Wizards Running on Empty

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Mo "Original Hibachi" Williams was the only guy willing to state the obvious after his team drilled the Washington Wizards 98-86 on Wednesday night, with LeBron James whirling his air guitar in the fourth quarter as if he were practicing for a Guitar Hero competition later that night. The Cavaliers couldn't let the worst team in the Eastern Conference and a former playoff rival go into the offseason bragging about stealing three wins from the team with the league's best record.


Totally dude. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

"We just had extra, kind of aggression and incentive behind this game," Williams said. "We wanted to win handily because we felt like ... we had to send a message."

Message delivered. You could tell that the Wizards were ready to get out of town at the start of the fourth quarter, when they were down 20 points and interim Coach Ed Tapscott sent in a lineup of Javaris Crittenton, Andray Blatche, JaVale McGee, Dominic McGuire and Nick Young.

Of course, Crittenton and McGuire were the starting backcourt last night, but Tapscott left Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison on the bench and never thought about asking either to enter the game, even after the young guys got within 14 points with 8:42 remaining. "It just didn't seem that we had what we needed to make a run," Tapscott said.

Tapscott was right, because it didn't take long for the Cavaliers to quickly build the lead back up to 20, with Joe Smith dunking, and Daniel Gibson flipping an underhanded pass to a trailing Ben Wallace for a two-handed dunk that sent LeBron James airborne from the bench, with a high leg kick that would've hit Gheorghe Muresan square in the face.

So, Butler finished with 10 points in just 31 minutes, which were the fewest he's played since March 13, when Butler played just one half against Orlando on his birthday because of a strained left hamstring. Jamison had just seven points in 27 minutes, which snapped a string of 73 consecutive double-digit scoring games for Jamison. It also was the fewest points and minutes for Jamison since he scored seven points in 24 minutes on Nov. 8, also against Orlando.

"It's been a long season," Tapscott said about his decision to rest Jamison and Butler in the fourth period. "Sometimes you need to live to fight another day."

Tapscott even decided to give his team the day off today, allowing his guys to get more rest.

The Wizards only have three games left to fight. They have a home-and-home series against the Toronto Raptors beginning Friday, then they finish the season in Boston on April 15 in a game that may not mean much in the big picture for the Celtics. Given the circumstances, and the possibility that Gilbert Arenas will play at least one of those games, do you expect the Wizards to finish the season with 18, 19, 20 or 21 wins this season?

The Wizards are 0-1 against Toronto this season and 0-2 against Boston this season. They need one more win to match the 2000-01 Wizards for the worst 82-game record in franchise history. Two more wins would allow them to salvage something this season. Okay, maybe that's a stretch.

By Michael Lee |  April 9, 2009; 10:41 AM ET
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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 10:44 AM

they'll finish with 19 wins. they'll get the win vs. toronto in the last home game of the season presuming gil will play. and he better because i'm going to that game. and i'm only going because my ticket was free.

and i love how lebron was celebrating by himself in that 4th quarter. he was probably expecting his teammates to join him but no one did because they all secretly despise him.

Posted by: d_skillz | April 9, 2009 11:05 AM

I can't stand Jabron Lames...

Posted by: WizSkinsFan | April 9, 2009 11:34 AM

Did anyone hear the Cavs announcers talking about Nick Young being a "garbage-time" player - a player who only plays well when the game has already been decided!! Someone should tell Nick what other teams announcers are saying about him - maybe that will give him some extra motivation.

Posted by: paulstutz14 | April 9, 2009 11:37 AM

I can't stand Jabron Lames...

Posted by: WizSkinsFan | April 9, 2009 11:34 AM

I'm with you...and what was that stupid "celebration" all about? So disrespectful.

Posted by: Lisa_R | April 9, 2009 11:43 AM

Here's my prediction: Boston will beat the Cavs again in the playoffs.

Posted by: pjkiger1 | April 9, 2009 12:25 PM

Here's my prediction: Boston will beat the Cavs again in the playoffs.

Posted by: pjkiger1 | April 9, 2009 12:25 PM

I hope so.. Hopefully KG comes back healthy to beat them..

Posted by: WizSkinsFan | April 9, 2009 12:31 PM

LeBron can dance and celebrate as much as he wants as long as his team continues to beat the Wizards whenever it matters. I despite the man and his team, but those are the unwritten rules. If you don't like the celebration, don't let the other team win.

But I'm DYING for the day he leaves town. I can't wait to see how quickly the people in Cleveland turn on him and his nauseating crybaby antics when the Cavs are back in the lottery.

Posted by: bryc3 | April 9, 2009 12:36 PM

Since we are making predictions... Detroit will beat the Cavs in 7 games in the first round. Mike Brown gets fired, Lebron leaves for NY in 2010.

Posted by: lameotron | April 9, 2009 12:45 PM

Oh the pain, the pain, of watching my beloved Wizards get pummeled again. What's funny are the commercials thanking fans for sticking by as the team losses game after game, in the hope they will buy season tickets for next year. The Wizards need to prove to us that this injury bug was just a fluke, win their first 18 of 20 games, then offer multiple discounts to win fans back.

Posted by: liveride | April 9, 2009 1:04 PM


Right now, the Cavs have the blueprint for kicking the Wizards a$$ess and there is nothing Washington can do about it.

I have been very critical about Young and Blatche performances but lately, both player have been more productive. Esp Nick Young. Only Young and Jamison have played in every game and Young is now starting to show more progress. I like to see him work harder on defense but that can come with time.
We'll see how the younger squad performs next season

Posted by: rcnasa | April 9, 2009 1:14 PM

Why is Mo Williams the "original hibachi?"

Posted by: J-Wiz | April 9, 2009 1:18 PM

"It's been a long season," Tapscott said about his decision to rest Jamison and Butler in the fourth period. "Sometimes you need to live to fight another day."

Talk about a slow learner.

Posted by: VBFan | April 9, 2009 1:22 PM

I'm with you...and what was that stupid "celebration" all about? So disrespectful.

Posted by: Lisa_R | April 9, 2009 11:43 AM

Riight, like when the Wizards were celebrating on the court after the game when they beat them at Verizon...

I don't mind post game celebrations, whether on the home floor or away. Statements like these crack me up - you can always tell the extra sensative fans...

You don't want to see LeBron playing Air Guitar Hero? You don't want to see him air superkicking? Then put the Wizards on notice to beat these teams to prevent them from celebrating

Look, I'm not the biggest LeBron James fan, but he's easily the league MVP, and his team straight owns the Wizards when it counts.

As of right now you just have to deal with it.

Posted by: RedDMV | April 9, 2009 1:31 PM

RedDMV, you have your opinion, I have mine. Lebron's celebration was childish and over the top.

The Cavs are the #1 team in the NBA - most likely going to the Finals and will probably win it all. He should have just kept his seat and acted like a man - after all this was the 18-60 something Wizards they were beating - not the Lakers or Celtics.

Also, how would Lebron have liked it if Dwight Howard had acted liked that last week when the Magic TORCHED the Cavs?

Posted by: Lisa_R | April 9, 2009 1:43 PM

What we have is a spineless coach. Giving players off when there is only 3 games left? My point is what are they going to do after the next 3 games?REST!!!!The wizards sucks!!! I put them slightly ahead of the reskins fiasco!!What a joke of a team we have!!!

Posted by: joe12341 | April 9, 2009 1:57 PM

I didn't watch the entire game but I happened to return to the channel right as LeTravel was doing his celebration. For a minute, I thought he was the half-time entertainment. Definitely in bad taste. But you know what? Only the losers complain about post and mid game celebrations. The Caps didn't complain when Alex did his thing.

Maybe the Wizards will remember this punking if they ever face Cleveland at full strenght.

Posted by: tundey | April 9, 2009 2:00 PM

OK!!! This train wreck of a season is almost over, a season that started with my favorite coach(EJ) getting fired a new coach(with no previous coaching experience) getting hired, a GM who set all the before mentioned in motion by being completely clueless during the offseason and remaining that way all season long. An all star guard who is a shadow of himself(at least for now)recovering from knee surgeries whom it seems the franchise and fan base are pining all of our hope for next season on and a coaching staff in limbo, and last but certainly not least The Ping Pong Ball Championship better known as the NBA lottery for the rights to Blake or Hasheem any thoughts on the best pick after those two in case our luck goes in another direction?

Posted by: dargregmag | April 9, 2009 2:20 PM

I like the wizards team next year if they all come back full strength. Why break up a good team unless breaking it up will make a better team and yes this team can make the playoffs and make it past the first round. Look around the league at the teams who were broke up because they could not get to the next level expected. Are any of them better than they were before they were broken up. Dallas? Phoenix?? The new Jersey Nets?? How about Golden State?? They sent Davis packing because they could not get past the first round last year. They wont be in the playoffs this year.

Posted by: ged0386 | April 9, 2009 2:21 PM

What does it say about a team sending a message to a team that is in last place. What is the message? You are not good this year? You cant beat us three times? The wizzards will still have bragging rights for beating them twice while having a bad year. It shows that they are still a fragile team if they think they have something to prove to the wizards this year. Lebron and company need to be sending a message to Boston, Orlando, Miami, San Antonio and LA. You know, teams you may have to face in the playoffs. You can tell they are not use to being front runners if they are still trying to prove something to us. Lets show the last place team who is boss. Hey Cleveland why dont you play Georgetown and Maryland while you are at it just to let all the DC area teams know that you are better this year than they are.

Posted by: ged0386 | April 9, 2009 2:27 PM

Magic will beat the Cavs if they meet up this postseason. Bank on it. I had no doubts before the Nelson injury, a little doubt after the injury, and now negligible doubts after watching them settle without him.

The Cavs make their living beating up on weaker teams. Aside from the anomaly that are the Wizards, who are the only other teams to beat the Cavs twice in the regular season? Lakers, Boston, and Orlando. The big dogs. They aren't the best team out there, regardless of what their record says. Deep in the playoffs, they'll be exposed as the second-tier team they are, and one of those other three will bring home the title.

Posted by: psps23 | April 9, 2009 2:29 PM

RedDMV

You are right. Its just like Cowboys fans, the only way you can shut them up is if the skins beat them. If we lose to them 10 in a row they are suppose to talk shiiiiiit. That said, Lebron is probably MVP but they will not win the title. I still dont think they can dominate every team in a seven game series. The other teams have better role players than they do. Boston, specifically. And I know LA does.

Posted by: ged0386 | April 9, 2009 3:03 PM

hey sometimes you need to rest guys so the team can come back and lay down another day to lose by 20.

and look at their precision, of course they deserve the day without pactice. I mean can you really improve on perfection?

Aaaand this frickin guy... Blatche said EJ was cramping his style, not allowing Dray to play free and up to his abilities. Well someone needs to thank EJ for holding this guy back, talk about a garbage time player. Can someone tell him to stop dribbling pls? Its nice and all that you can dribble the ball Dray, but not that nice when you constantly dribble off your foot or get ripped from every which way. BTW, this is my favorite move from 7 foot power forwards - the patented Blatche crossover, behind the back dribble to a pull up J from 20'. Sure, he will turn it over 2 out of 10 times and miss horrendously 7 of 10 times but maaaaaaaan, when it goes in. It suuuuure looks pretty.

These guys were too concerned with aesthetics and looking like a pretty bball player instead of thinking about actually winning the game...

Thank GOD they fired EJ and brought Tap in here to show these young guys how to play....

Posted by: unkonchus | April 9, 2009 3:04 PM

Hopefully if and only if the Wizards can get within the top three in the NBA Lottery, they could get Blake Griffin from Oklahoma. Start rebuilding slowly and look for a good coach (Avery Johnson) and maybe get rid of Ernie Grunfeld and find a better GM and lose some dead weight (Etan Thomas, DeShawn Stevenson.) and look for a good point guard in free agency so Gil can play at his natural position (SG) and maybe the Wiz Kids can get back in place. That's just my opinion. I never said I would be right but this is my thought.

Posted by: outsiderjack | April 9, 2009 3:05 PM

joe12341

We???? You are not a fan. If you can only be supportive of a team when it is winning then what kind of fan are you? I always say DC sports fans are worse than the teams. They are full of hate when they lose and all on the teams nutz when they win. Basically fair weathered fans. I suggest you become lakers, patriots, Redsox, Duke, North Carolina, Tiger Woods fans. That way you never have to worry about your favorite teams or athletes losing too much.

Posted by: ged0386 | April 9, 2009 3:11 PM

outsiderjack

Another GM? This guy is responsible for you fans arrogant expectations of this current wizards team who you think you are too good to be fans of. What were the wizards doing before EG, EJ, GA, AJ, and CB. They were winning about 5 more games than this year. About 20-30 wins a season with no improvement in sight. EG is what made the wizards a playoff team that you have become acustome to being disapointed in because you expect more than making the playoffs and losing in the 1st or 2nd round. Remember Wes Unseld? Remember when we were happy just having MJ in our town? Remember when they won so little that we came to the games just to see MJ? Apparently not. A few winning seasons and you fans have become unappreciative of the players and the man who gave you a winning team to be so critical of. BTW after getting rid of EG do you even have a clue who to hire? No. You fans just know how to fire people and wish for someone better. I hope you fans dont go about your personal relatioships with the same attitude.

Posted by: ged0386 | April 9, 2009 3:19 PM

Just an example of how fans are fickle. Last year fans were talking about packaging Roger Mason along with several other players in a trade deal. When the wizards started off 1-10 and we saw Mason hit a game winner for the spurs those same fans started criticizing EG for not keeping Mason. There is a reason fans dont hold jobs as NBA GM's. They would all act like Dan Snyder.

Posted by: ged0386 | April 9, 2009 3:31 PM

Two more wins.

If Arenas plays the Wizards will probably beat Toronto at least once.

Odds are that the Wiz catch Boston with it's team resting its starters.

It the Wiz want it there are three games for the taking, but I'm not so sure that the Wiz are going to jeopardize the odds in the lottery, or risk injuries to starters.

Posted by: JPRS | April 9, 2009 5:41 PM

"Just an example of how fans are fickle. Last year fans were talking about packaging Roger Mason along with several other players in a trade deal. When the wizards started off 1-10 and we saw Mason hit a game winner for the spurs those same fans started criticizing EG for not keeping Mason. There is a reason fans dont hold jobs as NBA GM's. They would all act like Dan Snyder.

Posted by: ged0386 | April 9, 2009 3:31 PM "

Packaging Mason along with other players is better than letting him walk scott free with no compensation.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | April 9, 2009 6:04 PM

Are we talking about Lebron's celebration of Ben Wallace's dunk? Might LB be celebrating because his big man is finally back and in good form? Could it be (gasp) that Lebron wasn't thinking about the Wizards but about his team being healthy for the playoffs?

The Cavs have a happy locker room. Lebron dances courtside even when the Wizards aren't in the building. You're taking it too personally.

Posted by: kaygeekay | April 9, 2009 10:08 PM

"RedDMV, you have your opinion, I have mine. Lebron's celebration was childish and over the top.

The Cavs are the #1 team in the NBA - most likely going to the Finals and will probably win it all. He should have just kept his seat and acted like a man - after all this was the 18-60 something Wizards they were beating - not the Lakers or Celtics.

Also, how would Lebron have liked it if Dwight Howard had acted liked that last week when the Magic TORCHED the Cavs?

Posted by: Lisa_R | April 9, 2009 1:43 PM "

Funny how you like to cut Gilby serious slack, but get all moody when LeBron does something silly.

C'mon, Lebron is just trying to be quirky and different.....but I guarantee you won't see him running behind a stupid parachute, playing on blacktop with a 9 ft. rim, or biking around Cleveland without a helmet.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | April 10, 2009 12:13 AM

I was listening to the John Thompson show yesterday and they were discussing our coaching situation.

In a nutshell, Thompson and Mitchell said that the Wizards chance of getting a first rate coach is not good because of Gilbert Arenas, his contract and his control over the organization. His coming back from injury and Jordan did not know and all the unpredictable things surrounding Gilbert.

I particularly like the JT Show and think they are entertaining and know what they are discussing.

On this point however, I disagree.

I disagree because in this case they are overlooking the obvious. First rate coaches and those that become first rate do not tolerate foolishness.

Eddie Jordan despite what some might think and certainly not Tappscott are not First Rate coaches.

Eddie Jordan at best was a good coach, but he never reached that brotherhood of First Rate.

First Rate coaches demand respect, professioalism, discipline, and know what is going on with there Team on and off the court.

A first rate coach would demand that Gilbert or any star player carry his proper role for the success of the organization. In fact, in most all cases of the star player succeeding, his role and responsibilites are greater than everyone elses.

First Rate coaches do not compromise being successful for foolishness or for star players whom are foolish and immature.

Trust me, when I say this, GILBERT ARENAS is not foolish or immature and he will be the first in line to salute with the selection of a First Rate Coach.

My vote is for MARK JACKSON as the next Wizards coach, whom I know will be no less than FIRST RATE.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | April 10, 2009 8:39 AM

"My vote is for MARK JACKSON as the next Wizards coach, whom I know will be no less than FIRST RATE.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | April 10, 2009 8:39 AM "

Sorry, no more OJT for this organization.

Pick a coach with a winning track record/championship pedigree....not a rookie.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | April 10, 2009 11:08 AM

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