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Posted at 5:41 PM ET, 02/13/2011

Open thread: Wizards (14-38) at Cavaliers (9-45)

By Michael Lee

Josh Howard will return on Sunday to help the Wizards as they attempt to end a 26-game road losing streak dating back to April 9. Howard has missed the past 19 games while dealing with discomfort in his surgically repaired left knee. Coach Flip Saunders said Howard will get between 15 to 24 minutes of action against the Cleveland Cavaliers. "He's feeling better, he's got a few practices in. We've got two days off before our next game, then we've got all-star break. It will be a good situation, play him, get some rest time, play him again and get another rest." The Wizards have opened the season with 25 consecutive road losses, the third-longest streak in NBA history behind the Dallas Mavericks (29, 1992-93) and the New Orleans Jazz (28, 1974-75). Al Thornton will be on the active list, but Rashard Lewis is out with right knee tendinitis.

Let the conversation begin in the thread below. You can also join the conversation on Twitter with Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee). See your tweets here by using #wizards.

Tipoff: 6 p.m.; TV: CSN; Radio: 106.7 FM. Check out a live box score from tonight's game here.

By Michael Lee  | February 13, 2011; 5:41 PM ET
 
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Next: Wizards finally play complete game on the road, defeat woeful Cavaliers

Comments

I'm all for media hype but to use the phrase "must win" is just plain silly...The reason I say that is what "if" the Wiz DON'T WIN... do they just cancel the rest of the season???

And if they do win, let's not be naive to think it will catapult them to make the playoffs or even finish at .500

Just say it's an important win to rebuild confidence and let it go at that...Same for Cleveland, it will not change anything....

Posted by: pentagon40 | February 13, 2011 6:16 PM | Report abuse

lol, I was going to name this game "Fire Flip vs Da Cavs". I think we have to seriously look at firing him if we get murdered by the Spurs one night and lose to the pitiful Cavs the next night while going 0 & forever on the road. Its defiinitely not all his fault and we suck so much that it might be good to keep him so we can get a top pick & then axe him but if we do that then people might get mad at us for doing it at that time.

If he loses then I wouldnt argue at all with him getting the boot. His sytem sucks, atleast for our team and he cant motivate our guys enough. Now he shouldnt need to motivate pros but this could be like a Bobcats with Larry Brown or a Pacers with Jim O'Brien situation where the team just doesnt respond to them anymore and looks way better with the new coach & system change.

Posted by: dlts2041 | February 13, 2011 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Besides that dumb shot by McGee, this is the best weve moved the ball on O in a long time. If we play like that and keep the enthusiasm then we can not only win this game but be more competitive overall

Posted by: dlts2041 | February 13, 2011 6:22 PM | Report abuse

you know what I always say, if NY has a small guard on him then post him every single play until they stop it

Posted by: dlts2041 | February 13, 2011 6:28 PM | Report abuse

dats right NY. Stay aggressive. Dont settle for those long J's. Take it when its there but otherwise post up or drive closer

Posted by: dlts2041 | February 13, 2011 6:31 PM | Report abuse

I thought NY got fouled on that last drive but he didnt complain so maybe not

Posted by: dlts2041 | February 13, 2011 6:33 PM | Report abuse

I thought Flip wouldnt get fired tonight but I tell you one thing. If we lose this game after the way we started, I wouldnt sleep easy tonight if I was him

Posted by: dlts2041 | February 13, 2011 6:38 PM | Report abuse

very important stretch in the game right now. NY & Dray on the bench. Have to keep a solid lead

Posted by: dlts2041 | February 13, 2011 6:49 PM | Report abuse

LOL... dlts, it looks like you have a one-man commentary going.

Posted by: bazookajoe1 | February 13, 2011 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Man some of JaVale's goaltends are so damn dumb....Jesus.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | February 13, 2011 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Looks like JW is back to full speed.

Posted by: bazookajoe1 | February 13, 2011 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Oh the Cavs are really bad. I thought they were just unlucky with injury issues, but they are just plain bad.

Posted by: RickJohnson621 | February 13, 2011 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Who kidnapped the original Wiz and replaced them with these clones?

Posted by: bozomoeman | February 13, 2011 7:07 PM | Report abuse

65-40 as I type this. Even the Wizards probably can't blow this lead. Memo to the Cavs owner: Your team probably isn't winning a championship anytime soon.

Posted by: randysbailin | February 13, 2011 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Looks like the Wiz are trying do to the Cavs what the Spurs did to them.

Posted by: bazookajoe1 | February 13, 2011 7:12 PM | Report abuse

If the Spurs played the Cavs last night, they might've won by 70.

Posted by: randysbailin | February 13, 2011 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Man some of JaVale's goaltends are so damn dumb....Jesus.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | February 13, 2011 7:03 PM

I don't worry about McGee's goaltends calls. There have been plenty legit blocks that have been called against him.

Secondly, Patrick Ewing got credit for an enormous amount of goaltends just because he was Patrick.

So give McGee a break for something, please.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | February 13, 2011 7:28 PM | Report abuse

The Cavs making a modest run. The opera isn't over until the fat lady sings or the Wizards acquire better players.

Posted by: randysbailin | February 13, 2011 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Who would have thought an AJ lead team wouldn't be playing any "D"?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | February 13, 2011 7:44 PM | Report abuse

The Money Quarter is upon us. Let's see who love the Money Quarter. This is way swagger and trash talk and braggodocio and downright confidence comes in.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | February 13, 2011 7:54 PM | Report abuse

I don't worry about McGee's goaltends calls. There have been plenty legit blocks that have been called against him.

Secondly, Patrick Ewing got credit for an enormous amount of goaltends just because he was Patrick.

So give McGee a break for something, please.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | February 13, 2011 7:28 PM | Report abuse

You really don't get it.

It's not about giving him a break...it's about him getting smarter on defense. If you force someone into a forced contested fadeaway shot...you take that. That's better than giving away two points on a guaranteed miss.

Good defense is not just blocking shots. It's been games when he's given away 6 points...and I know it's been games they've lost by 5....details and the little things matter.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | February 13, 2011 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Jamison makes Andray look like Kevin McHale.

Posted by: bozomoeman | February 13, 2011 8:09 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if the Cav fans will be posting about how great AJ is since he got 21 and 7?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | February 13, 2011 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Let me just say this i would take AJ over the Serial Skirt Chaser any day of the week and sunday's too, yeah they finally won a road game but iwouldn't be celebrating.

Posted by: dargregmag | February 13, 2011 8:24 PM | Report abuse

CHAMPIONSHIP

Posted by: dlts2041 | February 13, 2011 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Not a bad performance in the wake of the Spurs defeat. I don't remember which member of the brain trust said the measure of a team was how it responded to an embarrassing defeat -- if that's true, then the Wiz did OK.

Looks like Washington finished with 15 more field goals -- as a point of comparison, SA only had 7 more that the Wiz in last night's game -- and the final score wouldn't have been nearly as close had Cleveland not received double the chances at the line. The Cavs also shot well from the arc -- connecting on 11 for 48%. Couldn't help noticing that Washington's 12 blocked shots included only 2 from McGee, who usually dominates that category. Nice to see others continue that practice.

Nice job, Wizards. Welcome back Josh Howard (possibly my current favorite Wiz player, maybe because we don't get to see much of him).

Posted by: Samson151 | February 13, 2011 8:33 PM | Report abuse

I thought they might have a good shot at winning after playing so poorly the night before.

Posted by: cannontl | February 13, 2011 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Nice to see Josh Howard back and nice to finally get that win on the road.

Posted by: JPRS | February 13, 2011 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Samson151,

"Looks like Washington finished with 15 more field goals -- as a point of comparison, SA only had 7 more that the Wiz in last night's game"

An additional point of comparison though is: Wizards starters still on the court as the second ticked off the clock in the 4th quarter; San Antonio's "big three" sat for the entire second half.

The Wiz are still much closer to the league's bottom feeders than they are to the elite teams. Maybe that goes without saying. A win is a win is still a win.

To turn the old saw on its head "if you want to be the best . . ."

If you DON'T want to be the worst, you have to beat the worst.

Posted by: JPRS | February 13, 2011 8:56 PM | Report abuse

You really don't get it.

It's not about giving him a break...it's about him getting smarter on defense. If you force someone into a forced contested fadeaway shot...you take that. That's better than giving away two points on a guaranteed miss.

Good defense is not just blocking shots. It's been games when he's given away 6 points...and I know it's been games they've lost by 5....details and the little things matter.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | February 13, 2011 7:58 PM

I think I do get it. McGee is still a very young player, though he's been in the League a bit. I am not quick to judge him as a seasoned vet like most and Flip.

I say let the fella keep growing till he mature's first then put the vet measuring stick on him.

And even at that, some vets will still get more leeway than others.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | February 13, 2011 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Now all we have to do is wait till Wednesday April 13th @ Clevland for our next road win.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | February 13, 2011 9:04 PM | Report abuse

You see SDMDTSU shot blocking in the NBA always has been and still is a subjective call by the referees. Unless there is some way to minimize the unjust calls either way, it's pointless to fuss over McGee's goaltend calls.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | February 13, 2011 9:12 PM | Report abuse

"The Wiz are still much closer to the league's bottom feeders than they are to the elite teams."

Oh gosh yes. Firmly in the bottom five or six, along with the Cavs, NJ, Sacramento, Minneapolis...

I'm not the one blaming Flip for it, either.

Posted by: Samson151 | February 13, 2011 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Nick Young is a B-A-A-A-A-A-A-A-D Man!

Posted by: musicmanjr | February 13, 2011 10:02 PM | Report abuse

I think being a bottom feeder is pretty much expected of year one of a "rebuild". At least, with this owner, we are not being sold a bag of sorry goods (Snyder), promoting the other teams stars, or giving away tickets. This is young team prone to mistakes with veterans mixed in to provide some guidance for the future. I believe we still have a winning record at home, which points to some talent on the roster. If Josh Howard somehow returned closer to healthy form, if AB had not digressed and/or broken his foot, along with some other "ifs" such as JW being in and out of the lineup at the beginning of the season, this team could have been fairly competetive this season. That is, something approaching average for the first year of a rebuild. The constantly shifting lineup due to injuries has certainly contributed to a lack of continuity as well. So, get a lottery pick to pair with Wall, hope some current players continue to develop their games, and in a couple of years, perhaps, have a team capable of snagging a free agent. There is a plan that is worth following. FS, not matter what any of you say, is not the problem and neither is EG. EG, in particular, made this team relevant again a few years ago just like he built winners in Milwaukee and NY previously. Will FS be here in 3/4 years? Maybe not. But, he is not a bad teacher in the meantime considering he has sent more players from the CBA to the NBA than any other coach in history and has the 9th best winning percent of current NBA coaches. Make that 8th with the retirement of Jerry Sloan. All is not lost in this lost season!

Posted by: rphilli721 | February 13, 2011 10:50 PM | Report abuse

If we can get Cousins for Blatche we got to do it!!! Maybe Blatche with our 2nd rounder gets it done?

I think Cousins & McGee together would be dominant. They can both switch off and rotate between PF& C. McGee's shot blocking, Cousin's rebounding and scoring ability. Draft a SF like Terrance Jones.

Posted by: Darnell1 | February 13, 2011 2:35 PM | Report abuse

I like it. COUSINS could be a real asset running with and substituting for McGEE.

Keep developing N'DIAYE, and retain ARMSTRONG for insurance as a third option at center.

I'd rather YI and AL THORNTON went for COUSINS along with our second rounder, but I suppose that's dreaming. JIANLIAN is soft and brittle, but better than any of his other stops in the NBA, and can cause match-up problems at the five/four in spots.

KEVEEN is showing signs of life, and I've liked his style since he got here.

LEWIS and BOOK are lookin' good as a dynamic duo at the four/three.

I do think we need a three provided HOWARD doesn't make a full recovery. A full recovery is problematic at best, and with THORNTON traded, TERRENCE JONES would be a great addition.

CARTIER MARTIN is good as a third option at the three, and can fill a spot duty emergency two.

YOUNG is the two, but he's so damned streaky. Half the time, he couldn't throw it in the ocean if he was in a boat out at sea. We can worry about that after next season.

CAPTAIN KIRK stays. Excellent as the second option at two and fill-in one.

And J-WOW is the man at the one.

I like SHAKUR as the third option at the one. Kind of a poor-man's SHAUN LIVINGSTON from last season.

Posted by: glawrence007 | February 13, 2011 11:44 PM | Report abuse

The first win on the road of the season is NOT ENOUGH to save Flip's job. Anyone that posts any defense of his coaching this season has not been watching the games.

Good win all be it against a team worse than ours...

Posted by: squidward1 | February 14, 2011 12:10 AM | Report abuse

squidward1,

The coach isn't going anywhere.

The Wizards record is pretty much in line with every other young franchise in the NBA (e.g. the median age -- i.e. typical age -- of the bottom 8 is 24). The median age of the top 8 teams in the league is 27.

The management's standard has been that they want to see improvement this year. Even though the Wizards are still losing more than they're winning, they are getting better -- and the record reflects that. This is true even with injuries to key veterans. They are still at least one or two players even with a healthy roster.

"Good win all be against a team worse than ours" . . . that's usually how it goes in professional sports. Teams tend to beat teams that they're better than, and they tend to lose to teams that are better than them.

Posted by: JPRS | February 14, 2011 1:41 AM | Report abuse

@JPRS,

Nice logical post. FS is not going anywhere considering this team has not underachieved in the least and he has a hefty contract. The only way he is out before that contract ends is if he walks away with some buyout bc this scenario is not the one for which he signed up.

I think he is fine for now and, who knows, he may get to see this project through to better days and better players. It's also possible by then some players will need to hear a different voice after all the berating they've taken from him to make them better. It happens all the time. Who know? We'll see. But, I'll be shocked if is gone before this contract ends.

Posted by: rphilli721 | February 14, 2011 5:23 AM | Report abuse

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