Saturday, March 29, 2008

Wizards of the West

After a rocky start in Portland, the Wizards bounced back nicely against Seattle and Sacramento. In both wins, the Wizards erased big second half margins.

Regardless of what happens on the remainder of this trip, I think the Wizards did all they needed to do to stay afloat. That said, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Wizards pull out another game against some of the Western Conference elites.

Enjoy this gem from Caron:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izRbtRdlYsU

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The "Quiet Assassin"

The play of Roger Mason is the "feel good" story of the season for the Wizards. Just two years ago, Roger was playing professionally in Israel (a fine place to site see) seemingly falling off the NBA radar.
An inspired performance in training camp two years ago landed him a one year deal with his hometown team the Washington Wizards.

This summer, Roger rolled the dice on his future in a big way. The ever stable Spurs offered him a multi-year contract but Mason knew better. Mason knew he could get a better deal and he believed in a little thing called loyalty (to the team that gave him a second chance and to his hometown).

With the injury to Gilbert Arenas, Roger Mason has capitalized on his increased minutes and proved that he is a legit NBA player. I seriously can't think of many better stand-still three point shooters in the NBA. Literally every time the ball leaves his hands, you think the ball is going to be a swish (and more often than not it is).

Last night against Seattle, Mason single handily saved the Wizards with his steady play and phenomenal shooting.

While Antawn Jamison and Gilbert Arenas are the team's key free agents, the Wizards better dole out some dough to Mason. If they don't, I'm sure 29 other teams will come calling.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Key Stretch Coming Up

If the Wizards stay afloat in the next few weeks, they will likely see either Orlando or Cleveland in the first round of the playoffs. If they falter, they're going to be looking at a match-up with either the Pistons or the Celtics.

Translation: The Wizards need to finish out the season strong or they'll likely be bounced in round one of the playoffs.

If this week's mini-road trip in Florida was any indication, the Wizards might do alright. Orlando was a great win and Miami is handing out wins like Duke in the NCAA tournament.

The Wizards have a few more reasons to be optimistic: A guy named Gilbert Arenas is coming back (see my original photography above) and the Raptors and Sixers (their competition for the five and six spots) aren't that good.

A strong finish, despite a tough schedule, is definitely not out of the question.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

A little luck never hurts


Despite not wearing green on St. Patrick's day, luck was on the Wizards side. Let's be honest, this game was over. Two-Thirds of the fans left before the final buzzer (who could blame them). In the last four minutes, the Wizards had at least four shots roll half way down the net before popping out. It just wasn't their night (or was it).
Antawn Jamison is truly making a case for team MVP. He's played in every game this season and he's really kept this team afloat. Right before Jamison was fouled on his three-point attempt with about 4 seconds to go, I turned to the guy sitting next to me and said that I wouldn't be surprised in someone got fouled on the play (FYI I'm a psychic). Jamison is savvy enough to know how to draw contact in those situations. Cuttino Mobley committed an unforgivable foul. I believe you are taught in grade school not to foul on three pointers.
Memo to Cuttino:
-Stick your hands straight in the air and pray Jamison misses.
As far as games of the year, here is my updated list:
1. At Boston
2.Boston
3.At New Orleans
4.Clippers

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Nick-elode-Young

Nick Young has been playing fantastic basketball over the last five games (14ppg) and his efforts were on full display last night against the Bucks. Nick Young showed that he is among the best offensive talents on the team. Young's greatest asset, the ability to beat defenders off the bounce, was quite apparent considering the high number of acrobatic finishes he had last night.

I'd like to criticize ESPN for a moment:

-How was Nick Young's dunk over Bogut #2 on the SportsCenter Top 10? To be perfectly honest, the dunk was not that impressive (save for the technical Young received after getting smacked in the face by Bogut).

-I don't understand the philosophy behind ESPN's Rookie Rankings (this is not an appeal to rank Nick Young higher-well maybe it is). Jamario Moon is a nice role player but if he's the 6th best rookie we've got problems. Moon will never average more than 12 and 7. Even worse, Luis Scola is the top ranked rookie. Yeah he's on a winning team but come on. Scola's best asset is his hair not his jump shot. Scola will never average more than 14 and 7. If he's the best rookie, this rookie class might lose to the Washington Mystics.

Anyone who has seen Young play for an extended period of time could tell you with a straight face that he will average at least 15 points per game as soon as he becomes a starter.

If you so chose, you can read this garbage: http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/rookies/rankings

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Stood up by the Czar

Mike Fratello was supposed to be on my radio show today but apparently he "forgot" about a prior commitment.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Wow...They did it again!

In yet another tight game with the Raptors this season, the Wizards managed to come out on top. Everyone seemed to play a hand in this win: Antawn was Antawn, Blatche played solid defense and grabbed some clutch rebounds, and Nick Young showed that he is the type of player who can carry his team for stretches at a time. I'll admit it, I thought this game was over when the Raptor sent it to overtime. Whenever I count this team out, they seem to prove me wrong.
Eddie Jordan (see above) is doing a great job.

For good portion of the game, I was wondering why the Raptors looked very average and then it hit me: They were playing without Chris Bosh (Is there a more forgettable superstar in the NBA?).

The Raptors have a nice roster. Almost every single player on that roster can shoot. Those who can't shoot (T.J. Ford) have a nice seat on the bench. It is remarkable how Toronto just spreads people out and then drills threes from everywhere. Outside of Phoenix, I can't think of team that runs the pick-and-roll better than the Raptors.

The Wizards host the Bobcats tomorrow night and have a very good chance to get back to .500 at 31-31.
One Final Note: At Wednesday night's game at the Verizon Center, someone won a prize for being the 25 millionth fan in Verizon Center history. The prize included, among other things, a year's worth of Papa Johns, Chipotle, Dunkin Donuts, AMC movie passes, and membership to Bally's. One of my friends astutely pointed out that this person could basically quit his job. While this prize sounds cool, it is also one of the most excessively wasteful ideas ever conceived.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Magic cast on the Wiz













On the first play of tonight's game between the Wizards and the Magic, Dwight Howard threw down a nasty one-handed dunk in the face of Brendan Haywood. That play pretty much set the tone for the entire game and the Wizards never recovered.

I'd like to share a few notes somewhat unrelated to the game:
-The halftime show featured a bunch of 10-year olds playing basketball. Needless to say, those kids earned the biggest cheers of the night. One kid even knocked down an NBA three-pointer. That is the equivalent of me hitting a 3/4 court shot.

-The biggest boos of the night went to Orlando's J.J. Redick. Despite the Wizards being down over 20 points, the crowd came to life as soon as J.J. entered the game. It was nostalgic hearing the crowd heckle J.J. Despite being a horrible human being, J.J. actually knocked down a few baskets which further irked the crowd.

-The best part of tonight was seeing Orlando's 5th-string center Marcin Gortat. Not only is he a terrible basketball player, he would be the center on my NBA "All Ugly Team" if not for Seattle's Robert Swift (you judge the side-by-side comparisons in the photos above).

Monday, March 3, 2008

They did it again


Either the Wizards are playing really good basketball or the Hornets are vastly overrated. While both points are probably true, the Hornets just aren't that good. When I was in their locker room last night, every single player I heard speak to the media said that they should have swept the Wizards.

I am sorry David West, Tyson Chandler, and Chris Paul, you guys aren't good enough to talk about sweeping teams. At least, Coach Byron Scott has a decent head on his shoulders. He called out his team saying they didn't know how to act like professionals and used some other words that don't bare repeating.

I'm making Tyson Chandler (see photo of Chandler fighting the entire Bobcats team above) the center on my "Most Likely to be Shot" NBA team. Right now, he and Nate Robinson (the point guard) are the only players on the team.

Quietly the Wizards have won four of five games for the first time since mid-January. Despite the lack of star players, the Wizards are playing true team ball. The bench, which has been anemic at times this year, scored over 30 points. Even Pesh knocked down a few 'buckets'.

Since I've counted the Wizards out of the last two games and they've won both, I'll again pick Orlando to win tomorrow night.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

The Chicago game

The Wizards deserve credit for having won three of their last four games. So what if they were three of the ugliest wins you'll ever see. A two point win counts as much as a 45 point win.

Let's be honest. The Wizards had no business winning this game. Chicago showed why they are perhaps the biggest disappointment in basketball. Without Caron and Gilbert, the Wizards live and die by the jump shot and fortunately in the second half the Wizards made buckets.

As good as DeShawn is on defense, his offense leaves a lot to be desired (with the exception of rare outbursts like at NO). At some point, it might not hurt for Eddie Jordan to begin shifting minutes toward Mason and Young.

New Orleans comes to town tomorrow and although I think they're vastly overrated, they'll be ready tomorrow.

I wouldn't put it past the Wizards to get this win although I doubt it will happen.

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