flickr photo from ucumari
If you want to try your hand at interpreting Gil's comments as everyone else is obliged to, then go ahead. Arenas' injury status should probably be a post of it's own. I just hope Gilbert's very vocal concern doesn't affect the mental confidence he needs to get reacquainted with his knee and his game.
That is that, let's start the show......
11:39 | Textbook ball movement for the Hawks on the very first play gets Bibby an open jumper. What is wrong with that dude? He's just a funny cat….talks like Kermit the Frog, never will be an all-star, has some tats. Now he's got some brownish/blondish pubes on his chin.
11:06 | Bibby then shoots an airball.
9:30 | Only Wizards points so far are from a cut down the middle by Jamison (assist by Butler). Other than that, a couple turnovers, then Caron misses a long jumper 10 seconds into shot clock. Frustrating…why can't they try to go inside with that much time left? 4-2 Hawks
8:15 | Brendan Todd Haywood misses 2 FTs, Caron misses a put-back layup and then BTH gets a tip in off of that….should've been an offensive goaltending call against the Wiz. I hope this isn't a sign of things to come. 8-6 Hawks.
6:43 | Butler is going hard now…drawing attention….dropping dimes, initiating ball movement, and driving to the basket to earn 2 FTs which make it 13-10 Hawks.
5:40 | Brendan Haywood does his best Patrick Ewing impression and then some…not going the width of the lane, rather elbow to opposite block for the hoop. B. Todd was determined to get Al Horford back for making a strong baseline move a minute ago. 15-12 Hawks.
3:26 | The Hawks are actually moving the ball very well. Everyone talks about how great Joe Johnson has been playing lately, and they are right to do so. Look at the March numbers for J-Square: 25.9 PPG, 6.7 AST, 4.7 REB, 48.3 FG%. Josh Smith is also pulling 2 rebounds more per game in March than his 2008 average. 22-16 Hawks lead after a Josh Smith dunk.
The problem: Most of the Hawks ball movement is getting them good looks down low, and not from mid-range or long distance.
Josh Childress still looks like a light-skinned Pookie.
I was a big Acie Law fan when he was at Texas A&M. I knew he wasn't that tall (6'3") but he looks very smallish on an NBA court. I guess the 195 lbs. they list him at is soaking wet.
0:00 | To end the quarter, Nick Young cherry picks after his own turnover and is in position to hit a reverse lay-up right before the buzzer….when not getting back is a good thing. 29-24 Hawks after 1.
Josh Smith cleaned up with 10 points, 3 rebounds and 2 steals. Both teams shot a high percentage (58.8 for the Wiz to 52.4 for the Hawks) but DC had 5 turnovers with just one coming from the ATL.
8:50 | Struggling at the start of the second, the Wiz get a couple threes from Roger Mason and Antawn Jamison to cut into the Hawks lead, 36-32.
8:07 | Mason again….with a loooong two that should've been an And1. Down the court, Mason plays tough D on Acie Law forcing a turnover. Nick Young hustled to get the loose ball and Brendan Haywood ran the court to get the dunk. What a absolutely great team play from an odd mix of Wizards. 38-36 Hawks, Timeout Atlanta.
6:45 | Joe Johnson and Mike Bibby play an inside-outside game with each other. Nick Young, being unable to handle J-Square in the post, caused his teammates to focus too much of their effort inside. The Wizards just let the two Hawks work them until Bibby hit an open 3.
Steve Buckhantz says that Gilbert Arenas said that if doctors weren't at the Verizon Center for Cleveland game last Thursday, he would've played. Really? Hard to believe Eddie Jordan would've gone along with that.
5:22 | Haywood ties the game at 41. He's 5-5 with 3 rebounds, 3 assists and a block…showing no ill effects of the knee. I'm thinking that Eddie and Ernie just gave him the night off on Saturday…maybe a FT% reward?
The Wizards are able to scrap back into the game with their veteran savvy, but were unable to convert a chance to take the lead with the ball and the last shot.
- Score: Atlanta 54 - Washington 53
- Both teams still shooting over 50% FG (WAS: 50, ATL: 58)
- No turnovers for Washington in 2nd quarter, 3 for Atlanta.
- Wizards have 2 more offensive rebounds and 2 more assists in the game than the Hawks.
- Haywood shined with 14 points, 7 rebounds
- Mason chipped in with 12 off the bench
- Bibby followed up Josh Smith's 14 point effort with 12 points.
9:40 | Hawks get offensive rebounds on 2 straight possessions and 5 second chance points is the result…..team rebound total tied at 22 now, 61-57 Atlanta.
9:05 | Childress with a nice move. Has he hit his ceiling? Every year, Josh Childress does somewhat well, but hasn't really improved during his 4 years in the league. Of course, he goes on to score 7 straight giving Atlanta a 68-61 lead.
Eddie Jordan, as told by Phil Chenier, got a nice compliment from Billy Knight before the game. Is that saying much?
5:30 | Something Caron Butler does not need to be doing: Marvin Williams was driving to the basket on the baseline…Caron Butler, getting there waaay too late attempted to grab Williams from behind, clearly intending to send him to the FT line instead. Ill-advised. Marvin's head ended up coming back as a result of Caron's unnecessary foul, hitting Butler from the bottom of the chin. This Washington Wizards team does not need one of it's recovering stars who doesn't wear a mouth piece, but rather, elects to keep a plastic straw in his mouth during games, taking silly risks like this….by the way, the ref gave Butler a flagrant 1 foul. 74-68 Hawks.
4:10 | The Lock Smith hits his second 3 of the quarter and then gets a steal on D, the Wiz are once again within 1, 74-73 Hawks.
3:24 | More second chances for Atlanta…an offensive rebound goes right to Horford. He gives the rock to J-Square who doesn't miss on a second try. 76-73 Hawks.
3:00 | Jamison is coming on as well, drops a long jumper for 10 points in the 3rd. 76-75 Atlanta.
Quarter 3 ends…the Wizards took a 1 point lead at the 11 minute mark, the game then went back and forth, mostly in favor of the Hawks. Washington was able to cut their deficit to one, but the Hawks ended the period with a 6-0 run and are up 84-77 at the end of three.
The team shooting percentages remain almost identical as they were at halftime.
10:09 | There goes Josh Childress hitting a trey resulting from Hawk penetration (Joe Johnson's 9th assist) to put the Hawks up 10, 87-77.
The Hawks are getting it too easy on offense. The Wizards are, thus, not getting many fast break points and can't seem to keep up. 93-88 Atlanta.
7:14 | Yet, the Wizards remain resilient…DeShawn hits 3 for his 11th point, all of them coming in the second half.
5:36 | Horford with his 14th rebound, 6th offensive (he got one less than a minute ago that led to a Mike Bibby three). The Hawks are getting all these offensive rebounds with their athleticism and hustle over the Wizards.
5:22 | Caron is not fully back….he gets bothered by Joe Johnson on D and is unable to get a shot off on a crucial possession. Turnover.
3:13 | The Hawks D bottles up the Wizards again. Haywood could not get the ball passed to a teammate and had to call a timeout with 12 seconds left on the shot clock.
3:01 | Out of the timeout, Old Man Jamison gets his three point attempt blocked by Josh Smith. Joe Johnson scores, 100-92 Atlanta Hawks.
2:25 | Caron Butler takes a tough shot and misses.
Roger Mason has severely cooled down (12 points @ half, 14 for the game) and takes a seat in favor of AD with 2 minutes left, Wizards still down 100-92.
It's like the length and the athleticism of the Hawks have increased during this last period as the Wizards cannot do anything against their defense.
Not looking good. After the Wizards cut it to 6 with 35 seconds left, they put some backcourt pressure on Atlanta. They break it easily and Josh Smith hits a layup with a foul by Antawn Jamison on top. 103-94 Hawks.
0:31 | There won't be another Clippers game tonight as Jamison checks out in favor of Oleksiy Pecherov.
This is a pretty disheartening loss. Caron Butler is back…..okay, not back back, but still…..This is a full squad sans Etan and Gilbert and while the Wizards didn't shoot too poorly from the field (45.7%) or turn the ball over (only 9), their defense was bad the whole game and the Hawks played defense when it counted, in the 4th quarter. Atlanta simply looked like the better team and that does not make me comfortable.
The Final: 105-96 Hawks [box score]
Remaining March Schedule:
@ Orlando Magic
@ Miami Heat
vs. Detroit Pistons
@ Portland Blazers
@ Seattle Sonics
@ Sacramento Kings
@ LA Lakers
@ Utah Jazz