On the 6:30 pm Comcast SportsNite, it was mentioned that the Wizards need to treat tonight's game as if it were one of playoff caliber, especially since the Wizards would be heading down to O-Town for a seven game series if the post season started today. The problem is that I doubt we’ll be getting that "playoff" atmosphere in the Phone Booth against the Magic this evening. And yes, I am on the bandwagon in that I'd rather face Orlando (not sleep on them) in the first round rather than the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Comcast Side Bar: I like how Chris Miller asked Oleksiy Pecherov in his 10 questions before the game: "Best dunk so far: Caron over the Lithuanian in the pre-season, or DeShawn over Richard Jefferson?"Really Chris, you couldn’t at least throw that Nocioni dunk out there? If you must know, O-Pech chose the Lock Smith.
Gilbert, Gilbert, Gilbert. He's the talk of the town, media, blogosphere, and you mom's knitting group. And I did enjoy reading Prada's run down below. But personally, I'm not getting my hopes up, or down, in any regard. It is what it is. News is news. I really can't get hyped about anything Gilbert right now. I love the guy; I'm a fan. I hope he stays around. But until he comes back, and shows confidence in himself (something he hasn't exactly done lately – if you scared, say you scared type of attitude), I can't do much outside of the conveyance of a blahzay, blahzay attitude. That being said, I'm really pulling for him because this team, with the experience the bench has gained, has the potential to be a very scary playoff match-up for Orlando.
B. Todd Haywood. In the pre-game coverage on TAI , I gave Brendan some cred for holding his ground against Dwight "Buddy Jesus" Howard in the first match-up between these two teams. My eyes will be on Haywood tonight, the Wizards should watch out for the expeditions of Lewis & Hedo.
Enough of all that…..let’s start the show.
11:37- Teeing off..... Howard gets great position on Haywood. I can’t blame Brendan for not doing much to stop a dunk after that.
10:36 - Haywood forces his shot against Howard…he didn’t "take his time" as a teammate, or coach, yelled. I think it’s good that we test Howard on D early, but BTH needs to go to the basket and not throw up fade-away lefty hooks.
9:02 - After some Maurice Evans offensive rebound hustle, the Wizards are being out rebounded 6-1. Turkey-Gloo and Nelson have easily got into the paint a couple times and the Wizards offense consists of 1-on-1 moves in the post and jumpers with the shot clock running down and the motion offense breaking down. Down 8, Eddie finally calls a timeout at the 8:18 mark. Wizards 2, Orlando 10, all of them in the paint.
7:28 - His second time against Howard, BTH takes a couple dribbles in the high post, but uses too much time as help comes towards the middle, the direction in which his shoulder is turning. Brendan (not looking like he's sure of what he's doing anyway) gets worried and allows Howard to poke the ball away. Turnover.
6:16 - Jamison makes the right post move….right side – left foot drop step – baseline right hand baby hook – And 1….as a teammate yelled, "You got 'em Twan! Got 'em!" 15-10 Magic.
5:20 - As both teams seem to be easily getting into the paint, Rashard Lewis knocks down two straight 3s regardless. 18-12 Orlando.
The Wizards offense has picked up….with a little dribble penetration and basket cuts of course: AD lay-up, Songaila cut with the assist from the Lock Smith.
Meanwhile….this big goofy white dude, #11 Laurynas Mikalauskas is going off against Duke, UVA is up 4. Unfortunately, we all know how this will end, in the favor of Dook.
I just realized why I keep typing the quotes of Wizards players….it's so damn quiet in the Verizon Center, I can hear Stan Van Gundy breathing like Ron Jeremy….not sure if it's because of the cheerleaders or the game.
2:35 - Chris Miller reports that the Magic were loose before the game …indicating that they're ready to have fun, Playoffs? Meanwhile, Orlando is up 25-16 and Jamison is at the line shooting 3, he makes two of them. 25-18 Magic.
Just as I recognize the pattern of Antonio Daniels' on the ball defense, or lack thereof……he seems to "talk" to a teammate about the help-side, or lack thereof – another developing pattern.
The Wizards….mainly Andray Blatche and Dominic McGuire are blowing layups like a game between blind 8th grade girls in wheel chairs. Phil Chenier credits the "effort" – Phil, why the kind words?
Yup, that's the way the 1st quarter went, as Rashard Lewis nailed his 3rd three which bounced off the rim four feet straight in the air before dropping at the buzzer. 34-30 Orlando, 20 of those 34 in the paint. Are you kidding me?
I guess Eddie Jordan is making a statement by starting Pecherov, Mason, Blatche, McGuire and Young for the 2nd?
8:48 - Nice play….good to see the kids becoming familiar with the Eddie Jordan style of play. Blatche backs Lewis down on a couple dribbles in the post, Pecherov, upon seeing the Magic watch Andray, flashes down the lane. Andray, being a very nice passer (one of the reasons we know he's going to be really good one day) hits him with the perfect timing for the Oleksiy Griffin dunk. (link thanks to Ben Q. Rock)
The hoppers have cut the Magic lead to 7 with 8:00 left.
The book on O-Pech coming in was that he likes to rebound. He's proved that to be true. If this weren't a fact, I feel confident in saying that Ernie Grunfeld would not have drafted him.
6:00 – AB gets a nice block on Foyle-Bot. Along with his 4 assists, he's giving Eddie Jordan a reason to leave him in the game even though he's 0-6 from the field.
3:06 - Lewis Home Alone……his 3 pushes the Magic lead back up to 14, 55-41.
Another timeout. The Wizards have 3 more turnovers than Orlando, while Magic have 3 more assists than Washington.
0:47 – The worse "Can’t Feel My Face" I’ve ever seem from DeShawn. He hits a 3 pointer, and it appears as if the half-hearted effort is simply out of habit; I don't think his hand actually crossed the perimeter of his face at any point.
And that's a half…59-44 Magic.....and a odd one at that. DeMatha's Keith Bogans had a quiet 12 (on 5-5 shooting). The Wizards rejected 6 Magic shots while Orlando didn't send one back. But the Magic got what they wanted on offense with more fast break points, more second chance points, more points in the paint, and more points off turnovers. Both teams took the same amount of shots and went 7-8 from the FT line, yet the Wizards made 6 less FGs (17) and the Magic made three more 3s, going 6-13 from beyond the arc. Cutting down on the 8 turnover per half pace would be suggested for Washington.
Eddie Jordan gives it straight to Chris Miller: The team is not competing mentally or physically.
10:18 - After frustrating Dwight Howard a couple times, once drawing a foul, Haywood thought he could do it again by drawing a charge. Nope. All he got was a shoulder in the chest and a dunk in the face.
Dook is up 66-50 by the way.
9:11 - It's starting to get ugly as Brendan picks up his 4th foul, Maurice Evans gets an open back-door dunk and the Wizards have yet to score a second chance point. 65-47 Magic.
Howard never gets caught dropping his shoulder on offense because his pivot foot on the spin is established so strongly.
Eddie Jordan breaks out a first aid kit to stop the "bleeding" as Steve Buck puts it. The Buck also informs us that there's "not a lot of life" in the Wiz tonight. I’m not sure why. Iif you read my blog, you'll know that I wasn't too concerned with the Magic playing the second of a back to back. But this "lifeless" comment concerns me…the Wiz have had two days off! I blame the crowd, they've been ghost from the start.
6:40 – And now they start to boo….more Maurice Evans. Honestly, I think that trade, the one the brought Orlando Brian Cook and Maurice Evans for Trevor Ariza, was the right move for the Magic.
6:24 - The Lock Smith dropped his key on the way to dinking a dunk.
5:39 - On point, Evans hits a 3…he's got 13. 22 point lead for O-Town.
Please tell me that Nicky Burrito and Andray Doe can inject some life into this team.....as they check in the game.
4:13 - Turkey-Gloo can’t hang with Beany B…..a cross, Turkey on heels, mid-range J.
3:41 - Back down, Nick takes it against Hedo again…and draws a foul, 2 FTs. Turkoglu immediate goes to the pine in favor of Bogans. 76-57 Magic.
3:02 - Don't matter to Nick, he hits a 3 on Keith. Wizards are still down 19.
2:36 - Nick gets a little too jiggy with it…can't tell what he tried to do on offense, but he ends up taking a dive.
The Wizards finish the 3rd quarter down 89-67.
I keep thinking that there's hope, but 22 is a lot of points.
11:17 - When Roger Mason hit a 3, it's more because the Magic fell asleep after the Wizards offensive broke down.
Andray Blatche is shooting poor, missing jumpers.
9:53 - Roger Mason sinks a long 2, but at this point, there is nothing the Wiz can do on offense to save themselves – this is becoming an old fashioned blow out. Eddie Jordan takes a courtesy timeout down 99-72 with 9:06 left.
The crappy fans who are still there come alive to boo JJ Redick.
7:07 - This is getting painful to watch - JJ hits a fall back mid-range jumper while downing a beer….the boos turn into mild cheers.
Aaaand Jamison calls it a night. 32 point game, 6:30 left.
6:11 - Redick knocks down another shot while wearing a pink polo with the collar popped. Orlando up 110-76.
5:52 - Pecherov knocks down a long shot while wearing a…what do Euros wear? Mesh tank tops?
4:26 - Uh, somebody got their wish.
3:14 - Yada, yada, yada….Pat Garrity is scoring points.
2:08 - An over-head pass from Mason to O-Pech for the hoop is the first Wizard fast break points of the game.
1:23 - Stewie hits a crazy fade-away, only a shot you take up or down 30. Unfortunately for the Wizards, it's the latter.
That's it folks. Not much to say as Gortat dunks..... the Wiz seal their worst home loss of the season, get a career high 15 points from Pecherov, and lose 122-92.