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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. Interim Coach Ed Tapscott blamed "my-turn basketball" for the astounding statistic.

"You know what my-turn basketball is? My-turn to shoot," Tapscott said. "That really disappointed me."

Javaris Crittenton scored a season-high 19 points with three assists in a career-high 43 minutes and agreed with Tapscott assessment. "We didn't move the ball like we should have," said Crittenton, who will be the only point guard on the roster on nights when Gilbert Arenas is unable to play. "We didn't move the ball well at all and we also didn't get a lot of makes off the pass."

Crittenton seems to be getting more and more confident each game. This is the second time this week that he set a new season-high, after scoring 18 points against Chicago last Monday. He still tries to make the fancy pass over the most effective one, but he's showing some promise. He made a great play at the end of the first quarter, when got the ball with 4.5 seconds remaining, raced up the floor and nailed an off-balanced three-pointer with T.J. Ford and Danny Granger defending. Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler also appear to be taking a liking to him.

When I reminded Tapscott that Crittenton was his only effective ball-handler with Arenas, Mike James and Juan Dixon out, he replied: "He's not the only guy who is supposed to pass the ball," Tapscott said.

Andray Blatche led the Wizards with 12 points in the first half, extending his string of consecutive games of scoring 10 or more points to eight. But Blatche missed all four of his shots in five minutes of action the third quarter and didn't play at all in the fourth, with Tapscott even calling on Oleksiy Pecherov. Pecherov, by the way, is looking incredibly flustered on the bench with his lack of playing time.

The Wizards should be thankful that they were able to get to the foul line as often as they did. Brendan Haywood was having fun on the bench, joking with former Georgetown center Roy Hibbert, who picked up three fouls in little over seven minutes in the third period. Haywood kept yelling, "Stop fouling, Roy!" Haywood got his wish when Hibbert fouled out in the period -- much to Haywood's surprise. "Did he just foul out?" Haywood asked when Hibbert went to the bench for good with 4:46 left in the third quarter. Hibbert had an impressive 12 points and eight rebounds in just 16 minutes for the Pacers.

The Wizards shot 45 free throws -- 24 more than their opponents -- which can be explained this way: if you don't contest shots and give them open looks, chances are you won't commit many fouls. The Wizards were often caught switching with their big men on pick-and-roll, which opened up the floor for Jarrett Jack or T.J. Ford to penetrate to the basket for either layups or scoring opportunities for their teammates. The Pacers shot 51.6 percent

"It was about stops," Butler said, explaining the loss. And the Wizards didn't get many.

By Michael Lee  |  March 29, 2009; 11:19 PM ET
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Next: Monday Morning Point Guard


Why are they coddling that bama Gilby? Let him get on the court. He's been fully healthy for the past 4 months.

Now, he can't play back to back games?!?! C'mon.

I couldn't believe how that blabbering fool Bucky Buckhantz was going off about Gilby.

"Hey, Les BouleS are in the 3rd quarter and have only 3 assists....that's a big reason why they miss Gilby...."

Whatever Bucky. I'm sure you and Mike Wise tickle each other in bed to see who's got the biggest boner for Gilby.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | March 30, 2009 12:12 AM | Report abuse

Good God. Shut up, DC MAN. I promise, you still have the biggest boner for Gilby. No need to feel so competitive. You've got this one locked up.

Posted by: IrenePollin | March 30, 2009 12:24 AM | Report abuse

Oh yeah, enjoying the blog, Michael Lee. For someone who never gets to see the games, I appreciate your insight on Crittenton's game and Pecherov's body language. Do you see any future for Pech on this team? He seems like a good shooter and rebounder, but he has the same posture as Woody Allen, which doesn't inspire confidence.

Posted by: IrenePollin | March 30, 2009 12:31 AM | Report abuse

"Good God. Shut up, DC MAN. I promise, you still have the biggest boner for Gilby. No need to feel so competitive. You've got this one locked up.

Posted by: IrenePollin | March 30, 2009 12:24 AM "

Don't you got to go empty your man's piss bag?

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | March 30, 2009 12:40 AM | Report abuse

"Do you see any future for Pech on this team? He seems like a good shooter and rebounder, but he has the same posture as Woody Allen, which doesn't inspire confidence.

Posted by: IrenePollin | March 30, 2009 12:31 AM "

Of all the things to ask about with regard to Les BouleS, you come up with a question about OPech?

You clearly are delusional. OPech is just a check on the box to make the EEOC happy.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | March 30, 2009 12:42 AM | Report abuse

"Gil can average 30 if he wants to. But what's wrong with dropping that down to 25, 26, and getting everyone else involved, and taking over at certain points of time?"" - AJ

in other words,

"Gilby, stop being a ballhog and lets win for a change."

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | March 30, 2009 12:49 AM | Report abuse

I'm asking about Pecherov because I never hear anything about him. But classy, making fun of an old man's failing health.

Posted by: IrenePollin | March 30, 2009 1:40 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: joe12341 | March 30, 2009 4:23 AM | Report abuse

"You know what my-turn basketball is? My-turn to shoot," Tapscott said. "That really disappointed me."

This has been the Wizards M/O for the last 5 years, why is anyone surprised or acting surprised?

It's even worse with Arenas on the court.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | March 30, 2009 6:40 AM | Report abuse

It's late in the season, don't know that I'd expect the Wiz to start playing defense now. The kids should get the playing time, and outside of McGuire, that's not their collective strength.

I'm not counting blocked shots, of course. We do have some guys who love'em their shot-blocking, they do.

On to a more important topic: Blake Griffin is finished playing and Hasheem Thabeet hasn't. But so far I haven't seen anything that changes my impression of their respective draft positions. The question remains, who's third, fourth, and fifth?

The candidates: James Harden, ASU; Jordan Hill, Arizona; Brandon Jennings, Europe.

Interesting to think how good AZ might have been this year if Jennings hadn't gone to Europe. WIth Budinger and Hill, that's a Final Four team.

Of course, one of the other kids, like DeRozan of UCLA or Aminu of NC State, could sneak in there. Or perhaps one of the 3 seniors, Gerald Henderson, Earl Clark, or Eric Maynor. Still think the real first-year gem might come from that last group, by the way.

If I were the Wiz with the #3 or 4 pick, I'd probably take Harden or Hill. Then if it panned out in practice, look to unload one of the current crop of young Wiz for a future choice or a reliable vet.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 30, 2009 7:36 AM | Report abuse

The downside to Gil coming back is that all of the critics/haters start reappearing.

Some of you folks are just clueless about the game and have no other reason to be here than to complain about Gilbert Arenas. Jealousy is a mofo.

Clearly, our problem is defense. We don't have a C or PF who play it adequately. Get a couple big guys who look, act and play like big guys and we're set. Griffin for AJ would be a huge improvement just because of the rebounding and size alone. Griffin isn't great on defense yet but at least has the body for it. JM and AB aren't strong enough in the middle..yet.

Gil is a huge part of the answer, not the problem. GA, CB, DM, BG, BTH has a lot of potential. Unfortunately, we'll be drafting Greg Monroe since we will get the #3 pick.

Posted by: original_mark | March 30, 2009 8:26 AM | Report abuse

With the fouls allowed in the NBA and the season as long as it is, injuries are a natural result. Teams built upon the premise of offense first losing one, or in the WIZARDS case, several members of the starting five simply can't compete with teams built on a defensive philosophy. 124 points is the result. Finger pointing is the result. Frustration is the result. The concept of an offensive team is a flawed strategy to pursue in this league.

Posted by: glawrence007 | March 30, 2009 8:46 AM | Report abuse

How you can say they lost this game on "poor ball movement or my turn basketball" is baffling to me.

You can't score 115 points on "poor ball movement or my turn basketball".

I submit that the ball was moving and it did get passed around. I saw the game. Just because the assists were not up does not mean you are not moving or passing the ball well.

Anyone would be disengenious Ed Tappscott to say what you said. Does he realize that if you make a good pass to a player who has an advantage to score and he takes two dribbles that you get no assist.

Instead of giving Crit credit for running a masterful point game (115 pts) he criticizes the Team.

Remember, JC was the only point. Do you think that its coincidental that they scored 115 pts with him running the point.

Tappscott's elevator does not go all the way up.


Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | March 30, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

You also don't get an assist when the shooter gets 2 free throws, and we got lots of those. Yes, 115 points belies no passing. Statistical oddity.

Posted by: rbelleisle | March 30, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

I've said it before and I will say it again.

Iffin' ya' figure out how to outscore your opponent consistently, ya' might have figured how to play good defense as well.'

Ya' see GLAWRENCE007, the Wizards don't know how to outscore Teams and they certainly don't have a Team Defensive philosophy at all.

You see you can bring the best Defensive mind you want (The General), but if he ain't concentrating on how to outscore Teams as well, his Defense won't mean Jack and he'll get fired.

Do not think that the Defense that Boston plays mean anything without the superior Offensive play that they have.

You see you have to have both and Offense is the Chicken and Defense is the egg. I ain't giving you any eggs if I don't have any chickens.


I ain't playing no Defense if I can't score first. It is a phycological misnomer to believe that Defense takes precedence over scoring the ball. Try teaching Defensive phylosophy with no basket.

All defense is, is scoring more than your opponent. It is just that simple and why all you Gurus get it wrong. Eddie Jordan did not understand Defense and certainly not anyone on this current staff.


Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | March 30, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Samson151, I'd agree with you Griffin is going to go #1 and I think Thabeet has played himself up to the #2 pick.

With the other firepower the Wiz have they could spread the floor enough to make Griffin a demon on the offensive boards.
Griffin would be a big enough load on the boards that the Wiz could get away with pairing him with McGee down the line.

But I could also see McGee playing some 4 along side of Thabeet. With the current talent on the roster, Thabeet could help build the better team. I like how his strengths match the Wiz's weaknesses. If the Wiz drop to 3-5 in the lottery, then it gets more complicated.

I didn't see a lot from Harden that really thrilled me in the tourney. I've watched him a lot in the last two years, can't decide is he the next Finley or is he more of a Calvert Cheaney? Those two guys weren't far apart in college, but they had completely different pro careers.

Gerald Henderson is a guy that really came on in the second half of the season. He's a guy that could be a better pro then college player.

The guy that convinced me that he's a flat out player in the tourney was Young from Pitt. He may not be a top 5 pick, but that guy can just plain play. I like how he competes. Reminds me of Butler in the way he competes. Only thing is he kind of duplicates Butler too.

Michigan State's Bosnian center has impressed me in the tourney, the guy's tough and he's got skills. And so did Aldridge from Kansas.

There is some worthwhile young talent on this roster, add a smart pick and a good trade to the big three and there's something to work with.

The term "Knucklehead" has been coming up more and more lately. I'd agree the Wiz do have a "Knucklehead" problem. It's on the bench, you can't put guys down in the press and then get them to play. Aldridge's friend and "the knuckleheaded source" needs to go.

Posted by: flohrtv | March 30, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

As for the assists, you don't get an assist when you pass and the guy gets fouled (unless he makes the shot). The Wiz shot 45 free throws so maybe they missed out on a few assists by not getting the and-one. The loss, however, should not really fall on the offensive side of things -- you give up nearly 130 points, you have no business winning.

Posted by: Chad32 | March 30, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse


Them Teams you describing that focus on offense but fail on Defense are not the ones I'm alluding too.

You make the mistake in thinking that because I emphasize Offense that I don't also emphasize Defense.

If you read my blogs carefully, you note that I emphasize Team Defense that wins.

You see, Eddie Jordan wanted to emphasize individual Defense which is nothing without a winning Team Defensive philosophy.

Playing Etan Thomas because you thought he was better defensively than Haywood was a dumb decision. Etan Thomas detracted from the effectiveness of the Team, while Brendan Haywood added to the effectiveness of the Team. Team Defense is the Key. Not individual Defense.

You see I am talking about championship Teams that know what Defense is. Go back and look at all them championship Teams and analize them and you will see that along with their good Defense they also had superior offensive play.

When the Wizards went to the playoffs four years in a row and not three like some bloggers keep sayin, they were on the crux of moving up.

They listened to the pundits about playing defense and changed what was successful that had gotten them that far.

They should have stayed the course. There defense would have gotten better. For you cannot beat Teams consistently without knowing what Defense is.

However, the point is moot due to fatefull injuries brought on by ill-fated decisions.


Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | March 30, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Exactly Larry, good defense springs the offense.

Good running teams are always great defensive teams. That's where a guy like McGuire helps the offense. He's excellent at securing the ball and looking down court.

Posted by: flohrtv | March 30, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Nice point Chad32.

When you shoot that many freethrows on he home Teams floor, you best believe you are moving the ball.

Again, it indicates that Tapps has no clue to criticize a good Offensive game when clearly they did not stop anyone on the other Team.

Its Defense Tappscott, something that you should have instituted as a part of trying to be a good creditable coach.


Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | March 30, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

" you can't put guys down in the press and then get them to play."

You can't? Somebody better tell Bill Parcells, then. And Larry Brown. Oh, don't forget George Karl. Don Nelson, too. Bob Knight's retired, so we can skip him. I guess Phil Jackson has always used the press to fight the occasional skirmish with a superstar.

And these guys have never won anything...

Posted by: Samson151 | March 30, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

"Good running teams are always great defensive teams"

Izzat true? Would you consider Magic's Lakers a great defensive team? The various Don Nelson teams?

An honest question because I never put the two together.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 30, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Injuries and poor personnel decisions have crippled this team....harping on lack of defense when the team is playing with 8 men and 5 of them are youngsters is ridiculous. Until this team is a whole again next year (and that includes Haywood and Stevenson), it's impossible to judge whether they will be a competitive team. Based on their prior history and a projected high pick in the lottery, there is no reason to think the team won't bounce back next year with Arenas healthy.

This team as presently constructed is designed to win 40-45 games if healthy, get the 6th or 7th seed, and get knocked out in the 1st round. That's a problem with the front office and ownnership - they are content to settle for mediocrity instead of building a championship calibre team. Gilbert haters should be focusing on the poor decisions made by EG and supported by Mr. Pollin.

Posted by: wizfan89 | March 30, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Michael - thanks for the expanded insight. I'm curious about Pecherov - the team is down to 8 healthy players and he can barely get on the court! Tapscott said before that the problem wasn't with his practice intensity or habits, so what gives? Is he just not good enough? I'd be interested in an expanded discussion of his situation.

Posted by: tigerquoll | March 30, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

"Good running teams are always great defensive teams"

That's not even close to being true.

Most of the best, most successful running teams over the past 20 years (Adelman's Blazers and Kings, Westphal's Suns, Nelson's Mavs, D'Antoni's Suns) have been mediocre (at best) to awful defensive teams.

Can defense be used to trigger transition offense? Of course. Does the fact that a team runs a lot automatically mean they're playing good defense? Not even close.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 30, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

To take it a step further:

If you look at the top-ranked defensive teams over the past 15-20 years (Pistons (Bad boys and Chauncey/Rip/Big Ben versions), Jordan's Bulls, Knicks (Riley and Van Gundy), Riley Heat, Pop's Spurs, LeBron's Cavs, Garnett Celtics, you'll likely find that most of them didn't score a whole lot in transition (relative to the rest of the league in a given year and relative to their own overall offensive production).

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 30, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Samson151, I remember the Nuggets in the early 80' with Alex Anglish, Dan Issel and Kiki Vandeweghe would score 120 at will but always get ousted early in the playoffs because they only had one guy who played defense (TR Dunn).
I'd have to disagree about good offense leading to good defense. In fact, the Wiz are a good running team. We're probably one of he best running teams in the league when Gil is healthy. Our top 3 players are all better in transition. I don't even need to tell you about our defense.

Posted by: original_mark | March 30, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Nice to see Pech. I almost forgot what he looked like.

Is he good????
Is he bad???

How can we tell?

It's not like we're playing in meaningful games at this stage.
If there is any question --- he should be playing so we can find out.

I figgered this out and I ain't too smart.

Posted by: VBFan | March 30, 2009 9:03 PM | Report abuse


NOW you're coming over to my way of thinking. TEAM defense begats great offense. You're got to build from a strong team defensive strategy to win offensively. I see individuals playing defense on the WIZARDS, occasionally quite well. What I don't see is a cohesive group effort committed to defense. You need BOTH. This team as it is currently constituted is offense oriented not balanced. A fallacious strategy.

Posted by: glawrence007 | March 30, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Well thanks Glawrence007. I always got hit for emphasizing Offense. But I always knew that Defense was a valid part of the equation.

I emphasize Offense all the time because too many coaches fear Offense and make the wrong decisions based upon flawed defensive analogies.

Before Carolina beat Oklahoma most commentators were saying there Defense was suspect and they did not play Defense.

After they beat Oklahoma, the commentators said how they shut Oklahoma down defensively.

What they and a lot of people don't realize is that Carolina always play Defense. They play Team Defense. They never depend on great individual defensive play, but on Team Defensive play.

People like to see the blocked shots, and superior rebounding by the individual and thats good. What they don't realize is that good/great individual Defensive play is the exception and not the rule.

What Carolina knows is that Team Defense can always be played hard and well.

So good Team Defense can be taught and must be a staple of any good Team. Add to that a superior Offensive Team and you just might have a thing or two. Is why I emphasize Offense first, cause it is harder to be a superior Offensive Team, but it is easier to learn Team Defense.

Too many coaches and pundits and Fans do not realize that.


Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | March 30, 2009 10:59 PM | Report abuse

"So good Team Defense can be taught and must be a staple of any good Team. Add to that a superior Offensive Team and you just might have a thing or two. Is why I emphasize Offense first, cause it is harder to be a superior Offensive Team, but it is easier to learn Team Defense."

Offense comes much more naturally to most players (esp. top tier ones) than defense. It's what they're coached in and rewarded for from the time they're kids. Putting points on the board is the coin of the realm. It's much easier to get a player to want to score 20+ ppg than it is to get him to play defense. If teaching team defense were so easy, there'd be more than a handful of superior defensive teams in the league every year (and they wouldn't tend to be the same ones--or ones run by the same few coaches--pretty much every year).

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 30, 2009 11:42 PM | Report abuse

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