The Washington Wizards have always flown under the radar in this town (until April of last year at least), mainly because they've sucked something awful for years, but right now they're very lucky the Redskins are making a valiant push for the postseason. After last year's surprise 45 win season and 1st round playoff series win over the Bulls, a lot was expected of the Wiz, even with the departure of Larry Hughes. As of December 20th, 2005, the current edition of the Washington Wizards has played like dogs. But the Dave Feldmans and Brett Habers and George Michaels of the world are paying them no mind, at least as long as the Redskins keep the train rolling. However, when that train stops, Eddie Jordan might actually want to have his team winning a few games. Missing the playoffs in the East is simply not acceptable. After just over a quarter of the season, the ugliness in numbers...
The Washington Wizards, 9-14 (2-6 since last we spoke)
3rd in the Southeast Division
11th in the Eastern Conference (at this rate I'm going to owe Whitney two cases of beer)
This time last year, the Wizards were 14-9, upstarts in the Eastern Conference, just warming up in fact. They began the New Year with a 7 game win streak and never looked back, garnering the 5th seed in the East. This year, however, they seem listless and uninspired, with each game being an absolute struggle. The current holiday West Coast road trip is killing them, as they have already dropped games to the Lakers (by 6), Portland (by 6) and Seattle last night (by 10). Jesus christ fellas, you just easily beat two of those teams at home a month ago (crushing Seattle by 41 in fact!). Sunday night in Portland the Ebony and Ivory Ace and Gary, Steve Blake and Juan Dixon, shot you down in Portland (in front of what looked like 3,000 fans...I'm not even kidding, that Greg Oden high school game on ESPN had more fans present) . The Wiz need to salvage a game on this trip, and that means beating either the banged up Nuggets (hey, shocker, Marcus Camby is hurt) or the Amare-less Suns (however, look out for Paris Basket Racing's second biggest star, high-flying Frenchman Boris Diaw). An 0-5 West Coast swing could have lasting effects, physically and mentally, on what I perceive as an already tired bunch.
Is it the personnel, is it the coaching, is it just an early season slump? Is Larry Hughes really that important? I'm not quite sure myself, but I've watched way more Wiz games than ever before, and the real problem (start the broken record) seems to be on the defensive end (and the glass). The Wiz are still getting tremendous individual offensive performances from Gilbert Arenas and Antawn Jamison, with Caron Butler chipping in off the bench:
- Gilbert Arenas, 28 points, 6 assists and 1.5 steals per game
- Antawn Jamison, 18 points, 11 rebounds per game
- Caron Butler, 15 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists per game
Obviously, the team continues to score points - they're 6th in the league at 99.1 points per game (pretty amazing considering they are 27th in the league in field goal percentage, at 42.9). But, lookee here, the Wiz give up 99.3 points per game, 26th in the league (they're barely ahead of the Hawks, 76ers, Raptors and Sonics). That level of ineptitude on the defensive end does not a playoff contender make.
As to the poor performance on the glass, you cannot get outrebounded night in and night out without getting a little frustrated. The Wiz often get only one shot off (Gilbert for 3!), as they lack any active bodies to crash the offensive glass, and they repeatedly give opponents second and third looks by failing to box out and grab a defensive board (I still see guards grabbing boards left and right against the Wiz). Eddie Jordan needs to get this team straightened out, and fast, because there is no way in hell I'm starting a Weekly Caps Watch.
Oh poor Vince Carter, I'm crying in my coffee pal...
Asked about his favorite moments from the NCAA Tournament, Vince Carter whined:
"I don't have any favorite moments. We lost in the Final Four twice, so geez, that's my least favorite," Carter said. "Every time I look at Andre Miller and Mike Bibby, boy ... I lost to Utah and Arizona. But it's okay."
The New Jersey Devils coach, Larry Robinson, stepped down because he can't sleep, he's stressed out, and he's got "pounding headaches". In that case, I would imagine Dick Vermeil, Denny Green and Bill Parcells were primed to call it quits Monday morning. Sack up buddy.
If I were to tell you one QB would lose by 45 points on Monday night, taking a seat in the 3rd quarter, and you had to choose between Brett Favre and Kyle Boller, I don’t think we would need a recount to figure out the winner. As geriatric Lee Corso might say, “Not so fast my friend”. It was Boller starring on MNF and Favre looking as terrible as I have ever seen him. I think Peter King hung himself last night. After that debacle, there is no way Favre could retire now, right? 3-13 and on the worst team of his career? He ain't going out like that...
OK, no Nomar in NY next season, instead he joins the cast of "Red Sox West" in Los Angeles, joining Grady Little, Bill Mueller and Derek Lowe. Nomar's gonna play 1B for the Dodgers, which should be entertaining as hell. Does anyone reading this really care? Probably not, but my favorite ex-FSN reporter came to Nomar's press conference, not as a reporter, but as the trophy mistress of Derek Lowe, and really, I couldn't resist the temptation to get Ms. Hughes and Mr. Lowe some more facetime on GTB. Ain't they the cutest?
Tonight’s New Orleans Bowl…yeah, uh, it sucks? 6-5 Southern Miss vs. 6-5 Arkansas State. Jerry already addressed this game, but seriously, it needs to be said again...Arkansas State might be the worst bowl team ever. As long as Southern Miss takes the field, semi-sober, this is a Chris Fowler Woodshed Special. Southern Miss 42, Arkansas State 13.
GTB's Link of the Day: "The Chappelle Theory" (I have absolutely no idea what to make of this)