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Raptors 109, Wizards 107


You can focus all you want on Gilbert Arenas missing an easy, point-blank layup in the closing seconds of overtime, but the Washington Wizards were really lucky to even be in position to beat the Toronto Raptors. If the Raptors were a good, which they are not, this game would've been over by halftime -- or at least in regulation.

The Wizards repeatedly make the game harder than it has to be by approaching each game thinking they can turn on the magic switch and win. But somebody needs to inform the Wizards that they are not good enough to play that way, not now, maybe not at any point this season. They can't keep flirting with disaster and expect something or someone to rescue them. Agent Zero isn't walking through that door ... or at least it hasn't happened yet.

The only team that I knew could turn it on and off like that was the Shaq and Kobe Lakers in the early part of this decade. This is not the Shaq and Kobe Lakers. Not even in the same galaxy.

Arenas played one of his better games of the season, carrying the Wizards on a night when both Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler were ineffective. But the guy that everyone expected to put the Wizards back among the Eastern Conference elite is still trying to get back to what he once was, or at least come pretty close. That last drive to the basket was another example of Arenas getting caught up thinking too much on the floor. He had an easy layup, but thought that he was going to draw contact and get a hoop and some harm. Instead, he missed badly.

"Just one of them dumb moves that I tried," Arenas said.

Served the team right, if you ask Flip Saunders, who was more furious than normal after loss. The Wizards had a great opportunity to extend their winning streak to three games against a team that was in so much disarray that the players had a team meeting early Friday to discuss why they have lost five games in a row. But they go out and give the Raptors confidence from the opening tip, letting them score the first 10 points of the game and take an early 20-5 lead.

"We lost the game in the first quarter," Saunders said. "We got to change something. We've tried shootaround, we've tried no shootaround. We tried doing different things and I don't know what it is. But somehow we got to get off to better starts."

Then Saunders said, "That was a typical regular season game of non-playoff teams. I'm more disappointed in this game than any game we've had."

Saunders was also upset that the Wizards took a season-high 29 three-pointers, missing 18-of-25 in regulation. Jamison was 0 for 6 from long distance. The Wizards are not a good three-point shooting team (they entered the game shooting 32.5 percent, which is 22nd in the league) and their most accurate marksman, Mike Miller, was in street clothes. But again, part of the problem was the sluggish start, which put the Wizards in a rush to get back all of those points.

"We were playing homerun basketball," Saunders said. hen you play and you rely on the three-point shot line that and you're a 32 percent team, you're going to win 32 percent of your games, basically. That is not a major part of what we do."

The Wizards managed to climb out of that hole and finally took the lead in the fourth quarter. But after going ahead 82-75, the Wizards again got complacent and careless, failing to put their foot down and giving Toronto ample chances to get back in the game and eventually take the lead.

Chris Bosh was the catalyst for the Raptors' comeback charge, as he battle relentlessly to bring his team back, scoring 13 points in the fourth quarter and giving the Raptors a 96-94 lead with 19.7 seconds left. After Brendan Haywood held him mostly in check and the Atlanta Hawks held him to a season-low two points, Bosh was due for a big game. He had 31 points and 16 rebounds, including four offensive rebounds in the fourth quarter.

Arenas bailed out the Wizards with a 19-foot jumper to force overtime, but the Wizards didn't do enough to establish any sort of rhythm in the extra five minute frame. They played panicked and frenzied more most of the period and found themselves trailing 107-102 with 1:36 remaining. Several fans started heading for the exits -- especially after Arenas and Earl Boykins had a terrible miscommunication which led Arenas to crash into Boykins, who lost the ball.

"He told me to come. I'm thinking he wanted me to come and get the ball," Arenas said. "But he was telling me to come, so that he could pass the ball to Brendan. I said, 'Well next time, use your little arm to waive me through. Wave me through means go through, come like this means come to the ball."

The Raptors never took advantage of the mistakes and the Wizards tied the game after Butler made two free throws and Arenas made a huge three-pointer to tie the game at 107. But as fate -- or the basketball gods, as Saunders like to say -- would have it, the Wizards couldn't get any breaks after that.

Jose Calderon threw a pass to Andrea Bargnani that bounded off Butler's shoe with four seconds on the shot clock for Toronto. Then, Hedo Turkoglu buried a jumper right over Butler for the game-winner. And, with a chance to tie, Arenas missed an easy layup.

Nick Young said he was hoping that Arenas would've gone for the win. "Agent Zero is going to be back. I'm waiting for the three, where he turned his back and walked to the locker room. But he missed the layup. I wanted him to [shoot the three]. I ain't never seen him do it live. He's been out for two years. He can get to the hole anytime. He was right there, he could've just laid it in."

But he didn't. And the Wizards squandered another chance to dig a little further out of the hole they've built for themselves early in the season.

By Michael Lee  |  December 5, 2009; 12:17 AM ET
 
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Comments

That was a beautiful drive to the hoop by Gilbert on that last play. He came so clean to the hoop, I think he was thoroughly surprised how easy the layup was and he blew it.

Then Jamison blew one of his point blank signature put back tip ins.

Man they deserved to pull that one out. Especially after falling behind in the OT and then Gilbert pulls them back into a tie with the three ball.

That one hurt. Even how bad that Toronto wanted it, we still could have had it.

Wow! Why does that game seem so important.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 5, 2009 1:18 AM | Report abuse

For all of you who thought the Wizards were back because they won 2 games in a row this game should bring you back to reality.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | December 4, 2009 10:40 PM |

Yeah, a reality of a Team that fought hard but came up a fingernail short.

That fact that they lost might mean continued failure to some, though it could mean something different to others.

One thing is for sure though, I think the Wizards are pissed really bad about this loss and at the same time they can hold there heads up because they fought hard and it wasn't a stinker.

They needed to win and did not pull it off, but 15 rounds is not over yet.

It is a long season BulletsFan78 and I am sure that the Wizards will finish higher than the two numbers in your handle.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 5, 2009 1:19 AM | Report abuse

I just watched Kobe hit the game winning 3-pt bank from way above the key with 3 sec's left against Miami.

The difference between his game winning shot and Gilbert's miss was attitude and belief.

Kobe said his shot was lucky, but dammit he shot it with all the desire and confidence that he had.

Anybody think the Wizards know anything about the level of competitiveness that comes from knowing that you can compete with the big dogs?

Are the Wizards cocky enough to believe that they are really good?

I say not yet, but they can get there and that is why Gilbert has to become Agent O and Hibatchi, because the kind of confidence that he exuded when he was scoring at will in the league is the type of confidence that is needed to make your Team great.

And the reason why it is so important now is because his supporting cast, or shall I say the cast is so much better than it ever was before.

You see all these little niceties about defense, and assists, and getting your other players involved are good, but they don't mean crap if you ain't got a real star on your Team that is going to give the whole Team the Desire, the Belief, the Confidence and the Guts to win it all.

When Kobe Bryant called Gilbert lucky when he dropped 60 on the Lakers in there Gym, that was when Gilbert was rattling the mantra of a true NBA star.

Like it or not, that is what Gilbert has to get back to and that is what will give Gilbert and this Team the will and the determination to compete to win it All.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 5, 2009 2:03 AM | Report abuse

I'm thankful Flip called that performance what it was. The question now becomes what will he do about it. Butler needs to sit just like Nick had to for under performing.


If Jamison, Butler and Gil cannot manage or settle this team down and execute, then they should grab pine time until they figure it out.

Posted by: bozomoeman | December 5, 2009 2:54 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, a reality of a Team that fought hard but came up a fingernail short.

LarryInClintonMD.

It seems to me they won the last two by a fingernail too and didn't they just beat Philly by 1?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | December 5, 2009 2:58 AM | Report abuse

i do not mind to see those type of losses.It help the team to regroup, it is not head downing. AJ should take this one. It is his fault. He forced too much out side shoots in his bad night esspecialy in the 3rd quarter, he should play smart on those nights mainly in home games. NY was hot in the 3rd quarter but AJ took too much behind the arc. I am Happy for Arenas he is improving slowly.

Posted by: gtefferra | December 5, 2009 5:04 AM | Report abuse

Tough loss. We need to find ourselves quickly. Gil seems to be becoming himself but again it is a process. Caron is hitting his shots better but somehow it is not in the flow. When he starts a drive it is either a dunk or a charge. And AJ was just off.

I thought he would take the 3 as well. wasn't that Blatche that missed the put back and not Jamison as someone stated earlier? That is what made me mad. He did great job of getting position from the baseline and missed 2 tips. should have slammed it hard. He reverted back to tipping instead of dunking which he has been doing more of this year. I thought Flip should have subbed Stevenson for Earl defensively also.

Raptors were a frustrated, angry bunch and we weren't mentally ready for them.

BmoreRev

Posted by: stanlong23 | December 5, 2009 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Well,you knew Bosh would come to play and to be truthfull the Bullets were lucky to be in the game after they looked like krap early on,it's games like this that makes you wonder about this club...................... so Sunday they had better be ready because the Pistons won't be easy let's go Caron and AJ need both your "A" games this Sunday.

Posted by: dargregmag | December 5, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Utterly craptastic! Larry, I certainly appreciate your optimism but I'm with Flip on this one; the Wiz lost this game in the first quarter. This team simply cannot handle success. Although I think Earl Boykins gives us a spark, we should NOT be running our crunch time offense through him because he simply dominates the ball too much. So. Who wants to step up?

Posted by: MEssex | December 5, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

"If the Raptors were a good, which they are not, this game would've been over by halftime -- or at least in regulation."

Ok, great....so what does that say about Les BouleS who can't even beat a Raptors team at home that's not so good?

Yes, these Les BouleS are a healthy team now, but still lose to bad teams.

If they wanted to tie it up, they should have let Earl the Pearl shoot the last shot, not Mr. Max Money.

But, nobody wanted the sold out crowd to chant "MVP" again for Earl.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | December 5, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

I think Flip really needs to find more minutes for Blatche because (notwithstanding the final missed tip ins) he played great. His midrange game is a weapon now and he is playing with a lot of confidence.

Caron: If you read this blog, please pay attention. You need to get back to using your low post game to get some easy buckets. Why so many contested jumpers? It's pretty simple; catch and shoot (with no hesitation) on your first few touches. Then start working the head fake/pump fake into the mix and use one or two dribbles to get to the cup. When you don't have the ball crash the offensive glass to get some easy buckets. Lather, rinse, repeat. If you can pull that off then you just might save your job. DC wants to get behind you but you are clearly the weakest link on offense right now... You can do this!

Posted by: MEssex | December 5, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Gilby tried to take over the game by shooting 26 shots, but Les BouleS still lost!!!

34 pts, but only 3 assists.....still amount to a loss.

And when he was in the game...he's the highest with a -19!!!!

http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/boxscore?gameId=291204027

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | December 5, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Finally, DC_man I didn't have a problem with Gil taking the last shot. He seems to be finding his jumper again which is a great sign! He just needs to finish! I can't believe he missed that layup!! Earl should not be our go to guy in crunch time unless he is on fire. He was not on fire last night and his unwillingness to pass early on the shot clock bogged the offense down in my opinion. I tend to agree with Larry's assessment that Gil needs to be the dominant scorer for the Wiz to win consistently. Tawn needs to keep playing his game and Caron needs to take a backseat and try to play within the flow better...
Regardless, I think we can both agree that this team has a LONG ways to go. The chemistry and execution just ain't right.

Posted by: MEssex | December 5, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Wow.

Why is everyone so down on the Wiz in here?

I thought they played a really good game considering they fell behind so early. There were an awful lot of positives that came from this.

They could have just gave up like in years past but they didn't and it took TWO overtimes for Toronto to win and just barely at that.

Bosh had an incredible night, everything he put up went in. Chris Bosh is no joke and will make LOTS of money next year when he is an FA.

It looks like Flip has finally found a rotation that he likes. I'm curious to fins out who's minutes gets cut when Miller comes back.

They got down early and that's a no-no, but I thought it was a really good game, but the Wiz lost.

Maybe next time they win that one. Toronto played like it was a "play-off" game and came out firing, they really needed a win bad.

"Wow! Why does that game seem so important."

I really don't see it that way, I think the Wiz are looking better. Not the other way.

They're getting there....January, mark it down.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | December 5, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

I mean one OT, sorry. Lol!

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | December 5, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

It's hard to win when your starters are a combined -50 for the game. Arena$ has had some terrible +/- numbers this year, including last night. Seemed like the other guys were just standing around watching him play for much of the game.

Maybe after 60 or 70 games these guys will finally develop some chemistry. Of course by then it will be much too late.

Posted by: shovetheplanet | December 5, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

I don't think Blatche was in a position to grab the rebound and dunk and if he was, I don't think he wanted to risk grabbing the ball for that long with no time left.

Posted by: rphilli721 | December 5, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Ray: I'm not "down" on this Wiz squad and I agree that there were some positives last night, but is it too much to ask of these dudes to play hard every night?! Hooray! The Wiz came back and sent the game to OT! That does not excuse their lack of focus/interest/execution in that first quarter. Maybe you are right Ray. Maybe the Wiz hit their stride "in January." But if they keep losing in December then it won't matter what they do in January... Perhaps my harsh assessments may be a bit dramatic, but I just cannot ignore this team's pattern of playing unfocused basketball. The talent is there, no doubt. But something just ain't right with this squad. So far, the only thing the Wiz have shown me is an uncanny ability to defeat themselves. This team is mentally weak..

Posted by: MEssex | December 5, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

i saw more good in that loss than i did in the bucks win! sure, sucks to lose a close one at home

but Gil really showed some flashes of Agent Zero. Stroke looked just right on some shots, and more importantly the first step showed some of his classic quicks.

I'll take that loss in a game where Gil may, JUST MAY, be flirting with turning the corner on return of his game

Posted by: divi3 | December 5, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Can the NBA experience a lock-out like the NHL has? I think so ---> www.magnanimousme.com/to_whom_it_may_concern.html

Posted by: TheRealBRIDGE | December 5, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

True, divi3, there were some good signs.
But it is troubling that our starters were so flat to start the game. I just don't get why they were so lethargic on their home court to start the game.
Thank goodness for Boykins, Blatche and McGee in the first half for bringing badly needed energy and helping to make a game of it. Blatche's +/- of +19 was the highest of anybody on either team and it showed by his play. We can't blame this one on the young guys, that's for sure.

Posted by: and_1 | December 5, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

AB needs more pt, period. He made bargnini look like a slow footed oaf, blocking his shots several times at the start of his stroke.

unfortuantely most of the team had a bad shooting night.

and it's unacceptable to spot the opposition a 10-0 lead to start the game, wtf?

Tendency to egg lay is tough to shake, the starters looked like they were running in molasses for that 1st Q

Posted by: divi3 | December 5, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

MICHAEL LEE:

"Arenas played one of his better games of the season, carrying the Wizards on a night when both Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler were ineffective."

Might I ask, do you feel JAMISON's and BUTLER's numbers were affected more by GA's play or the RAPTORS defense.

Posted by: glawrence007 | December 5, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

I think Flip is trying to rely too much on Earl in the 4th.
Nick shudda been in there -- at least as a change of pace he was having a good game and he helps with spacing more --than Earl. Swap them out every couple of minutes - keep the other team guessing.
Eventually they will figger out Earl.

Posted by: VBFan | December 5, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

"Nick Young said he was hoping that Arenas would've gone for the win. "Agent Zero is going to be back. I'm waiting for the three,......."

A more apt word was never spoken than "WAITING," NICK. All the old guys are waiting for the "REAL" ARENAS to show up. Maybe he will, and maybe he won't. This entire season is too early to tell. After all, D. WADE didn't recoup his prowess in a day, or a full season either. And DWAYNE didn't reinjure himself twice while impatiently trying to come back too soon. This "REAL" ARENAS thing is going to be like the economy, a long haul before $30.00 an hour jobs return.

Posted by: glawrence007 | December 5, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

raptors D had nothing to do with anything imo.

but for some reason we seemd to emulate their offense with Jamison shooting almost exclsuively from outside and not doing much around the bucket where he makes his living.

Posted by: divi3 | December 5, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Three different coaches, two different systems and players on this team still sleepwalk through too many games. The only consistent thing has been players. With or without Gil or Haywood, games like last night happen too often.

There have been two constants: The forwards, Jamison & Butler.

Last year, it was "the young players fault".

Part of my frustration is my fault for believing this was a 50 win team.
This is about a 35 to 40 win team. Which helps explain last night.

Posted by: bozomoeman | December 5, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

We're waiting on these guys to "get hungry" to accomplish something big and the fire and/or intelligence is just not there. Flip strongly implied, imo, that the Wiz do not understand what it takes to take their play to the next level. To this point, I agree.

Posted by: and_1 | December 5, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Give them another 20 games - around the halfway mark - and if they're still treading water they need to make changes.

Obvious choice is Butler. Maybe Blatche?

Posted by: SteveMG | December 5, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

I am a big Wiz fan, now for a number of years, but I really must say that I agree so much with Flip. This team is so frustrating. There always seems to be another excuse. I hate to say it, but our team, overall, has one of the lowest basketball IQs around. Bad teams or mediocre teams are like that.

Also, why do our guys think they are so good? Haven't won three games in a row since April 2008, a season and a half? I know about last year, but we even had two All Stars palying for the majority of our games last year. Get blown out at home by the Bobcats, who just lost to the winless Nets? I am so glad that we didn't play the Nets in NJ during that streak. We would have found a way to give them their first win. I actually checked the schedule and was relieved to know we did not play them for awhile.

Our team is lazy, and it seems like there is no pride or embarassment when they stink it up. Kobe, D-Wade, Chauncey, even Melo have a very different tone when their teams stink it up like this. The only one who seems to have any pride in their game and the team is 5'5" Earl Boykins. Why is he the only one, been with the team 3 weeks, who seems to care? I am sure that down deep in inside, the others do care. But, their guaranteed contracts and inability to give the energy and commitment to playing hard every night gets annoying to watch.

The losing last year was understandable, but even last year, the young guys seemed to try. They just did not possess the talent or experience. Maybe Flip needs to wake up our lazy, stupid starters by giving them some "pine time." At least the young guys try, and even they should be able to shoot better! How often do we shoot in the 30% range? Has Caron or Gilbert shot above 40% more than a few times this season? Memo to our stars..you make more layups and open jumpers from 15' and in than long contested jumpers! That's pretty basic high school b-ball..that's right, the IQ thing.

I just don't kinow what it is going to take to make these guys want to win and figure out that their energy and determination has to be high and consistent each night. Then you can win these games with bad teams when you're not shooting your best. Play defense..share the ball..run the offense and don't settle for jumpers..and cut the bone-headed turnovers.

Frustrated Fan

Posted by: faninAlex | December 5, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

I am going to keep pointing this out until they are totally out of it. The Eastern Conference is wide open! The Wizards, despite the recent 2 losses are TIED for the last place in the playoff standing! Even a continued 2 game winning streak with 1 loss in between (basically playing .667 ball) or just playing .500 ball the rest of the way will probably get the Wizards back into the playoffs this year. With that said, this team will actually do better once Mike Miller is back in the lineup because that will give them a 4th consistent option for scoring. Right now Foyle and Young are just not that consistent game in and game out. So, am I worried for the long run, not really. Am I pissed that they gave one away, heck yeah!

Posted by: JohnWWW | December 5, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Professional basketball players should make most of their free throws. Period.

Posted by: PostSubscriber | December 5, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

"With that said, this team will actually do better once Mike Miller is back in the lineup because that will give them a 4th consistent option for scoring."

Jamison, Arenas and Butler have been anything but consistent.

Posted by: and_1 | December 5, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Crunch time free throws that's where our stars are spossed to show up.
Remember Gilbert letting Labron psych him out at the line?

GA, AJ & BH combined to miss 7 FT's.

Hoopla is being missed big time.

Posted by: VBFan | December 5, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

The wind went out of the Wiz's sails when Caron failed to make a play half-way through the overtime. He tries to turn the effort faucet on and off when he should be flat out playing at a high level. He has the skills but he's only expecting to be part of the play once in awhile. Rest of the time, he's a witness.

Posted by: JoeTink | December 5, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

WIZARDS revert to form tonight, to wit: LIZARDS. Winning five of six is too heavy a burden for this team to carry. "Glory, glory, hallelujah, when I lay my burden down...."[PORGY and BESS].

Posted by: glawrence007 | December 4, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: glawrence007 | December 4, 2009 7:35 PM | Report abuse

And a third time. "Lay my burden down." In other words.......wait, try this.......in FLIP SAUNDERS' words, this team can't stand prosperity. My sentiments exactly. While the phyrric "feel good, we played a good game" carma flowed around the arena and into t.v. land homes, FLIP called it like it was. "Two non-playoff teams....." Coaches disgust at kicking a sure win in the head, and snapping the winning spirit birthed by four wins in five games was palpable. Unfortunately, I was right on the money before the game, during the game, and now with the post-mortems. Damm, I hate it when I'm right.

The answer is to first try to instill that winning team spirit in the individual players.......that f*** you opponent, WE are NOT going to lose, so don't swell up on me. And then secondly, begin the process of weeding out the ones who are infected with losers malaise and are unwilling to change.

Player accountability is on the horizon in D.C. for the first time in a long time.

Posted by: glawrence007 | December 4, 2009 10:48 PM | Report abuse

For a fourth and final time, this team is not ready for prime-time. GRUNFELD and FLIP are here to see which players stay and which leave, not the other way around.

Posted by: glawrence007 | December 5, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

"i saw more good in that loss than i did in the bucks win! sure, sucks to lose a close one at home

but Gil really showed some flashes of Agent Zero. Stroke looked just right on some shots, and more importantly the first step showed some of his classic quicks.

I'll take that loss in a game where Gil may, JUST MAY, be flirting with turning the corner on return of his game

Posted by: divi3 | December 5, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse "

Back in the days when Gilby was Gilby, he probably would have dunked the last shot to tie the game.

Alas, those days are gone and will never return.

He's trying to finish drives to the baskets now with soft layups...can't finish strong anymore.

Surely not max money.

I vote for Earl the max money mvp pearl to take the last shot next time.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | December 5, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

He has the skills but he's only expecting to be part of the play once in awhile. Rest of the time, he's a witness.
-------
Unfortunately, I think part of this problem (for others too, not just Caron) in this game was Gilbert's improving play, which caused him to try more himself while passing less, forcing the rest of the team to stand around and watch.

Posted by: nmik | December 5, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Gil was never a big dunker, his game around the rim was always contact and finishing the layup. Last night he looked like he expected contact, didnt get it, then flubbed the layup because of it.

imho, he showed some real flashes last night. And it would be downright foolish to judge him as "done" 20 games into a return from 2yrs off.

knee or no knee, his shot and handle will improve all season and we saw glimpses last night. Very good thing

Posted by: divi3 | December 5, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

"The wind went out of the Wiz's sails when Caron failed to make a play half-way through the overtime."

do you mean that quick 3 that resulted in a bad miss and ez score on the other end? Palpable feeling of doom after that one.

Caron is big part of the problem right now, no two ways about it.

Posted by: divi3 | December 5, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

But the guy that everyone expected to put the Wizards back among the Eastern Conference elite?

Mike,

The Wizards have never been among the Eastern Conference elite!

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | December 5, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

The Wizards have never been among the Eastern Conference elite! -78

They were for about five minutes a few years ago, at least in their own minds.

Posted by: midlevex | December 5, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Embarrassing to come out and play that way in front of you home fronts. Toronto is a finesse team that was on a losing streak and were embarrased in Atlanta. This was the type of team the Wizards should have pounded inside, but instead they settled for 3-pointers all night which turned out to be their downfall along with TO's.

Arenas almost bailed them out, but both Jamsion and Butler played poorly most of the night. Except for a couple of Haywood dunks on follow ups, the Wiz settled for jump shots against a team who allows a ton of points. This one wasn't as bad a loss as the one to Carolina but it was close.

Posted by: wizfan89 | December 5, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Weekend Dime on ESPN:

"They're going to have to make a trade. I know they've played better since [Antawn] Jamison came back, but they just have too many personalities going in different directions. Their main three guys have been together for a long time and it hasn't really worked. When are they going to [admit] that it doesn't work? Gil and Caron [Butler], Gil and [Brendan] Haywood, [Andray] Blatche. [Nick] Young, DeShawn [Stevenson] … there's a lot going on there for Flip [Saunders] to try to pull that all together.

"I think Arenas is still good enough to be a 20-point-a-game guy. But not a 30-point-a-game guy. He just seems to lack a little bit of burst that he had in the past. You see it in flashes over the course of a game, but he's more reliant on little pull-ups and long jumpers than he used to be. He used to get a dunk or two every game on dribble penetration. Now those are layups. Or missed layups."

Posted by: t-train | December 5, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

What qualifies as being an elite Team. Is it like being a college grad, so you are always qualified as middle class irreguardless whether your butt is broke.

So if the Wizards have won an NBA Championship, are they always considered an elite Team? Does it really matter that what there record is most of the time?

So why would I call Orlando, or Cleveland, or even Atlanta and elite Team in the East and they ain't never won nothing.

Once you are royalty, you always are. The Wizard Team is a Championship Franchise and will always be an elite Team in my book.

No NBA team that doesn't have an NBA Championship Banner hanging in the house is an elite Team.

BulletsFan78, you can mince words all you want, but the Wizards rate higher than Cleveland, Orlando, and Atlanta, dem boys ain't never been no Champin' of the NBA.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 5, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Yada, yada, yada, the WIZ are a 34-35 win team right now. Goint to have to be a measurable improvement by April to just make the playoffs at eight.

Posted by: glawrence007 | December 5, 2009 6:10 PM | Report abuse

What qualifies a team to be labeled elite?
Dominance on a consistent basis. Boston, Orlando, Cleveland and Atlanta are currently elite teams.
The Wiz haven't shown an inkling of that since 2006-07 December-January when they had a 22-9 run.
The Celtics are the storied franchise in the NBA, having won all those championships but in the 1990's they were bad and obviously not an elite team. A franchise with a stellar history but not an elite team.

Posted by: midlevex | December 5, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse


Once you are royalty, you always are. The Wizard Team is a Championship Franchise and will always be an elite Team in my book.

By extension, Mark Madsen is supreme and Charles Barkley and Patrick Ewing are mere journeymen.

Golden State Warriors fans, bask in the glow of your elitism!

Posted by: tgif11 | December 5, 2009 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Are you guys watching basketball. The Wizards suck. No one has failed to talk about the fact that they don't play DEFENSE. None of the players get into any type of defensive stance. They look as though they never played defense before.

If you look at the teams in the East the Wizards are not better than any team in the top 8. The other teams in the bottom half of the East (Toronto, Indian, Detroit) are still better and when Philly gets Iverson they will be better. The only two teams theat they can beat are New York and New Jersey. We will not even talk about the West.

Think about it what Championship have the Wizards players have won. Jamison plays noooooooooo defense what so ever. Gilbert doesn't even no what the word defense means. The only person who plays defense is Haywood and that is because he block shots off of double teaming. We saw last night that he could not even stop Chris Bosh. Truth be told he couldn't stop Garnett, Duncan, Rasheed Wallace, Dwight Howard, Stoudemmire and even an old Shaq.

Think about it Jamison, Arenas and Butler would just be role players on the Celtics, Lakers, Cavs, Magic, Nuggets and the Spurs.

This team has just subpar talent. If they make the playoffs they will be an eigth seed and get swept in the first round of the playoffs.

Posted by: paulelucas2 | December 5, 2009 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Are you guys watching basketball. The Wizards suck. No one has failed to talk about the fact that they don't play DEFENSE. None of the players get into any type of defensive stance. They look as though they never played defense before.

If you look at the teams in the East the Wizards are not better than any team in the top 8. The other teams in the bottom half of the East (Toronto, Indian, Detroit) are still better and when Philly gets Iverson they will be better. The only two teams theat they can beat are New York and New Jersey. We will not even talk about the West.

Think about it what Championship have the Wizards players have won. Jamison plays noooooooooo defense what so ever. Gilbert doesn't even no what the word defense means. The only person who plays defense is Haywood and that is because he block shots off of double teaming. We saw last night that he could not even stop Chris Bosh. Truth be told he couldn't stop Garnett, Duncan, Rasheed Wallace, Dwight Howard, Stoudemmire and even an old Shaq.

Think about it Jamison, Arenas and Butler would just be role players on the Celtics, Lakers, Cavs, Magic, Nuggets and the Spurs.

This team has just subpar talent. If they make the playoffs they will be an eigth seed and get swept in the first round of the playoffs.

Posted by: paulelucas2 | December 5, 2009 7:10 PM | Report abuse
___________________________________________
Be careful, you are going to hurt alot of feelings on here. Just a few posts up, the have been called an "elite" team in the East, even with their subpar play.

Posted by: Utilityman1 | December 5, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

When is Flip going to going to look in the mirror. He's the problem with his player rotations. FLIP WE HAVE NO BIG 3. Play McGee, Blatche and continue to play Young. Your starters are slow and Gil is playing on 1 leg. Flip look at some film and learn how to use your players.

Posted by: rnbrown4 | December 5, 2009 7:42 PM | Report abuse

"They look as though they never played defense before.

If you look at the teams in the East the Wizards are not better than any team in the top 8. The other teams in the bottom half of the East (Toronto, Indian, Detroit) are still better..."

The Wizard are allowing fewer points per game than Detroit, Philadelphia and Toronto. If you think Iverson is going to add to the Sixer's defense think again. He may not even make them a better team, (reference his time in Denver and Detroit).

"Think about it Jamison, Arenas and Butler would just be role players on the Celtics, Lakers, Cavs, Magic, Nuggets and the Spurs."
Almost any player in the NBA would be a role player on a Kobe or Lebron team. The Spurs and Nuggets are currently teams with a complimentary cast of players, (Duncan may be past his absolute dominant phase) not an assemblage of role players around a pre-eminent star. I think even the Magic and Celtics might like to have the services of Jamison, Butler or Arenas.

Though they've won four of the last six, the Wizards are currently a mediocre team. There is still hope, at least for die hard Wizard fans, that a modicum of success may yet shake out of this collection of talent. They have yet to fire on all cylinders.

Posted by: midlevex | December 5, 2009 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Correction, the Wiz are allowing fewer ppg's than, Phil., Toronto, Ind., NY. Not Detroit.
They are leading the league in rpg's.

Posted by: midlevex | December 5, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

"Gil was never a big dunker, his game around the rim was always contact and finishing the layup. Last night he looked like he expected contact, didnt get it, then flubbed the layup because of it.

imho, he showed some real flashes last night. And it would be downright foolish to judge him as "done" 20 games into a return from 2yrs off.

knee or no knee, his shot and handle will improve all season and we saw glimpses last night. Very good thing

Posted by: divi3 | December 5, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse "

When driving to the basket, Gilby used to always dunk to finish.

I've yet to see him dunk with confidence so far this season.

I guess these dreaded 10 ft. NBA rims aren't as forgiving as those 9 ft. rims at Barry Farms.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | December 5, 2009 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Chew on this homers:

""That was a typical regular season game of non-playoff teams," Coach Flip Saunders said afterward, offering his most scathing criticism of his team this season. "I'm more disappointed in this game than any game we've had. Just because you're about to get that next step and that next step usually means being more disciplined. Not being complacent, not be satisfied. We started the game like it was going to be one of those games." "

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/04/AR2009120404737.html

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | December 5, 2009 8:19 PM | Report abuse

EG's excuse has always been that he's never seen the small 3 together so he can't know for sure...well, enough is enough....this is the closest that you're going to get, and from what I see and the record, ain't lookin' too rosy.

EG signed Gilby to max money when Gilby was still injured...hedging on the fact that what he will be, is what he was....

Well, that was a wrong call....he sure as heck ain't worth max money now...and never was.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | December 5, 2009 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Think about it Jamison, Arenas and Butler would just be role players on the Celtics, Lakers, Cavs, Magic, Nuggets and the Spurs.

This team has just subpar talent. If they make the playoffs they will be an eigth seed and get swept in the first round of the playoffs.

Posted by: paulelucas2 | December 5, 2009 7:10 PM

The last time I checked, Boston last championship was captured because of effective role play by there three best players.

In case you did not know role playing is critical for any championship Team.

What are you really by indicating by saying the big three are role players?

Role players in my book are players that play exceptional within there specific set of abilities.

The Celtics, Lakers, Cavs, Magic, Nuggets and the Spurs are loaded with role players.

Did you hit your head on something.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 5, 2009 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Chew on this homers:

""That was a typical regular season game of non-playoff teams," Coach Flip Saunders said afterward, offering his most scathing criticism of his team this season. "I'm more disappointed in this game than any game we've had. Just because you're about to get that next step and that next step usually means being more disciplined. Not being complacent, not be satisfied. We started the game like it was going to be one of those games." "

True but also inconclusive. Known as motivational, light a fire under their butts, coach talk. Mostly meaningless, Flip has not given up on the team yet, if that is what you are suggesting.

Posted by: midlevex | December 5, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

"The last time I checked, Boston last championship was captured because of effective role play by there three best players.

In case you did not know role playing is critical for any championship Team.

What are you really by indicating by saying the big three are role players?

Role players in my book are players that play exceptional within there specific set of abilities.

The Celtics, Lakers, Cavs, Magic, Nuggets and the Spurs are loaded with role players.

Did you hit your head on something.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 5, 2009 8:21 PM | Report abuse "

You don't pay big money to role players.

You pay big money to players to carry the team.

BTW, figure out the difference between using "there" and "their."

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | December 5, 2009 8:34 PM | Report abuse

"True but also inconclusive. Known as motivational, light a fire under their butts, coach talk. Mostly meaningless, Flip has not given up on the team yet, if that is what you are suggesting.

Posted by: midlevex | December 5, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse "

Puhlease.

It's not the first time Flip has lit into the team.

Nobody is suggesting anything beyond what Flip's words clearly state.

Team full of healthy dudes....still suck against bad teams.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | December 5, 2009 8:41 PM | Report abuse

This team has just subpar talent. If they make the playoffs they will be an eigth seed and get swept in the first round of the playoffs.

Posted by: paulelucas2 | December 5, 2009 7:10 PM

Humm. Let me see. Right now the Wizards at 7-11 is tied for the eight seed w/Chicago in the East.

They started the season w/injury and still have injury as a close cousin and they have a stepfather that they are still getting to know better.

So, what you are saying is possibly true for right now, which isn't saying much at all, for by the end of next week the Wizards could already be past the eighth seed.

And if you were really looking at this Wizards Team as you claim you are, you would realize that this Team is playing nowhere close to what they are capable of.

How dare you make a half baked assumption on inconclusive perceptions.

The subpar talent that you allude too is already in the eight seed and caveman can see that this Team is only going to get much, much better, indeed.

LarryInClinton.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 5, 2009 8:45 PM | Report abuse

"And if you were really looking at this Wizards Team as you claim you are, you would realize that this Team is playing nowhere close to what they are capable of.

How dare you make a half baked assumption on inconclusive perceptions.

The subpar talent that you allude too is already in the eight seed and caveman can see that this Team is only going to get much, much better, indeed.

LarryInClinton.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 5, 2009 8:45 PM | Report abuse "

Unfortunately for you, Les BouleS play isn't like fine wine...it doesn't get better as the season progresses....based on past history.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | December 5, 2009 8:49 PM | Report abuse

You don't pay big money to role players.

You pay big money to players to carry the team.

BTW, figure out the difference between using "there" and "their."

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | December 5, 2009 8:34 PM

Yes, big money is payed for players to carry a team, but I was responding to that other bloke about role players on other teams and not what the big three are here.

And by the way, I do know the difference between their and there, but I got tired of seeing so many bloggers show no difference between the two and decided to become like the Roman's.

Who would have thought you would be the one to call me on it.

BTW, this organization puts a premium on paying role players big money and ones that can't play either. Remember, Etan Thomas.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 5, 2009 9:04 PM | Report abuse

"Puhlease.
It's not the first time Flip has lit into the team."
Your point? It was coach palaver, essentially meaningless. He was suggesting that he's been seeing improvement. "I'm more disappointed in this game than any game we've had. Just because you're about to get that next step and that next step usually means being more disciplined. Not being complacent, not be satisfied."

"Nobody is suggesting anything beyond what Flip's words clearly state."
They don't clearly state much beyond the team is improving as the record over the last six games proves.
"Team full of healthy dudes....still suck against bad teams."

The Wiz shot a miserable .3something, something and still almost beat the Raptors.
Puhlease?

Posted by: midlevex | December 5, 2009 9:06 PM | Report abuse

"Your point? It was coach palaver, essentially meaningless. He was suggesting that he's been seeing improvement."

Yeah, but they regressed against the Raptors...which is what Flip is saying.

"They don't clearly state much beyond the team is improving as the record over the last six games proves.
"Team full of healthy dudes....still suck against bad teams."

The Wiz shot a miserable .3something, something and still almost beat the Raptors.
Puhlease?

Posted by: midlevex | December 5, 2009 9:06 PM | Report abuse "

The words from the frustrated coach. You don't offer "the most scathing criticism of his team this season" if you think things were on the up and up.

Yeah, and the Raptors had 8 more TO's and 6 more PF's...you don't lose to teams that make that many more mistakes.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | December 5, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

"BTW, this organization puts a premium on paying role players big money and ones that can't play either. Remember, Etan Thomas.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 5, 2009 9:04 PM | Report abuse "

This org puts a premium on paying both "stars" and "role" players that can't get them past the 1st round.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | December 5, 2009 9:55 PM | Report abuse

I really want someone to take the time to look at Ernie's moves in full against other GM's.

Then maybe some people would shut the hell up.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | December 5, 2009 11:09 PM | Report abuse

The equation isn't just free agent moves + draft moves.

It's free agent moves + draft moves + team success.

All that adds up to EG not just getting fired, but taken out to the back and getting in front of a firing line.

EG has been here...what 6 years? and hasn't been able to produce a team anything close to resembling a contending team for a now deceased Abe Pollin.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | December 5, 2009 11:37 PM | Report abuse

it's funny to read all this stuff about the wiz. i live in california and watch all of their games, usually disappointed by the end, even if they win. but i'm occasionally fired up. when i see gilby make a great move and get to the rim, or antawn do his typical funky funky get down on the get down, or blatche hits a jumper or nick young a stop and pop, etc. we / the wiz have our moments. i'm enjoying them as they happen. if you get too caught up in expectations, you get too caught up in disappointment. i'm suggesting enjoying the ride, even if it's happening on the shoulders of someone smaller than me (likely, all of us). the team aint going to win no championship, so you may as well enjoy what you can along the way. soak it up yo.

Posted by: PopeyeJones | December 6, 2009 5:28 AM | Report abuse

POPEYE:

Yo, whadup dog? You know, everybody want what they ain't got. Later.

Posted by: glawrence007 | December 6, 2009 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Mais oui, Popeye.

Posted by: midlevex | December 6, 2009 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Ernie had plenty of chances to make this a good franchise. It's not in him. As for comparing him to other GM's there are a lot of bad teams and coaches in the NBA. Just look at the records. Wiz jus happen to have them both.

Posted by: rnbrown4 | December 6, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

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