Tough Juice has gone through a tough stretch on the court recently.
Maybe it's because playing at shooting guard has thrown him out of his rhythm. Maybe the ankle injury that sidelined him a while back is still slowing him down more than he's letting on. Or maybe the emotional drain of a season like this has finally caught up with him.
You can blame it on whatever you want, but you can't deny that Butler has been in a major funk. In the six game span from the win against Cleveland until Friday night's win against the Knicks, Butler averaged 16 points on 37% shooting from the field, 3.2 assists, and 4.7 rebounds.
Friday night I was fortunate enough to see the game in person and it was even more evident in person than it is on TV. It was almost painful to watch because Caron was soooooo close to having that breakthrough play to get out of the slump, but he just couldn't get over the hump. As the game neared its end, it looked like he'd have to wait for another game for a chance to get out of his slump.
Of course, you all know now about how the defense was able to get some key stops late and Mike James and Nick Young were able to make some big shots to give Caron the chance to close the deal.
As he was dribbling out the shot clock, waiting to set up his shot, I was reminded of Caron's dagger that sealed the Wizards first win of the season against Utah, primarily because the plays were eerily similar in their set-up, but also because I remember Caron saying after that game that when he put up that shot that he was thinking, "I need this in my life." After hitting another dagger to put the Knicks away, I've got to think that the same thought was going through his head this time around as well.
Other observations from the game on Friday night:
- During one of the timeouts, they asked some of the Wizards which fashion trend they regretted the most. Darius Songaila said tight Levi's jeans. Nothing else really needs to be said there.
- I figured with the Wizards breaking out the Zephyrs jerseys last night that G-Man would also wear one of the throbacks during his dunk routine. Instead, he went with an even rarer throwback, a Kool-Aid red LaBradford Smith jersey. The jersey led to this exchange between Truth and I:
Truth: I bet they had to take that jersey out of a frame so G-Man could wear it tonight.
Me: Why would you frame a LaBradford Smith jersey?
- You know how normally when a player gets subbed out he walks over to the coach and the coach says something to the player before he takes a seat? When Andray was taken out in the 4th Quarter he walked at an angle where he could just go straight to the end of the bench and not have to talk with Ed Tapscott. I thought that maybe Tap would come over and talk to him anyways, but he didn't seem all that interested in talking to him either. I don't normally get a chance to see games in person, so maybe it happens more often than I think, but that sequence didn't look right to me. Hopefully it wasn't another "team matter".
- Oleksiy Pecherov's stubble was much longer than normal on Friday. I'm guessing he let it grow out some more because of the recent cold air we've been dealing with in D.C. I get the feeling that it won't be around on Monday because the Wizards will be out West, but it was something to behold on Friday night.