Wizards 100, Raptors 98

You thought they were going to blow it, didn't you?

When they worked so hard to build that six-point lead with 57.8 remaining then watched it vanish in less than 30 seconds, you thought you were re-living another nightmare finish. When Toronto's Jason Kapono made his second three-pointer to tie the game at 96 with 28.8 seconds remaining, it brought back those horrific finishes earlier this season in Atlanta and Cleveland, when the Wizards watched victories turn to losses in the blink of an eye.

But Caron Butler allowed his teammates to return to the United States feeling pretty good after he nailed a step-back jumper over Shawn Marion. Butler played his tail off in the second half, after a really lousy first half. At halftime, Butler went into the locker with just two points on 1 of 5 shooting. He finished with 21 points on 10 of 19 shooting after playing the entire second half.

Wizards interim Coach Ed Tapscott said he wanted to give Butler a breather but his assistants told him to keep him on the floor because he was on a roll. "Sometimes the best coaching moves you make are the ones you don't make," Tapscott said. "I didn't pull him out of the game."

Tapscott also decided to play Dixon over Javaris Crittenton for the entire fourth period, even if Dixon had a rather uneven performance. Dixon scored six points, but he also had three turnovers and allowed Jose Calderon to score nine points with five assists in the period. But still, Dixon showed a lot of guts in playing despite a sore right Achilles. "Coach needed more bodies, but I just have to suck it up," Dixon said. "Only a few more games left. I hope we can get two more wins."

Dixon, a former Raptor whose season appeared to be over when left the floor against the Heat last Saturday, is not a point guard and it showed as he failed to connect on a few post entry passes, and Dominic McGuire spared him from making another turnover with about 3 minutes remaining. Dixon through a high pass near center court and McGuire tracked it down, doing his best Cris Carter to keep his feet from going over the line -- sort of. The play was huge because Antawn Jamison was able to convert a three-point play that put the Wizards ahead 88-84.

"That's high basketball IQ out there," McGuire said, bragging to Wizards assistant Wes Unseld Jr. "I just didn't want to get a turnover. It was the only thing I could do. I think [my foot] was on [the line]. That's why I jumped up and threw it off him."

Tapscott also credited Haywood, who asked to defend Bosh in the fourth period. Bosh had nine of his 21 points in the quarter, and Tapscott was set to start double-teaming him when Haywood told him that he could handle it. Bosh didn't have a field goal the final five minutes.

The Wizards need one more win to avoid tying for the worst 82-game record in franchise history. Will Gilbert Arenas come in for the close on Monday?

By Michael Lee |  April 11, 2009; 12:12 AM ET
Previous: Wizards (18-61) at Raptors (30-48) | Next: Race to the Bottom (2 Games Remaining)

Comments

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Great game from McGee.

I'm guessing he was out of position during the pregame layup line which screwed up the team's cadence.

What other explanation would make sense as to why his minutes have slowly dwindled down to zero?

Posted by: superwilks | April 11, 2009 12:25 AM

"Great game from McGee.

I'm guessing he was out of position during the pregame layup line which screwed up the team's cadence.

What other explanation would make sense as to why his minutes have slowly dwindled down to zero?

Posted by: superwilks | April 11, 2009 12:25 AM "

Maybe because his game is more suited for an And 1 tourney, not a real NBA game?

Just maybe...

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | April 11, 2009 12:26 AM

In addition to the heads-up play to bail out Dixon, D-Mac had another impressive all-around game - 8 pts, 11 boards, 5 assists, 2 steals, and 3 blocks... But I suspect that Izman and others will still tell us they aren't yet convinced that he should be getting significant minutes...

Posted by: pk24 | April 11, 2009 12:35 AM

D-Mac is the best player to wear the #5 jersey for the Wizards in a loooong time!

Posted by: jeremydvid | April 11, 2009 1:10 AM

Actually, I was hoping Mike that they would go to overtime. I really was liking the way they was playing and wanted to see more of it.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | April 11, 2009 1:13 AM

Caron had a pushoff ala MJ

Posted by: jeremydvid | April 11, 2009 1:26 AM

Caron took a page out of Nick Young's playbook, pulling the same pullback crossover fade-away jumper that NY attempts 5-6 times a game. Gotta admit, when it's on, it's pretty much indefensible.

Posted by: psps23 | April 11, 2009 1:49 AM

"Caron took a page out of Nick Young's playbook, pulling the same pullback crossover fade-away jumper that NY attempts 5-6 times a game. Gotta admit, when it's on, it's pretty much indefensible.Posted by: psps23"

Sort of like the Crane move in Karate Kid I, right?

Actually, it is very hard to blcok, and unfortunately rather hard to make, too. Not the best option for a last second shot, but hey, it went in.

Brings me to the subject of 'unblockable' shots. People always think of Kareem and the sky hook. That was pretty close. I actually saw it blocked twice -- both times by a guy named George who played for the Warriors...of course Kareem came right back and buried several straight, but still, it was impressive. The trick seemed to be to move in on his right hand and catch the ball a split second and he released it.

Jack Sikma of Seattle had a shot that I can't remember seeing anyone block, where he would lean forward, then take a quick step back and release the ball from way over his head.

Anybody I'm forgetting?

Posted by: Samson151 | April 11, 2009 7:17 AM

BKing had a shot that couldnt be blocked...

Posted by: oddjob1 | April 11, 2009 7:25 AM

"You thought they were going to blow it, didn't you?"
In a way they did blow it, if the goal at this point in a very lost season is to position for #1 lottery pick. Go Wiz?

Posted by: midlevex | April 11, 2009 8:10 AM

Winning this game didn't do anything to their lottery position since the clippers won too. The kings aren't catching the Wiz with wins and the Wiz can't catch OKC, so they are guaranteed 2nd or 3rd worst record. How are you people not understanding this: it's a lottery! Most ping pong balls guarantees nothing and if the kings win it this year it will be THE FIRST TIME THE TEAM WITH THE WORST RECORD WINS IT. Read that again: no team with the worst record has ever picked 1st in the lottery era. Typically the basketball gods rewards teams that don't blantantly tank with the top pick ; ask Boston how their plan for Duncan AND the #2 pick worked out or Oden or Durant (they had to strike gold through trades not the draft). The 1st overall pick is either going to D.C. or OKC.

Posted by: detox04 | April 11, 2009 8:50 AM

detox04:

Yeah, but this lottery the WIZARDS are in it. There's a first time for everything. With our luck....

Posted by: glawrence007 | April 11, 2009 9:08 AM

Well, I'd like to see the Wiz land #1, but I haven't wanted them to go in the tank to do it. I enjoyed last night's win, and clearly the team on the court in Toronto was playing to win, though I have suspected that Gil has stayed off the court because there are those who don't want "too good" a record, jeopardizing lottery chances. Also, Gil has made a good showing in these late games, so maybe the thinking is why possibly undermine that in the waning days of a lost season.

With a right coach (and I'll leave it to EG as to whether it's Saunders, Avery, Thib, Jackson or someone else), the Wiz can go deep in the playoffs next year (they could go ALL THE WAY), with or without Griffin. But, man, I'd like to see Griffin. I'm sure he'd be no Kwame bust, and after this horrible year of injuries the Wiz deserve a break.

Posted by: 7snider7 | April 11, 2009 9:20 AM

Blake Griffin has certainly solidified his status as first pick.

Hasheem Thabeet had a great season. Hard to predict how he'll be as a pro. Let's just say that Mutombo (I mean Thabeet) is maybe the best center ever at Georgetown (I mean Connecticut).

Have we decided if Ricky Rubio is coming out yet? Because I predict UnderArmour will sign him up and force him to wear floppy socks to remind everyone of Maravich.

Greg Monroe looks like an All-World player as long as nobody touches him excessively. Greg does not like contact. I think he preferred position in the NBA may be shooting guard.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 11, 2009 9:23 AM

Sikma really cradled the ball far back behind his head, and then released the ball really high. Given his height and the length of his arms, that made it almost impossible for a defender to get a hand on the ball. Jamal (Keith) Wilkes had a similar shooting motion, except that it was even more extreme. I don't remember him getting many shots blocked either.

Posted by: pjkiger1 | April 11, 2009 9:45 AM

BTH, BTH, BTH

Posted by: original_mark | April 11, 2009 9:54 AM

they finally got to Sikma's shot by blocking the ball when it was behind his head, on the way up. It was done from behind. There was no way to get it once he brought it forward.

Posted by: joe2chase | April 11, 2009 10:15 AM

Samson151: I know I'm showing my age, but Elvin Hayes' backing his man down and then hitting the fadeaway off the glass was pretty unblockable. Don't know if the defenses allowed back then made it impossible for the other team to double him though, cause I don't remember Elvin being very interested in passing the ball one he got it down low.

Posted by: mugsybol | April 11, 2009 10:23 AM

if the kings win it this year it will be THE FIRST TIME THE TEAM WITH THE WORST RECORD WINS IT. Read that again: no team with the worst record has ever picked 1st in the lottery era.

Posted by: detox04 | April 11, 2009 8:50 AM

it has happened...but your right it is rare, the lottery is a crap shoot, but it happened 3 times between 2006 and 1990:

-2004 with the Magic
-2003 with Cleveland
-1990 with New Jersey

Source


Posted by: guinness4health | April 11, 2009 10:39 AM

"Sikma really cradled the ball far back behind his head, and then released the ball really high. Given his height and the length of his arms, that made it almost impossible for a defender to get a hand on the ball. Jamal (Keith) Wilkes had a similar shooting motion, except that it was even more extreme. I don't remember him getting many shots blocked either."

Another player that had a smilar shooting motion was Bob MacAdoo. Can't speak to his blocks, but he was an prolific shooter with that same type of style.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | April 11, 2009 10:44 AM

it has happened...but your right it is rare, the lottery is a crap shoot, but it happened 3 times between 2006 and 1990:

-2004 with the Magic
-2003 with Cleveland
-1990 with New Jersey

Posted by: guinness4health
-------------------------------------------

If you look more carefully, you should have counted 1996 Philadelphia. Vancouver was the worst team, but it was not allowed to select first (as an expansion team), so Philadelphia had the most percentage, and indeed won the lottery.

NBA switched to a percentage system since 1994. The first team has about 25% of chance to win the lottery. In 15 years, from 1994 to 2008, the worst team (i.e., highesst percentage team) won 3 times. 15 x 0.25 = 3.75. I said it is about just right.

Posted by: sagaliba | April 11, 2009 11:08 AM

continued...

From 1990 to 1993, the worst team has about 16.7% of winning, and actually won once, so it was better than the percentage.

Together, the highest percentage team won 4 out of 19 times, that's about 21%. Again very close to the prediction (i.e., 4 yrs at 16.7% and 15 yrs at 25%)..

Note: From 1985 to 1989, every team in the lottery has equal chance, so the worst team did not have any favor at all.

Posted by: sagaliba | April 11, 2009 11:16 AM

SInce it's a gloomy day, might cheer you up to watch the Bullets win on the road in Seattle in the 1987 NBA championship game 7. Sikma shoots that jump shot at 1.45 and 1.55.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 11, 2009 11:29 AM

Here's the link:

'78 Game Seven:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilymLFx_Mf4

Posted by: Samson151 | April 11, 2009 11:30 AM

"Winning this game didn't do anything to their lottery position since the clippers won too." -Detox

Winning the game actually did diminish the Wiz's chances of positioning for the worst record which they still had and have a chance for. If they lose all their remaining games and Sac wins all (never happen) they tie for the worst at 19-63 (don't know how the tie breaker decides). LAC if they lose all their games still finish ahead of the Wiz as long as the Wiz lose all theirs. It's a sorry approach to hoops but at this point in the season it's about all the Wiz have to play for. Locking in the worst record then gives them the best odds at winning the lottery but of course no guarantee. To paraphrase Bob Dylan, "There's no success like failure and failures no success at all," unless you happen to win the NBA lottery.

Posted by: midlevex | April 11, 2009 12:39 PM

The nightmare finish is winning these pointless games, not losing them. This is how the Packers ended up with Tony Mandarich instead of Troy Aikman 20 years ago (if they hadn't come back to win a pointless season finale, they'd have landed Aikman, and the Cowboys dynasty might never have happened). Granted there's a lottery, but every loss counts here. I might feel different if more of our young 'uns contributed to this success, but it was largey a veteran based victory (along with McGuire helping out). these wins hurt our cause, they do not help us. Then again, we're the wiz, we never win the lottery, we always either stay stuck in place or move down (essentially every draft lottery we've ever been in, ever save '01). I just don't agree w/the pride wins mattering at the end of the season. They rarely ever mean much of anything other than botched draft positioning.

Posted by: graywolfe81 | April 11, 2009 1:05 PM

Ok so I admit I was working off faulty info (see how that works people, admit to being wrong), but the point is that the win dropped the wiz from the 2nd worst record to...the second worst record. A win didn't drop them from 1 to 5. This isn't the NFL where the top pick is guaranteed to the worst team. The top 3 picks are purely luck and in this years draft those are the only picks that matter. After that who cares if you pick 4th or 5th. The point of these late games should be developing the rotation for next year with wins and losses being irrelevent since we are guaranteed 2nd or 3rd worse at this point.

And where's all the Haywood haters?

Posted by: detox04 | April 11, 2009 2:09 PM

This game proved NOTHING.

AJ & CB = 80 minutes

NY,AB,Pech & JVM =27 minutes
Next year they won't get to play because they don't have any game experience.
Do we have our heads in the sand???

Big Win last night?????

Posted by: VBFan | April 11, 2009 2:32 PM

I've always had this funny feeling that the Ping Pong Ball Championship(lottery)was rigged yeah i know how crazy that sounds but i can't shake that thought. The MVP of this years team? AJ(MeTawn) as DcMANN88 likes to call him for reasons unbeknownest to only him, Jamison has been a true pro and plays hard night in night out almost forty double doubles and twenty-two points a game.Now back to the draft if we miss both Blake and Hasheem then what some suggestions?

Posted by: dargregmag | April 11, 2009 2:44 PM

graywolf81: "This is how the Packers ended up with Tony Mandarich instead of Troy Aikman 20 years ago (if they hadn't come back to win a pointless season finale, they'd have landed Aikman, and the Cowboys dynasty might never have happened)."

Nah, Tony Mandarch was the original Steroid Baby of the NFL draft. The NCAA fell for it, the media fell for it, and most of all. the NFL fell for it big time. You know the weird thing? The guy actually has an inspirational website promoting his new book, "My 10 Dirty Little Secrets" http://www.tonymandarich.com/

The real problem from the Pack's perspective wasn't missing out on Aikman, which could marginally had anything to do with them, but that the the next 3 players after Mandarich -- Barry Sanders, Derrick Thomas (KC), and Deion Sanders -- were HOF quality.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 11, 2009 3:00 PM

"Then again, we're the wiz, we never win the lottery, we always either stay stuck in place or move down (essentially every draft lottery we've ever been in, ever save '01)."

'01 doesn't count? The Gods blessed us, and we spatteth in their faces. Of course, so did a lot of teams. You had Pau Gasol and Joe Johnson, but Tyson Chandler struggled for years, and Eddy Curry is still struggling, and the real hit of the first round was Tony Parker, who went 28th.

Don't the odds make it easier to move down than to move up in the Lottery?

Posted by: Samson151 | April 11, 2009 3:07 PM

detox:"Ok so I admit I was working off faulty info (see how that works people, admit to being wrong),"

Could you come back and show us all over again tomorrow?

Posted by: Samson151 | April 11, 2009 3:11 PM

Find something, anything,else that I'm wrong about and I'll gladly admit it. Who else here will do that?

Posted by: detox04 | April 11, 2009 3:31 PM

Posted by: 7snider7 | April 1
if the kings win it this year it will be THE FIRST TIME THE TEAM WITH THE WORST RECORD WINS IT. Read that again: no team with the worst record has ever picked 1st in the lottery era.

Posted by: detox04 | April 11, 2009 8:50 AM

it has happened...but your right it is rare, the lottery is a crap shoot, but it happened 3 times between 2006 and 1990:

-2004 with the Magic
-2003 with Cleveland
-1990 with New Jersey

Source
Didn't the Knicks have the worst record when they drafted Patrick Ewing in the first round?

Posted by: browneri | April 11, 2009 3:36 PM

Nope. That was the first year of the lottery and the team with the worst record that year picked 7th

Posted by: detox04 | April 11, 2009 3:47 PM

In case you're wondering how that year every pick was chosen by random. After that only the top 3 were chosen. The warriors that year with the worst record at 7 actually picked last in the lottery.

Posted by: detox04 | April 11, 2009 3:56 PM

"The MVP of this years team? AJ(MeTawn) as DcMANN88 likes to call him for reasons unbeknownest to only him, Jamison has been a true pro and plays hard night in night out almost forty double doubles and twenty-two points a game.Now back to the draft if we miss both Blake and Hasheem then what some suggestions?

Posted by: dargregmag | April 11, 2009 2:44 PM "

MeTawn?

Yeah, he be called MeTawn because he thinks he's everything right about this team, but doesn't assume the responsibility or do anything about his lack of defense or ability to do what a guy in the 4 position should be doing.

MeTawn is a stats guy...pure and simple.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | April 11, 2009 5:45 PM

detox04: "Find something, anything,else that I'm wrong about and I'll gladly admit it. Who else here will do that?"

I thought you had a sense of humor?

Mea culpa.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 11, 2009 6:55 PM

Great game from McGee.

I'm guessing he was out of position during the pregame layup line which screwed up the team's cadence.

What other explanation would make sense as to why his minutes have slowly dwindled down to zero?

Posted by: superwilks | April 11, 2009 12:25 AM "

Maybe because his game is more suited for an And 1 tourney, not a real NBA game?

Just maybe...

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | April 11, 2009 12:26 AM

Maybe, if your two "all stars were real all stars they would have something to brag about other than the 19th win. Perhaps their games would be better in a one on one league except they would have to play defense.

Its ridiculous that the incompetent Director of Player Personnel can't find 1 minute in the 80th game of the season for his first round draft pick.

WHAT A BUNCH OF LOSERS. The only hope for this franchise is for new ownership and management. Those of you who believe the nonsense about everybody being healthy and making a run are dreaming. Ain't going to happen with this group.

Posted by: NewManagement | April 11, 2009 8:05 PM

detox04: "Find something, anything,else that I'm wrong about and I'll gladly admit it. Who else here will do that?"

I thought you had a sense of humor?

Mea culpa.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 11, 2009 6:55 PM

I do. I'm still making fun of the people on here that think "oh evidence what I said was wrong, I'll just ignore that and continue to make my argument but this time make personal attacks at people."

Posted by: detox04 | April 12, 2009 8:59 AM

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