Open thread: Regular season game 67


The Essentials:
Wizards (34-33) at Heat (12-55)
7:30 p.m.
American Airlines Arena
CSN

This Year:
December 13: Wizards 104, Heat 91
December 30: Wizards 96, Heat 72

Notable Heat numbers this season:
28th in expected winning percentage (.244)
15th in pace factor (89.8 possessions per game)
28th in offensive efficiency/offensive rating (103)
26th in defensive efficiency/defensive rating (111.7)

Key Links (drop any others in the comments)
Ira Winderman
Crazy From the Heat
Post: Wizards wary of Heat
Wizards blog: Game Day Miami
Advising Gilbert to hire an agent
Awkward O-Pec.

Starting Lineups:
Heat
PG: Chris Quinn
SG: Daequan Cook
SF: Ricky Davis
PF: Mark Blount
C: Earl Barron

Wizards
PG: Antonio Daniels
SG: DeShawn Stevenson
SF: Caron Butler
PF: Antawn Jamison
C: Brendan Haywood

Tonight's Lines
Wizards at Heat: Wizards by 13.5
Over/Under on Total Scoring: 193 points.

Gotta make this quick.

Lingering Magic/Wizards thoughts: In lieu of a recap, here are a couple quick thoughts about the huge Orlando victory.

If anyone wasn't already aware of Brendan Haywood's value to this team, last night sealed his improvement.  It wasn't just his defense on Dwight Howard, but it was also his rebounding.  Yet again, we see the perils of relying on individual rebounds per game.  Haywood had only six defensive boards, but he held Howard to 0 offensive rebounds.  That's pretty unbelievable.  He was getting a body on him while letting other guys like Antawn Jamison (8 defensive rebounds) and Caron Butler (7) grab the actual board.  I'd venture to say Haywood won us that game more than anything.

Of course, Jamison was unbelievable as well on both ends.  Obviously, he was scoring and rebounding, but he teamed with Butler to stop Rashard Lewis (2-13, 7 points).  Orlando's two forwards are so good that if you stop one, the other goes off (as Turkoglu did), but you can survive if only one of them are hurting you.  

And how about Butler, gutting through his wrist injury and putting in the big shot that put the Wizards ahead.  His numbers aren't great, but it never ceases to amaze me how he can take any roll and fill it.  He's the type of guy every good team needs, and I know that's a cliche, but how can you say it isn't true?

Anyway, huge road win against a very good team.

Automatic win: Everyone's saying all the right things, but this should be a blowout.  In Miami's last game, they scored only 54 points in a loss to the Raptors, the second-lowest total ever in the shot clock era.  I don't envy Miami Heat bloggers like Crazy From the Heat.

When you think it can't get any worse, the Miami Heat find another way to reinvent the term `misery'.

There's absolutely no silver lining to draw when a team comes out and gets thoroughly dominated to this extent.

How in the world does a team that won the ultimate prize in the sport only two years ago fall this far into oblivion?

More Gilbert: I strongly encourage everyone to read this thought-provoking Jones on the NBA post advising Gilbert Arenas to hire an agent.  A year ago, I would have been very nervous about this possibility, because usually people only hire agents if they are strongly thinking about switching teams.  But like Jones said, things have changed.  I doubt Ernie Grunfeld would immediately offer Gilbert the max contract like he would have before, and with that, it's important for Gilbert to get smart advice.  I also think that smart advice will have him staying in DC instead of bolting somewhere else, but more importantly, Gilbert needs someone to help him be more careful with his words.  His sprouting off could be more controlled, and an agent could do that.

Anyway, it's a good read.

What do we do if we lose: Jump off a cliff?  Pull a Gus Ferotte?  Hopefully neither.

GO WIZARDS!

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