Cavaliers 98, Wizards 86

Gold star and a shot of grape juice to anyone who was able to sit through all of that game. That was a terrible game to watch -- one of the least competitive games the Cleveland Cavaliers and Washington Wizards have played since Larry Hughes left town in the summer of 2005.

The Wizards were never really into the game, missing seven of their first eight shots, and scoring just 13 points in the first quarter. They also committed eight turnovers in the period, which led to 12 points for the Cavaliers. On two occasions, the Wizards tried to force cross court passes and LeBron James sat back like a free safety to intercept them. The first time, James caught a Dominic McGuire pass, which set up a Zydrunas Ilgauskas jumper. Then James stole a pass from Antawn Jamison and found Anderson Varejao cutting to the basket for a reverse layup.

"You just can't have [eight] turnovers in the first quarter and get down [13] points," Wizards interim Coach Ed Tapscott said. "That is a huge hole to dig out of against the Cavaliers, who play as well as they do overall, and certainly here."

The Wizards became the 38th victim in 39 games at Quicken Loans Arena on Wednesday night, and unlike the last time here -- when they lost 93-89 on Christmas -- they didn't attempt to put up a fight. They trailed 78-54 with one minute left in the third period when LeBron James was fouled on a layup. "Coach said, 'They're going to throw the first punch, we have to counter.' We couldn't do it," Andray Blatche said after scoring 14 points with six rebounds.

Nick Young had a team-high 16 points, which was pretty impressive when you consider the nasty spill when Jamaal Magloire crashed into his knee last Saturday. Young said he was favoring the leg early on, which led to him getting a baseline dunk blocked by Zydrunas Ilguaskas and flipping in a layup when he had a chance for another highlight play. "It was kind of hurting in the beginning," Young said of his knee. "You could tell I tried to go baseline and reverse dunk, but I just threw it up there for a layup. The guys was laughing about that."

If you want to understand why the Wizards are 18-61 this season, all you had to do was see both Young and Blatche knock in shots for the Cavaliers while fighting for rebounds. I couldn't help but shake my head when I heard their reactions to the plays.

"I wish I could've got the points for it," Blatche said.

"I know. Me, too," Young said.

After the game, you could hear the frustration from Antawn Jamison, who was upset that the team finished with just 14 assists. He blamed it on selfish play, although I didn't notice a lot of one-on-one, "my-turn" basketball. The Cavaliers just played great defense.

"Knowing the circumstances, knowing what we was up against, knowing what formula has worked in the past, and to come out and do the exact opposite is disappointing," Jamison said after scoring seven points. "We just continue to take steps back. No excuses. No young guys on this team, we got Wizards [on our jerseys] and the Wizards, for some reason, when they do something good, take four or five steps back. And we just continue to take steps back."

By Michael Lee |  April 8, 2009; 11:17 PM ET
Previous: Wizards (18-60) at Cavaliers (62-15) | Next: Wizards Running on Empty

Comments

Please email us to report offensive comments.



Michael, have you ever experienced so much optimism surrounding the worst team in the NBA? In the entire history of the NBA, has the worst team in the league been touted to win a championship next season as so many posters on this board believe?

Posted by: twigmuffin | April 8, 2009 11:32 PM

"Michael, have you ever experienced so much optimism surrounding the worst team in the NBA? In the entire history of the NBA, has the worst team in the league been touted to win a championship next season as so many posters on this board believe?

Posted by: twigmuffin | April 8, 2009 11:32 PM "

Ignorance is bliss.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | April 8, 2009 11:57 PM

A good comparison is the Clippers, they lost Baron Davis and Chris Kaman for almost the entire season. Next year everyone will be healthy, and with improvement from Eric Gordon and Al Thornton along with Marcus Camby, they figure to make some noise next year. But I think they are just hoping they make the playoffs, no one believes they will contend for a championship.

Posted by: twigmuffin | April 9, 2009 12:27 AM

i like taps, but i'm disappointed to see how little the "young guys" have matured this season...particularly considering the amount of playing time they received due to injuries. and several of them are not so young.

Posted by: thickman22 | April 9, 2009 12:48 AM

From the blog post: After the game, you could hear the frustration from Antawn Jamison, who was upset that the team finished with just 14 assists."

---------------

Jeebus H. Christmas. The black hole of ball movement complains about the lack of dimes?

amazing

Posted by: Hawaiiexpat | April 9, 2009 12:54 AM

I did not see a lack of ball movement either.

I saw championship caliber defense being played by the Cavs and the Wiz really did not go to the basket hard like they did the last game against the Cavs. How many times did we put up weak shots around the rim? NY, Butler, Blatche...there were multiple attempts that could have at least been fouls, but they tried to get "cute". Butler and Jamison were kind of non-existent this game. Those two really have failed at raising the level of play of the team all season.

GA may not make his teammates better in a championship sense (Barkley criticism), but he does make them into a solid playoff team, which Butler and Jamison obviously can't do on their own.

Posted by: rphilli721 | April 9, 2009 1:31 AM

thickman,

Perhaps, it's the players themselves that are at fault. Plus, they were missing leadership on the floor particularly with Haywood missing.

I think everything will be fine next season with Critt, Blatche, Song, and NY coming off the bench and McGee getting spot duty. I guess even McGuire may be relegated to the bench next year. Everyone in their proper roles will be nice to see and then judge this team and EG.

Posted by: rphilli721 | April 9, 2009 1:39 AM

"good comparison is the Clippers, they lost Baron Davis and Chris Kaman for almost the entire season. Next year everyone will be healthy, and with improvement from Eric Gordon and Al Thornton along with Marcus Camby..."Posted by: twigmuffin

What? Davis played in 62 games, started 56 of them. Kaman missed all but about 30 games, that's true.

No, the Clips underachieving was largely with key players on the court. If you have Marcus Camby, you can't argue you're losing because you don't have Chris Kaman.

The Wiz, on the other hand, can make a case that they had no one to replace Haywood or Arenas. Sure, the young guys, but if anybody thought they were ready for more than developmental roles, last night's game should have convinced them otherwise.

The Clips are in fact a bigger disappointment than the Wiz. And quite possibly so are the Grizzlies. Both clubs put teams on the court this year that were deeper and more talented than Washington's lineup.

The Kings were just plain terrible, despite having some good players like Kevin Martin and Jason Thompson. Martin is what Nick Young hopes to become, and Thompson's a good role model for Blatche. But you could see how far it got Sacramanto.

Oklahoma City is the team on the rise, of course. Thabeet could actually be more help to them than Griffin. Or James Harden, a skilled combo guard.

Griffin would make Memphis fairly scary. But overall, the team he fits best is probably ours.

Much as I admire Etan Thomas, I think he's done. Just asked too much of his body. And Blatche for all his skills is not somebody who bangs effectively in the hole.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 9, 2009 7:07 AM

What I missed hearing on post game radio and in other discussions/chats is the bravado that followed the earlier win against Cleveland, about how the Wizards can kick Cleveland anytime they wanted to, and how the Wizards are THE REAL thing, just a lot of bad luck, and that the rest of the league needs to know that the Wizards ARE the championship team of the NBA. Those people are now, after this loss, somewhat quiet.

Posted by: Dungarees | April 9, 2009 8:04 AM

Watching last night's game I thought I wouldn't be opposed to getting rid of any player on the team if the right trade came along. We are not going to be awesome next year with this same team even if it was a healthy team. Maybe keep Arenas, Caron and McGee, but anyone else should be trade bait.

Posted by: lameotron | April 9, 2009 8:41 AM

those people said that when Gilbert plays we are competitive with Cleveland. Gilbert did not play last night. I'm not saying they are right, but last night's game has no bearing on whether our full squad can compete with Cleveland.

Posted by: read2 | April 9, 2009 8:41 AM

WIZARDS will make them pay next year. We're a championship team, and will prove it IF we have new ownership, new GM, new coaches, and new players.

Posted by: glawrence007 | April 9, 2009 9:26 AM

Lebron has many gifts. The greatest one is his ability to pass the ball. Chris Paul can pass the ball. The Wiz need lots of people who can pass the ball. If Gil is healthy, he can pass the ball. If Gil is not healthy, next year will be like this year.

If the Wiz do not win the Blake Griffin lottery, Ricky Rubio is the one to change the Wiz most. He can pass the ball. I think he can be a new Steve Nash. Ricky can make all the Wiz better. How many draft picks can do that?

He is 18 years old and has a great upside. Watch for the number 2 pick in the draft!

Posted by: JoeC2 | April 9, 2009 9:46 AM

Let's just get this season over with.

Posted by: pjkiger1 | April 9, 2009 9:50 AM

"Maybe keep Arenas, Caron and McGee, but anyone else should be trade bait.Posted by: lameotron"

I feel your pain, but I'm not sure there's hope for a solution like that. The way the team's configured, looks to me like they can't do much more than add a draft pick and a coach and play out the hand as it stands. Maybe a minor free agent, if they get lucky like with Roger Mason.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 9, 2009 9:52 AM

I've watch another highlights of R Rubio and I believe he's a right fit for the team. Of course that is if we don't get the first pick (Blake Griffin). Maybe this teenager can show not only the youngsters but also the vets (CB, Jamison) how to play team basketball.

Posted by: Dave381 | April 9, 2009 9:53 AM

Has anyone else noticed that Ricky Rubio only goes to his left? Flashy guy though.

Posted by: lameotron | April 9, 2009 10:08 AM

Yet again another lackluster performance by the vets. They have spent this whole season complaining about the young guys as opposed to developing them. When they point the finger across the locker room I hope they can see the 3 pointing back at them. This team will have to be broken up if they ever want to make it past the 1st round of the playoffs. There are too many vets on this them that are not hungry to make an impact or who are limited and cast into a bigger role than what fits their talents.

Posted by: jtrob_1 | April 9, 2009 10:27 AM

What the Wiz would best do is broker a trade if they cannot get Griffin. There is no other player in this draft that will have an impact in the next 3 years. The Wiz need pieces and they need to clear some guaranteed salary. There are several really good players who are buried in this league who are as good or better than Rubio they just need the right opportunity. We need effort and energy players who play every night. You usually don't find them in the first round of the draft.

Posted by: jtrob_1 | April 9, 2009 10:34 AM

"After the game, you could hear the frustration from Antawn Jamison, who was upset that the team finished with just 14 assists. He blamed it on selfish play, although I didn't notice a lot of one-on-one, "my-turn" basketball. The Cavaliers just played great defense."

Jamison was probably just upset that he got only 4 shots (to go with 1 assist). He doesn't complain when he gets 25 shots.

Posted by: disgruntledfan | April 9, 2009 10:41 AM

"Antawn Jamison, who was upset that the team finished with just 14 assists."

Antawn pinpointed the problem. However, he is part of the problem. The 3 highest scorers on the team this season, Jamison, Butler, and Young, are the ones who don't pass. Butler has the most assists among the three (most of his assists are to Jamison), but he often holds the ball too long and turns over the ball too often (3.13 T/O per game).

In other words, our scoring threats do not create scoring opportunities for other teammates.

Posted by: sagaliba | April 9, 2009 10:55 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 

© 2007 The Washington Post Company