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Wizards Insider: March 29, 2009 - April 4, 2009

Heat 118, Wizards 104

No Gil. No thrill. That was one of the most silent sellout crowds I've ever been around. No energy. No buzz. It was like being at the theater, except the performance wasn't nearly as riveting. One game after Verizon Center rocked like it hasn't all season, the fans in the...

By Michael Lee  |  April 4, 2009; 10:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
 
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Heat (40-36) at Wizards (18-59), Arenas Out

Wizards starters: Javaris Crittenton, Dominic McGuire, Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison, Brendan Haywood. Heat: Mario Chalmers, Dwyane Wade, Jermaine O'Neal, Jamario Moon, Yakhouba Diawara Refs: Joe DeRosa, Ron Olesiak, Courtney Kirkland Line: Heat by 1.5. Gilbert Arenas will not play tonight against Miami, with the team electing to give the three-time...

By Michael Lee  |  April 4, 2009; 6:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Tags: Arenas, Crittenton, Michael Beasley, Mike James, Tapscott  
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The Other Side: Miami Heat

Why the grin? I'm back in the playoffs. (Photo by Victor Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images) If the Washington Wizards' win over Cleveland was an encouraging sign of what the team could become, but the franchise will get another reminder that a quick turnaround is possible tonight, in the form of...

By Michael Lee  |  April 4, 2009; 2:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Are You Encouraged?

Wanted to give you guys an update from shoot-around: Antawn Jamison (sprained ankle), Juan Dixon (sore Achilles'), Javaris Crittenton (back spasms) and Gilbert Arenas all participated this morning. Jamison was fine after injuring himself in the fourth quarter against Cleveland, while Crittenton and Dixon are expected to be available tonight....

By Michael Lee  |  April 4, 2009; 11:23 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (31)
Tags: Arenas, Crittenton, Dixon, Grunfeld, Haywood, Jamison  
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Afternoon Buzz

Here's more reaction to last night's win over the Cavaliers. Brian Windhorst wrote in the Plain Dealer that LeBron James and the Cavs were not ashamed of losing to the "lowly" Wizards. Also after the game, Gilbert Arenas spoke to David Aldridge on TNT. (Via Dan Steinberg and Bullets Forever.)...

By Alexa Steele  |  April 3, 2009; 1:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
 
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Leftovers Part II: The King's Antics

Just wanted to make sure you don't forget about me. (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images) Did anyone notice what LeBron James did with 15.3 seconds remaining and Gilbert Arenas at the foul line? After Arenas made his first free throw to give the Wizards a 107-101 lead,...

By Michael Lee  |  April 3, 2009; 10:01 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
 
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Leftovers Part I: Role Players

Lie-tu-va! (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images) It was easy to get caught up in the effect that Gilbert Arenas and Brendan Haywood had on the Washington Wizards as both players started alongside Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison for the first time this season. But there were some...

By Michael Lee  |  April 3, 2009; 8:07 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
 
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Wizards 109, Cavaliers 101

Here's something you can chew on for a minute. Only three teams have two wins against the Cleveland Cavaliers this season. The defending champion Boston Celtics. The Western Conference-best Los Angeles Lakers. And now ... the worst-in-the-Eastern Conference Washington Wizards. Go figure. And, if not for a few questionable calls...

By Michael Lee  |  April 3, 2009; 1:01 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
 
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Cavaliers (61-13) at Wizards (17-59); Arenas, Haywood To Start; Crittenton Out

Wizards starters: Gilbert Arenas, Dominic McGuire, Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison, Brendan Haywood. Cavaliers: Delonte West, Mo Williams, LeBron James, Anderson Varejao, Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Refs: Bennett Salavtore, James Capers and Leon Wood Line: Cavaliers by 10.5. Gilbert Arenas and Brendan Haywood will start together for the first time tonight against Cleveland,...

By Michael Lee  |  April 2, 2009; 6:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
 
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Proof That LeBron Is Human

While you're waiting for tipoff, check out Dan Steinberg's observations at the Cavaliers' shootaround today....

By Alexa Steele  |  April 2, 2009; 6:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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The Other Side: Cleveland Cavaliers

This is what I'm going to do when the Wizards fans start to boo me. (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images) Wasn't it just perfect that LeBron James christened his "crab dribble" in an area known for its crabs? James's infamous three-step jaunt to the basket -- and...

By Michael Lee  |  April 2, 2009; 4:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
 
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Wizards Staying Upbeat

Maybe these guys are resigned to their fate, now that they are 17-59, or the morale has been boosted with Gilbert Arenas and Brendan Haywood coming back. But I don't know if there is another a team that could lose three games in a row and continue to find things...

By Michael Lee  |  April 2, 2009; 8:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (51)
 
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Grizzlies 112, Wizards 107

Antawn Jamison exited the shower as Brendan Haywood made his way back and Jamison smiled as he said, "Felt good having somebody have my back, telling me where I needed to be." Haywood exhausted and still in uniform, turned back and simply said, "I'm tired." Haywood had two points, two...

By Michael Lee  |  April 1, 2009; 11:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
 
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Wizards (17-58) at Grizzlies (19-54); Haywood Will Make Season Debut

Wizards starters: Javaris Crittenton, Dominic McGuire, Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison, Andray Blatche. Grizzlies: Mike Conley, O.J. Mayo, Marc Gasol, Darrell Arthur, Rudy Gay. Refs: Mike Callahan, Ed Malloy, Zach Zarba Line: Grizzlies by 3. Brendan Haywood will make his season debut tonight in Memphis. Haywood knocked on interim Coach Ed...

By Michael Lee  |  April 1, 2009; 7:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
 
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The Other Side: Memphis Grizzlies

I got it. I got it. Oh wait. I don't got it. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images) Even in better times, the Washington Wizards have had trouble with the Memphis Grizzlies. Memphis has won five of the past seven games between the two teams -- including a 113-97 rout at...

By Michael Lee  |  April 1, 2009; 5:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Afternoon Buzz

Here's an interesting article from yesterday's Wall Street Journal about the NBA's new "it" trainer. Gilbert Arenas is among his clients. And just for laughs -- today is April 1, after all -- here's "breaking news" from Bullets Forever....

By Alexa Steele  |  April 1, 2009; 3:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Arenas Is a Game-Time Decision

From Michael Lee in Memphis: Gilbert Arenas is still listed as a game-time decision for tonight's game against the Memphis Grizzlies. Arenas surprised the team with his announcement yesterday that he might play against Memphis rather than tomorrow against Cleveland. Wizards interim coach Ed Tapscott said "there is some logic"...

By Alexa Steele  |  April 1, 2009; 2:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
 
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Morning Buzz: Lining Up for Blake

CBSSports.com packaged its power rankings with a look at the teams who are most in need of Oklahoma's Blake Griffin, the logical No. 1 pick if the sophomore decides to declare for the draft. The Wizards, of course, come up in the discussion. Not to spoil the whole piece, but...

By Keith McMillan  |  April 1, 2009; 11:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Tags: Blake Griffin, draft pick  
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Crittenton Getting Tough Love

Why the long face? I don't know. I really like it here in D.C. (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images) When the Washington Wizards traded for point guard Javaris Crittenton last December, Georgia Tech Coach Paul Hewitt got a phone call from an old friend, Wizards assistant Randy...

By Michael Lee  |  April 1, 2009; 8:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
 
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Why Memphis Makes Sense

Although I still suspect that Gilbert Arenas will play Thursday against Cleveland, it might actually make more sense for him to play against Memphis tomorrow. First off, he will be facing one of the worst teams in the league instead of the team with the league's best record. He'll also...

By Michael Lee  |  March 31, 2009; 5:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
 
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Arenas Might Play Against Memphis

Take it for what it's worth, but Gilbert Arenas said this afternoon that he may try to play tomorrow against Memphis rather than wait to play against Cleveland on Thursday. All along, Arenas said he planned on playing all home games and select road games, possibly Cleveland and Boston, the...

By Michael Lee  |  March 31, 2009; 4:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
 
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Introductions

As you've undoubtedly noticed, there have been some recent changes in our coverage of the Wizards and the NBA. Ivan Carter has left The Washington Post to become the new host of Washington Post Live on Comcast SportsNet, and Michael Lee has taken over the Wizards beat. He re-introduced himself...

By Alexa Steele  |  March 31, 2009; 12:47 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
 
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How Will DaJuan Summers Fare in the Draft?

Last night, Georgetown Coach John Thompson III announced that junior forward DaJuan Summers was leaving the school to enter June's NBA draft. Press Break, The Post's rundown of local and national college basketball, provides a roundup of opinions on Summers's pro prospects plus a poll asking how readers think he...

By Alexa Steele  |  March 31, 2009; 11:19 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
 
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Arenas Keeps the Mood Light

Gilbert Arenas made it clear in my story today why he came back to play five to seven games at the end of the season instead of waiting until next season. He also explained what caused him to shut down during the Washington Wizards' first round playoff series against Cleveland...

By Michael Lee  |  March 31, 2009; 8:49 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
 
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MMPG: The FourCast

Quit reaching while I'm crab dribbling. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images North America) 1. Cleveland at Washington (Thursday) Of note: This is not simply a game between the team with the league's best record and the worst record in the Eastern Conference. The Washington Wizards and Cleveland Cavaliers still hate...

By Michael Lee  |  March 30, 2009; 2:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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March Madness Boosts Jamison, Butler

Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler could've easily sulked over a weekend that resulted in two more losses for the worst-in-the-Eastern Conference Washington Wizards. But the Wizards team captains still found reason to smile. Their alma maters -- North Carolina and Connecticut, respectively -- are both headed to the Final Four....

By Michael Lee  |  March 30, 2009; 12:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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MMPG: Player of the Week

Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets Keep on talking about me, alright? (Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images) Denver Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony received a lot of criticism at the start of this month, when he received a one-game suspension for refusing to leave a game when Coach George Karl tried...

By Michael Lee  |  March 30, 2009; 11:51 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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MMPG: Team of the Weak

Milwaukee Bucks It's slipping away from us. (AP Photo/Kevin Kolczynski) It was bound to happen. The Milwaukee Bucks were playing above their heads without Michael Redd and Andrew Bogut, keeping their playoff hopes together with duct tape. But last week, the Bucks' lack of depth and talent eventually caught up...

By Michael Lee  |  March 30, 2009; 11:05 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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MMPG: Team of the Week

Cleveland Cavaliers Say 60! (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images) No one can say that LeBron James doesn't have good timing. On the same day that he was set to appear on CBS's "60 Minutes," James led the Cleveland Cavaliers to their 60th victory of the season. James...

By Michael Lee  |  March 30, 2009; 10:24 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Monday Morning Point Guard

What's the big deal? It's not like I'm a former NBA champion comiing back from a retirement or anything. (Photo by Victor Baldizon/NBAE/Getty Images) Gilbert Arenas finally put an end to the all of the "will he/won't he?" speculation and came back on Saturday night, posting a double-double with 15...

By Michael Lee  |  March 30, 2009; 9:01 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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Pacers, 124, Wizards, 115

The Wizards scored 115 points, with 39 in the fourth quarter, and had just eight turnovers. But they lost to the Indiana Pacers on Sunday because poor ball movement and porous defense. How the Wizards were able to reach triple digits in scoring with just 10 assists is rather perplexing....

By Michael Lee  |  March 29, 2009; 11:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (31)
 
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Wizards (17-57) at Pacers (30-43)

Wizards starters: Javaris Crittenton, Dominic McGuire, Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison, Andray Blatche. Pacers: Jarrett Jack, Brandon Rush, Danny Granger, Jeff Foster, Roy Hibbert. Refs: Ken Mauer, Jim Clark, David Guthrie Line: Pacers by 9. Javaris Crittenton got the nod at starting point guard with the team sticking with its plan...

By Michael Lee  |  March 29, 2009; 6:56 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
 
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The Other Side: Indiana Pacers

Did you just ask me about the playoffs? You're kidding, right? (AP Photo/Rick Havner) This is not a bad day to be in Indianapolis. You've got the NCAA Midwest regional final between Michigan State and Louisville at Lucas Oil Stadium at 2:20 p.m., and you've got the Washington Wizards and...

By Michael Lee  |  March 29, 2009; 2:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Instant Analysis On Arenas

This is a must-read column for any Wizards fans. TNT analyst David Aldridge attended the game last night and offered a pretty good assessment of the Wizards and the dilemma of building a team around Gilbert Arenas. Aldridge even dips into the upcoming coaching search, asking the Detroit Pistons about...

By Michael Lee  |  March 29, 2009; 11:34 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
 
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