So here we go, the final regular season game of the 2007-2008 season.
I'm a little surprised that Dominic McGuire is getting the start instead of Andray Blatche. But when you think about it, the move makes sense. Andray needs to stay used to coming off the bench and providing a 2nd unit spark. Songaila, Stevenson, Daniels and Haywood join The Cleaner on the floor for the opening tip.
11:24: DeShawn looks slightly ginger from the get-go and turns the ball overs on the frist Wizards possession. He should play no more than 10 minutes.
10:07: D-Mac loses a baseline Turkoglu, 4-0 Magic. I guess awareness will only come with experience.
8:47: Haywood doesn't do the best job of blocking Dwight Howard out as Super Buddy Jesus gets an offensive rebound and bucket while four Wizards watch. Nothing doing on offense for the Wiz kids so far, Eddie Jordan elects to call a timeout. 6-2 Magic. O-Pech and The City come in for Stevenson and Songaila.
7:17: The four Wizards points so far have come off two Brendan Haywood mid-range jumpers.....you think Howard is going to guard him out there in the last regular season game? 8-4 Magic.
6:36: Blatche and Mason come in for Haywood and Daniels.
5:52: Andray is too passive going for a board.....you gotta get aggressive kid! Luckily, the ball winds up in Mason's hands for a jumper. 8-8 tie game.
All Blatche wants to do is get "look what I found" offensive rebounds and pass the ball out. It's not like the young Wizards are playing particularly bad, it just seems like they are concentrating on running the offense too much. Nothing is coming natural and there is no aggressive presence on the court...maybe some gunners though (Pech and Young).
2:33: That jump shot Blatche just hit looked pretty confident. 17-12 Magic.
Would one of those "Soul Glo" jerry-curls look better on Nick Young? Seems like the style would fit him well. In fact, I imagine him to be just like Darryl Jenks.
0:08: This time AB gets the o-board and attacks the basket (misses the shot, but gets fouled). Hopefully, Eddie put the idea of mental toughness in his head.
The first ends and the Magic have the 24-19 lead.
No surprise that Rashard Lewis dropped 12 in the 1st, considering who was guarding him. And my 'huh?' moment comes when I see that McGuire is 0-3 from beyond the arc. As I've said before, Dom needs to make Dave Hopla his best friend this summer. Andray leads the Wiz with 7 points, but his 4 offensive boards are deceiving since the ball found him a couple times.
Givin' up the trey ball on the season....yea, the Wizards set a franchise record with 571 makes, but they gave up about a hundo more than that to opponents.
9:07: D-Song gives up a dunk to Hedo coming off the ball screen. He turns and says something to his defensive comrade, Nick Young (whose man set the screen). Now, I'm betting that, even though Songaila went to high school and college in the U.S., Nick Young nether understands nor cares about what Darius just said to him. 30-25 Magic.
Eddie Jordan: "Good players make good coaches and bad players get you fired."
7:45: Nick Young is starting to find his spot in the offense. He hit a nice jumper from the corner earlier, then makes a strong driving layup, and then, as I'm typing, gets a transition dunk as the Magic lose track of him and open up the lane (D-Song also had a helluva block out to clear space for Nick). He has the last 6 Wizards points. 32-29 Magic.
6:46: Aww...how cute. Turkoglu burns Nick Young with a pump fake and bucket....they both smile coming up the court. Nick proceeds to miss a "get-back" jumper.
5:09: JJ Redick checks in and Steve Buck points out that Amway is just about the only NBA arena in the country where he doesn't get booed. Not sure what they do in Toronto.
About 40 seconds left in the 2nd and the teams have been stuck on 44-37 Magic since the three minute mark.
0:29: Execution gets Blatche an open baseline jumper.
0:03: Antonio Daniels goes behind the back, spins in traffic and gets the rock to a cutting Blatche for a layup. And that rounds out the 1st half. It's a little hard to feel any type of emotion for this game...but I'm glad the Wizards aren't getting blown out. 47-41 Orlando Magic.
Half Stats: After I initially got on him for lack of aggression, Andray looks good with 13 points, 7 boards and 2 assists. The Wiz are shooting better than Orlando, 46.5% to 43.9% and have a +2 in both the assist and rebound categories, but they are 0-7 from three point land and have only gotten to the FT line twice.
9:58: DeShawn Stevenson is still getting PT and jacking threes (makes 1, misses 1).....makes you wonder why he's on the court. 49-46 Orlando.
Steve Buckhantz mentions that Brendan Haywood is glad that Larry Hughes and his Wizards knowledge no longer play for Cleveland. Phil Chenier, the voice of reason, points out that teams are scouting each other so much that it's not as great of a factor as people think. Exactly, you don't think that other teams know your plays? It's all about execution.
7:40: JJ Redick hits a deuce and then wipes his nose with his jersey because he's a little snot. 53-51 O-Town.
7:04: Andray Blatche gets an And1. Caps a 13-6 run in the 3rd, Wiz up 54-53....until Maurice Evans nails a trey.
3:05: Roger Mason answers a JJ Redick three. The only time UVA has ever answered Dook (ok, probably not true). 62-59 Magic.
2:46: Great. Just great....James Augustine is getting dunks on the Wiz. Carlos Arroyo with the nice set-up....he always seems to well against the the Wiz. Tonight is no exception as the Puerto Rican has seven assists so far. 64-59 Orlando.
2:16: Speaking of, Arroyo nails a corner trey after a pump fake on Roger Mason. 67-60 Magic.
0:49: Bogans and Gortat are running the pick-and-roll magic around McGuire and Pecherov. 69-60 Orlando.
0:25: Percherov tries to put on a dribbling display, doesn't work out...gives it up to Nick Young with shot-clock seconds ticking down and that fails to produce as well. After a good start to the 3rd period where the Wizards took a 54-53 lead, offensive ball movement really broke down. Wizards down 70-60 after three.
9:30: While the Magic take a 16 point lead (76-60 on more Gortat).....
When you think about the dynamic of the Wizards locker room, it can really be comforting....in that everyone seems to get along. Oh yea, the Etan-Haywood thing. Who knows about that? But looking at everyone else, it's nice to see the elders, even Gilbert Arenas the character, put the young kids under their wing, guiding them along and providing an example of good veteran leadership, mostly from the likes of Antonio Daniels and Antawn Jamison.
Some of this reflects in on the court play. Even though we have gunners, the ability to share really shows through, and I know that's indicative of Eddie Jordan's offense.
Now, the reserves need to just learn to play together more in terms of knowing how each other likes to receive the ball, among other court movement habits. Basically, I see a lot of steps in the right direction.
7:45: Speaking of....Nick Young hits a smooth jumper. And then Pecherov comes down to nail a trey. Let's get a nice comeback going. 80-67 Magic.
6:45: The Va-Jay-Jay hits a couple jumpers in a row....coming of ball screens just like college. 85-67 Orlando.
5:32: Andray Blatche with a quick and sweet pass to a cutting D-Mac under the hoop. I like that. 87-71 Magic.
3:59: And then the Magic had a 20 point lead, 91-71, and I found myself watching out of habit.
3:29: Nick Young bodies JJ Redick for a post turnaround but celebrates himself going down the court and doesn't even consider that Arroyo is running and feeding Gortat for the dunk. The Wizards are down 20, 93-73 and Gortat has 12, how about that?
Pay attention, that's all we're asking Nick.
2:54: Andray with a stop and pop in transition. This game has been a great boost for him heading into the playoffs. He just got a board so give him 20-11 for the game....4 assists too. D'oh! Andray also has 4 fouls per usual.
Not sure what I'm seeing...but they are showing a fat white dude who looks like he can be related to Stan Van Gundy in a t-shirt and shorts set which is Orlando Magic blue and covered with sequins, bedazzled, or whatever the hell that shiny crap is......dude is also running along the court, wearing a cape and slapping fives with the crowd.
0:00: And before I realize it, this game is over. Magic take it (sealed with a JJ trey...."great" a new career high for him with 18 points) 103-83 Orlando Magic.
See you in the funny pages.....I mean, playoffs.