Back In Cleveland

The Wizards had a light practice late this afternoon at the Cleveland Cavaliers' former practice court at Quicken Loans Arena.

Gilbert Arenas did not participate, but Nick Young and Juan Dixon did. Young and Dixon were both injured in the Wizards' loss to Miami last Saturday; Young spraining his left knee and Dixon aggravating his sore right Achilles. Interim Coach Ed Tapscott said Young look fine during the Wizards' walk through. All three will be game-time decisions.

Asked if it was difficult going into every game with so many "game-time decisions", Tapscott shrugged. "I've been doing this so long, it doesn't bother me. I have multiple game plans, based on potential participants," Tapscott said. "I've always said health is a primary concern, so I'll be ready for anybody who is able to go."

I spoke to Arenas briefly about his prospects of playing on Wednesday. He made it sound like he won't play against the Cavs, then finally said he'll be a game-time decision. Arenas said he is motivated to make sure that the Wizards do not finish with the worst record in franchise history.

"We cannot finish with 18 wins," Arenas said. "We get one more win, I'm done."

Arenas said he wants to help the Wizards get one more win to avoid the ignominy of having the fewest wins and/or worst winning percentage. When I told him that the Wizards actually need two more wins because the 82-game record for fewest wins is 19, Arenas said, "You sure?"

I told him I was pretty sure and he said, "I might have to change my plans."

I'm not quite sure what his plan really is, since he seems to change it every day, but I'd be surprised if he played against Cleveland. Then again, you can't really be surprised with Arenas these days, right?

I also asked Tapscott about the April snow storm in Cleveland. "I've been through a year where I've seen a lot of stuff, so a little snow doesn't bother me in April. Now, if was snowing in July ... okay, maybe I'd make a special note of it," Tapscott said. "We've had a season with a lot of twist and turns, so a little snow, another twist."

I must say, it was a strange feeling coming back to Cleveland this afternoon -- and not just because it was snowing like crazy here ... in April!?! I had to ask my cab driver if I had caught a flight or a time machine back to December.

It just feels sort of weird knowing that there will not be a playoff game between the Wizards and Cavaliers this season. There won't be any LeBron James tap-dancing along the baseline, Gilbert Arenas going for 40, James patting Arenas on the chest at the foul line, Brendan Haywood delivering hard fouls, Larry Hughes calling out the Wizards' offensive plays, Damon Jones and Delonte West hitting long corner jumpers, DeShawn Stevenson talking smack, Soulja Boy doing whatever he does or Jay-Z writing diss records. You get the feeling that the playoffs will be a little less entertaining this year.

I checked into my hotel room, at the same hotel that I've spent the past three postseasons, and it'll be the last time I'll be here this season. It's not like I really loved coming to Cleveland, but you get used to stuff. And, there is a good chance I'll be back here in June. You guys should read Mike Wilbon's column about how much the teams have changed since they first clashed three years ago.

By Michael Lee |  April 7, 2009; 6:39 PM ET
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Good article, but the rationale behind Arenas decision is important and left ambiguous. What are the determinants behind the hesitance on Arenas playing? Is it based on health-related developments or has this indecision been shaped on factors unrelated to recent developments?

Posted by: emmet1 | April 7, 2009 7:26 PM

emmet1 already expresses what I was going to ask.

Since it has been almost a week since Gil last played in a game, why would he not be able to play tomorrow? If it is something physical, what is it?

Posted by: cannontl | April 7, 2009 7:37 PM

I'm not sure what the mystery is -- the season's lost and Gil playing at all is a bit of a surprise. What's the point? We don't need/want the additional victories, except in front of a home crowd that the Wiz have disappointed all season.

It's next year that will determine Ernie Grunfeld's fate. There'll be a new coach, a new player, and a second chance to prove the Big Three are a force in the NBA.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 7, 2009 7:59 PM

Samson, all we are saying is that as fans who have stuck with this franchise through its worst year, the least the organization could do is be up front about the Arenas situation, which it has not been in the past. Arenas originally said he would play this game, and will have six days rest before the game. He did not practice today and may not play in the game. I think the past year has forced us to be a little suspicious, and this is definitely a cause for suspicion. If an explanation were given, then maybe we should give the franchise the benefit of the doubt and accept their explanation. But when there is no explanation, we have no choice but to try to derive our own explanations.

Posted by: emmet1 | April 7, 2009 8:30 PM

69 games... Gilbert Arenas
82 games... Etan Thomas
24 games... Caron Butler

These were our major injuries last season, but we still won 43 games, beat Boston in back-to-back games, and took 2 games off the Cavs in the playoffs.

I wish everyone would quit whining about the injuries, Antawn and Caron were generally healthy all season, there is absolutely no excuse for this being the worst Wizards team of all-time.

Posted by: twigmuffin | April 7, 2009 9:02 PM

The main question concerning Gil is can he be close to the player he once was? This has not been answered yet.

When I hear that he is not practising and will be a game time decision tomorrow after six days, I wonder what is going on with him.

I wonder why Michael Lee did not ask the question about his physical condition or make it more clear why he will be a game time decision.

Posted by: cannontl | April 7, 2009 9:06 PM

twigmuffin, last year was not the same as this year. This has been discussed before on this board.

Their best defensive player did not play most of this year: BH. Stevenson and Daniels last year were veterans who contributed much, but were not able to contribute much this year due physical problems. Younger, inexperienced players or role players took the above players' place this year.

This is why this season have been so bad, not because of AJ or CB.

Posted by: cannontl | April 7, 2009 9:17 PM

Not to mention also having Roger Mason last year.

Posted by: cannontl | April 7, 2009 9:19 PM

"Samson, all we are saying is that as fans who have stuck with this franchise through its worst year, the least the organization could do is be up front about the Arenas situation, which it has not been in the past...But when there is no explanation, we have no choice but to try to derive our own explanations.Posted by: emmet1"

You have my sympathy, but geez, I just don't see the problem. Maybe it would help to stop listening to what the powers-that-be say, and just focus on what they do.

And I would argue that their actions suggest they knew the season was lost by game 30, and decided to play it out in hopes of grabbing that top draft choice or something close to it. And using that to lure a new coach for a last run at a title before Ernie Grunfeld gets fired.

And they don't really want to risk Arenas until next year.

But are they going to come out and say that? Is Arenas?

No.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 7, 2009 9:55 PM

"wonder why Michael Lee did not ask the question about his physical condition or make it more clear why he will be a game time decision.Posted by: cannontl"

Because he already knew what the answer would be -- more BS.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 7, 2009 9:57 PM

Why is a Gilby a game time decision when there's absolutely nothing wrong with him health wise anymore?

Gilby avoided the game against DWade, and after most likely will skip this game against LeBron, the MVP of the league.

The best chance for this Les BouleS team to win this game is to let Gilby gun it...You don't play someone max money to get 15 pts and 8 assists/game.

Playoffs, though, that's a different story.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | April 7, 2009 9:58 PM

I would think he's a game time decision because this whole season they've been gunshy of making promises they weren't sure they could keep

Posted by: crs-one | April 7, 2009 10:36 PM

I wish everyone would quit whining about the injuries, Antawn and Caron were generally healthy all season, there is absolutely no excuse for this being the worst Wizards team of all-time.

Posted by: twigmuffin | April 7, 2009 9:02 PM

Caron was generally healthy all season? Ok, you obviously do not pay very little attention to this team, so why are you even commenting about the Wizards? This team has had more injuries, statistically, than any team in the league. They have routinely played games with just one starter, Antawn Jamison. No team in the league could lose 4 starters, including their best player in back to back seasons, and go better than 1 out of 2 in making the playoffs those years.

Twigmuffin, you really have no perspective whatsoever. This year was an anomaly, anyone with half a brain can see that.

Posted by: Barno1 | April 8, 2009 12:53 AM

Yeah, I must agree that with the assumption being that GA was playing this game for Michael Lee to not even attempt to fill us in as to why is not only bad journalism, but very suspect. If you don't know or can't get an answer, then say so.

I mean how could you not see the gaping hole in this report. Unbelievable!

Posted by: rphilli721 | April 8, 2009 1:22 AM

I really really really want to know why Arenas cannot play on 6 days rest.

This long after a non-ligament knee issue is a concern, and I have not been concerned until now.

It goes without saying, but Arenas health is the key to the entire franchise.

Please put my fears to rest.

Posted by: UltimateFootballNetwork | April 8, 2009 2:58 AM

twigmuffin, last year was not the same as this year. This has been discussed before on this board.

Their best defensive player did not play most of this year: BH. Stevenson and Daniels last year were veterans who contributed much, but were not able to contribute much this year due physical problems. Younger, inexperienced players or role players took the above players' place this year.

This is why this season have been so bad, not because of AJ or CB.
_________________________________

Isn't that the role of the General Manager to make sure there is enough guard depth when your starting PG is coming off 2 knee surgeries?

Sure, it is just "bad luck" that we lost 60 games, I mean it was just "bad luck" that we went with Dee Brown over Roger Mason.

Posted by: twigmuffin | April 8, 2009 4:38 AM

I never really gave creedence to the posters here who continually lambasted the FO of the WIZARDS until I went down to the SEIGAL CENTER and saw for myself what they had done over the summer in the back-up guard department. No ROGER MASON JR. and DEE BROWN instead because of the contracts doled out over the summer. And the sugar-coated spin about how good he was. BS. EG knew what was up and we should have too. His pink slip was already in his mail-slot. The only change I saw I liked was JaVALE McGEE.

Posted by: glawrence007 | April 8, 2009 8:44 AM

If we get the #1 pick and the chance to pick Blake Griffin, do you all think we could trade away Jamison? I know we had takers for him this year at the trade deadline...
It would make the most sense in terms of freeing up playing time. Blake and Blatche could split the minutes at the 4, while Haywood, McGee, Songalia split time at the 5.

Is Blake ready to step in and contribute 24 meaningful minutes a game on a playoff contending team?

Posted by: dante232 | April 8, 2009 10:21 AM

I believe the bounce of the ping-pong ball will factor in a lot for the fate of next season and the near future. If the Wizards get the first pick, Blake Griffin is a no-brainer, and would fit in perfectly with this team. If the Wizards do not get the first pick, its basically a crap shoot. I am not sure that anyone remaining in the draft can help the Wizards as much as Griffin can. What does Grunfeld do then? They have to get something (either via draft or trade) that will make up for this lost season. They cannot do what they did a few years ago and draft someone (Pech) who didn't even play with the team for a year. I don't even think fans would stand for trading the pick for a future pick. The Wizards have to receive a live, skilled body that will help them rebound and defend, or that will help them make outside shots. The selection of coach is important too, but not as much as what they will do this June. Look at Miami. They capitalized on their "lost year" by drafting Michael Beasley. He hasn't shown it yet, but he will be a beast in the very near future. The Wizards have to do the same.

Posted by: hamptonpirates89 | April 8, 2009 11:48 AM

I think the Wiz brought Gil out to get the fans to renew their ticket packages by the April 1 deadline.

Now, since they have a no-refund policy, they will wait until they have enough people signed up and then announce that he hurt his knee again and I will be pissed once again.

This team should start allowing refunds on season tickets like the Clippers, just not right the way this franchise treats the fans with all the secrecy behind the main attraction

Posted by: m1ke3i6 | April 8, 2009 2:01 PM

i think it's pretty obvious why Arenas isn't playing. He's saving himself for the playoffs...

Posted by: superwilks | April 8, 2009 4:56 PM

Go ahead. Say it Michael. You love being being in Cleveland.

Posted by: jackiex1 | April 9, 2009 6:46 AM

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