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 building on Saturday were practically rocked to sleep by a flat team -- and it wasn't the one that played last night in Charlotte. If the victory over Cleveland on Thursday was supposed to be a snapshot of the future, with Gilbert Arenas and Brendan Haywood back in the fold, then Saturday was was portrait of this entire season -- even with Haywood playing his third game of the season.

Arenas didn't play and Wizards Coach Ed Tapscott admitted that the team didn't have any energy. It showed, as the Wizards kept falling into holes, digging themselves out and dropping again. They got within 80-79 in the fourth quarter, but the Heat responded with eight three-pointers over the next 10 minutes, setting a franchise record for three-pointers in a quarter.

"I know we're going to double-team Dwyane Wade sometimes, which means you're going to probably leave a guy open," Tapscott said. "The ball is going to probably find them, but you got to get to them. And we were two steps slower."

I know a lot of people were wondering why Arenas decided not to play against Miami. This is merely speculation here, but I can't stop singing the Stevie Wonder song, "Superstition." After the game, Nick Young explained that Saturday was the two-year anniversary of the night Gerald Wallace crashed into Arenas's left knee. Since April 4, 2007, Arenas has had three knee surgeries and missed almost two seasons.

Arenas actually played on April 4 last season, when the Wizards defeated Miami, 109-95. Arenas had a pretty decent game with 13 points and eight assists in 20 minutes. He also shot 3 of 5 from beyond the arc.

Young said he had fears of a similar fate as Arenas when he had a nasty spill with Heat center Jamaal Magloire with 2:11 to go in the first quarter. Magloire fell into Young's right knee as the two fought for a loose ball, and Young got twisted up like a pretzel. His left leg bent back then rapidly popped forward. It was pretty scary.

"I hyperextended it a little bit," Young said. "I think Gil put a jinx on me. He said this was the day he got hurt [two years ago]. That's why he didn't play I don't think. He was talking about all day. I was worried. Once the doctor looked at it, he said everything was all right. I don't think it was that serious."

The important test will be how Young feels when he wakes up in the morning.

The Wizards' injury-plagued season got worse on Saturday, when Juan Dixon returned after missing the previous five games with soreness in his right Achilles. Dixon had five points and three assists in 20 minutes but headed toward the locker room after Dominic McGuire subbed for him with 7:18 left in the game.

"I really appreciated his effort," Tapscott said. "He probably shouldn't have played. I don't think I'm think I'm going to be able to use him for the rest of the year because he strained it."

By Michael Lee |  April 4, 2009; 10:48 PM ET
Previous: Heat (40-36) at Wizards (18-59), Arenas Out | Next: Thinking Big

Comments

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"Oh, when did you become BTH or his mommas such that you can speak for him?

BTW, aren't you the one who doesn't even watch the games?

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | April 4, 2009 11:17 PM"

I'm not speaking for him. I'm simply stating what anybody can tell if you aren't a complete idiot blinded by your own negativity. And I missed tonight's game. I've been watching most of the games this season.

Posted by: babbtong | April 4, 2009 11:37 PM

Is it just me or do I smell Blake Griffin after this lost?

Posted by: demonj21 | April 5, 2009 12:01 AM

"Haywood isn't "supremely out of shape" no matter what he says, ....

Haywood is just exaggerating with his "supremely out of shape" line.

Posted by: babbtong | April 4, 2009 10:29 PM ""

I guess you'll beg to differ with yourself.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | April 5, 2009 12:02 AM

Gilby supposedly didn't play tonight because ETap said Gilby complained that his back was too sore.

Anybody's back would be sore if they saw that they would have to go against DWade.

DWade electrified the VC crowd with his double behind the back pass to Chalmers on the fast break.

If Gilby was there and tried to defend that, he probably would have torn up both knees and both ankles.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | April 5, 2009 12:04 AM

Nice try DC_MAN, but they were talking about Crittenton missing the last game not Arenas.

Flat. Team was flat and suffered more injuries. Blatche is going to be playing minutes at the PG position before the season is over. He thinks he is one anyway!

Posted by: rphilli721 | April 5, 2009 2:10 AM

""Haywood isn't "supremely out of shape" no matter what he says, ....

Haywood is just exaggerating with his "supremely out of shape" line.

Posted by: babbtong | April 4, 2009 10:29 PM ""

I guess you'll beg to differ with yourself.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | April 5, 2009 12:02 AM"

How so?

Posted by: babbtong | April 5, 2009 2:29 AM

And with the first pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, the Washington Wizards select, Blake Griiffith, Oklahoma.....

Posted by: ptp23 | April 5, 2009 7:32 AM

"And with the first pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, the Washington Wizards select, Blake Griiffith, Oklahoma.....Posted by: ptp23"

Boy, will that be embarrassing. Not just getting Blake Griffin's name wrong, but Blake Griffith is a letter carrier in Enid, Oklahoma, who last buried a jump shot in 1994...

Posted by: Samson151 | April 5, 2009 7:46 AM

"And with the first pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, the Washington Wizards select, Blake Griiffith, Oklahoma.....Posted by: ptp23"

Boy, will that be embarrassing. Not just getting Blake Griffin's name wrong, but Blake Griffith is a letter carrier in Enid, Oklahoma, who last buried a jump shot in 1994...

Posted by: Samson151 | April 5, 2009 7:46 AM

LMAO!! This would only be funny if there actually was a dude name Blake Griffith available and Ernie Grunfeld drafted him thinking it was Griffin. That would be classic "Les Boules".

Posted by: CBell29 | April 5, 2009 8:05 AM

Wow, someone's really looking to find any angle at bashing Arenas. Obviously, he's handled a lot of things wrong. But, Tapscott was clearly talking about Crittenton re: the sore back. This all goes back to reading comprehension...

Next thing we'll hear is that Arenas & Jamison are to blame for the miscommunication in

Posted by: -CN- | April 5, 2009 9:29 AM

Why are any of you surprised? Its DCman88 he of the always negative post about Gilby, the Wiz,the weather, politics,price of gas,food, utilities,women,just anything!

Posted by: dargregmag | April 5, 2009 10:11 AM

You BLAKE GRIFFIN boosters better hope the WIZ have first pick 'cause any other and he's gone. BACK-UP PLAN? Hello. Based on last night's performance, HASHEEM THABEET should not declare, and stay in school one more year.

Posted by: glawrence007 | April 5, 2009 10:44 AM

O-o-oh, I knew a CLARK GRIFFITH once. Any relation to the letter carrier from BFE?

Posted by: glawrence007 | April 5, 2009 10:46 AM

Haywood is out of shape by his standards. He is getting winded to early. But even winded Haywood is way better then any one else we correctly have as a center and actually better then a lot of other teams centers.

Had Nick not gotten hurt we may have stood a chance but with no Gil, no Nick and no other SG's that can shoot from the outside, that left us to thin and reliant on being an inside out team which they aren't used to being. I think he had 10 pts in the first quarter and while 18 pts for the game was awesome, he could have gotten more.

One big thing this team is still missing another SG. A DS of 2006/07 or a Roger Mason. I consider them both bench players who can start when needed but when they have it rolling, they are starters. This is an area we will need to work on. Now that Gil is looking like he can better man the PG, we need to add a reliable two way SG who can defend next to him. Nick still may becoming that player. DS still stands a chance if he can return from his back problem but I'm not counting on that. DMAC needs a much better outside shot if it is to be him.

We have several players it could be but we don't have a solid no brainer this is who it is. It would probably make most sense if it was Nick with DMAC and DS ( or his replacement ) backing him up.

If we draft a play, we will have to wait a few year before they are a clutch starter. If not, it needs to be Nick. He is on the boarder of being ready to be that player. If not Nick, we need to pick on up via FA or trade.

This is a key piece that needs worked out in or roster.

Posted by: hands11 | April 5, 2009 11:11 AM

Dwayne Wade takes a bunch of role players and wins 41 games. Meanwhile, this delusional franchise and its pretend All Stars can't win 20 games wITH THEM playing virtually every minute.

In response to the previous topic about encouragement, I will be encouraged when I no longer have to look at Tapsott and his crew on the sidelines and the moving van comes to get Greunfeld. I respect Mr. Pollin but its time for a change.

What reason can anyone give for playing your "best" available players 40 minutes last night unless the coach is playing for next year. The Wizards management and coaches are unquestionably the dumbest, most incompetent bunch in the league surpassing the Clippers because at least they have the common sense to make Gordon and Thornton the focal point of their franchise.

McGee, who the staff has basically destroyed, played 5 minutes including 2 in garbage time (Blatche didnt play much more). Jamison and Butler played 40 and they still lost AT HOME.

Posted by: NewManagement | April 5, 2009 1:56 PM

There is nothing really wrong with EG (except that he should take up for his coach over his star player, a la EJ last year in the playoffs).

The Wiz management and coach decided a long time ago to play to win. The young players have to earn their minutes. That's the philosophy and I can't say I totally disagree with it.

This has been posted before: take away any team's best offensive and defensive player and other key players for most of the year and let's see how it turns out. It won't be pretty? Look at Miami last year with Wade still being hurt and look at them this year.

However, there are still questions to be answered about this team: Can Gil fully be the player he once was? And if not, how much less? Have or will our young players improve enough to support a possible playoff team to help it go deep into the playoffs? What will we get with our lottery pick?

Posted by: cannontl | April 5, 2009 3:27 PM

ITS THE COACHING!!!! Even without Gilbert the last two and a half years this team finished over five hundred and it was because of Eddie Jordan you can come up with all the bull sh4t you want but if the idiot GM had not mismanaged the cap and not let R.Mason get(to San Antonio no less)and had some patience EJ and the Wiz might still have a shot at the playoffs given the current state of the Eastern conference but NOOOOOOOO!!! we had to make a move and become the laughing stock of the league(yeah how'd that coaching move work out for you Ernie?)this team lost all hope after Jordan was let go especially the veterans but all I read on this blog was how a stubborn Jordan wouldn't play the young guys, with the exception of Dominic McGuire who has made any real improvement? lets see............ NOBODY!! Young is still inconsistent, the Serial Skirt Chaser(Blatche) is still underachieving,McGee is lost,oh he has the occasional flash of brilliance but he has a ways to go i think Javaris would have benefitted from Jordan's mentoring since EJ was a point guard in the league,Grunfeld's season long stupidity has resulted in a horrific season. This team needs to make wholesale changes in the front office and on the sidelines ASAP Grunfeld should be the first to go and Tapscott should follow, i don't see this franchise moving forward unless those two are shown the door.

Posted by: dargregmag | April 5, 2009 3:45 PM

I don't think EJ would have made that much of a difference this year. Last year EJ still had a healthy BH, DS and AD to work with, along with AJ and CB.

However, letting Mason go probably was a mistake.

Posted by: cannontl | April 5, 2009 5:43 PM

Oh Christmas.

Not having a coach whether we kept Roger or not would not have helped this Team this year. Eddie Jordan was clearly on the way to the dogs.

Without, BH and GA and his stubborn style of coaching, he would not have made a difference this year either.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | April 5, 2009 7:29 PM

"Wow, someone's really looking to find any angle at bashing Arenas. Obviously, he's handled a lot of things wrong. But, Tapscott was clearly talking about Crittenton re: the sore back. This all goes back to reading comprehension...

Next thing we'll hear is that Arenas & Jamison are to blame for the miscommunication in

Posted by: -CN- | April 5, 2009 9:29 AM "

Blame ch. 4 news. They talked about Gilby, and then played an ETap response to why he didn't play.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | April 5, 2009 8:31 PM

We might stand a chance if we
1) shot better FT%. Jamison missed 5 out of 11, Haywood missed 5 out of 9.

2) defended 3 pt better. I don't know why McGuire laid off James Jones, and allowed him to shot open 3-pts. Did he feel he can rest when he wasn't guarding Wade? Or, He is still accustomed to helping out on interior defense when Haywood was out?

Posted by: sagaliba | April 6, 2009 1:10 PM

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