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Posted at 1:17 AM ET, 12/19/2010

Final second follies contribute to loss in first game of the post-Gilbert Arenas era

By Michael Lee

This might be our night. (Photo by By Jonathan Newton/Washington Post)


LeBron James wrapped his arms around Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. He pulled Wade aside and gave him a bear hug. Then Bosh ran over to Wade and gave him a tight embrace. A smiling, laughing James then looked at his teammates and shouted, "Let's go home."

You would've thought it was Game 6 of an Eastern Conference playoff game, not some mid-December regular season contest against a middling team. The Miami Heat avoided embarrassment with a dramatic, incredible, comeback win -- as it outscored the Wizards 9-3 in the final 32.6 seconds -- and responded with an extremely emotion reaction.

The celebration should've belonged to the Wizards, but in the closing seconds of a game that could've ended a six-game losing streak, snapped the Heat's 11-game winning streak and propelled them to a fresh start in the now post-Gilbert-Arenas era, the Wizards showed how much losing teams really know how to lose.

The Wizards gagged. They made losing plays -- missed free throws, poor inbounds passes, terrible fouls -- and squandered a great individual performance by Nick Young and an otherwise triumphant debut for Josh Howard in a 95-94 loss. After the game, Kirk Hinrich was upset that the referees didn't blow the whistle after Bosh bumped him and James pushed back his elbow on his potential game-winning layup.

"I got fouled. Yeah, I got fouled," said Hinrich, who chose not to blame the loss on the officiating. He really couldn't. "We just did a lot of stuff we can't do to close out games. We fouled a three-pointer, threw the ball away on an inbounds, missed some free throws. Tough to win when you do that. It would've been a big step. We're playing well all year at home. Don't have really one big win here, would've been nice to get this one."

Nice is an understatement. A victory in front of the first sellout crowd of the season, wouldn't been huge, since they spent a good part of the night winning over fans who most likely came to watch the SuperFriends. You could feel the fans root for the upset and push the Wizards, but they found a way to deliver a gut-wrenching defeat, as they blew a five-point lead in less than 25 seconds.

Bosh started the run when he made a three-pointer from the corner, just his third made basket in eight attempts from long range this season. Then Howard, who played inspired, uplifting basketball, got fouled and made the first free throw, missed the second, grabbed the rebound, got fouled, missed the first then made the second to give the Wizards a 93-89 lead with 18.4 seconds remaining.

Then, came the turning point of the game -- although Andray Blatche would dispute it. Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra called for another Bosh three point attempt during the timeout. Bosh pumped, Blatche jumped, and Bosh leaned in to draw the foul, earning three free throws in the process -- with just 1.6 seconds ticking off the clock.

"I knew it as soon as coach drew up the play, I said, 'I'm going to get three free throws.' Some things you just know," Bosh said, implying that Blatche was an easy foil.

Blatche refused to credit the importance of that play, with Bosh making two of his three free throws to cut the lead to two. "You can't change that," he said. "He made a pump fake. I jumped. He jumped into my body. That don't mean nothing to me. I'm not thinking about that. We lost the game. It's not like he went to the line and they won from that play. It's more than that play."


We stole one, D-Wade! (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

But the Wizards compounded the foul on Bosh by failing to call timeout and advancing the ball to halfcourt with a two-point lead. Instead, Coach Flip Saunders left it up to Blatche to inbound the ball under the Heat basket. Blatche forced a pass to Young that Young wasn't expecting and fumbled. Worsening the situation, Young then reached for a steal and fouled James Jones, without forcing the Heat to take and make a shot to tie the game or take the lead. It also left more precious time on the clock. Jones hit both free throws to tie the game at 93. "I didn't think he was going to get me, but it was still in my hands. I should've caught it," Young said.

Saunders finally called a timeout, advancing the ball to halfcourt. But with an opportunity to take the lead, Howard inbounded the ball to Hinrich as he darted to the baseline. It was a questionable pass, especially since Young -- who had scored 30 points -- curled to the top of the key and probably could've made something happen.

But the Wizards were bailed out when Mario Chalmers was called for bumping Hinrich out of bounds. It very well could've been a turnover because it appeared that Hinrich simply lost his balance and fell into the Heat bench. Hinrich, an 85.2 percent free throw shooter, missed one of two free throws -- which may have been the result of playing all but six seconds -- to give the Wizards a shaky lead.

Blatche then fouled Wade as he attempted a shot over his left shoulder in the lane. Wade then stepped to the line and hit the decisive free throws to end the game. "They come down the stretch and they make six free-throws in the last 25 seconds and we come up and we miss three, and we leave those on the board," Saunders said. "You can't make an excuse being young and doing things that can cost you games. Especially when you're playing a team like them, the game is not over until the end. They got two of the best closers in the game, in LeBron and in Dwyane."

Asked if he could have any play back at the end of the game, Blatche scoffed. "I don't wish I had no plays back. The game was meant to be played how it was played. I'm not trying to take back no plays at all. I'm not trying to go on without regrets. I'm looking to get better and making my team better. I'm moving forward," he said. "You hate to lose every game. We've got to continue to learn and get better at closing out games. This is a game we definitely should've won, up five with 18 seconds left. We've just got to come in [on Sunday] and work on our concentration."

After the game, Spoelstra said, "You have to give Washington a great deal of credit. They have a lot of young, good, young talent on that team and they came ready to play and they gave us everything that we could handle. Sometimes you steal games even when they other team outplays you for the majority of the game."

The Wizards' rousing performance for 47 ½ minutes was reminiscent of Howard's debut against Minnesota, which came on the same night that the team traded Antawn Jamison at the trade deadline. The game seemed secure when Howard made a short jumper in the lane to give the Wizards a 91-86 lead and pumped his fists.

But on the night that they traded the former face of the franchise for the past seven-plus years, the Wizards were facing a much more talented team that has clearly hit its stride since the last time these teams met. "Losing is part of the game," said Howard. "It doesn't frustrate me that much. We got to learn from our mistakes. We made simple mistakes that are correctable. But I think we showed the city that we can compete with the best of them."

It's seven games and counting, and the Wizards (6-19) still haven't found a way to have one of those bear-hugging, post-game celebrations.

By Michael Lee  | December 19, 2010; 1:17 AM ET
Categories:  Andray Blatche, Flip Saunders, Gilbert Arenas, Josh Howard, Kirk Hinrich, Nick Young  
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Next: Video: Gilbert Arenas discusses trade to Orlando

Comments

"Losing is part of the game," said Howard. "It doesn't frustrate me that much. We got to learn from our mistakes. We made simple mistakes that are correctable. But I think we showed the city that we can compete with the best of them."

Josh, welcome back! Competing is fine, but CAN WE JUST GET A WIN!!! The 'bone-headed' mistake AB mad was unacceptable! And if we had a head coach and coaching staff that understood coaching young players, than all we would have heard Is: "DON"T FOUL"! DON'T FOUL! Flip and the boys must go! You can keep Sammy, but the rest? They have just got to go...

Posted by: bazteal | December 19, 2010 4:59 AM | Report abuse

A victory in front of the first sellout crowd of the season...who most likely came to watch the SuperFriends.

Let's see it was the first sellout crowd and Miami was in town...put the two together and you get the Susan O'Malley/Abe Wizards again.

Soon Ted and Ernie will be telling fans to come out and watch the other team since they don't know how to put together a good basketball team?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | December 19, 2010 5:55 AM | Report abuse

Can we please trade bulletsfan78 for magicfan94 or something? Or for a bucket of rusty nails?
If you don't like the team then just give it a rest. Your comments are so boring.

As for the Wiz, they will hopefully move Rashard Lewis by the trade deadline despite his huge contract. At least he won't be viewed in the same negative light by other GMs as Arenas was. Orlando was THE only place that would take Gilbert. Trying to move Lewis should be much easier and I think EG should be judged by what he gets in return for that trade-yet-to-be. How about a deal with Portland? Send Lewis back to the Pacific Northwest where his old coach Nate McMillan is, and maybe get some of their stockpiled pieces. Or maybe a deal with Chicago to put them over the hump and make them more competitive in the east. The point is there will be opportunities to move Lewis and make the end result of the Arenas trade a lot more palatable for the Wiz.

Posted by: Janitor_with_a_Jumpshot | December 19, 2010 6:46 AM | Report abuse

Can we please trade bulletsfan78 for magicfan94 or something? Or for a bucket of rusty nails?
If you don't like the team then just give it a rest. Your comments are so boring.

As for the Wiz, they will hopefully move Rashard Lewis by the trade deadline despite his huge contract. At least he won't be viewed in the same negative light by other GMs as Arenas was. Orlando was THE only place that would take Gilbert. Trying to move Lewis should be much easier and I think EG should be judged by what he gets in return for that trade-yet-to-be. How about a deal with Portland? Send Lewis back to the Pacific Northwest where his old coach Nate McMillan is, and maybe get some of their stockpiled pieces. Or maybe a deal with Chicago to put them over the hump and make them more competitive in the east. The point is there will be opportunities to move Lewis and make the end result of the Arenas trade a lot more palatable for the Wiz.

Posted by: Janitor_with_a_Jumpshot | December 19, 2010 6:47 AM | Report abuse

Overall, this was a very entertaining game with everyone stepping up for about 46 minutes. We'll find out if it was a fluke with Charlotte coming in. I'd be very disappointing to see us go back to playing "pre Miami Heat" game.

Posted by: zack9633 | December 19, 2010 7:35 AM | Report abuse

Unless Nick Young or Cartier Martin can play some backup pg, it seems clear that the Wizards have to consider how to add another pg. 10-day contracts are available to be used after Jan. 5. Can the Wizards go with just Heinrich and Wall until Jan. 5?

Posted by: PostSubscriber | December 19, 2010 7:48 AM | Report abuse

At some point, this team must become unhappy with almost winning. Fans don't pay to watch their teams almost win games every night.

"Orlando was THE only place that would take Gilbert."

Warm weather. Disney World. A playoff contending team. A GM who supports him. It doesn't sound like a bad deal to me.

At least that's better than Minnesota being the only place that will take him. Gilbert made out like a fat rat with this trade.

Gil is lucky to be picked up by a quality team who will allow him to move past his mistakes.

Posted by: syvetteavery | December 19, 2010 7:58 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: dlts2041 | December 19, 2010 8:19 AM | Report abuse

"Gil Seems Very Happy"

I bet he does. He gets to play with Superman and a pretty decent supporting cast -- in Florida. I don't know if you noticed the weather in DC recently...

But I don't know that the trade helps Orlando much. It isn't like they picked up Stoudemire or Nash. Jason Richardson and Arenas are primarily scorers. Turk is no more a power forward (where they like to list him) than Lewis was. Of course they know Hedo and he should fit right in to the lineup. It has the feel of change for change's sake -- you know, that thing the fans here keep asking the Wiz to do?

Posted by: Samson151 | December 19, 2010 8:34 AM | Report abuse

"......A victory in front of the first sellout crowd of the season, wouldn't been huge, since they spent a good part of the night winning over fans who most likely came to watch the SuperFriends........" blogmeister

Aw shoot. I thought it was all those loyal WIZ fans returning who had been boycotting the team because ARENAS was still on it.

Posted by: glawrence007 | December 19, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

"Unless Nick Young or Cartier Martin can play some backup pg, it seems clear that the Wizards have to consider how to add another pg. 10-day contracts are available to be used after Jan. 5. Can the Wizards go with just Heinrich and Wall until Jan. 5?"

Posted by: PostSubscriber | December 19, 2010 7:48 AM

That's not really the problem. The problem is what to do between now and whenever Wall comes back. Hinrich can't play 48 mpg every night until Wall returns, but there's no one else on the roster now who can even do a credible impression of a PG.

"And if we had a head coach and coaching staff that understood coaching young players, than all we would have heard Is: "DON"T FOUL"! DON'T FOUL! Flip and the boys must go! You can keep Sammy, but the rest? They have just got to go..."

Posted by: bazteal | December 19, 2010 4:59 AM

Oh, please. Blatche and Young are in their 4th and 5th years in the league. If they don't know enough not to commit fouls in those situations, then they're beyond hopeless.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 19, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

"I knew it as soon as coach drew up the play, I said, 'I'm going to get three free throws.' Some things you just know," Bosh said, implying that Blatche was an easy foil."

This speaks volumes about how Blatche is viewed by other players.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 19, 2010 8:38 AM | Report abuse

"But I don't know that the trade helps Orlando much. It isn't like they picked up Stoudemire or Nash. Jason Richardson and Arenas are primarily scorers. Turk is no more a power forward (where they like to list him) than Lewis was. Of course they know Hedo and he should fit right in to the lineup. It has the feel of change for change's sake -- you know, that thing the fans here keep asking the Wiz to do?"

Posted by: Samson151 | December 19, 2010 8:34 AM

The trades were desperation moves and Orlando's GM all but admitted as much. If Arenas plays/shoots well, I can see the Magic being better than they were with Carter and Lewis. But I don't know if it'll make them good enough to compete with Boston (I'm still not sold on Miami).

BTW, in his previous stint with Orlando, Turkoglu was the starting SF, with Rashard Lewis at PF. Brandon Bass will most likely be the starting PF with Lewis gone.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 19, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Losing is part of the game," said Howard. "It doesn't frustrate me that much. We got to learn from our mistakes. We made simple mistakes that are correctable. But I think we showed the city that we can compete with the best of them."

Josh, welcome back! Competing is fine, but CAN WE JUST GET A WIN!!! The 'bone-headed' mistake AB mad was unacceptable! And if we had a head coach and coaching staff that understood coaching young players, than all we would have heard Is: "DON"T FOUL"! DON'T FOUL! Flip and the boys must go! You can keep Sammy, but the rest? They have just got to go...

Posted by: bazteal | December 19, 2010 4:59 AM | Report abuse

Pretty obvious who's going and who's not. Bye-bye big cancer, hello little cancer. Have we got a trade in place for LEWIS yet? Maybe a pg? That would be swell. HINRICH can't handle the load without WALL.

Posted by: glawrence007 | December 19, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

"Overall, this was a very entertaining game with everyone stepping up for about 46 minutes. We'll find out if it was a fluke with Charlotte coming in. I'd be very disappointing to see us go back to playing "pre Miami Heat" game.Posted by: zack9633"

Well, that's really the question. Not if the Wiz were ready to beat a hot team like Miami -- they weren't -- but if they can string together a few good games in a row. So far this season they haven't. If the team follows the recent pattern, they'll struggle against the Cats.

But this was very much a superior performance to that Lakers' game -- it wasn't a second-half comeback, for one thing. We got to see the problem with relying on Hinrich for scoring -- same thing they saw in Chicago. But we also got a glimpse of a team run competently from the point. We saw once again how much it helps to have a viable interior scoring option -- even one as iffy as Blatche. And Josh Howard looked better than expected, first game back.

Nick shot the lights out and Javale performed well, with some of his minutes going to Armstrong. Miami's strength is not in the middle. That helped the Wiz out some.

But like you said, the thing to watch is how they are in Charlotte.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 19, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

I meant 'with Charlotte'.

Remember the story from the last Charlotte game? About Larry Brown yelling instructions to his players to take the ball inside, [the Wiz] can't stop anybody? Let's hope that provides some inspiration for the big men.

Or put Seraphin in the game for ten minutes and let him knock a couple of the Bobcats out.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 19, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

TLG = Ted Lose Grunfeld!

Posted by: fakedude2 | December 19, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

"Oh, please. Blatche and Young are in their 4th and 5th years in the league. If they don't know enough not to commit fouls in those situations, then they're beyond hopeless."

I'll say it again. Blatche is a streetballer and always will be. He's lazy, commits turnovers, and takes no responsibility for his actions. I wish they would trade him ASAP but EG won't do that.

Glad Howard is back.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | December 19, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

I think the difference in the first 46 minutes last night was Josh Howard. He was the difference in the four games he played last season, and that difference reappeared when he did. The last two minutes were guys trying too hard, not playing within themselves because the coaches have not taught them how to do that in the pressure situations that occur regularly. Coaching is the difference at the end of games.

Posted by: DoubleEagle1 | December 19, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

nobody mentions Kirk's turnovers, that he's soft with the ball, that he dribbles for 20 seconds of the 24 second shot clock. That he's a shooter that can't really shoot.

I understand he plays good D for his size and he has shortcomings. I think the only thing i read here that made any sense was that he can't play all 48 minutes. but i believe that was in the context of oh gee, he's tired so he can't play that much. No he can't play that much b/c he just isn't that good.

he needs to be in the 20 minute range. anything more and his flaws start to outweigh he positives of defense and professionalism.

oh and nice creation on the last possession as well. just how we drew it up, our most un-athletic, shortest player to take the Heat one on 5 for the final basket. genius

I don't know what it takes to get Nick more shots in the fourth but the coach needs to recognize and adjust. i would've had him go take the ball from Hinrich personally. He abused whomever guarded him off screens, then pull ups, then plays to the basket. it was a thing of beauty. he was the the ONE efficient player for them all night and didn't get enough shots.

Ol' Flip likes to go to Dray on the block versus Bosh 4 times in a row down the stretch. great match up there for the Wiz :T

amateur hour. obviously you can point to mistakes down the stretch (thought Nick was fouled on the inbound play) but the whole execution and play calling in the 4th is what lead to the loss. not the last 20 seconds.

Kirk holds the ball too long.. soft with the ball as well. he has assist numbers b/c he is the only one who gets to touch the rock.

Dray - what can you say. he lacks athleticism so finishing around the rim with scoop shots and flips. he backs up several steps to create space for jumpers or just fades away for no reason. Does he wonder why he can't find consistency? With his size and abilities (no explosive isn't one of his talents) he would be a stud if he worked on drop step moves and baby hooks instead of behind the back to cross over dribbles from 16 feet... ugh.

McGee - still playing 160 mph the whole time. needs to slow down and stop trying to dunk from the free throw line every half chance he gets. we get it already...

J Howard - awesome on D - showed a little rust but didn't force things, played great.

Nick - the lights are coming on. he's keeping it simple. Dribbling isn't his strong suit so you see the one dribble pull up. the one dribble to the rim. the step back. coming of screens. he's playing to his strengths. good for him. his teammates need to look for him more often.

Posted by: unkonchus | December 19, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

"I think the difference in the first 46 minutes last night was Josh Howard"

Considering he played less than 22 of those minutes, the guy must be a miracle worker.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 19, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

think the difference in the first 46 minutes last night was Josh Howard. He was the difference in the four games he played last season, and that difference reappeared when he did. The last two minutes were guys trying too hard, not playing within themselves because the coaches have not taught them how to do that in the pressure situations that occur regularly. Coaching is the difference at the end of games.

Posted by: DoubleEagle1 | December 19, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

That's true unless the players don't take the coaching to heart.

Posted by: glawrence007 | December 19, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

"nobody mentions Kirk's turnovers, that he's soft with the ball, that he dribbles for 20 seconds of the 24 second shot clock. That he's a shooter that can't really shoot. Posted by: unkonchus"

Actually, Kirk probably draws as much criticism here as any player on the Wiz. Most of it's dreck. Overall the guy is one of the few stabilizing influences on this team. We're hoping Josh Howard will be a second. But if you check the rest of the roster, we're relying on young players who have demonstrated their inconsistency over several seasons. And John Wall, who's not playing at the moment.

I don't think we can look to Rashard for future leadership.

Frankly, I think Flip was afraid to take Kirk out of the game last night.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 19, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

I don't blame Hinrich. He player 48 minutes, certainly does not want to see overtime. By making one of two, the team will either win by one or loose. The chance of being tied is drastically reduced!

Posted by: sagaliba | December 19, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

I don't think Wizards is done, and I don’t think Magic is done. Wizards need a 3rd PG, while Magic have too many guards, but no backup center.

Posted by: sagaliba | December 19, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

I was at the game. In the same TO before the Bosh 3/foul then Blatche/Young inbound turnover Flip clearly said to Young, "you bring it up" (meaning that after whatever happened on the Miami possesion, NY was instructed to bring the ball up)

At the time I thought that was good direction because we certainly preferred the ball in Young's hands instead of Kirk's. But NY was blanketed on the inbounds play. Blatche did what he was told and forced a hard inbounds pass at point blank into Young's chest - who was double teamed and could have done nothing with the ball except get fouled or pass from a dangerous place.

I know that the wiz have complained that they don't run the plays called, but in hindsight that was one where Blatche should have had the leeway to find another man or call a TO.

Posted by: cballer | December 19, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Oh, please. Blatche and Young are in their 4th and 5th years in the league. If they don't know enough not to commit fouls in those situations, then they're beyond hopeless.

Posted by: kalo_rama

Why are you being selective in your ctiticisms? The first comments made right after the game on NBA TV was made by Mike Fratello, who questioned the decision not to take timeout after Bosh freethrows that would have put the inbound pass at midcourt instead of inbounding under the basket. Not only did we lose possession but the turnout turned into a foul and freethrows the for Heat.

Posted by: spades72 | December 19, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

OK sure, AB committed a dumb foul.

OK sure, KH missed a crucial FT.

Not so OK that the team looked unprepared to inbound the ball resulting in a backbreaking TO. All 5 guys were clustered on one side of the court and Flip Flop should have been fired on the spot for that.

Not so OK that KH took the last desperation coast to coast FT that missed badly....as if Flip Flop didn't tell the team what play to run or who to take that shot. I would have let NY take that shot.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | December 19, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Can we please trade bulletsfan78 for magicfan94 or something? Or for a bucket of rusty nails?

Posted by: Janitor_with_a_Jumpshot | December 19, 2010 6:47 AM | Report abuse

Janitor_with_a_Jumpshot

If Ernie were my GM that's about all he would get since he got what Thorton, Yi, Howard and Lewis for his dream team?

Can you lend your jump shot to Kirk?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | December 19, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

"Gil Seems Very Happy

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/sports/orlando-magic/os-magic-gilbert-arenas-speaks-12192020101218,0,807849.story

Posted by: dlts2041 | December 19, 2010 8:19 AM | Report abuse "

That's because he gets paid max money to be the 2nd or 3rd option on the team.

As this article states, Van Gundy opposed the trade for Gilby. Only time will tell if he or Otis will get their walking papers first.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/columns/story?columnist=adande_ja&page=magicdeals-101218

Only time will tell whether Gilby can play with Jameer.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | December 19, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

I wonder what Gilbert will have to say about Washington and his time here. I think of all the guys that left Butler did the best job of summing up his play here.

I am one that like to see good and appropriate closure. I'd like to see Gilbert do a First Class Job of it, whether he cares to or not.

It doesn't appear from the interview that the Wizards, from what Gilbert said, was keeping Gilbert in the loop.

They didn't have to of course, but sources indicate that Gilbert knew something was working, but he was given the news by the media guys. He then left straight away to Orlando. No references to seeking out anyone from the Wiz or verification from them. Interesting.

There was a report way back when the gun incident went down that Gilbert was unhappy with the way the Wiz handled it and that he was particularly unhappy with Grunfield and didn't want to play for him again.

I guess now, that you have to consider that Ernie and Gil never quite saw eye to eye again. No where in what Ernie has released, unless I missed it is any personal references between he and Gill about any of this.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 19, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Why is Grunfeld still here? Is this franchise his personal basketball video game without ramifications for stupid decisions or decisions that didn't work out?

Resigned MeTawn to about 50 mil...now gone.

Resigned Gilby to max money, now gone.

Resigned MeShawn, now gone.

Traded for Eminem and company, now gone.

Resigned BTH, now gone.

All these dudes were supposed to be core team players, not riff raff. When your core players don't pan out, it's not because of them, it's b/c of Grunfeld.

Time to relieve Dr. Grunfeldkenstein from his duties.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | December 19, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

BTW, Josh Howard, got the 2 pts. needed from the possession that sent him to the FT line in the first. The Wizards were leading 91 - 89 with 20 seconds left in the game when Howard was fouled. Made the 1st shot, got his own rebound on the 2nd missed shot and went back to the line. Made 1 of 2 and the lead was back up to 4. The thing that lost the the game was the poor play of Blatche and Hinrich down the stretch. And it had nothing to do with their poor shooting percentage. It was turning over the ball and giving up points from it. And oh, how could I forget Flip, he should have taken the timeout.

Posted by: spades72 | December 19, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

I'm sorry to see that despite the many positives we all could see in the game, most of us choose just to focus on the negatives.

No, it wasn't a perfect game. Every player, at some point, did something that he probably shouldn't have done or didn't do something he should have done. Similarly, the coaching wasn't without fault either.

But in the end, the effort was there, the desire was there, even the execution was almost there.

If these players can manage to compete at anywhere near this level in games to come, I will be thrilled (but I know many of us will still be complaining).

The Wizards are rebuilding, guys. The games will often be ugly for at least several years yet.

Posted by: nmik | December 19, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

I see Houston is looking for a center. Names mentioned so far are Camby, Okafor, and Haywood.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 19, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

"Why are you being selective in your ctiticisms?"

Because he's a ctitic?

Posted by: Samson151 | December 19, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Gil basically said he wasn't going full out and also they asked him to come off the bench and he figured that teams were interested in him. Flip said Gil approached him about coming off the bench! It really doesn't matter at this point but I sure as hell hope things work out for both sides. I don't care how many games the 'zards win as long as they give a competitive effort every night. They need to add a point guard if Flip's not comfortable with NY or C Mart in the guard rotation. KH can not continue to go 48 min.

Posted by: zack9633 | December 19, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

"think the difference in the first 46 minutes last night was Josh Howard. He was the difference in the four games he played last season, and that difference reappeared when he did."

The problem is that Ernie only offered him a 1 year deal. Hope it doesn't bite him in the behind because he's an unrestricted free agent after the season. May not want to be a part of this team if it continue to show no promise.

Posted by: zack9633 | December 19, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

"think the difference in the first 46 minutes last night was Josh Howard. He was the difference in the four games he played last season, and that difference reappeared when he did."

The problem is that Ernie only offered him a 1 year deal. Hope it doesn't bite him in the behind because he's an unrestricted free agent after the season. May not want to be a part of this team if it continue to show no promise.

Posted by: zack9633 | December 19, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Going forward for Monday vs Bobcats I hope Flip starts:

Wall (if healthy)
Young
Thornton
Blatche
McGee

Hinrich, Howard, Booker and Armstrong can be the primary bench guys. I don't really see Lewis having much of an impact for a while.

Posted by: elfreako | December 19, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Excellent analysis unkonchus! I agree on all points.

Posted by: bazookajoe1 | December 19, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Thing to watch with Josh is his 3 point shooting. He was once reasonably effective from outside but really tailed off the last couple seasons. If he can get back the knack, it could really help the team.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 19, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

"As for the Wiz, they will hopefully move Rashard Lewis by the trade deadline despite his huge contract."

Don't think this gonna happen. Lewis is the most overpaid player in the NBA. If he is easy to move, Orlando would have done so much earlier, Lewis' contract prevented them from re-signing Turk, whom they prefer. In the end, they just have to trade one unwanted contract for another.

Posted by: sagaliba | December 19, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

As this article states, Van Gundy opposed the trade for Gilby. Only time will tell if he or Otis will get their walking papers first.
http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/columns/story?columnist=adande_ja&page=magicdeals-101218

Van Gundy's been very upset with Orlando's defense. I'm sure he was apoplectic about trading away their best perimeter defensive player as well as their backup center for shooters who play little defense.

Otis is hoping the increased offense will offset the decreased defense. I wouldn't bet on that but it'll be interesting to see how it all works out.

I'll root for Arenas to settle in and do well. The move was a wonderful one for him, and it will enable the Wizards too to move on. From that point of view, I'd say the trade was good for Washington.

Posted by: nmik | December 19, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

The more I think about it, the more I like the trade. We just upgraded the guard rotation by providing more min for NY. We also upgraded the backup PF spot (whichever it turns out to be Blatche or Lewis)

Yi can now take as long as he wants to return...to the end of the bench.

Posted by: cballer | December 19, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Because he's a ctitic?

Posted by: Samson151

One sided criticism is always partisan that's why the coach is never at fault. But if you are unable to make an argument for the coach then you should avoid the subject all together. But Kalo cannot resist sticking it to the players.

Posted by: spades72 | December 19, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

For those of you who want to read a blow-by-blow account of those final 32.6 seconds:

http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoopmiamiheat/post/_/id/2634/the-longest-32-6-seconds-in-heats-season

Posted by: nmik | December 19, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Blatche is a moron, cost the Wiz the game, and acts like a child when asked to reflect on his behavior in the last minute.

Posted by: tgerbracht | December 19, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Oh, please. Blatche and Young are in their 4th and 5th years in the league. If they don't know enough not to commit fouls in those situations, then they're beyond hopeless.


Posted by: kalo_rama | December 19, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

And if your boy Hinrich would stop throwing the ball away, make his free throws, could make a layup and otherwise was a decent point, we could have won the game. Without Young or Blatche this is not even a contest.

Posted by: NewManagement | December 19, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Anybody notice that with only 2 PF's, JaTravel was on the bench while Marriott Armstrong was in the game?

Hmm, wonder why JaTravel was in the dog house? Could it be the coast to coast dribble and tomahawk dunk attempt from just inside the FT line, instead of passing to the open man, that resulted in a charge call?

http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/boxscore?gameId=301218027

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | December 19, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Not sure why everyone is focus on the last minute for mistake. The ones that ticked me off where a couple with 4 or 5 minutes left. Blatche air ball 3 and Hinrich being lazy with the ball and having Mario pluck him. And then shortly later Hinrich followed up with a lazy wing pass to NY that Lebron stole for a breakaway dunk.

Being total careless with the ball in the last 5 minutes of a game is inexcusable.

Wiz need another PG. Should pick up S Reynolds.

Posted by: dcinmd1 | December 19, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Hmm, wonder why JaTravel was in the dog house? Could it be the coast to coast dribble and tomahawk dunk attempt from just inside the FT line, instead of passing to the open man, that resulted in a charge call?

http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/boxscore?gameId=301218027

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | December 19, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

You mean the ball slamming foul he delivered on his to the basket? Sometimes I wonder what he's thinking! Maybe EG needs to get him a coloring book with a box of crayons! lol

Posted by: zack9633 | December 19, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

I will miss Gil. I thought he was gonna go down as one of best in our franchise history, zero jersey hangin from rafters one day.

ALOT like Cweb here... looked like our franchise player, promising team gets to playoffs. Then getys injury, then gets in trouble, then gets shipped out.

Posted by: Darnell1 | December 19, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

I will miss Gil. I thought he was gonna go down as one of best in our franchise history, zero jersey hangin from rafters one day.

ALOT like Cweb here... looked like our franchise player, promising team gets to playoffs. Then getys injury, then gets in trouble, then gets shipped out.

Posted by: Darnell1 | December 19, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

What Are Your Rest Of Season Predictions?

We are now at 6-19 I think, & 4 games out of the final playoffs spot but this upcoming game will be the 1st time all year we have everyone. Unless Flip is an idiot, I see us now starting Wall-NY-Lewis-Dray-McGee. Ofcourse things could soon change with Howard getting healthy and Flip seemingly wanting to bench McGee. I honestly wouldnt be shocked if Flip says forget it and just turns us into the Knicks or the old Suns teams and starts Wall-NY-Howard-Lewis-Dray, and says lets just run all game.

No matter what we do, does anyone see us making the playoffs? What do you predict our record to be? I said the last few games that if Gil was going to play like that & coast then we wont beat anyone. It hurts us more then helps. I think he was doing that because he knew he was out and he will really turn it up in Orlando but I also think it helps us and gives us a normal sized roster. Dray probably gets more post touches, we get some real wing guys with height to play beside Wall, and we have all atheletes who can run with Wall.

We looked solid last night without Wall & Shard. Im in the minority in thinking that Shard will look alot better then he did in Orlando. He wont be the guy on the Sonics but he will be very solid and people will be happy with him. If fully healthy, can we make a run or do you guys just think we will suck? I think Flip was weak and never held Gil accountable in terms of playing D & playing hard. I think last night you could see that these guys will play hard, play defense, and Flip can hold them somewhat accountable. The East sucks so I think we could still make it. What say you? Give me our record for the final 57 games and tell me if we make the playoffs

Posted by: dlts2041 | December 19, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Everyone is Also in there normal roles and should be no more small ball or lineup mismatches.

Posted by: dlts2041 | December 19, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Was just at the Wizards practice and Blatche made a joke about Booker and N'Diaye about to head to the DLeague. Suppose it's possible, but imho, it's step backwards for Book to head down so that Rashard can bomb 3s

Posted by: divi3 | December 19, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

We are very hard on KH, he did not ask to be here.He has an excellent personality, he is an average point gard ,undersized and slow to gard big and fast gards respectivily.We need to stop blaming him,he is not part of the rebuilding process.If the center of the critic is EG, he has don tons of bad things for this ball club. I can not blame EG on what he is doing for the last 10 months, he is trying his best to clear the problem created by him and the previous owner.
I think this trade will work for washington,if they add a point or combo gard with a good ball handling skill.RL can play PF,AB need to move to center,JM is already tested not to be that man at the center, i think blache will stay on his feet.He can still be the inside scorer.

Posted by: gtefferra | December 19, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

How long do they say Wall is going to be out?

I like both Gee and Martin, but with Howard back and looking effective, looks like Gee or Martin will be waived to make room for a pg.

Posted by: PostSubscriber | December 19, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

also, Wall did not even practice with the team. Can only guess how far behind he is at this point, didn't participate was relegated to therapy exercises for his foot.

And imo, it's fairly noticeable there are no vocal leaders amongst the players. All young guys tuning in and out of what Flip's saying, no player vocalizing what needs to be done or reinforcing Flip's coaching. To be expected from such a young, new group I suppose.

Seraphin has no idea what's going on (yet).

Cartier Martin was 100% dedicated to practice from start to finish, looked like you'd want a team of guys with his attitude.

Blatche looks too content.

Nick's locked in.

They spent 10mins towards the end just practicing inbounding the ball under pressure...but nobody seemed particularly focused on it, even after last night's debacle.

and EG was on the phone from start to finish, gotta think they are making a move before tomorrow's game

Posted by: divi3 | December 19, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

I was really upset with last night's game. And, while "blame" can be spread among players and coaches, my main critique is of Kirk Hinrich. Who determined that he is a PG? He reminds me of that little guy we had who would scoot around, dribbling the ball until there was 4 seconds left on the clock when he'd heave up a prayer. (I can't remember his name.) It isn't even like everyone is standing around and not moving. NY is always moving; even Blatche but KH keeps running back and forth, dribbling until there's no time left to actually run a play. I agree with unkonchus(?) - KH is just not very good and we definitely need another PG besides Wall.

As for Gil, good luck to him. I've stayed a fan of his and feel he didn't deserve the treatment he received from fans and the organization over the past year. I hope he does well in Orlando.

Posted by: juliagraffam | December 19, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

"One sided criticism is always partisan that's why the coach is never at fault."

You realize you just made an entirely partisan argument, don't you?

Posted by: Samson151 | December 19, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

"And if your boy Hinrich would stop throwing the ball away, make his free throws, could make a layup and otherwise was a decent point, we could have won the game. Without Young or Blatche this is not even a contest.Posted by: NewManagement"

This is the sort of criticism you used to hear about Jamison, Butler, Mike Miller, et al. -- any high-character role player type. Every virtue discounted, every flaw magnified. Dreck, basically, but popular dreck.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 19, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

"And, while "blame" can be spread among players and coaches..." posted by juliagraffam

OK, see here's what I don't get: you're assigning blame for failure following what was possibly the team's best performance in months. They lost, but really, did you expect them to win?

If the Wiz had been winning and blew a victory with atypically foolish play, then ascribing blame is appropriate. They should have known better, right? But they've been getting smoked. Needed big splashy comebacks just to stay within striking distance. Suffered some of the most lopsided defeats in the NBA.

They've been a joke.

So they finally play well, lead almost wire to wire, and we want to hand out demerits.

To me, that's just stupid.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 19, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

"As for Gil, good luck to him. I've stayed a fan of his and feel he didn't deserve the treatment he received from fans and the organization over the past year. I hope he does well in Orlando.Posted by: juliagraffam"

I hope he does well in Orlando too. But Gil Arenas earned every bit of the treatment he received over the past year. In fact, he got off pretty easy. There are fans here who were rooting for him even during the height of his idiocy.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 19, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

This is the sort of criticism you used to hear about Jamison, Butler, Mike Miller, et al. -- any high-character role player type. Every virtue discounted, every flaw magnified. Dreck, basically, but popular dreck.

High character? Who are the low characters on the team? Do you know Kirk? You talk like the guy is a knight in shining armor being unfairly tarnished by fans who arent as knowledgeable as you (believe yourself to be).

Look around, the team sucks, most of the players and the coach get criticized both fairly and unfairly. Same goes for KH, just like Blatche and Mcgee...the only difference is it bothers you when Hinrich is the focus.

Posted by: divi3 | December 19, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

KH is just not very good and we definitely need another PG besides Wall.

If Wall is healthy, KH is a perfect backup for him. But who thinks Wall is going to be healthy? And when he's not, where are you going to find a PG who is actually better than Hinrich but currently unemployed? You're not. So the best we can do is hope Wall stays relatively healthy, and sign another PG who can keep KHs minutes under 40 when Wall is out.

Posted by: divi3 | December 19, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

"High character? Who are the low characters on the team? Do you know Kirk?" Posted by divi3"

You think Kirk is NOT a high character type? I'd be interested in hearing the basis for your opinion. I've never heard anybody say anything bad about Kirk in terms of character or leadership. Same for Jamison, Mike Miller, Fab Oberto. Funny how those guys draw so much criticism from some fans in DC.

Now as you well know, I didn't accuse anyone of being low character. Never used the term. It's entirely yours. Funny how something I never said winds up being the linchpin of your argument.

Funny how it happens over, and over, and over...

Posted by: Samson151 | December 19, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I've always thought Miller was somewhat of a d-bag(maybe it's the hair), but I'm with you on the others.

Posted by: djnnnou | December 19, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

How about:Lewis/Young/Blatche/Yi/Thorton/Wall shoot the lights out.
-Howard/Gee/CapKirk/Booker/Martin play D!
-Kev/Armstrong/Hamady/YI fill in gaps and prevent McGee and Blatche from fouling out...
-Keep Gee and Martin but find a trade partner for Kirk/Lewis/Yi/Thorton/Blatche
-Cap Kirk and Wall should not be on the floor together often..No chemistry
-Somebody other than Booker to the D-League to make room for pg
==Holidays have me in a wishful mood!!!

Posted by: nikesupastar05 | December 19, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

==Holidays have me in a wishful mood!!!

Posted by: nikesupastar05 | December 19, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

HO! Ho! Ho!

Posted by: zack9633 | December 19, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Who else can we trade for????? (MIH=Make It Happen)
Kenyon MartinPF(Nuggets)-MIH
Patrick MillsPG(Portland)-MIH
R.Fernandez(Portland)
N.Batum(Portland)*-MIH
J.Crawford for CapKirk?(ATL-Wiz)
Varejao(Cavs)-MIH
S.Telfair(Wolves)-MIH
W.Ellington(Wolves)
C.Brewer(Wolves)*-MIH
M.Belinelli(Hornets)
C.Budinger(Rockets)*
T.Williams(Rockets)*-MIH
J.Green(Thunder)*-MIH
T.Young(Philly)*
Iguodala(Philly)*-MIH
Nocioni(Philly)*
*Damn all these swing players

Posted by: nikesupastar05 | December 19, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

"And if your boy Hinrich would stop throwing the ball away, make his free throws, could make a layup and otherwise was a decent point, we could have won the game."

Posted by: NewManagement | December 19, 2010 11:45 AM

Yeah, if only we had a PG who could dish out 12 assists in a close game against a top team that helped put the Wiz in position to win.

Oh, wait . . .

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 19, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

@kalo

No one said Kirk Hinrich had a bad gsme but he made bad mistakes down the stretch as did Blatche. I don't know, maybe KH was tired, maybe he felt like he needed to continue to find his shot. He should have had 20 assist, NY was wide open on numerous occassions but he brought the ball up and took shots without looking for anyone. He had the ball stolen twice when the game was on the line but overall, he didn't have a bad game, actually, I thought he was fouled on that final shot attempt. They gave Lebron the exact same call prior to that. If AB wouldn't have fouled CB on that 3 point attempt, I don't think we wouldn't be making a big deal about it.

Posted by: zack9633 | December 19, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, if only we had a PG who could dish out 12 assists in a close game against a top team that helped put the Wiz in position to win.

Oh, wait . . .

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 19, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Do you know how KH shot from the field?

Posted by: zack9633 | December 19, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

@zack9633

Someone did imply that Hinrich wasn't a decent PG. I simply pointed out that dishing out 12 assists is a pretty clear indication to the contrary. I'm sorry if that angers you. (Really, I'm not, but I figured it would be the polite thing to say.)

And everyone on the team made mistakes, down the stretch and throughout the game. So what's your point, exactly?

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 19, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

"Do you know how KH shot from the field?"

Yep. I also know what Blatche shot from the field. I addressed Hinrich shooting poorly in the game thread. Just like I addressed Blatche shooting poorly and Howard missing crucial FTs.

Again, what's your point?

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 19, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

And everyone on the team made mistakes, down the stretch and throughout the game. So what's your point, exactly?

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 19, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Well, I thought they played beyond expectations and gave themselves a chance to win at the end. They played better as a unit without Gil, just hope they continue to play with the same energy! That's my point!

Posted by: zack9633 | December 19, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry if that angers you. (Really, I'm not, but I figured it would be the polite thing to say.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 19, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

I just caught that!Mery Christmas to you too Mo fo!

Posted by: zack9633 | December 19, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

...I simply pointed out that dishing out 12 assists is a pretty clear indication to the contrary...
Posted by: kalo_rama | December 19, 2010 5:19 PM

Those 12 assists may indicate KH is a "decent" point guard; however, "decent" is not an accurate assessment of his performance in last night's game in my view. I rate his performance last night as poor, bordering on atrocious. Blame it on exhaustion or whatever -- it was still a poor performance in my book. As proficient as NY, and others to a lesser degree at times, were shooting the ball, a serviceable point guard could have gotten the job done in terms of assists. I will give him credit for his rebounding though.

Posted by: bazookajoe1 | December 19, 2010 7:15 PM | Report abuse

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