Friday, November 30, 2007

It's been a while...

One of the benefits of having a blog that not many people read (ok, no one reads it) is that when I get lazy and slack off posting after a Wizards game, no one cares. I didn't post after the Spurs game cause I got caught up doing other stuff. I mean, they are who we thought they were...

As expected, the Spurs played terrific defense. They doubled up on Butler and Jamison when they had the ball and shut down the strong side of the court. From the Washington Post:
"They had a good game plan," Wizards Coach Eddie Jordan said. "They really loaded up on Antawn and Caron every time they caught the ball. It was tough for them to catch, and we knew we had to screen right, execute and have our angles right and the proper spacing. When they did catch, the defense loaded up on the strong side of the floor and we have to pass out of that."
But I was not disappointed at all. As pointed out by BF, we were in it for 3 quarters. We played very well, about as well as we played against the Mavs, and we won that one. So no, I'm not upset. I'm glad to get out of Texas 1-1.

Tonight, we get the 76'ers again. You will recall we beat them to get out of the 0-5 slump we started the season with. I do not expect that to happen again. I think we are going to have to play harder than we did last time we beat them. As long as we keep of the D, and Jamison and Caron continue to take on more of the scoring burden, we will be fine. Just to point out how well everyone has picked up the slack, I jacked this little quote from the official Wizards blog:
"Antawn’s average is up 8.8 ppg and so is Antonio’s….Nick Young’s scoring up 8.1 ppg and Blatche 6.8 ppg..those figures are over the last 7 games"
For all those people out in blog o land looking forward to seeing an update tomorrow morning, I'm going to have to disappoint you and say, not happening. Maybe tomorrow afternoon. I gotta get my drink on tonight.

Happy Friday. Go Wiz! (I love the implications of shortening the Wizards to simply "Wiz", after all, Nobody Beats the Wiz!)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Prediction: LBJ to Brooklyn Nets

I don't know if other people are saying this, but I need to get this off my chest. LBJ is not going to the Knicks when he opts-out in Cleveland. His friend Jay-Z is a part owner of the Nets. I have no idea where I read it, but in James' early days, he would talk to J about stuff, from business to girls, whatever. He's going to the Brooklyn Nets. Anyway, I see that as a far more likely scenario. I've believed this for the past 2 years, so I don't want everyone acting all surprised when it happens. Just remember, I said it here.

PS - Provoking this post was Henry at TrueHoop in his bullets for today: "Reciprocal man-crush: LeBron James and Jason Kidd. And Kidd plays for James' friend Jay-Z."

NBA Survey Follow-up

Following up my post here, I received an email from the NBA Fan Forum (ok, ok, it was a "Newsletter"). It contained many items, the contents of which I will share with you here.

The first part of the newsletter contained anonymous quotes from forum members. Below are some of those quotes with my own snide, witty comments following:
  • “Because I have been a fan of the NBA since I was 10 and I am now 48. I like the opportunity to give my opinions and input. I want to keep it a respectable, fun sport for all to enjoy.”
In English: Because I am older, I know how basketball should be played. I know how it should be marketed. Listen to me! Stop the hip-hoppiness!
  • “As a long time basketball fan, I feel my insights into the NBA might be helpful in improving your product for the average fan.”
Also stated: I am all-knowing. My words are your divine guidance and you shall obey henceforth.
  • “Even though I’m not a ‘normal’ fan base person (female, aged 60), I am a rabid basketball fan…and I’d like to believe my opinions count for something.”
David Stern's (fictional) response: "They do not, I only care about the opinions of my owners (except Cuban, that bastard) and other white, rich, elitists whom I believe will pay big money for advertising in my league as well as help solidify my position as greatest commissioner of any sport, ever.*

The next two pieces of the newsletter told us, the NBA Fan Forum membership, that we helped name the new, free NBA insider like program called "NBA All Access". Note: No Ahmad Rashad. Check that out here: We of the forum also voted on prizes for voting for all stars and the winner was, GASP, a set of two season tickets. Big new, big news.

Now, here is where it starts to get (somewhat) good. I'm a fan of surveys that gauge public opinion in the least statistically relevant way possible, and in that light, I present to you results of who the forum participants pick as recipients of major awards (quoted directly from the survey):

  • The top choice for MVP was Kevin Garnett (21%), followed by LeBron James (14%), Steve Nash (12%), Kobe Bryant (11%) and Tim Duncan (9%).
  • The Defensive Player of the Year award results were closer with the top choices being Bruce Bowen (13%), Kevin Garnett (13%), Dwight Howard (11%), Ben Wallace (10%), Marcus Camby (10%) and Tim Duncan (10%).
  • Manu Ginobili (34%) was, by far, the top choice for the NBA Sixth Man of the Year award. The next closest players chosen were Leandro Barbosa (14%), Boris Diaw (4%), David Lee (4%) and Andres Nocioni (4%).
Now, I can't totally make fun of the survey, as the last section provides information on who is taking the survey, which I think is quite interesting (really).
  • Age: Panelists are spread throughout different age groups from 13-17 year olds (1,174 panelists) to 18-34 year olds (5,401) to 35-54 year olds (4,452) to 55+ year olds (1,281).
  • Gender: There are 8,205 male and 4,103 female panelists.
  • Favorite team: The panel includes fans of teams across the league such as the Lakers (1,626), Suns (1,024), Pistons (941), Spurs (916), Heat (778), Mavericks (755), Bulls (693), Knicks (530), Rockets (431), Cavaliers (405), Nuggets (374), Celtics (355), Nets (306), Wizards (249) and Kings (248).
  • NBA attendance: While one-third of the panel (4,364) did not attend a game last season, 1,178 panelists said that they attended more than 20 NBA games. Ten percent of the panel said that they are a full (703) or partial (565) season ticket holder.
  • WNBA habits: There are many WNBA fans too as 2,470 panelists said that they frequently watch WNBA games on TV and 618 said that they frequently attend WNBA games.
  • Basketball participation: 4,008 panelists said that they play basketball frequently (once a week or more), while 5,115 play less than once a week and 3,185 did not play basketball last year.
So, what have we learned? No one watches the WNBA, no matter how many survey stuffers the NBA employs.

*It should be noted that I think Stern has done a fantastic job running the league for the past million years or so but I think it's time for him to step down. Sometimes fresh perspective is hte best thing that can happen to an organization as large as the NBA. I make fun only because I care.

Arenas out for 6 months?

According to an article on Basketball Prospectus by Kevin Pelton and Will Carroll, yes, that seems to be the consensus of the article. I'll quote directly from the piece, but you should really go read it.

"The three-month recovery quoted by the Wizards is extremely aggressive--most physicians interviewed for this piece felt that six months was a more likely scenario--but none would rule it out. "Pain tolerance is what it will come down to," said one orthopaedist who regularly performs this type of surgery on skiers."

The rest of the article speaks to the future problem Arenas will most likely have. Whereas he was practically assured of getting a max deal from the Wizards or elsewhere when he announced he would opt-out, now that doesn't seem so guaranteed. His knee may have never healed completely, evidenced by the return of swelling when he pushed it.

The article goes on to discuss the fantastic contributions of AD and Blatche (to which every Wizards fan should remark, "well, no s**t, we knew they were good"). I'll end this with one other direct quote from the article, one that speaks differently of their defense than I have in the past.

"Butler and Jamison have been brilliant since Arenas' injury, averaging 24.3 and 29.0 points, respectively. More striking has been their efficiency. Butler has hit 11 three-pointers at a 64.7% clip and has a 65.7% True Shooting Percentage; Jamison is hitting 56.3% from the field and has a True Shooting Percentage just behind Butler's at 64.5%. Last year, their True Shooting Percentages were 53.7% and 54.5%, respectively, and both players will have a very tough time maintaining their efficiency. As they cool down, so too will the unsustainably-hot Wizards offense."

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I'm Excited

Ok, so after a morning at work "wasted" reading all the articles and blogs concerning the Wizards, I have rested on a final emotion. Excited.

I'm excited because Caron Butler is on fire. The last 3 games he has gone for 26, 27 and 35, and as pointed about by Bullets Forever, his TS% is at 61.4. Frankly, that's awesome unbelievable-ness considering most people view Caron as a 3rd fiddle on a team that already includes Arenas and Jamison as primary scoring options. But with Gil the Thrill out for 3 months, he has stepped up in a big way. His importance to the game isn't showing up in the typical boxscore, but his 16 dimes and 9 steals over the past 3 games have been essential. I agree with Jake over at BF, I'm not ready to name him the best player on the team, but I'll go along with Dave and Glenn over at the Wizards blog who observed that the team is taking on Caron's, "identity on defense–diving for loose balls, digging to try and force steals." I like it. No. I love it. That type of basketball helps win games, check out the Bulls circa the previous 2 years.

I'm excited because Brendan Haywood isn't Brenda anymore. He's the Beast. Although his numbers the last few games don't necessarily indicate, his 6 double-doubles, his above average FG%, his intensity and most remarkable of all, his defense have all been a huge part of the Wizards success this year. Don't forget, the Wiz lost a whopping 5 games to start the season. Getting out of that hole would have been impossible without the Beast on the Boards.

(George Widman - AP)
I'm excited because AD is being AD. He's diving at the floor and making funny faces. He's passing and hitting his shots. He has up'd his game tremendously in the absence of the Agent, running this team from the point like a true point guard. Only 2 turnovers the past 3 games. 2. Douce. Duex. Both of those came against Dallas, which means in 74 minutes of combined play in two games vs GS and Memphis, he had a whopping ZERO turnovers. I'm most excited to see him starting to get to the line. The game just isn't the same without AD going down hard, laying there a while, and getting up making his "Ahhh man...I mean....damn, why do I always hit the floor so friggin hard, F##K!" face. I love it.

I'm excited about Nick Young. I was happy to see the Wizards pick him last year because above all else, the kid puts points on the board. He's only getting limited minutes, but he is scoring at will. I also like to hear things like this, from Ivan Carter over at the Post:

"They were trying to make a run so I just wanted to be aggressive," Young said. "I got a rebound and started pushing it, and the lane just opened up. One thing Caron is always telling me is: Don't play scared. I've played in a couple of games now, and I'm getting more confident. I'm seeing that I can go to the hole. I don't want to do it every time, but I feel that I can get there when I need to."

Think about it. We have the lead in the 3rd quarter, but instead of losing the lead going into the 4th, as is typical Wizards fashion, we throw in Nick Young to throw down and drive the lane, which he does perfectly. Once his defense picks up, I expect to see him in more games.

Andray Blatche. I'm not gonna say I'm excited. I'm not. I'm ecstatic. When Blatche is on, the dude is ON!! Rebounds, jumpers, blocked shots, he can even put the ball on the floor and drive the lane. Phenomenal. Although he is still streaky at this point, throwing up at average of almost 8 points a game with 5 rebounds in only 20 minutes of play is great. The energy he brings to the floor can't be quantified in statistics.

I'm excited about Jamison. It's a contract year, I'm sure he's excited too :-) No, but seriously. Can't say enough about a veteran who comes out every night and simply drops bombs on the opposition. Although I'm used to the crazy tear drops, the impossible lay-in's, and the remarkably impossible post up, I still get scared. But he always quells my fear by dropping 40 when he needs to. Nuff said.

I'm excited about Eddie Jordan. He is managing minutes perfectly, making the most of the players we have and in the process, is proving that we have one of the deepest benches in the L.

Songalia, he's good at stuff. Like setting picks and pissing off the other team. I like that. He works the Pick/Roll with AD to perfection.

So, like I said, I'm excited.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

RIP: Sean Taylor

Just wanted to say what a horrible tragedy this is. I had heard before falling asleep that he had responded to doctors and woke up to find out the terrible news. 24 years old, a new daughter and everything. Very sad. Thoughts and prayers to his whole family. The whole DC community feels this one.

NBA Referee Survey

So I'm on the NBA Fan Forum panel that gets surveys in the mail every now and again. I'm not totally sure how I got invited to join the program, but you get these survey requests about various NBA related topics. ANYWAY. The survey invitation I got this morning was about referees and asked for a my opinion on NBA trustworthiness compared to other professional sports leagues (including boxing...). It also asked lots of other questions, including ones about gambling and how I felt about the whole thing, if I thought it was isolated (I do) or if I think gambling among refs is a problem in general (I don't). Anyway, the space I liked most was where you could make a suggestion, here was mine:

We know that they review tapes after games, (now they even get a super duper projector) how about if they prepared a report on calls they thought were close and were protested, but were called correctly, as well as calls they may have missed, and released it to the press? Maybe there could even be video to go along with it? During the playoffs, I would be willing to accept a delay in the report, given the circumstances.

Anyway, I'm not sure that would be a good permanent solution, but I think that some discussion with active referees, with the game still fresh in their mind, can be helpful. That's just me.

PS - I think the results, or at least some of them, should be released. Court Reporters, get on it.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Mavericks Postgame, Initial Reaction

Wow, big win tonight. Caron hits 5 3's (new career high), the last of which was in the last few seconds of the game, during garbage time. He finished with 35 points. That's 3 in a row where Caron has absolutely picked up the slack. He missed 4 shots all night. Stupendous.

Jamison took over as the closer in the game, at one point dashing though the middle to get his own rebound on a missed free throw (I'm sure Avery was happy about that, thought they didn't show him on the sideline).

Defense was pretty good. I saw a lot of great rotations, and lots of hands in faces. Everyone pretty much stuck to their assignment and we held the Mavs to under 40% shooting. The Mavs have now lost their 3rd in a row.

Duncan on ballot as Forward, as it should be

I didn't see anything about this anywhere, but I went to to do my daily voting, and I noticed that Duncan is now on the list of West Forwards. The result is one less West Center, big friggin deal. Glad to see the League rectified this error. It would have been a travesty if Duncan, one of the best, if not THE best in the NBA right now, was not on the all-star team simply because his position was botched on the ballot. Go Vote Now, and don't forget to vote for the Agent as well!

What I missed

Well, for starters, I missed the overtime game against Charlotte on Wednesday night, due to travel. I checked the score throughout, and I could have guessed that the team was suffering a bit of mental anguish after finding out Gil is out for 3 months. Reading the follow-up pretty much confirms this (and that Butler had a huge night). But we won, and that's what counts.

Since the NBA TV was not destined to be for me right now, I also missed the Warriors and Grizzlies games, both of which we lost. I didn't get a chance to follow those games, so my observations come purely from the boxscore and other blogs.

Against the Warriors I can see that both sides were shooting the lights out, with Caron earning his first career-triple double (that's two big games in a row, for those keeping score at home). BD got one as well, first time that's happened since like, the Ice Ages. Anyway, very happy to see Caron stepping up his game to another level, but we couldn't pull it out. From Bullets Forever, it seems that we just broke down at the end. There's a shocker. The Wizards D couldn't contain a hot shooting Warriors, and when Gil time comes along and there is no Gil, someone (in this case Caron) has to take bad shots. I'm not too worried, you win some, you lose some, but it is a little disconcerting that we could have won with a few defensive stops. Haywood wasn't much help on the inside, coming off a bad ankle and all. He went 3-8 and pulled down 4 rebounds. Not exactly the Beast.

Against the Gizz, and the Juan and the Pau, the Wiz couldn't pull out a win. The Man with a Plan, Antawn Jamison went off for 41 points (boxscore), but that wasn't enough to overcome the Grizz. We did a little better on the boards and the assist numbers were up from the previous game, but some poor free throw shooting and once again, a lack of D, the Wizards left Memphis feelin the blues. Apparently, the Wizards hit a bit of a dry spell from the left side of the floor. Interesting.

It doesn't get any easier from here with games against the Mavs tonight and Spurs on Wednesday to wrap up the West road trip. I am not sure we can beat these elite teams without the Agent, but if we can play some defense and pass the ball around, we can at least stay competitive so that when we visit Philly on Friday, we'll have the momentum to take a W on the way to a week and a half long home stand. Big games from Haywood or AD (or both) could push us to upset one of these behemoths, but don't count on it. Les Bullez says it best, "this season will be a roller coaster."

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Gil Out 3 Months

I realize the news broke yesterday, but like most Americans, I was traveling and my mobile blogging stuff wasn't setup correctly (aka, I was sleeping on the train). Anyway, as soon as I read it (and here, and here) I sighed a big, long, sigh. Granted, we won 3 games without Gil, but this hurts. Just when we thought we might get him back, BAM! I am sure he is just as frustrated as we all are, especially since he's also dealing with a breakup.

But I have confidence in Gil and in this team. The Agent will work to get back in shape, and he will do it right this time. The knee injury at the end of last year was his first real injury (disregarding his rookie season), so he probably didn't know how hard, or not hard, he should go. Since Gil is Gil, he went hard. I just hope that it is really fixed this time and when he comes back, he comes back for good.

All us Wizards fans need to stick by him and this team to make sure we can stay afloat and keep winning games. We have a very strong bench, one that will surely be able to help us win some games. The upcoming road trip with games against Dallas and San Antonio is going to be tough, but hey, it was gonna be tough anyway.

I hope everyone had a fantastic turkey day. Gil will be back. The Wizards will make the playoffs. It will happen. Are you ready?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Wizards Destroy 76'ers

The Wizards absolutely tore it up last night. Even the new AI was pissed that his team got beat so bad (who wouldn't?). The fact that they were able to kick so much ass last night, without the Secret Agent speaks volumes (loud ones). There were amazing things happening all over the court.

- They played TEAM defense. I actually saw help defenders help and guards other than AD fighting through screens. Whoa.

- Blatche showed us what he can really do. Check out his stat line: 26 points on 12-14 shooting, not including the big 3 he hit to close out the half. Don't forget about his 8 rebounds, 4 assists and the one block.

- Deshawn Stevenson has offense (7-11 from the field). He was absolutely ON FIRE from deep.

- Team Assist Total? How about a new season high of 29 dimes. 'Nuff said.

Watching the game last night was fantastic, I really wish I had gone. We had 98 points in THREE QUARTERS! I hope the Wizards can continue to play like this. The energy they bring to the floor, the fact they are winning without the man, the passing and spreading the floor, the awesomeness that is Andrey Blatche. So nice.

That's it for now,

Happy traveling everyone!

GilTV Videos for the Gil2Zeros

Here are some super fantastic awesome videos from Gil advertising his new shoes (check out GilTV). Got these from Wizznutzz:

Black President:

Hibachi: Cooking with Gil

Shrimp or Lobster?

The best one, in my opinion, as Gil takes on a Lobster 1 on 1 is...

Gil Island, Cuba Shoe:

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Wow. What a bench.

I know it's only half-time, but DAMN! Blatche hits the 3 to end the half. Stevenson hits two big 3's in a row and is on fire (ok, he's not bench, but he was playing like it). What would normally be considered the bench is shooting about 70% from the field. The future Slam Dunk champ (and here) Nick Young was tearin it up as well. Blatche is leading all Wizard scorers with 16pts to go with his 4 Reb and 3 dimes. Wow. This is fantastic. If that bench can play like that in the playoffs? You kidding?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Oleksiy Pecherov at the Grocery Store...?

I was walking in to my local Shoppers grocery store in Northern Virginia and I noticed a really tall guy on crutches coming towards me. He seemed to have a cast on his foot, but I only recall thinking, "Damn, he's tall." (FYI: I am 6'3" myself, so for me to see a taller person is already strange). Then I keep staring, and it is none other than Oleksiy Pecherov. I continue to stare, like an idiot, as he walks past me out the door. He turns around to take measure of the weird guy staring at him and I say, "Hey, good luck this year." (I know, I have the quickest of wit). What he was doing at the cheapy cheap grocery store in Northern Virginia at around 6 in the evening, I have no idea (I was getting stuff to bake cookies, you needed to know this). Doesn't he make enough to shop at Harris Teeter or Whole Foods? Or maybe pay someone to do it for him? Perhaps he ran out of milk and sugar, or maybe he needed some meat for his Beef Stroganov (don't forget some potatoes!). He seemed to know someone behind the counter, as he was giving his regards in Russian as he walked out. If anyone has some inside knowledge, feel free to share.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Don't Tease Me

Ok, for all 3 readers of this blog, you need to know that I was not always a Wizards fan. I adopted them when I broke up with the Knicks a few years back. I'm originally from NY and was raised a Knick fan. Perhaps I can talk more about it another time, but first, to the link. Found this (Newsday) via SLAM Online.

"If the Knicks return home with a 2-7 record after this four-game West Coast swing, which continues tonight in Sacramento against the Kings, a change may be inevitable. Dolan is said to have already lost his patience with the poor start."

Man, oh man, oh MAN! If only...but something tells me that yet again, the NY press is taking another story out of context. I can hope. Right?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

We Needed That

I watched the win against the Pacers last night and I liked what I saw. Arenas came to play and although it was against a Pacers team we were supposed to beat (now on a 5 game losing streak), the offense and defense both looked promising. After seeing them struggle the first couple of games, it was a breath of fresh wiz. Butler delivered another fantastic performance and finished with 25pts (7-7 from the line), 7 rebounds and 4 steals. It looks like this team may be coming back to life. Their team TS% is up to 45.2% (brought down a bit by the rooks, who aren't shooting terribly well). In the game last night, only 1 player (Jamison) didn't have a TS% over 50% (table here). But the fact that they won, with Jamison shooting so poorly (7pts, 1-5 from behind the arc), shows that this team can win without it's Big 3, as long as someone else picks up the slack. In the past, that was a sore spot for the Wizards. This year they have The Beast, Brendan Haywood (more on that below). Their higher TS% indicates to me that they are taking better shots, which I like. It was SO frustrating to watch them bring up the ball, stand around, and shoot the first shot they saw, which was usually a low percentage contested shot from the perimeter (diagrammed here). Yesterday, I spoke about the 5 things the Wizards needed to do to win the game. They were:

Haywood has to be a Beast like he was the first 3 games

Check. Just like the first 3 games, Haywood finishes with a double double (16pts, 11reb, 8 of which were on the offensive boards). Jeff Foster was no problem for the bigger Haywood, who continually abused him on both sides of the floor. Haywood even had a sweet dish to Songaila under the rim in the second half of play, and finished the game with 3 assists.

Gil has got to get to the line.

Check. He did more than just get to the line 11 times (hit 9 of those), he shot 9-18 from the floor while hitting 3-8 from behind the arc. His range from beyond will come, but his 30 points and 11 assists were a must have in this game and adds him to list of Wizards players who finished the game with double doubles (only him and Haywood, but Butler was 3 boards off).

Stevenson has to remain un-slumpified

Half a check. Eh. I wasn't overly impressed with is 24 minutes on the floor. He got 5 Reb, all on the defensive end and dished it 3 times. He did help a bit on D when O'Neal was in, but I would like to see better shooting if he is going to start. 1-3 from the floor and 1 missed 3-pointer doesn't exactly scream starter to me. He didn't play terribly, and didn't hurt the team that much (only 1 TO), but I would like to see some improvement on his part.

Eddie Jordan has to play Haywood and Blatche at the same time

Check. I am not sure how many minutes they played together, seemed like somewhere between 10-20, and when they were, it was awesome. I counted at least 2 tipped passes by Blatche as well as a sweet mid-range jumper that hit nothing but net. Having both of them spreads the floor so much because most teams don't have the ability to guard two 7-footers, especially this deadly combo. Once Blatche is able to hit that 15 footer consistently, he is going to be a real threat in this league. When we had these two, Songaila, Arenas and either CB or AJ on the floor, the Wiz were simply unstoppable. I like the rotation EJ is developing. Shame on you who put him on the hot seat.

Pass the ball

Check. They won in ATL with a season high 26 assists. They finished this game with 23. The result? More high percentage shots. Perfect. As I mentioned above, 11 of those dimes were from Mr. Swagtastic himself. And Simmons says he isn't going to play the point.

For those of you not keeping score at home, 4.5 out of 5 ain't bad. I know, it was just Indiana, and we don't exactly play a tough schedule the rest of the week, but we need some good wins. We need to beat the teams we are supposed to beat. Once we do that, we will be back on track and it will be like those first 5 losses never happened.

Notes: All stats, as usual, from For more info on True Shooting Percentage (TS%), check out Kevin Peltons Stats 101 site here.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Wizards/Pacers: Pregame Points

The Wizards play the Pacers tomorrow night, and I think we owe them a little somethin, somethin. You know, like a whoopin. A spanking. A, "We are WAYYYYY better than you" type of beat down. Kinda like what the Celt's did to us. I digress. I was really happy to see us get a win on the road against a streaky Atlanta team. I had to miss the 3rd quarter of play due to travel between locations (you know, Metro on the weekends is slow as balls), but from what I saw in the first half and the last quarter of play was promising. I guess that players meeting after the loss to the Nuggs really helped. We could easily go 3-0 this week with games against the Pacers, Minny, and the Blaze. If we can do that, we are ok. If we end up with anything less than 2-1, the Wizards are gonna be in trouble. Although there are those that believe Indy is a fluke, it's not like they don't get their shots. We have to stay focused on how we win games, and with that, here is what I think they need to do in order to win.
  • Haywood must be the Beast he was in the first 3 games. His double-doubles are a huge piece of the Wiz winning games. His competition is pretty weak this week as he goes up against T. Murphy, Jefferson, and Frye. He should be able to take them no problem. In fact, I think Haywood could even post a 20 rebound game against the Pacers or the Blaze. Anyway, if Haywood comes to play, it drastically improves our chances to win
  • Gil has got to get to the line. In the past 6 games, he has gone to the line 10 times. That's it. 10. Anyone who has watched them over the last 2 years knows that in order for Gil to get his points, he has to get to the line. I know he isn't at 100%, and he has been OK at distributing the ball to the other players on the floor for open shots, but unless he gets to the line and hits some free throws, the defense will not respect him at all.
  • Stevenson must stay out of his slump. He has to play stiff D. He has to shoot better. Basically, he has to be a good complimentary player, which he hasn't been.
  • Eddie Jordan has got to put Blatche and Haywood in at the same time again. We simply dominate the frontcourt with those two in. No idea why it doesn't happen more often.
  • Pass, pass, pass the ball. They had a season high 26 assists in their win in the ATL, surprised? When teams pass, it creates more open shots, which will inevitably lead to more points.
One other thing I'd like to address is their overall shooting and shot selection. I can quantify the shooting in numbers. As a team, they have a TS% of 41.3%. The best shooters on the team are Haywood, Songaila (expected, as they usually get lots of high percentage shots) and Butler, which is AWESOME! Caron's TS% is 53.9 (all stats from Knickerblogger). However, from my observations, their shot selection could use some improvement. I didn't make it a point, since I don't think it's going to be a big problem if they can keep their D up. But I'd like to see some better shots taken.

All in all, I think the Wiz are gonna be ok, and I'm looking forward to watching them beat the crap out of Indy.

Monday, November 12, 2007

I hate Boston too, but this is ridiculous

Found this over at CelticsBlog (via BallHype), un-friggin-believable. Go to the site for more.

  • The Celtics lead the league in point differential at +18.0 ppg (next closest is 11 ppg)
  • However, the defense is tops in the league on a FG % basis giving up a stingy 39.8% per game! (that's crazy)
  • Oh and to compliment the defensive prowess, the offense ranks 7th in the league in points per game, but is the top shooting team, making 54.5% of their attempts (also crazy).
  • The PGA tour is among the top 20 in ppg.
  • Ray Allen is 2nd in the NBA in FG % at 63% - which is unbelievable for a perimeter player. And KG isn't that far behind at 6th.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Finally. A Win.

It came in the disguise of a Sunday afternoon game. They played defense, the Big 3 put up decent numbers, and Haywood played the way he had the first 3 games. We are going to need his continued production in order to keep winning, but I'm feeling good about the upcoming week, only 3 games: Indiana, Minny, and Portland. I suspect some revenge is in order for that beating on opening night vs. Indy, Minnesota is a young team we should be able to handle, Portland as well. If we can at least go 2-1 this week it would be a good sign of things to come.

We needed that win today, and they earned it against a previously hot but currently mild Hawks team. I don't want to talk about that Nuggets game, by the way. I was there, it was horrendous. That's all I have to say about that.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

We get it, the Celtics are good

Can we PLEASE stop talking about the Celtics? I was afraid this over coverage might happen. Every site I go to is Celtics this and Celtics that. STOP! We get it, they're really, really, REALLY good. Now, I know the various Celtics Blogs (including the aptly named CelticsBlog) are going to be doing this throughout the season, but we don't need it from everyone else. Yes, some people have touched on the other awesome stories around the NBA, like the Hawks starting strong(from the Boston Herald, of all places), the Hornets finally showing what they can do, and even my ex, the Knicks, doing good things, but for the most part the Celtics are everywhere. Just go to BallHype and check out the NBA section. When I got in to work this morning and my RSS feeds all came in, all the general NBA blogs were either talking about the Celtics or linking to the stories elsewhere. At least Henry Abbot over at TrueHoop hasn't jumped on the bandwagon (yet).

Look, I am all for the revival of the Celtics, but can we stick to just a few stories a day? Do we have to make such a big deal out of it? I mean, did you think the PGA tour (my fav nickname) was gonna be BAD? Of course not. Some thought they may take time to gel, but that didn't happen. They are awesome out the gate. Lets give thim their due credit and move on please.

Instead, lets talk about Amare buying his 4th house, straight cash. Or about Scott Skiles, the dictator(hockey assist to RealGM).

PS - I know this isn't gonna happen, but thanks for listening anyway.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Wizards lack the Magic Touch

What is wrong with the Wizards? Why can't they shoot? Why so many turnovers? Why is Brendon Haywood the most dominate player on the floor? Why do fans at the Verizon Center suck? Those are the questions. I seek thruthiness below (nod of the head to Colbert).

What is wrong with the Wizards?
I do not think anything is wrong with the Wizards. They had a strong preseason showing and everyone in the organization was (and still is) confident that this is a good team capable of accomplishing great things. From watching their 3 games so far, I do not see a 'bad' team. I do see a team that struggles on both ends of the floor. Their defense vs. Orlando had moments of greatness. They also had moments where they left the middle WIDE OPEN. I stopped counting the times that Howard or Turkoglu or even Nelson made our defense look like the 33rd best in the league (yes, worse than Minny). We need to cover the middle. We need to play better help defense, too many uncontested 3's after 3-4 passes. Now, the part the Wizards are supposed to be good at, even earning the nickname, "the Suns of the East," is scoring. But whoa. What happened there?

What can't they shoot?
You got me on this one. After the Orlando game I read a report that Gil's knee was bothering him so he gets a free one this time. However, the other 2 of the Wizards big three need to pick it up a bit. Yes, Butler started hitting his shot by the middle of the 2nd quarter of the game, but he seemed inconsistent. It looked like he wanted take over the game but everytime he started getting hot the Magic would drive down, exploit the lack of D in the middle, and then we were right back where we started. He ended that night hitting a little less than 50% of his FG's. Jamison shot way worse (6-16 from the field) but made up for it with some nice 3's and his ability to get to the line (a whopping SEVEN FT's). I would have liked to see AD in there a bit more, but I think he busted his nose or something, he was only in for 10 minutes. But I digress. I don't know why the Wiz can't shoot. Maybe they lost their wizardry somewhere along the line in preseason, but they need to find it, fast. The Nuggets are going to run the floor with us and we can't afford to not be hitting shots.

Why so many turnovers?
Well, Gil comitting 6 turnovers (though he had 6 assists) vs. the Magic didn't help. Neither did our inability to rebound the ball. It isn't counted in any NBA stat, but we lost A LOT of rebounds vs Magic. We actually did better vs. KG and the Celtics. Not a lot can be said here, just take care of the ball guys, c'mon now!

Why is Brendon Haywood the most dominate player on the floor?
Not enough good things can be said about Haywood and his performance this year. He has just been awesome. I plan on writing a more in depth post on the productivity of Haywood this year compared to the past, but for now, let's just look at the numbers. In Indy, 13 rebounds, in Boston, 12 rebounds, and against the Magic, a career high of 16 rebounds. Now, I know BH ain't no KG, Dwight Howard or even Marcus Camby, but if he can keep his rebounding production up, that will help A LOT (more rebounds = more possessions = more shot attempts = more points).

Why do fans at the Verizon Center suck?
I was SO disappointed in my fellow ticket holders on Saturday night. I would have expected such suckage from a Wednesday night game in January, but opening night? After getting a beating from the Celtics and a tough loss from Indy, I expected the crowd to be with it. I couldn't have been more wrong. I was in Section 416 and there was one other guy 1 or 2 sections over that would routinely try to get people involved with 'Let's go Wizards.' Look, I know, saying, "Let's go Wizards!," sounds like you are cheering on a Middle School volleyball team, but can't you put that aside for just a little while? Would it hurt you to stand up and cheer when it is clear that they need our help? I couldn't help but feel jealous watching the Boston Garden crowd, with it's rowdy, victory-laden fans booing Gil at every turn. Why did we not boo (except at the end when EJ threw in the towel)? Why did we not cheer when the Wizards were on a roll? I know, I'm asking more questions, but it really bothers me that the crowd at the Wizards games suck so much. The kids right in front of me were more concerned with trying to figure out who was yelling in the next section than who was winning the game. I should end this now before it turns into a rant, but hey, VC, lets do a better job next time, k?

Friday, November 2, 2007

Arenas in Sports Illustrated

If you haven't read it already, you should. Besides discussing his candidacy for MVP is this gem,

"I told Arenas that I imagined at his best he could be like Isiah Thomas, who won two championships as a scoring point guard. He nodded in agreement and said, "I'm much stronger and a better shooter than he was.''

And if he ever becomes a GM...

Go. Read. Discuss.

Arenas Isn't Backing Off

There are some people out there who seem to think Arenas is backing off his prediction that they are going to be the C's tonight. Granted, he said in his very own blog in a section titled, "Prediction Time," that,

"You guys are going to lose. It's not going to be a victory for Boston. You might as well just cheer for me, because Boston isn't winning in Boston for the season opener. I'm sorry."

When is a player ever going to come out and say that they are going to lose, or that they are going to have a tough time tough time with a given team? Does that ever happen? We all know there are players out there that talk a bit more than others, Rasheed, GP, etc., but I don't think any player would ever take a position any less swag-tastic than the one Gil took. Every player in the NBA wants to win all the time. If they didn't, then they shouldn't be in a Professional basketball Association.

What Gil did by stating,

"...when you look at that Celtics team, that’s a powerful team … on paper. Once those guys get going, you’re in trouble. You can’t guard that team … on paper."

is acknowledge that it won't be easy. I could even take it one stop further and say that by saying this, he is preparing himself for the win. He knows it won't be easy, but that is what makes success that much sweeter. Being able to beat the Big 3 of the C's, at home, on their opening night, is exaclty the kind of motivation Gil needs (beating the Pacers would have been nice, just sayin). They absoultely DOMINATED the headlines until this Kobe garbage came out. If it isn't plainly obvious by now that Gil loves attention...and that stealing headlines is a favorite pasttime....c'mon, don't you see? Gil thrives off the doubters and the non-believers. When he comes out and says that they are going to beat the Celtics and then acknowledges that they have a great team, which happens to include the great KG, that is ALL the same message. He isn't changing course, he is reaffirming his stance that they are going to beat them, and you know what? I believe him. After all, His Swag IS Phenomenal. Go Wizards!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Hibachi on Mild

Did the Agent known as Zero hit a spectacular 3 pointer to get the Wizards to overtime? Absolutely, and I loved it. Would the Wizards have been in that position if they had hit a few more of their free throws? Probably not. Hitting a couple more from the field wouldn't have hurt ither. As mentioned by Dave at the Washington Wizards blog, "36% [from the field] will not win games...". I couldn't agree more. The shooting was pretty horrendous. They actually ended the night with a True Shooting percentage of about 44.9%, not exactly NBA caliber. The Wizard with the hightest TS% was none other than Haywood, who finished the night with 10 points, going 4-8 from the field and hitting half of his 4 free throws (team TS% last night). Not exactly surprising given the absence of an interior defender on the Pacers, but when Haywood is our most efficient scorer, we aren't going to win a lot of games. Still, this was the first game of the season but it wasn't pretty. With O'Neal out, the Wizards should have had a 12 point lead throughout the game. Even after Gil hit that shot, I didn't feel like the tide had turned. My feelings were confirmed when shot after shot fell off the rim as OT slipped by. Even Jamison, who finished 27 points behind Gil's 34 was clanking them all night long. Dunleavy's 3 at the end absolutely put the nail in the coffin, and just like that, the Wizards start off right were they were last year, losing on the road. I hope that is where the similarities end.

Before I end this post, I want to talk about the defense. I noticed that we were having a problem with that 3rd or sometimes 4th swtich to get to the open guy on the wing. Blatche seemed to be sticking to his assignment pretty well and helping when he was supposed to and Stevenson was his usual self until banging that knee, but I didn't see a lot of great defense from anyone else on the team. Yes, we had our moments of some great team D, but we need to be more consistent. The Pacers seemed to be able to find the open man almost at will. Then when we started collapsing to stop the outside shots, the middle was left wide open, espeically toward the end of the game where we really needed a stop. If Marquis Daneils is able to drive on us, what are the Celtics going to do on Friday night? Like I said, I saw some hints of great D, I would just like to see it more often.

Now, about the Celtics. We need Haywood to come out real strong. KG is gonna get his points and he's gonna get his boards, but if we can get even 12-10 from the big guy, and our shooting gets better, we can take the game in Boston and spoil the homecoming.

Welcome to my Swog. It will be Phenomenal.

Welcome ladies and gentleman to that which is my swog. In this space on the internets, I will muse about my Washington Wizards. And about Gilbert, the original swogger, as well any other topic abound the Association that I feel like expressing my opinion on (I have lots of opinions, as you shall see. I'm also a big fan of parenthesis).

Me? I am just a fan. More about me in a post some other time. For now, let's discuss.