This is a Public Service Announcement, sponsored by TruthAboutIt and the good folks at Bullets Forever......Allow me to reintroduce myself, my name HOV....H to the O-V. Ok no, I'm not Jay-Z, but I'm definitely fresh out the frying pan, into the fire.
You may or may not have been to my site before truthaboutit.net. [tonight's game preview] If you haven't seen my live Wizards game blog, then perhaps you've seen my photoshop work such as the Lock Smith, the Bean Burrito (I still insist that's a better nickname than 'The City'), the Gilbert Arenas - I Can Be A Legend, Gil as Nacho Libre, Tuff Juice the Movie, and DeShawn Stevenson in Black Snake Moan. Etc. Basically, I've been a Wizards fan since I moved to DC at the ripe age of 10; and that's DC, DC...not MD DC or VA DC.
So, as Prada announced in tonight's open thread, every other one of my live game blogs will be posted on Bullets Forever, the alternate ones continuing to be posted on my site. I'm really looking forward to this collabo. Prada, along with the contributions of Jake the Snake, has done a great job in building a community of Wizards' fans and I'm honored for the invite to take part. Hopefully, this all works out.
On to tonight's game. Caron Butler is definitely out. I agree with the Pradamaster. Although we want to win every game, a split in these next two would be huge. And I'd rather Caron get healthy and play against the Lake Show than against the Jazz.
Enough of all that, let's start the show.....
Steve Buckhantz comments that it's a playoff-like atmosphere in the Verizon. I say that it's Friday, it's 8 o'clock, and people have a little more time to get loaded; no worries about getting up for work tomorrow.
Congrats to AJ and Tuff Juice. How many teams have had 2 all-stars, in 3 of 4 years, who have come from a different combination of the same 3 players each time?
9:07 - Andray Blatche gets a nice bank shot. I see ya kid, been working out Tim Duncan style. 4-2 Wiz.
8:42 - Andray proceeds to get blocked by AK-47, twice in a row. He took it to the basket strong, but not strong enough to draw a foul.
7:49 - AB is all over the place...a bucket then a nice drive to get the Jazz D moving and a dish to BTH under the hoop. Haywood Hopla's both FTs. 8-4 Wiz.
7:31 - Wow, a steal by AB as he anticipated a post feed.....probably because he was awake during the scouting report...and got a steal. He knows that stepping up in Caron's absence start with hustle.
6:37 - Damn, AK-47 is grinding on Andray.....AB just got blocked by Kirilenko again...this time on a fast break. Luckily, AJ got the rebound, put-back and And1 FT. All-Stars hustle down the court. Isn't it crazy to think that Jamison wasn't an all-star until he came to DC? What an underrated trade that was.
5:50 - At the first timeout, the Wiz are up 11-7. Very up and down game...funny, it almost seems like the Jazz should be ahead.
4:36 - Andray with a steal. I'm drooling over his potential. He shows ability in every facet of the game. Boozer is getting that FT line jumper, but can't hit it.
3:33 - 3 by AJ, he's got 10 straight.
Phil Chenier just said that Eddie Jordan said that Jamison is the most professional player that he's ever coaches. I don't even need to look at a roster of the teams he's been apart of to confirm that's true.
Had to click to ESPN real quick for a sideline interview with Caron Butler...his ending statement, "Racine, we made it baby!" Very Jay-Z-esque. I forgot that only the big networks, ESPN & TNT, were allowed the mic'ed up access. So, I'm actually going to attempt to watch the game on both channels (I got 3 TVs in my living room) so I can hear the analysis from both the locals and the nationals. I'm hearing 4 people talk about the game while trying to blog it.
1:43 - AJ is on fire. He just hit another 3, 21-9 Wiz. Hubie Brown is actually giving credit to the Wiz zone. Good to hear, considering that it's been very Swiss cheese at times this year.
I usually don't write that much in one quarter, but in a period where Antawn Jamison scored the last 13 points for the Wizards, which is more that the Utah Jazz's 11 points (their lowest scoring quarter of the season), there was plenty to say.
Thank you, thank you, thank you Tom Thibodeau. At first, I wondered, and perhaps was a little jaded that he spurned the Wiz for the Celtics....but that move ended up being a blessing in disguise. Who is to say that Tommy T would've been bad in DC? Who is to say that he would've been good? All I know is that Randy Ayers is working out just fine.
21-11 Wizards after 1. If you would've told me that DC was only going to shoot 38.1% in the 1st, I would have said that they we were down 12. But the D....the Wizards made the Jazz commit 8 turnovers, and shoot 23.8% percent. So then I say, with 4 turnovers of their own and that FG%, this Wizards team isn't even playing the best I think they can play....even without Butler.
Jamison is being very aggressive tonight. He tends float on offense at times...and I never have a problem with that because he always takes care of his grown man work. But he realizes he must create more now with both Gil and Caron out.
Buckhantz just called Antawn a fine wine.....getting better with age thing. So, for obvious reasons, he's not a white wine. What would he be then, a Merlot? What am I talking about? I don't know a damn thing about wine outside of red, white and pink.
8:48 - Timeout by Eddie Jordan, thanks to an 8-2 run by Utah to start the quarter. I've been a defender of Darius Songaila before, but he's definitely been in a rut lately.
D-Song always passes well though.....if you are in the game with him, you just gotta cut like Andray just did.... make a good, hard cut and you'll get the ball. Basket, and 1 for AB. 27-19 Wizards.
What if Sports Illustrated, in their famous, "ask a player anonymously about other players" poll, asked the league to vote on which player they are most afraid of causing an injury to them as a result of the player's style of play? Who would win? Ronald Artest or Matt Harpring? I say Harpring...they both hustle on D, but sometimes Artest can float around the perimeter on offense. Harpring is always putting himself in the mix, no matter where he is.
6:07 - Harping just attempted, and missed, the first Jazz FT of the game. He makes the 2nd, 27-22 Wiz
4:41 - What a sequence....Harpring, always in the mix, tries to Debo Stevenson in the post on offense...who either falls, or gets knocked down, I can't tell....but Harpring is open for an attempt which Blatche crams down his throat...another block, some ball tips and the Jazz ultimately get the ball, a foul, and some FTs.
3:50 - Wiz can't do anything but miss 8 straight attempts while the Jazz get some scores to go up 31-27, 12-0 run.
3:31 - Finally, Blatche breaks the ice. But then, the 2nd straight 3 by Demi Moore's husband's look-alike doesn't help. And get this, Carlos Boozer, who Billy Walton proclaimed as a 'Wizard Killer' in the pre-game, has yet to score a point.
Wow....what an athletic move by Antonio Daniels to end the first...a spin and a double-clutch runner from the side and off the glass. The first ends without things getting out of control. The Wizards are up 39-38.
Half Stat Guts:
- Jamison has 19, Blatche had 9. After that, only two other Wizards scored, AD with 5 and BTH with 6. That's gotta change.
- The Wizards played great D by holding the Jazz to 36.6% FG and making them commit 10 turnovers.
- However, the Wizards are shooting the exact same %, both teams are 15-41. Knowing that, I'd rather not get out-rebounded by 9, 29-20 Utah.
- It's a block party. Andray Blatche has 3, and Andrei Kirilenko has 4 (3 of which are on Andray Blatche).
- That Jazz Big Three that I talked about in my preview, they have 7 points on 2-14 shooting.
Maybe my friend Dean, the conspiracy theorist, is right. He thinks that his Lakers got Kwame Brown because of post-Jerry West Memphis era connections. At first, I thought he was crazy...but now, I'm starting to believe.
For one, Bill Walton just called Pau Gasol the antithesis of Kwame Brown. Ehhhh.....I'm not so sure about that. Like we all know, both can be soft like goo. But Walton went on to wonder what other NBA teams are thinking now that Lake show got Pau for much less than his value. Which, a Bullets Forever poster, billy332, brought up a good point.
Now, do you think Mitch Kupchak walks by Kobe and has one of those conversations where if you observed them from a distance, you'd think it was more than amicable, hell, you'd think that Mitch was about to slip the Kobester his hotel room key. But really....while a smile is on his face, in his best ventriloquist impression, Kupchak is really saying this: "Look you little ungrateful MF. You whined and complained like Aunt Flo was in town all summer. You lost patience and faith in the organization. You talked trash about a teammate, who, some would say was the team MVP before he got injured. Now what? I tell you what….like the Rock says: 'Know your role and shut your mouth, jabroni.' If you don't bring this team a ring, then it's 100% on you. Not me, not the Doctor, not the Zen Master, not his girlfriend. You. Ok, well, have a great game Kobe (as Mitch pats him on the butt). Talk to you later."
Click on for the 2nd half.
11:32 – Andray Blatche starts the 2nd with a dunk off an AD miss. Hubie Brown says this is the best he's seen him play. I just might agree. Wiz up 41-38.
10:57 - And another jumper by AB....wait, trade him for Gasol? Aww...hell no! 13 points, 3 blocks, 3 steals 5 rebounds for Unbreakable.
8:52 - Well that doesn't make sense. The Wizards commit a Cardinal sin by not stopping Deron Williams, driving the ball right down the middle of the court. D-Will is wide-open for the 3 from the top. Luckily, he misses. But with all 5 Wizards below the FT line, Utah is somehow able to get an offensive rebound and put-back. 45-44 Wizards.
7:51 - Wizards get a little sloppy, trying to put the ball on the ground too much in the paint, Blatche turnover. Thankfully, Deron Williams is having a terrible shooting night; 1-6 from the field and limited minutes because of 3 early fouls. After AJ's 22nd and 23rd points on the break, the Wiz lead 49-46.
6:30 – Antonio Daniels shot off the glass for a bucket. 51-49 Wiz. Going to the hoop definitely needs to happen more than outside shots. DeShawn is 0-5 from long distance.
Eddie has tightened his lineup to 8 deep so far in the game. Nick Young and Oleksiy Pecherov have yet to see time. Is it safe to say that Eddie doesn't think "gunners" match-up well against Utah?
Not that I'm a fan of Sex in the City....very far from it...if you want to properly use 'antithesis', put me and liking that show in the same sentence. But I've been around enough females to have seen the show here and there -- Mehmet Okur reminds me of a Euro version of Mr. Big. He's got 20 points, 12 in the quarter. You tell me who is who.
I swear, more and more, AB is looking like a disciple of AJ. Jamison is worth every penny he wants this off-season. Just consider his contribution to the development of the younger players, not too mention that fine wine thing.
2:12 - Boozer first points after 8 misses. He's getting aggressive now. Because that's what liars do. LeBron James doesn't like liars.
Great, an article title on ESPN.com, "Bryant's acrobatic dunks highlights 46-point night." I dread having to listen to the bandwagon Laker fans on Sunday.
The 3rd quarter ends and both teams clearly want this win. The Jazz are up 67-66. While both teams aren't shooting the rock particularly well, Utah's offense, despite the Wiz D efforts, is looking amazingly fluid. The have 23 assist on 26 field goals. The Wiz have 9 on 21. I don't recall ever seeing this stat before, but I wonder about assist-to-FG ratios. That stat has got to be out there somewhere, and if it is, forgive me for not knowing...just send the link.
Eddie J: "We won't win the game if we let them spread the floor and score in the paint."
11:04 - Finally, RMJ comes on with a triple 70-68 Wiz. He's been cold, but I like to see a shooter be a shooter.
10:20 - Uh oh, D Will is getting hot with 5 straight points. Wiz didn't fall asleep on him, did they? 72-68.
8:51 - Funny, on ESPN feed, Songaila misses a shot and then they show Gil's face, which definitely has a scowl, and he doesn't seem to be emitting kindly words from his mouth.
ESPN just reported that Gilbert has set a comeback date....March 2 versus the New Orleans Hornets at the Verizon Center.
Yea, Stevenson isn't doing much against his former team tonight.
6:13 - Harping scores a bucket to give him 10 and the Jazz an 8 point lead, 79-71. Hubie notices, along with myself, that the Wiz are not really trying to take the rock inside. Along with the continued problems of the Jazz assist to FG ratio, 27-31. And the fact that the Wiz have just about caught up on turnovers. 12 for the Jazz, 11 for DC, 5 committed by Andray Blatche alone. Remember, Utah had 8 after the 1st quarter?
5:32 - Damn, Williams hit a 2 to put the Jazz up 10. The Jazz are starting to muscle the Wizards.
Boy Hubie Brown sure does a good job of keeping up with Washington opportunities within 3 feet of the basket as he cites a recent Nick Young miss as the team's 8th miss from that range.
The Wiz aren't out of this game yet….they've shown a valiant effort tonight. However, they don't have anyone on the team, aside from AJ, for whom offense comes easy. Blatche has 15. AD has 16, but most of his points have been hard fought.
Hubie Brown on cue: one team is playing normal basketball (the Jazz) and the other team is working and fighting for everything (the Wizards).
3:45 - Blatche with a give and go with Stevenson and finally goes to the hoop with both hands for the dunk on Ak-47. It's only an 8 game.
Hubie Brown is "staggered" that the Jazz have 31 assists to 35 FGs. Another interesting stat from ESPN: The Wizards have scored more points from the FT line than from the field in the 2nd half .
1:33 - The Lock Smith gets his first FG, putting it at 92-81, might be just about it though.
1:13 - AJ just had to yell, clap then point so that Nick Young would get the man he is supposed to cover. 93-81 Jazz. Steve and Phil then give us the "great" news about the upcoming schedule.
And that's that. The final score after a huge Andray slam, two Jazz FTs, the final is 96-87. I was a little mad after Toronto. I was fairly made after Milwaukee. I would say that tonight is the loss that I'm most "comfortable" with...if that's the right term.
Eddie Jordan Post Game Notes: He calls Andrew Bynum, Will Bynum, the Chi-town playground legend who is in trouble in Israel for hitting a man with his car.
Hey, thanks for having me. I look forward to continued discussion of the team. Peace.