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Hawks 94, Wizards 82

For the second night in a row, the Wizards were done in by a lack of depth, by an opponent that rode the hot hand of someone off the bench to lead them to victory. On Wednesday night, it was Atlanta's Jamal Crawford lighting up the fourth quarter the same way Detroit's Charlie Villanueva did the night before.

Crawford erupted for 14 of his 22 points in the final period, burying the Wizards in a game that they scratched and clawed to get back into. Crawford's fourth-quarter production off the bench surpassed the Wizards' bench production for the entire game.

The Wizards were only able to get nine points off the bench against the Hawks, with Andray Blatche returning from his one-game suspension to have six points and four rebounds in 17 minutes. But for a team that has played the past five games without the suspended Gilbert Arenas and the past two without Mike Miller, it is putting more pressure on the Wizards' starters to produce. The bench scored just 10 points against Detroit on Tuesday.

"I've always said, when you lose players, you lose an Arenas, you lose a Mike Miller, and you lose some of those people, roles change and sometimes, guys aren't comfortable in those roles," Coach Flip Saunders said.

One of the players who appears uncomfortable with his role is Nick Young, who scored 20 points off the bench on Sunday, but has scored 10 points on 3 for 15 shooting as a starter the past two games. "I just got to stay mentally ready and knock down shots," Young said after the game. "I'm going to keep shooting though. I had some good games, before these last two games. I just got to get my shots to fall. I got to keep shooting. I got to be ready for whatever comes."

Saunders hinted that he might have to make another change to his starting lineup, by putting DeShawn Stevenson back in at shooting guard and putting Young back in a reserve role. Right now, the Wizards are seeing considerable drop-offs whenever Saunders calls on the second unit.

"It's added pressure because we're going to be playing more minutes," said Caron Butler, one of three starters to play at least 42 minutes against the Hawks. "But Antawn [Jamison] is playing some of the best basketball I've seen from a basketball player in my eight years as a professional."

Indeed, Jamison had another monster performance with 25 points and 19 rebounds in nearly 46 minutes, but the Wizards are going to need a lift from elsewhere - and soon, because there is no telling when Miller and especially Arenas are coming back. This is a team in flux, as Saunders likes to say, but this season is quickly getting flushed.

"This has been a tough stretch," Jamison said.

By Michael Lee  |  January 13, 2010; 11:31 PM ET
 
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Next: Morning brew: Wizards lose, Arenas aiming for plea deal

Comments

As bad as it's been, 4.5 games out of the playoffs. I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'...

Posted by: dfresh58 | January 14, 2010 2:24 AM | Report abuse

I am shocked that Caron is shooting 42% this year. Everytime I happen to check the box score he is 6 for 18 or 5 for 16.

Posted by: MeviousMan | January 14, 2010 3:41 AM | Report abuse

DeJuan Blair, 28 POINTS & 21 REBOUNDS last night while Ernie's brilliant pick-up is a DNP mostly. Save us from this nightmare Ted.

Posted by: closg | January 14, 2010 5:43 AM | Report abuse

flip is responssibl for this loss. They were close but he did not put the right man on crawford.The team in general did not match the defenssive pressure Atlanta made in the 4th quarter.It should have been a still.I think washington had a good game with out a win, just like the sunday game this time defenssively. They were flat defensively against detroit.I think it is amental situation.What a human being is AJ? who does not wish to build a team around him , he is a good example.He just play basketball.

Posted by: gtefferra | January 14, 2010 6:36 AM | Report abuse

There was a very telling sequence during the game last night. Did any one catch Ron Thompson on Camcast Postgame point out where I think it was Jamison who made a basket but then the whole team casually trotted down court and watch Josh Smith catch an oulet pass for an easy dunk? That might have even been AJ's man.

I think even if these players want to play better all around game, it's not in them and can't do it consistantly.

Posted by: millineumman | January 14, 2010 7:17 AM | Report abuse

"DeJuan Blair, 28 POINTS & 21 REBOUNDS last night while Ernie's brilliant pick-up is a DNP mostly."

Yeah, that would have been nice. We also passed on Jonas Jerebko and Chase Budinger.

Posted by: Delle | January 14, 2010 7:37 AM | Report abuse

For perhaps the first time in recent memory, Wilbon and I are on the same page.

The Wiz need to stop dissociating themselves from Gil and prepare for his return. I think he'll be back after a 20 game Stern suspension as soon as his misdemeanor plea is finalized next week.

When he gets back, he should be focused and all about basketball. If Flip ever gets it right and figures out the rotation, we can still wind up with 30+ wins...not that it'll mean much.

Posted by: original_mark | January 14, 2010 8:05 AM | Report abuse

For perhaps the first time in recent memory, Wilbon and I are on the same page.

The Wiz need to stop dissociating themselves from Gil and prepare for his return. I think he'll be back after a 20 game Stern suspension as soon as his misdemeanor plea is finalized next week.

When he gets back, he should be focused and all about basketball. If Flip ever gets it right and figures out the rotation, we can still wind up with 30+ wins...not that it'll mean much.


Posted by: original_mark | January 14, 2010 8:05 AM | Report abuse

agreed. however i don't think arenas is coming back that soon

Posted by: knowbow | January 14, 2010 8:17 AM | Report abuse

But he WILL be back, much to my chagrin. So will ERNIE and his permissive attitude.

Posted by: glawrence007 | January 14, 2010 8:39 AM | Report abuse

If/when Gil comes back, the season at that point will be lost because the wizards will be too far behind to make the playoffs. What should be done, if they don't trade Jamison or Butler, and even if they do, play the balance of the season with Gil and get momentum for the next season.

Posted by: G-Man11 | January 14, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

But he WILL be back, much to my chagrin.

Posted by: glawrence007 | January 14, 2010 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Great!

Because once the Big 3 is back together and healthy we can compete with ANYONE, right?

That's the plan, isn't it?

Everyone bought season tickets this year based on that premise, right?

And they bought season tix last year based on that premise, right?

And the year before...

And the year before...

And the year before...

And the year before...


I can already guess what Ernie's sales pitch is going to be this offseason:

"When we get our Big 3 back together and healthy, we can compete with anyone."

Posted by: p1funk | January 14, 2010 8:53 AM | Report abuse

you're never too far out of the 8th spot in the East, but does it really matter is the question.

the moral victory of the 8th spot, followed by being swept in the postseason just hurts the franchise right?

this team wouldnt break 60pts if AJ was out

Posted by: divi3 | January 14, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

arenas might be charged with a felony... who knows. Still the wiz can always try and void arenas's contract. i feel like we wil be rebuilding next year much to my disappointment:/

Posted by: knowbow | January 14, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

our bench is proving ineffective

Posted by: knowbow | January 14, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

the moral victory of the 8th spot, followed by being swept in the postseason just hurts the franchise right?

this team wouldnt break 60pts if AJ was out

Posted by: divi3 | January 14, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse


It absolutely does, and it would only prop up the farce that is this franchise right now.

This organization needs major changes from top to bottom, starting with Ernie G getting canned.

If this group were to eak into the playoffs, it could only muddy the waters of the truth. They're not good. They're not close to being truly competitive. The philosophy is fundamentally flawed. The players need to move on - out with the old, in with the new.

Posted by: p1funk | January 14, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

yeah, it's lame how they always point to the runs that get them back in games as if that is any measure of the team.

if only they played like that 3rd quarter!

you mean down 30 when the opponent stops trying? those quarters?

8 new players on the roster next season

Posted by: divi3 | January 14, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: divi3 | January 14, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse


Almost as lame as citing how the Wiz were first place in the East at the All-Star break one time.

In the offseason, I kept hearing Ernie and kool-aid drinking fans roll that one out.

Yeah, for about 35 games one time one year, the Wiz played out of their minds and were first place in the East...and what has their performances been like the other 4-5 years??

Posted by: p1funk | January 14, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

OK. Talking about the reality of the Wiz is straight DEPRESSING, so I'm gonna switch gears to make-believe GM.

Here's some trade scenarios I wouldn't mind seeing.

If Minny is interested in some SF/swingmen-type players, we could send Caron Butler and Nick Young for Al Jefferson.

If Michael Jordan still likes Brendan Haywood, maybe he'd be interested in a trade for Raymond Felton - who is coming on strong, playing good defense, and a more solid and true PG than anyone we've got. He spurned a long-term deal in Charlotte last year and is playing on a 1 year qualifying contract.

Depending on how this Arenas thing plays out, but if he is reinstated and the Wiz cannot void his contract, then maybe trying to ressurect the TMac trade talks so we could clear big-time cap space for the offseason.


Posted by: p1funk | January 14, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

who was it that was telling me about how much better the wiz are without Gil? I think you're o-2 towards that 6-5 record holmes.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | January 14, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

P1funk: I like getting Felton and i like sending Brendan packing just not in that scenario and when we do send Haywood down the road who coach's up McGee? i don't see anybody on this current staff handling that task.

Posted by: dargregmag | January 14, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Assuming that Gil doesnt go to jail, we're stuck with him. His contract doesnt expire for a while. We HAVE to incorporate him and his contract into our plans for the near future. Considering that he's still a very good player, let's figure out some trades or FA signings that could actually happen.

BTH is gone. MM and Foye would also be wise to leave if they want to win. CB is probably gonna be traded. AJ is also a good candidate to leave.

In a year or so, we could find ourselves with a team that has sparse talent, lots of cap room, and Gil and his contract. Is this 2011 lineup appetizing to anyone?

Gil, NY, AB, JM, first round pick TBD.

This is definitely my last year buying tickets.

Posted by: original_mark | January 14, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

P1funk: I like getting Felton and i like sending Brendan packing just not in that scenario and when we do send Haywood down the road who coach's up McGee? i don't see anybody on this current staff handling that task.

Posted by: dargregmag | January 14, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse


Sam Cassell??

Just kidding.

Flip Saunders worked with KG for so much of his career and either Flip, or someone working on his staff, had to be coaching up KG for all those years helping him go from high-school player to becoming one of the great PFs of our generation.

Does anyone know if it was Flip or an assistant who did that? Why can't we get that kind of big-man coaching around here for guys like Blatche and McGee?

Posted by: p1funk | January 14, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

There are hidding Mcgee because his play depends so much of a point guard getting him the ball in the right situations.ALA Chris Paul to Tyson Chanler. Therefor we must get a true point guard then he can flourish, we currently dont have that on this team. Maybe loose alot of games for a shoot at John Wall or sign Duhon from the knicks while they are spending soo much time up Lebron A**. Lee could help too.

Posted by: dsquare | January 14, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

If i were Flip i'd keep The Serial Skirt Chaser(AB) away from JaVale so he wouldn't pick up any of Dray's bad habits, see if Blatche was the man he thinks he is or we fans thought he could be then the team record should be better Dray's had plenty of chance's to step up so far and as much as I hate to say it Caron needs to step it up,i know he's fustrated with all the drama but he needs to focus on his game and forget the bullsh#t as tough as that might be.

Posted by: dargregmag | January 14, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

There are hidding Mcgee because his play depends so much of a point guard getting him the ball in the right situations.ALA Chris Paul to Tyson Chanler. Therefor we must get a true point guard then he can flourish, we currently dont have that on this team. Maybe loose alot of games for a shoot at John Wall or sign Duhon from the knicks while they are spending soo much time up Lebron A**. Lee could help too.

Posted by: dsquare | January 14, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse


Or they are hiding McGee b/c he's the only guy on the roster that they don't want to trade and maybe if he's out of sight, then he's out of mind.

But I agree we need a PG who can distribute. In a previous post, I mentioned making a trade for (or run at) Raymond Felton who shunned a lng-term contract from Charlotte and is now playing on a 1-year qualifying offer.

Posted by: p1funk | January 14, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

It's funny that before the season everyone talked about how deep this team is and how much firepower it has. Now with two players sidelined (Areans and Miller), and we don't have any bench. Heck we don't even have starting 5 on the night when NY is off (which is more than 50% of the time)!

Posted by: sagaliba | January 14, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

I am starting to think last season when our reserve played a lot of minutes is really the opposite of blessing in disguise (can't find a way to say it). Now every bench players feel the entitlement, and think they "deserve" PT, instead of going out and hustle when called upon. Just watched Atlanta's Mario West, a 10-day contract guy, who is so hungry that he flied around the court and made his presence felt. He scored 5 points (2 for 3), and grabbed 5 rebounds in 12 minutes, better than any of our bench player.

Posted by: sagaliba | January 14, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Well, They did play McGee in Pistions game, and he didn't do much, 1 rebound in 11.5 minutes (about 1 quarter worth) from your center is not enough!

Posted by: sagaliba | January 14, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

He also turned the all over the first time he touched it on offense (although the Pistons generously turned it right back over, allowing McGee to score a layup).

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 14, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Did anyone notice Stevenson shot an air ball from eight feet away from the basket last night? The guy has totally broken down. He shouldn't be in the NBA right now, I'm sad to say. For him to be a starting 2 guard on an NBA team--unbelievable.

Caron looked like he totally did not care.

As for Gilbert, he's gone from this team. All the legal dancing will be about buying out his contract. He's not coming back, nor will Ernie next year.

Posted by: jweber1 | January 14, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

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