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Clippers 92, Wizards 78


Where would the Wizards have been without Mike James? That's the question you have to ask after they lost to the Clippers, 92-78, on Sunday afternoon. And, considering that James hasn't played an NBA game in more than two months, that tells you all you need to know about the effort. It truly was abysmal.

From the body language, the lack of energy and the overall performance, it looked like the some of the Wizards would've rather been propped up in front of their couches, eating wings and chips, and watching the NFL playoffs. They took lazy jumpers, didn't move the ball, and let the Clippers take control of their house.

It's never good when you shoot 39.5 percent (against the Clippers, this is not Boston or Cleveland) and have more turnovers (19) than assists (17). It's also terrible to lose by 25 on one night and find yourself trailing by 15 in the third quarter of the next game. Even worse, they scored a season-low 10 points in the fourth quarter. The Clippers' bench combined for 10 points in the fourth quarter.

This six-game homestand was about the Wizards possibly making some hay, but after winning the first two games, they have fallen back into some terrible habits of taking the first open shot available and going away from what's working.

"Guys come out and we're launching jumper after jumper. It's something that's happened all year. What game is this? Game 43? It's the 43rd game and we're making the same mistakes we were making in games two and three," Brendan Haywood said. "There needs to be a new Wizards' Man Law: Take the ball to the basket. If that first j is open, pass it up and take the ball to the cup unless it's a wide open j off of penetration."

The Wizards had their second-lowest scoring output of the season, but again, imagine if they didn't have Mike James. James scored 11 points with two assists in his second game of the season -- and first at home. He provided an immediate spark when he entered the game with 2:23 left in the second period. The Wizards were trailing 48-40 when he stepped on the court, and he quickly hit an 11-foot jumper and later had a steal to set up a Haywood three-point play.

If only James was ready to enter the game at the start. After initially ignoring Saunders, James's teammates actually had to inform James that Saunders wanted him. "It was almost like one of those dreams, where you're half sleep and you hear somebody calling you. You're like, 'I think somebody is calling me right now, but I'm not going to get up,' " James said. "The first time, at the beginning of the season, he called Mike Miller's name, but he called, 'Mike.' He called it twice. I popped up and ran to the scorers' table. He said, 'No, not you, Mike. The other Mike.' I'll never make that mistake again."

After the game, a crowd of reporters surrounded James's locker. "I ain't done this in a long time. Y'all scared me," James said.

James added that he was not prepared to be on the active roster, with Flip Saunders deciding to put Dominic McGuire on inactive list with Earl Boykins nursing a heel injury. James said that he was prepared to run stairs as he usually does on game days. He even told equipment manager Rob Miller to leave his game jersey available for Monday's practice, because he planned on playing "in my home uniform on practice days."

James has been healthy for more than a month, after breaking his right hand the day after he made his only appearance on Nov. 6. Saunders just refused to play him, even after Gilbert Arenas was suspended, using Randy Foye and Boykins at point guard. With Foye also struggling, James had he had no problem coming in after such a long layoff to provide a boost.

"I was a little uncomfortable at the end of the bench. I'm always ready, prepared to play, but it's been a little discouraging not to get on the court," James said. "I'm going be aggressive. I'm nto going to second-guess myself. I work too hard and I believe in myself. When I go out there, I'm going to go out there and play the game like I know how to."

At least somebody was eager to be on the floor on Sunday.

By Michael Lee  |  January 24, 2010; 6:49 PM ET
 
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Next: Wizards' morning brew: a blowout loss to the Clippers

Comments

"Where would the Wizards have been without Mike James?"

Exactly where they are right now!

James hadn't made any difference. When at the end of 1st half, Wizards had a chance to either tie or go ahead for the last shot, he almost dribbled the ball into a backcourt violation without anyone pressure him and had to throw the ball directly to an opposing player! Quite typical of Wizards PG!

Posted by: sagaliba | January 24, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Haywood seems to be the only wizards who really calls it like it is this year. Make him a captain!

I didn't watch the game and only briefly looked at the box score. But..... I just assume Caron Butler once again shot around 40% and missed a bunch of quick momentum killer shots which sets the tone for all the younger players. Meanwhile Mike Miller and Haywood actually make an attempt to play team ball. It's total BS. I used to love Caron but either his ego or he needs to go! I don't care how "tough" you are, if you shoot in the low 40% and kill the team momentum you shouldn't start. Ron Artest is tough, but he also makes shots!! Jamison I cut slack because aside from his occassionally forced 3 point attempts, he plays within the flow of the game.

Start Haywood at 5, Blatche at the 4, laterally disabled Jamison at the 3, Mike Miller at the 2 and Foye at the 1. Play help D to make up for Jamison's slowness, clog the middle with the height and whip the ball around as much as possible or drive the lane and kick out! Againt smaller teams start NY at the 2 and bring Blatche off the bench. It's the same old situation........

No team ball when they lose, just Caron and Gil showing Foye, Young and Blatche that passing the ball around isn't neccesary when you can go one on one or take quick jumpers whenever the hell you feel like it. I look at bball like a jazz band. If one dude is constantly playing guitar solos when he's not supposed to, it kills the flow. It's a game of momentum and flow and shooting quick jumpers and not playing defense kills your flow!

Posted by: rock77music | January 24, 2010 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Particularly if your not hitting those jumpers! If you are, it's a different story.....

Posted by: rock77music | January 24, 2010 7:49 PM | Report abuse

On a positive note, Mike James and Earl Boykins combined for 11 points and two assists.

Posted by: PostSubscriber | January 24, 2010 8:22 PM | Report abuse

On a positive note, Mike James and Earl Boykins combined for 11 points and two assists.

Posted by: PostSubscriber

On a real positive note, we move up to the fourth worst record in the league. What did we win, more ping-pong balls. Keep up the good work guys, so we can get most of you bums out of town. What a weak azz-effort.

Posted by: dsquare | January 24, 2010 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Murphys Law = Wizards Law

Posted by: horace1 | January 24, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Remember the scene from the Godfather when the Don sends Tom Hagen to Hollywood to have a meeting with the movie "big shot" Jack Woltz on behalf of his godson Johnny Fontaine(Frank Sinatra) to try and convince him to give Johnny the part in a movie and Woltz tells Hagen "there's no chance no chance that Johnny will get the part" reminds me of the Wizards chances to make the playoffs, LMAO!.

Posted by: dargregmag | January 24, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

You know you've hit rock bottom when the Clippers laugh at your team.

The bright side is the Wizards can only go up from here...unless Irene doesn't sell the team, then can anyone say NETS?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 24, 2010 10:47 PM | Report abuse

25 days till the trade deadline...

Let the fire sale begin after yet another embarrassing performance.

Posted by: DMoney28 | January 24, 2010 11:36 PM | Report abuse

Calling Les BouleS the Clips of the East is actually an insult to the LA Clips.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | January 24, 2010 11:39 PM | Report abuse

Wizards are 3-8 since Arenas suspension. Can't help but think he'd still be playing if he hadn't finger-blasted his teammates.

Posted by: elfreako | January 24, 2010 11:47 PM | Report abuse

"Can't help but think he'd still be playing if he hadn't finger-blasted his teammates.

Posted by: elfreako | January 24, 2010 11:47 PM | Report abuse "

Duh.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | January 24, 2010 11:51 PM | Report abuse

It's over. Buy out Gil,send AJ someplace where he can have a shot at a championship, and get some value for CB3. Start Blatche, Haywood, DM, Foye and Miller,and get McGee some minutes. The worst that could happen is that they tank and we get a high lottery pick.

Posted by: pjkiger1 | January 24, 2010 11:52 PM | Report abuse

"Calling Les BouleS the Clips of the East is actually an insult to the LA Clippers"

Agreed. Let the Clippers henceforth be known as the Wizards West.

Posted by: SammyT1 | January 25, 2010 12:37 AM | Report abuse

"It's over. Buy out Gil,send AJ someplace where he can have a shot at a championship, and get some value for CB3. Start Blatche, Haywood, DM, Foye and Miller,and get McGee some minutes. The worst that could happen is that they tank and we get a high lottery pick." - pjkiger1

Sounds like similar sentiments to last season. Scary how quickly this all fell apart this season. Even before Arenas' incident, we weren't playing well.

I say go ahead and send Jamison to Cleveland for Ilgauskas if they also give us Hickson for Crittenton. They get Ilgauskas back after we waive him, we get large salary relief and a good young PF.

Then work on something similar for Butler. It's pretty clear we're not going to get equal value for these guys. Shedding salary and getting a draft pick or promising young player is probably the best we can hope for.

Posted by: segastyle | January 25, 2010 12:49 AM | Report abuse

Blow it up..here are the only players worth keeping (not gonna include Jamison and Butler because although they are very talented, they have proven they are not leaders, and can bring a good player or two in a trade):
Brendan Haywood-
Mike Miller-
Randy Foye
Javale McGee (spelling?)
Dominic Maguire
Earl Boykins

Get rid of:
Nick Young- No D, immature
DeShawn Stevenson-overrated D, no shot
Fabricio Oberto- Zero Offense
Mike James- Bum
Gilbert Arenas- Goes without saying
Caron Butler-Good trade value
Antawn Jamison-Good trade value

Thoughts?

Posted by: ebeneezerfresh | January 25, 2010 1:45 AM | Report abuse

I have reached the wall. Thank God I haven't watched the last 2 games.

Posted by: MeviousMan | January 25, 2010 5:17 AM | Report abuse

Trade Idea
Arenas and Bulter to NO for Chris Paul.
Lets start over.

Posted by: PointCenter | January 25, 2010 6:14 AM | Report abuse

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. The house (of cards) that ERNIE (and ABE) built. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.

Posted by: glawrence007 | January 25, 2010 7:23 AM | Report abuse

It is inconceivable that a team that pays it's players as much as the Wiz pay can play like total and utter crap. Unbelievable! I cannot not fathom how these players can go out there and play the way they do and feel good about collecting a check. I love the Wizards, lord knows I do, but damn!, they are arguably the absolute WORST AND WORTHLESS team in the league right now and they have no shame. They should be giving the fans back their money, especially the season ticket holders. No one should have to pay to see these screw ups play. What the hell is wrong with Butler these days???

Posted by: ivyleague | January 25, 2010 7:31 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: ivyleague | January 25, 2010 7:31 AM | Report abuse

You'll have to wait to see what ownership does. If LEONSIS doesn't exercise his option to take over the majority stake in the franchise, I would not buy season tix for awhile.

Posted by: glawrence007 | January 25, 2010 7:39 AM | Report abuse

http://espn.go.com/nba/dailydime/_/page/dime-100124/daily-dime

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT

"Our starters haven't given us a consistent effort to start games, and our bench, they talk about playing and wanting to play -- they've had opportunities. They continue to not produce."

-- Wizards coach Flip Saunders after Washington dropped a 14-point home decision to the Clippers

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 25, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Saunders later singled out Andray Blatche, who went scoreless with three rebounds and two turnovers in 11 minutes. "I told Andray, 'I've seen enough of that behind-the-back dribble in the lane. That might've worked on the playgrounds, but it ain't going to work here.' Every time he does that, he turns it over. There are habits that have to be broken."

Amen, brother. Amen

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 25, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

ebenezerfresh, no one is going to give you good value for ANY Wizards player at this point. When teams think that you're motivated to clean house, they'll try to get guys with rock-bottom offers. This is especially true since most of the players you want to get rid of haven't been playing worth a crap this season. And no one's going to trade for Arenas until it is known how long his suspension will last and how long (or if) he'll be in jail. Amd even then, you won't get close to equal value.

PointCenter, there are so many levels on which Arenas and Butler for Paul doesn't work that the Jazz would laugh in your face if you proposed it to them. Aside from the issue of contracts (for salary cap purposes, the value of the contracts traded must be within a certain percentage of the contracts acquired), if you were the Jazz, would you trade Paul for a shoot-first point guard on an indefinite suspension and facing a possibly-substantial jail term, and a player on the last year of his contract who hasn't played very well this year?

Posted by: rbpalmer | January 25, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

"There needs to be a new Wizards' Man Law: Take the ball to the basket."

The problem is, as I said it before, there is no one on this team has the skill set to do that.

Arenas was the only player who can drive to the basket, and he is suspended. Jamison can do the flip shot around the basket, but cannot drive, let alone dish (and quite frankly, he relies on flipping the shot up as soon as he receives the ball, dishing the ball would kill that).

Who else can penetrate? Nobody, and if they tried, they are likely to turn the ball over.

Posted by: sagaliba | January 25, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Saunders later singled out Andray Blatche, who went scoreless with three rebounds and two turnovers in 11 minutes. "I told Andray, 'I've seen enough of that behind-the-back dribble in the lane. That might've worked on the playgrounds, but it ain't going to work here.' Every time he does that, he turns it over. There are habits that have to be broken."
Amen, brother. Amen

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 25, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Flip,

You forgot to add that you suck as a coach!

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 25, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

9yrs in the league and Haywood hasnt learned to stand with the ball held high in the post, looking for cutters. There's a new Wizards manlaw in there somewhere.

But of course, no one on the team cuts to the bucket, so it would be irrelevant anyway

Posted by: divi3 | January 25, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Flip,

You forgot to add that you suck as a coach!

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 25, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse


Dray's been doing that since he's been here. that was a habit that shoulda been broken in training camp. but then again flip was heaping praise on Blatche this summer calling him their best and most consistent training camp performer. funny how flip doesn't mention CB's obligatory palming of the ball on the break turnover (at least 1 a game). i mean it's laughable that AB is the player singled out after yesterday's performance. how bout mentioning BTH impersonating an NBA C for 3 quarters and then disappearing in the money quarter.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | January 25, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Line up recommendation to Flip:

PG- Foye
SG- Butler
SF- Jamison
Center- Haywood
PF- Blatche

Start Stevenson again and you should be fired. Isn't it obvious that he is not nearly the player he was before injuring his back?

Posted by: whitaker200 | January 25, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

flip, the reason why your starters aren't producing is because you keep forgeting to start a fifth player. It's a little illogical, don't you think, for 4 players to outplay the other team's best 5 players. Of course, with your self-professed ability to take guys off the dribble, maybe you could start. Oh, that's right, your jumper is suspect, so the D would ignore you and just worry about shutting down the other 4 guys. Give me a few minutes, maybe I can come up with another plan... No, I guess you're stuck. Four on Five seems like your only option.

Posted by: ZardsFan1 | January 25, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

People need to wake up. Nick Young was playing solid d in the early portion of the season when he was getting consistent minutes - see the Miami game where he weld Wade to 6 of 19 shooting while going 10 of 23 himself. And against philly the same week he held Andre Iguodala to 2 of 10 while going 8 of 16.

Obviously a young player isn't going to perform like that when he only sees 5-10 minutes A WEEK. I don't know wtf Flip is doing with Deshawn Stevenson in the game.

Posted by: ericw1 | January 25, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

"Obviously a young player isn't going to perform like that when he only sees 5-10 minutes A WEEK. I don't know wtf Flip is doing with Deshawn Stevenson in the game."

ya gotta wonder if Javale and NY are considered "keepers" to a certain extent and therefore getting limiting burn to tamp down other teams' interest in them.

Posted by: divi3 | January 25, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Well, no. Actually I hadn't thought of that.

Posted by: ericw1 | January 25, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

We have tried and tried to get TOM THIBODEAU here as HC. After this season's locker-room revelations, I understand now why he never has wanted to do so.

WIZ: Start,

HAYWOOD, BLATCHE, JAMISON, MILLER, and FOYE the rest of this season. Play McGEE, OBERTO, McGUIRE, YOUNG, and BOYKINS. Keep STEVENSON and JAMES on the bench for emergency only.

Trade BUTLER now for a player and a pick, preferrably a low-cost young solid player, and a first rounder, whatever can be had.

For next year, resign HAYWOOD, MILLER, McGUIRE with the 22 million in money from BUTLER, and expiring contracts on OBERTO, JAMES, CRITTENTON, and BOYKINS.

Minus out the cost of a new player for BUTLER and the trade pick. Use our balls for our own pick and our second unless MEMPHIS has it.

Raises to resign WOOD, MM, and D-Mc should be in the 7-8 million range.

Play ARENAS when he free from his suspension because he will be here, and let's go forward with the league minimum number of players (14) to help with the cap.

Posted by: glawrence007 | January 25, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

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