Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I Need This. WE, Need This.

As I awoke to the buzzing of my alarm this morning, the normally bright sunshine that is omnipresent around southern California was nowhere to be found. Today, according to Accuweather, was to be cloudy and cold (relatively speaking, a high of 55 with mild wind isn't bad on that other coast). But there was something else wrong this morning when I woke up, and it wasn't because I was in some strangers hotel bathroom or felt like I might have been missing a kidney, no, this wrong-ness felt more Wizard related.

I think I'm legitimately worried. It's the first time this post-season that I felt unsure of the Wizards chances (the last time I felt this dismayed was watching Gil miss those 2 free throws). I have always stood by them, believing unflinchingly in their ability to win. I even picked the Wizards to win in all in a bracket with some friends. Over Boston, over Detroit, over LA and over the Spurs. It was worth the $5 for me show by complete belief in their ability to win. Now, with our backs up against the wall heading into the Q, I am unsure if we can do it. As mentioned by Prada over at BulletsForever, lots of things went wrong in Game 4. There was no individual player, no individual moment, and no individual performance factor that stood out (ok, maybe offensive boards). I was so upset after watching Game 4 that I couldn't even talk about it, let alone blog about it. That last second shot by Gil, all the missed 3's, the missed rebounds, it all weighed on me. I decided later in the day that I had to let that game go. Much like a player, a blogger must learn to move on as well, as does a fan. But how does a player, a blogger, or a fan come back from a loss like that? How do you look at a game where despite losing the rebounding battle badly, despite your poor shooting, and despite mistakes of the other team, you still manage to stay close AND lose? I don't know. That's where I'm at.

Usually I'd sit here and say we have to get aggressive on those boards, but we knew that. Or we have to have better shot selection, or more assists, or sit Stevenson when he's cold, but what will that do? Frankly, I think we have played reasonably well enough to win at least 3 of the 5 games, yet we only have 1 victory. Something has got to change, but I don't even know what it is. I know the Wizards want this win. I know they (myself included) want to beat the Cavs VERY badly. The problem couldn't (and shouldn't) be a lack of desire. So whatever it is they need, I hope they find it.

I, and many other fans, have poured their heart and soul into the club and this year was going to be the year we made it past the Cavs. The year when we could tell Lebron and his rag-tag group of rotating role players that we are not a team to be messed with. That the Wizards are the #1 team in the East, a spot we held briefly when all 3 guys were healthy last season. I still believe in this team, and I hope they do to, cause I swear, I really need this.

PS - Please, please, PLEASE do not let Lebron go baseline this time. I'm begging you!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

"When Life Gives you Lemons you Paint that Sh*t Gold"

Thank you Atmosphere for naming your album with such a pertinent saying, I need it for this blog post! (Side note: got a BWD last Saturday, Blogging While Drunk. It was just a warning this time, but it can get you in some real trouble, like fired).

When I originally watched game 2, everything blurred together and all I remembered was that we played a terrible (insert Charles Barkley impression here) game. I didn't remember playing well at all but I couldn't put my finger on exactly why we were SO bad. I mean, I know they weren't hitting any shots, and that was part of the problem, but what else?

So I re-watched Game 2 last night, and this time, I took notes. Some examples:
  • Missed layup
  • Wide open Wally
  • Gil misses long shot with 24 on the shot clock
  • Gil bad shot
  • 2-6 FT @ 1:35 in 1st
  • Gil loses ball
  • Missed layup
  • Bad shots
  • No passing
  • Haywood ejected
There were lots of others in between, even some good ones like good rotations on D, but for pretty much the entire game, the offense was stagnant. Like. Real, real, real bad. I think for about 5 minutes in the 1st quarter we moved the ball, but after that time we simply settled for jump shots or missed easy layups. We stopped moving the ball, we stopped cutting to the basket and we stopped trying to establish any kind of position near the rim. If some of our more open looks had gone in, things would have been a little different, but they weren't, and our guys should have adjusted. Instead, Caron, Jamison and Arenas all decided they were gonna be the one to fix it. They took turns putting their head down, driving the lane and missing layups, sometimes getting a foul (but then missing the free throws). I can't put into words how much I hate seeing players with the Michael Jordan syndrome trying to take over the game by not passing, not spreading the floor, not play TEAM ball. In cases like that, EJ has been able to fix things by slowing down the offense to encourage passing, but this time, nothing worked, and then Haywood was out and the game was over. What I saw in Game 2 was a lack of ball movement, bad shot selection, ok not great D, poor free throw shooting, poor ball control and what I think may have been the worst part, a lack of cohesiveness.

This entire year, our team has played as a TEAM. They shared the ball, helped on D, and had the will to win as a team. What I saw in Game 2 was not the same Wizards team I've seen all year. Now, I know people don't want to point to Gil as the reason, and I'm certainly the last one to NOT want to see him in this series, but at this point, how is he helping? Hear me out.

He has shot poorly this series. So has Deshawn. Now I know, we ALL know, that Stevenson is a streaky shooter, but I think the fact that Stevenson is getting different minutes than he's been getting all year, his game is off. Simple as that. I think if you leave him in for his regular mintues, he starts hitting shots. Gil was unable to close in the end of Game 1 and also has a sprained wrist that affects his shooting (he finished 2-10). His turnovers are up and he's not passing when he needs to. All this considered, and I'd say Gil doesn't necessarily need to play. I'm not saying sit him out, I'm saying don't use him unless you have to. The Wizards without Arenas made it into the Playoffs, I honestly believe that we can beat the Cavs without him if we had to. But since we do have him, let's be smart. Let's beat them like we beat teams during the regular season. I don't know where it may be right to use Gil at this point, but EJ is a smart guy, and I think he could find a role.

Game 1 was a tough loss. Game 2 was an aberration. You know what they say...

When life gives you paint that sh*t gold (and dunk it in their MOTHERF#*%'N faces).

When I watch this game on TV later tonight, I want to feel the energy though the screen. I'm serious. All you people goin to the game better yell as loud as possible. Because you gotta believe...

We got this.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

I'm Drunk and the Wizards Lost

1. Yes. I'm really drunk and yes, I'm really going to write a blog post in my current state. 2. I do not believe my drunkenness has anything to do with the Wizards losing.

Why am I drunk? Well, the game on the West coast started at 9:30am...sweet. However, before I could enjoy the game, I received a call of a very personal matter that pretty much ruined my day/week/month. Without going into details, I"ll just say that the other people/person in this this post isn't/aren't held in the same regard as she was when I wrote the post. So I was already angry/pissed/upset/excited/confused and many other emotions before I began watching the game.

Once the game started I felt a bit better. It was going real well. Agent Zero hit his 3's, the Wizards were winning and dominating in most aspects of the game. At half-time, I decided it was time to start drinking (approx. 11am). The Wiz were ok, but I was still out of it. Once I got to beer 3 (about the 4th quarter) I was feeling a lot better. When we got deep in the 4th quarter, shit started goin bad. I was becoming an angry drunk, yellin at the screen and what-not, and then Arenas decided to chuck up some shots that I gotta say, were terrible. And I let the people sitting next to me know that. He really should have passed the ball in those end of game situations after he realized nothing was dropping. So back to the alcoholism. I decided that to make myself feel better after the loss the only real answer was to keep drinking. So I did.

I speak to you now after a solid # of beers and a 40 (I had to stop so I could drive home), and 10 minutes of spell-check. And instead of working on the 15-page paper I have due on Wednesday, that I haven't even started, I'm gonna keep drinking. That's right, I'm gonna make it so Game 1 (and a couple other things) never happened.

PS - I really could have used a win today, would have made the rest of the day that much easier.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Random Ramblings – Monday 4/14

  • I'm sure you've all heard by now, but it's worth mentioning again…Carmelo Anthony was arrested and later released for suspicion of DUI. He is due in court on May 14. (ESPN story for more).
  • I was a little too tired to do a recap of the game versus the Sixers, but I watched every minute and DAMN!!!! That, my friends, is how you close a game. BREAKING NEWS: THE 4th QUARTER IS VERY IMPORTANT.
  • I am very much looking forward to the match-up against the Cavs. Just wanted to let you know that.
  • We've got Agent Zero, Tough Juice, and now…? Ladies and Gentleman I present to you The Force, DeShawn Stevenson, who refuses to sit despite multiple injuries. And yes, Jake, I do question his shot selection, and maybe even his beard growing abilities, but I would never question the 80's themed birthday party. (UPDATE: Apparently he already has a nickname, Mr. Accessory Man….though based on his exceptional acting ability, perhaps "The Chameleon" works better. That name also works during the game, as he blends it to become an elite scoring threat behind our Big 3).
  • Tom Brokaw speaks out against the Dolans, the Garden, and the sorry state of affairs in NY. Oh, and he's not renewing his season tickets. Maybe Jimmy Dolan is hoping he can woo him back with free hot dogs. I doubt it, as it seems Mr. Brokaw has discovered craigslist.
  • If you haven't already, please help send mosquito preventing bed-nets to Africa via NothingbutNets.
  • The Wizards match up against the Pacers tonight, Truth has the preview, quick and easy, exactly how she likes it ;-).
  • Wizards Insider: Butler and Arenas might not play tonight.
  • Beasley expected to declare for the NBA draft. Thanks Chad.
  • Mr. Stern. So you're saying that despite all those emails, you believe Clay Bennett acted in good faith? Really? In that case, I have some swamp-land to sell you. It's only in the 104th biggest media market, but you don't seem to give a crap about that, as you graciously rip away a storied franchise from the only place they have called home. You, Mr. Stern, are a liar and a thief. I mean seriously folks, we've all known those OKC businessmen wanted the team out of Seattle, we finally have the sorta smoking gun to prove it, and Stern is now basically disregarding it? Unbelievable. If I were a Sonics fan, I would be so pissed at the NBA right now. They are essentially saying they don't care. I don't buy that "we tried" B.S. I understand why Stern is saying what he's saying, but how he sleeps at night is beyond me. I get it, the NBA will never get another sweet arena deal if they buckle to Seattle, but you think what you're doing now is better? You think this improves the image of the NBA. I'd hate to say it, but Mark Cuban is right.
  • The Pacers cheerleaders are called Pacemates. Just an FYI.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Random Ramblings - Monday 4/7

  • KD hits a monster 3-pointer from about 5 feet behind the arc to send the Seattle/Denver game into double-overtime, where the Sonics eventually beat out the worn down Nuggets. It was a fun to watch high scoring affair. Great to the see the Sonics get a win on their home floor. Not that it wasn't important already, but that upcoming Warriors/Nuggets game at Oracle on Thursday is gonna be HUGE if the see-saw action keeps up this way.

  • According to Ivan Carter of the Washington Post, Jamison should be back to play the Celtics on Wednesday at the Phone Booth. Good thing, cause he's been our MVP this season.
  • Round and round we go, who we'll play in the playoffs, no one (not even the all knowing Ivan Carter) knows. Cleveland has lost two in a row. We could snatch home court advantage from them with a strong finish.
  • After the season, maybe Nick Young and D-Mac can get a place out here. You know, on the cheap. This way they ain't snatching fur coats from Gil's closet no more.
  • While watching both Kansas AND the Wizards game on Saturday (wow, impressive) Truthaboutit speaks the truth about the Bulls..."Their future once looked so bright."
  • Boston will most likely be benching their starters for the game on Wednesday. In a bold move, Doc Rivers is going to rest the bench as well. Wednesday's lineup:

  • Lastly, if you have not gone ahead and provided your email to have a mosquito preventing bed-net sent on your behalf by NothingbutNets, please do so HERE. It's free and easy. Just to clarify, I get absolutely nothing out of this. No referring anything is embedded in the link.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Save A Life in Less than a Minute

Nothing But Nets is a non-profit group that sends bed-nets to Africa to help prevent malaria, a deadly disease that has killed millions of people in Africa and elsewhere (Rick Reilly of ESPN did a piece on the organization a few years ago). You can find out more about what they do below, but first, let me get straight to the point. You can have one of these nets sent in your name for taking the time to tell them your email and confirming it. You will get signed up for their emails and their "NETwork" but I think that is a very small price to pay. It seriously takes no effort.

You go to THIS SITE and you can either play the neat little game they offer, or skip straight to the email part, you're call. It can take you literally 10 seconds. Once you fill it out, you'll get an email with a confirmation you have to click, which will bring you to a page where they thank you. Real simple. If that link doesn't work for some reason, go here and scroll to the bottom to play the game (you can still skip it).

As of right now, only 743 people have done this. I say we should be able to easily get another thousand if we spread the word out. This runs until April 25 (five days after the playoffs start), which is also World Malaria Day. is their main page, check it out for all the information you need.

If you have made it this far, I'll say a few words about the program. It is a GREAT way to help people, but this is only preventative. This saves lives by keeping the mosquitoes away from people while they are under the net, while they are sleeping. There are those out there that are working towards a vaccine, such as, our government.

Play A Game. Send a Net. Save a Life.

PS - If you're wondering why this is on an a blog about the Wizards and the NBA, NothingButNets is part of the NBA Cares network. That is how I found out about them.

Guess Who's Back?


Second, ouch. Losing a game like that sucks.

Mr. "not playin tonight" played last night. I'm happy he did. But here's the thing. See, I probably should have known better, but I believed him. As such, I proceeded to skip the game live and watch it on DVR later. But then I ended up at a bar watching the Mavs/Warriors game. Well, you know that they couldn't let that bit of news just go unmentioned during that broadcast. Sure, I probably shouldn't have been watching that game if my goal was to remain clueless about the Wizards until later. I was a little disappointed, cause I was really looking forward to watching him re-enter the game live. I was gonna bust out the jersey and everything. Gil man, that was a little un-cool, but it's ok, cause you hit your first three shots out the gate, so we're cool.

I did watch some of the game later, but since I had already seen replays of the finish, it made it a little tough to sit through the whole thing. I watched Gil's entrance, most of the 2nd quarter and the last few minutes of the 4th. Check out the GameFlow from PopcornMachine, my man Gil was a -8 for the night. That was the largest negative value last night. Now, I'm not saying that it's not understandable, but it is something to take notice of. The team was playing well without him, and it's important that he doesn't mess up the flow. Also on the GameFlow you'll see that the Wizards dominated the whole game, except for the very end, which makes this loss all the more frustrating. That brings me to my next point...

The Wizards need the win vs Miami. We simply cannot afford to fall any farther in the standings. Sure, it's a three-way tie and we own the series on Toronto, but Philly owns the series on us and need to be in a better position before we actually play them. At least, I think so.

Hat tip to BulletsForever, who called it on Gil's ploy last night.

One more thing I am not going to talk about (yet) because it would be all speculation are potential injuries to Stevenson and Jamison. As of midnight on the West Coast, this was BF's latest, via Ivan Carter.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Isiah's Out!!!!

Without going into detail about my conversion, I used to be a Knicks fan. Suffice to say, being a Knicks fan during the past 10 years or so has not been fun. Luckily, my TV tunes to NBATV automatically and the first thing I saw was Donnie Walsh sitting against a Knicks background. I immediately jumped for joy. Seriously. I jumped up and down, pumped my first and used a couple 4 letter words.

FINALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


This blog simply cannot contain my excitement. I've been waiting for this day for YEARS!!!


PS - Isiah is not officially fired, but I can dream.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Arenas Cleared To Play, But....

He won't be playing the Bucks tonight. Ivan Carter of the Washington Post has the story. What are my thoughts, you say? Thought you'd never ask.

He doesn't want to have to guard a high scoring guard like Michael Redd. Although Redd does not get into the lane as much as some other guards in the league, I do seriously doubt Gil would be able to keep up with him. Coming off a 2-3 road trip tied for 5th in the East, we really need the wins. Keeping Arenas out is probably a smart move. If you buy into this (I do) then perhaps we will see him when the Wiz play the Heat.

Then again, maybe he's just waiting for that nationally televised game vs. Boston, when presumably their starters will be on the bench and Gil can get back at one of the few teams he actually did play this season. Nah. That is SO unlike Agent Zero.

UPDATE: Thoughts from BulletsForever. I had similiar thoughts, and I would not be the least bit surprised if it was true.