Monday, March 31, 2008

April Fool.

From BulletsForever, Oleksiy Pecherov was arrested for solicitation in Utah last night.

"They Ran Into a Buzzsaw"

Phil Chenier is right, but man, that was embarrassing. 42 point loss, worst of the season, tied for 6th worst all time in franchise history. Not having Butler or Daniels really hurt and Jamison just couldn't carry the load again. It's a tough loss but it's not like it's not expected. The 3rd game in 4 nights is hard, especially on the road. Now factor in a tough overtime loss to the Lakers and it's no surprise the Jazz simply dismantled us. I mean, I have a feeling we would have had trouble with the Bobcats, let alone the Jazz. Simply put, the Jazz are really, really good. I bet their lockers are made of rich mahogany. The first half was an a seminar on how to run the pick and roll, not to mention the constant cutting to the hoop. Who woulda thought cutting to the hoop would result in points? And on defense? If those who watch the Wizards regularly can tell you where the ball is going once the play starts, you know full well that stuff is in the scouting report. I remember a stretch in the 2nd quarter where D-Will correctly anticipated the pass from the top on it's way around the horn at least 4 out of 5 times. It didn't matter if we screened him off or not, he knew exactly where to go. It's not like every other player in the league doesn't have access to this information, it just seems like the better teams, I don't know, actually pay attention. So I think what I'm saying is that I would not want to play the Jazz in the playoffs. Not without all 3 All-Stars healthy. They are just too good.

I like to think about the quality of good teams based on how well they are able to challenge or beat us. When you think about all the other elite teams, which ones have we struggled with this year? Celtics? Nope. Opening night doesn't count. Pistons? Eh, we all know we can beat them. Lakers? Stayed with them last night, that's for sure. Hornets? Beat them on their own floor. Suns, Rockets? Not in my Swog. That leaves the Spurs and Jazz. I mean, we lost games to other top teams, but not in a way that shows what I perceive as dominance. In other words, they didn't kick our ass.

We are now essentially tied with a tumbling Toronto for 5th in the East. Philly is a game behind us and Atalanta another 3 games behind them. So where does that leave us? We have 8 games left. If we don't go at least 4-4, we may be in some serious trouble. Hopefully we can get back on track at home with wins vs. the Bucks and the Miami D-Leaguers. After that, it's a tough stretch: at Chicago, home vs. Boston and at Detroit. I think we are going to need two of those three, which will bring us to our 4 win minimum. After Detroit, we come home to face the Sixers. Now, a lot can change in a week, the Sixers could lose a few. Despite what Henry says, they are a young team and they may just run out of steam. Our final two, home vs. Indiana and away vs. Orlando. By that time, Orlando will hopefully be benching some starters so we could finish that last stretch. That leaves us somewhere between 7-1 and 3-5 to finish the season. I'll be watching.

The playoffs are coming, I can smell it.

Random Ramblings - March 31

  • If you haven't heard, Gil said last night that he'd take a pay cut in order to allow the Wizards to re-sign Jamison. Gilbertology has the quotes. Adande over at ESPN goes on to quote an anonymous source (Ernie G. anybody???) stating that the Wizards are responsible for taking care of ALL their franchise players and goes on to say the organization is authorized to go within $1 of the luxury tax threshold. ONE DOLLAR?!?!?! You cannot run an NBA team like a 99 cent store Abe. I understand you do not want to go over the limit, but you think maybe you can look at the situation before you go making rules like that. The least you could do is give the typical, "We'll see where we're at at the end of the season."
  • In a bit of DC related new, Pres. Bush gets booed throwing out the first pitch at the new Nationals stadium.
  • Apparently, the Wizards do not have any "ankle-busters". Shame. Still fun to watch.
  • Save Stevenson's beard! Personally, Deshawn, I say bust out some Rec Specs.
  • CelticsBlog has some nice things to say about the Wizards and gives 5 reasonably good reasons (reasonably good reasons....yeah...that sounds right) why you should watch the Eastern conference playoff race.
  • My new favorite non-basketball related blog: Stuff White People Like. Here's a good one on San Francisco. If you're bored at work (you are, or you wouldn't be reading this) or you've completed your task of finding a vaccine for malaria (or AIDS, or whatever), I highly suggest wasting...AHEM...spending some quality time on that blog.
  • Doc Rivers sits next to Pat Riley at the G'town/Davidson game and humanity spirals towards the apocalypse. Not really. (Hockey assist to TrueHoop).
  • I watched, for the first time since I've been here, a home Laker broadcast. I noticed a couple of things. First, their dancers are hot. That's expected. Second, the Phil Jackson interview before the game, which the announcers dubbed "Philosophy 101" (lame name, couldn't they come up with something "Zen-Ball-Talk" or "Jackson on Jackson"?) was actually not the worst pre-game interview I've seen. Phil actually answered questions with direct responses and didn't seem TOO upset about being interviewed before the game. By the way, that name, "Phil Jackson." Look at it for a second. If you met a Phil Jackson in grade school, wouldn't you picture him being the lame ass fat kid eating a cupcake in the corner of the cafeteria? I would.

  • Last but not least, Jamison is STILL #2 in the league in adjusted +/- according to Sure, he's doing more awesome because Gil is out (thank you 9th grade English). But really, isn't it EASIER to be better when Gil is in (more open looks, etc)? So really, Jamison has dominated as the primary threat. Throw Butler and an un-injured Hibachi to the mix and I'd say you have a championship caliber team. Yeah. I said it.

So Close. SOOOOO Close!!!

We had them on the ropes, and I really thought we could have pulled it off. Still a great game, and although it makes things a little tighter for the 5th spot in the playoffs, I think our guys can come away with a positive attitude as we were able to hang with the Lakers. Hopefully we can carry that into tomorrow's game against Utah, which I think is going to be MUCH tougher than the LaLa Lakers.

BIG game from Nick Young tonight, scoring a season/career high 28 points!!! The kid was just on fire in the 4th quarter and overtime when we really needed him.

Caron Butler. 17 points. 12 rebounds. 12 assists. And a crazy off balance 3 to send the game into overtime. Awesome.

By the way, if you didn't notice, that was from the LA broadcast. See the hand with the finger shoot up after the he hits the shot? How great is that? After that shot I really thought if we could get to overtime that we could win the game. When Fish missed that 3 from the corner, I figured we had the game in the bag (I know, I should have known better). Once in overtime, Young stayed hot and we hung with them almost till the end. Unfortunately, we couldn't hold on in the end. Phil Jackson put Sasha Vujacic on Nick and he missed the last good shot in overtime. Our official last shot was an ugly chuck at the backboard by Butler.

Huge game from Stevenson. 8-12 from behind the arc. Ridiculous. Question, how is that the Wizards drastically improve their shooting after they hire a fantastic shooting coach, yet other teams in the NBA don't seem to be catching on? I mean, why was Hopla even available? If he's as good as his results seem to indicate, I imagine this guy would have been snagged by the Spurs or something. What gives? Not that I want him to go anywhere, I just think that in a highly competitve atmosphere that is professional basketball, some team would have figured this out some time ago.

So next up we're heading to Salt Lake to take on the Jazz. It's going to be tough, but if we can stick 'em on D and keep the turnovers low and get at least 20 assists, I think we can pull out a win.