in the case of some road trips, he hasn't gone. In the case of this one, Brendan Haywood is the only injured player who came along. The other guys sstayed back with a trainer to rehab.

Arenas has consistently been around in the locker room and recently, in practice however. The vibe I get from him is that he's feeling all kinds of pressure to get back on the court and wants to lay as low as possible. The other explanation is that it's just Gilbert being Gilbert. If someone thinks they can predict what he is going to do or say, they are kidding themselves.

-Some folks have also asked about the coaching situation for next season. Here's the deal: though Ernie Grunfeld has only said that the decision will be made after the season, it's pretty much assumed that Ed Tapscott will move back into his previous role as director of player development while Grunfeld goes out and finds a new coach. Thing is, the lid on his thinking on that situation has been air tight. I mean, no chatter whatsover and I'm pretty plugged in that place.

The names I've heard bandied about are the obvious ones: Flip Saunders, Avery Johnson, Sam Mitchell (who is said to have a strong relationship with Grunfeld) etc.

I don't see Johnson or Mitchell as good fits simply because of Arenas. That's why my gut tells me that a guy like Saunders would make sense. He's been successful at two different stops and he has the kind of personality to possibly handle Arenas. But that's just my gut. It's wide open and like I said, Ernie has kept his cards very close to the vest.

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By Ivan Carter |  February 28, 2009; 6:34 PM ET
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sorry...

but "tapscott" and "player development" should NEVER be in the same sentence. ever.

Posted by: superwilks | February 28, 2009 8:42 PM

Please hire Flip, he is exactly what this team needs. The man is an offensive genius.

Look at what happened to Minnesota and Detroit after they fired him. Both teams went in the tank. This is one hell of an underrated coach, and it would be a steal for the Wiz.

Posted by: Roman5 | February 28, 2009 8:49 PM

What great leaders we have in Jamison and Butler. Complete half ass effort in the first half tonight. When Jamison realized he had not attempted a shot with a few miutes gone, he hoisted up a 3 with a man all over him and about 15 seconds left on the shot clock. The first 2 times down the court the rookie for the Bucks went right by Butler to grab an offensive rebound. And Tapscott doesn't play Crittendon. Do the Wiz have any set plays? Nick Young has to get all his points on his own. This has to be one of the 5 worst franchises in pro sports.

Posted by: mschmall625 | February 28, 2009 9:52 PM

Why are Johnson and Mitchell not good fits because of Arenas? Please expand on that. How can you make a statement like that and not explain yourself? I can read between the lines. It means Arenas won't tolerate playing for a coach who demands things of him like: playing hard on both ends of the court, not jacking up wild shots, passing the ball, plaing hurt...etc.etc.etc. Nice franchise player. The 3 stars are all a joke. They play their butts off when the President is at courtside but all they care about the rest of the year is their stats.

Posted by: mschmall625 | February 28, 2009 9:55 PM

Ivan,

Is Crittenton sick or something? Why the hell is Juan Dixon in the game? Just when I give Tap props in the last thread he uses Dixon at point for extended minutes for a struggling offense. Sorry, but Dixon can't shoot, pass, run an offense at all, or play defense. The one thing he can do is put a whole in the court with his dribbling.

Posted by: rphilli721 | February 28, 2009 10:05 PM

this would be a perfect game to get McGee more involved. No shotbblocking or altering inside, no energy on D, Songaila doing nothing as usual, and a center McGee could handle well. This team is pretty pathetic tonight. I love the stats of how McGee is 3rd in the entire NBA for points by a center on the break. Also, love how McGee had more rebounds than Songaila, Blatche and McGuire after playing only 10 minutes with Jamison on the floor as well.

Nice "player development" by Tap

Posted by: superwilks | February 28, 2009 10:29 PM

You know it always tickles me when some players are criticized on this Team.

We forget that for most of the players on this Team we have to make judgements with the perspective of the bad coaching that hampers their performance.

For all yawl' that don't know, Juan Dixon can play in this League. If he could not, he would have been out the League long time ago. He's been in the NBA for six years and a little puny butt fellow like him has got to have some skills to last this long.

He dosen't fit on this Team because of the number of guards we have especially when Gil and DStev comes back next year. If we had a spot for him to come off the bench I would keep him.

But unfortunatley, he and Mike James have got to go, but that doesn't mean they can't play.

The only player on this Team that I would say that just can't play is Etan Thomas.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | February 28, 2009 10:43 PM

Wilks,

Give me a break. Yeah, McGee played ok and he played virtually the entire 2nd qtr. Songalia has been playing very well as of late as have those other guys so don't distort reality to fit your agenda.

- The Bucks are fouling machines!

- I think we are trying to break a record for most wide open jumpers given up in a game!

- Get Dixon off the court! I would not be surprised if he is out of the league much longer, he is that bad! Crittenton has got to be sick or something. I'm watching the Bucks broadcasters so I'm not sure.

- Is Butler ever going to close out hard on the 3 pt shooters? He is lazy as hell on defense. Starting to think he is as bad as Jamison.

- Butler back to one of his 6/7 turnover games.

Posted by: rphilli721 | February 28, 2009 10:44 PM

Oh, my bad...finally noticed the note by Ivan.

Well, if I would have known that I could have predicted the outcome of this one very easily! I would have given Mike James 40 mins easily bc at least he can run an offense passably.

Posted by: rphilli721 | February 28, 2009 10:47 PM

Larry,

He stinks period. He is a end of bench guy at best and his best years are behind him bc he can't get his shot off cleanly in the NBA and it's worn down his confidence. You can see it in his body language. Everything is a struggle for him. He has also played on something like 4 teams already in those 6 years. That should tell you something!

Man, I guess the economy is Tap's fault as well. Unbelievable!

Posted by: rphilli721 | February 28, 2009 10:52 PM


Saunders is just another offense wins guy. we need A Johnson. Gil needs him to lead this team into deeper zones of success. If he really wants this, he will embrace a coach who will push him defensively.Unless the new coach can get the big 3 to believe in defense we will not see a difference. And Johnson has record of turning an offensive oriented team into a much better defensive team. Under Sanders what happened to those tough Piston teams he inherited? if it is between those 2 it is a no-brainer to me.

BmoreRev

Posted by: stanlong23 | February 28, 2009 11:02 PM

The Wiz lost again. It was the second game of a back-to-back and it was on the road. They came out flat.

None of this should be a surprise.

What is surprising that McGee played only the last minute of the 2nd half after playing a decent 10 minutes in the first half - and showing some energy out there (which otherwise was lacking).

The other energy guy (Crit) didn't play at all.

This sort of capracious decision-making was got to wreak havoc with a player's development.

Finally, Taps' one self-proclaimed youthful project (McGuire) disappeared tonight against a sub .500 team.

Nothing good came out of this game. If secondary objectives were in place, that wouldn't be the case.

Posted by: Izman | February 28, 2009 11:25 PM

Can't argue against your assessment of JD Rphilli721. If you just look at his performance you are correct. But check this. Shaq scored 40 some points the other night.

The only reason Shaq scored those points is because of a change of the coach/philosophy. The previous coaching philosophy would never have seen a 40 point game by Shaq.

So Rphilli721, alls' I'm saying is, even though your assessment of JD is correct, under a different coaching philosophy that assessment might not be the same.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | February 28, 2009 11:34 PM

I say the best coach for this Team is....MARK JACKSON.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | February 28, 2009 11:59 PM

"I say the best coach for this Team is....MARK JACKSON.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | February 28, 2009 11:59 PM "

I saw Abe will only pay someone at the Karl Hobbs level, not Mark Jackson level.

Interesting. I wonder if ETap got more pay for being pushed into the coach role.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | March 1, 2009 3:16 AM

"Under Sanders what happened to those tough Piston teams he inherited?"

They continued to be one of the best defensive teams in the NBA, averaged 55 wins, and got to the conference Finals 3 years in a row.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 1, 2009 12:20 PM

How about Paul Silas?

Posted by: Darnell1 | March 1, 2009 4:52 PM

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