[Insert witty title that alludes to traveling here]: Wizards 80, Cavaliers 77

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Highest Plus/Minus: Dominic McGuire (+11)
Lowest Plus/Minus: Darius Songaila (-5)
Best Five Man Unit: Mike James, Nick Young, Dominic McGuire, Antawn Jamison, Darius Songaila (+6 in the 3rd Quarter)
Worst Five Man Unit: Mike James, Nick Young, Caron Bulter, Antawn Jamison, Darius Songaila (-6 in the 4th Quarter)

 

 

Forgive me for starting another recap with a comparison to a game from last season, but yesterday's game reminded me a lot of Game 1 from last year.  The Wizards did unexpectedly well on the glass, played unexpectedly well defensively, and held a lead for most of the game until the Cavaliers made a late run.  The only difference was that this time the Wizards made the shots at the end (or more accurately, the shot) and the Cavaliers came up just short.

Pretty much all of the attention has focused primarily on the the travel/crab dribble fiasco at the end of the game.  I'm not going to go there because when I play basketball I play in a way that prevents any kind of accusation of traveling, which basically limits me to spot up shooting and drives where I don't have to switch hands when dribbling (I have a very Taser-like game, except for the defense part) so I'm not really in a spot to judge that call.

So other than the traveling call, how were the Wizards pull off a shorthanded win against one of the top teams in the NBA?

  • The Great Equalizer: Sunday afternoon games!  I don't have any stats to back this up, but I think  most people would agree that Sunday afternoon games tend to be the sloppiest games of the week.  And let's face it, a game with lots of missed shots plays into the Wizards hands because it bails them out defensively and it doesn't really a change a whole lot for them offensively, since they're used to missing a lot of shots anyways.
  • Rebounding: Sure, the Wizards rebounding numbers have gone up since Dominic McGuire has entered the starting lineup, but I don't think anyone was expecting the Wizards pull in more boards than the Cavs.  Sure, they were without the services of Zydrunas Ilgauskas, but Anderson Varejao is a very good rebounder in his own right.  Jamison and McGuire deserve most of the credit, combining for 23 rebounds, but this was a total team effort with every starter pulling in at least 4 boards and every bench player pulling in at least two.  Special props to Darius Songaila who pulled in a season high seven boards in nineteen minutes.  Oddly enough, Andray Blatche only pulled in 4 rebounds, but I'm pretty sure that's tied in to his injury from Friday.  He still managed to help the effort by leading the team in assists.

Like KD said in Behind the Boxscore this morning, it wasn't pretty.  But if you told me at the start of the five game gauntlet that the Wizards would have two wins, with the chance for a third on Tuesday, I would've been estatic and now as I sit here knowing that it's happened, I can say for sure that I'm estatic.  Sure, it's probably not enough to start a playoff run, but I think the team's performance over the last few games should give us hope for a run back to respectability.

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