Finally, a winning streak: Wizards 89, Rockets 87

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As you would expect, The Dream Shake is not taking this well.

Highest Plus/Minus: Etan Thomas (+13)
Lowest Plus/Minus: Andray Blatche (-13)
Best Five Man Unit: Nick Young, DeShawn Stevenson, Andray Blatche, Darius Songaila, Etan Thomas (+4 to start the 2nd Quarter)
Worst Five Man Unit: Juan Dixon, DeShawn Stevenson, Dominic McGuire, Darius Songaila, Andray Blatche (-7 to start the 4th Quarter)

 

 

Last night's win over Houston reminded me a lot of the Wizards two wins over New Orleans last season.  Both times the Wizards were able to take down an elite Western Conference team without Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler.  Both times DeShawn Stevenson came up wtih big shots down the stretch to seal the win and both times you could argue that the win was just as much a result of the Wizards stepping up as it was the other team missing makeable shots and not showing up for long stretches of the game.

But hey, it's not like I'm complaining or anything.  If teams want to keep playing the Wizards like that, 59-23 is still a very legitimate mathematical possibility.

  • The key to last night's win in my mind was the defense of Yao Ming.  He was held to a 4-12 shooting performance thanks to an excellent performance from all the bigs tonight in keeping Yao out of the spots on the floor where he's the most effective, as the shot chart shows.

Yaoshots_medium

  • The other key to the big win last night?  Antawn Jamison.  With out 2/3rds of the Big 3, they needed a big game from the Captain, and he delivered his best of the season.  30 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 blocks is how you get it done.
  • It was kind of funny reading the reactions from Rockets fans after the game, criticizing the team's defense last night.  While their gripe is legitimate, I can't help but think that if we held more teams to 46% shooting from the field and 1 for 11 behind the arc that we'd probably be better than 6-23.  One team's garbage performance is another team's treasured performance I suppose.
  • I found myself repeatedly having to remind myself that the Tracy McGrady is only 29.  He's still a very good player (even if last night wasn't indicative of that) but he looked like someone who's a few months away from retirement, not a few months away from 30.
  • The late game offensive execution still needs some work.  The last four possessions of the game consisted of Jamison missing a 22 foot jumper (with 11 seconds left on the shot clock), Stevenson hitting a contested 22 foot jumper, Stevenson drawing a foul and hitting one of two from the stripe, and a turnover on the final possession that could've cost them the game.  Of those four possessions, there was one good possession (Stevenson getting to the line, even though he's not the ideal guy you'd like there in that situation), one lucky possession (Stevenson hitting the jumper), one rushed possession (Jamison's jumper) and one bad possession (the turnover).  It worked out tonight, but the execution on offense wasn't much better than what we've seen in other games that the Wizards have lost down the stretch.  That said, the late game execution on defense was much better than normal last night.
  • When JaVale McGee is coming to block your shot, you have two choices, you can either...
    1. Shoot the ball and have it blocked into the 5th row.
    2. Fake the shot and try to drive to the hoop.
    Luis Scola, the brave soul that he is, opted for number 2.  It did not go well.

Capt

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