As lean as thirteen is, the chances of me having to come up with more rhyming titles in the coming days are high. Here's the schedule for the rest of March:
- @ Charlotte
- Home vs. Utah
- @ Houston
- @ New Orleans
The only game in that foursome the Wizards have more than a remote chance of winning is on Friday against the Bobcats. If they can't pull out a win in Charlotte on Friday, we could have an 0-for-March situation on our hands. Things get better once April starts with games against New Jersey, Golden State and New York, but nothing comes easy during an extended losing streak.
Fittingly, on the last play of the game, Mike Miller made a strong drive to the hoop but missed the layup. I may be off by a couple, but I think it was the 89th missed layup of the game for the Washington Wizards. Or at least it seemed like it. After the game, Jim O'Brien opened his press conference by saying, "We did what we had to do to win tonight." In other words they showed up.
After Singleton hopped around, banged and battled for 35 minutes, Coach Flip Saunders said that he would have to make a lineup change when the Wizards face the Charlotte Bobcats on Friday. The most likely candidate to get replaced is JaVale McGee, who was held scoreless with just three rebounds in little over 12 minutes. "The only bright spot we had tonight was James. He was unbelievable," Saunders said. "We probably have to start him. He's playing too good. We've been in a situation here, where you're trying to evaluate players. But at some point, you have to still evaluate, but you have to reward the guys that are doing things and producing in a limited time and give them the minutes."
JaVale McGee was held scoreless with just three rebounds and Saunders said his backup James Singleton was "the only bright spot" for the Wizards. Singleton came off the bench to grab a career-high 21 rebounds and score a season-high 19 points. "We're on a losing streak right now," Singleton said. "I hate losing. I love streaks, but this ain't the kind I want to be a part of. I'm going to do anything in my power to get us out of this slump."
"We have been in a situation where we are trying to evaluate players," Saunders noted. "At some point you have to still evaluate but you also have to reward the guys that are producing in a limited time and give them extended minutes." In short if Singleton cracks the starting five, it will be a credit to him and not a knock on JaVale McGee. Since the All-Star break McGee has played his best basketball, and played well Tuesday against the Bobcats, but with more minutes than he has ever played in his career he has been inconsistent.
Washington made a final surge early in the fourth quarter. A 3-pointer by Blatche cut Indiana's lead to 81-71 before Granger took over. He took a handoff after throwing an inbounds pass, drove hard into the lane and clutched in midair before hammering down a one-handed dunk. He made a 3-pointer on the next possession to push the lead back to 15.
So you probably know how this whole thing played out last night. Saunders was so upset with Blatche that Blatche started last night's game and played 39 minutes. Wait, what? How is that possible? Even if Saunders deserves some blame for the whole incident, how does Blatche get off basically scot-free despite angering his coach to the point of making him go on a post-game tirade that made all the rounds in sports radio and the blogosphere? Did Ernie Grunfeld have the final say in this? There's just no way that Saunders got over Blatche's actions that quickly.
And how did Blatche fare on the hardwood? Well, he came out with 12 first quarter points, taking the ball to the hoop like his coach wishes he did more often, and earning four free-throws in the process. Unfortunately for Blatche, he finished the game displaying the flaws that have become expected of him. In a team-high 39 minutes, he managed just six rebounds, carelessly turned the ball over five times and didn’t attempt another foul shot after the first quarter.