First, the latest on Gilbert, because that's the most important thing right now. He's going to undergo an MRI tomorrow, and that will determine the severity of the injury. For what it's worth, here's what Ivan Carter said about it in the Wizards Insider blog.
Antawn Jamison missed 12 games with a grade two left knee sprain and Andray Blatche has already missed six games and is expected to miss at least five more with his own left knee sprain. Of the three, I would say that Blatche's looked the worst, Jamison's was next and Gilbert's was third but as I said up above, there's no idea to guess how bad it is yet.
Antawn: "The most important thing is getting the swelling down and going to work. I'm hoping it isn't as bad as mine; it didn't look that way."
Your guess is as good as mine at this point, but I personally think we'll see Gilbert miss a week or two and will be back limping around for the playoffs. He probably won't be 100 percent, but I expect him to do everything he can to play. If the Wizards weren't going to the playoffs, I think he'd shut it down, no questions asked. But since the playoffs are looming, I think he'll play through the pain.
As for the game itself, the result was fairly predictable. The undermanned Wizards were actually playing decently, led by Etan Thomas and Antonio Daniels. But then Eddie Jordan made a colossal error, sitting both Daniels and Thomas at the same time early in the fourth quarter. Without their two most reliable players, the Wizards' offense was nowhere to be found, and the rest of the team missed a ton of bad long jumpers. Charlotte took control through the rest of the game, even though DeShawn Stevenson hit two threes to give the Wizards a one-point lead at one point. The last few minutes was like an impending doom, where you knew the result, but couldn't turn away from the TV.
More than anything, today convinced me that there needs to be a coaching change. It's one thing to say defense will be emphasized, but it's another to not actually think about it. There were some cases where Gerald Wallace or someone else just blew by a slower Wizards defender, but most of the time, Charlotte got their points on basic pick and rolls or open jumpers. In nearly every situation, the Wizards simply switched on pick and rolls, and they often switched even when guys were cycling around the perimeter. When guys like Wallace and Raymond Felton got the ball, defenders sagged off too much, allowing the offensive player to get too comfortable.
Simply put, the Wizards' defensive scheme is the problem. I rarely saw big guys hedge on screens, and I rarely saw defenders give any sort of ball pressure. Nowhere was there any indication of a plan to take away any of Charlotte's offensive strengths. Instead, it was just a bunch of guys reacting--and doing so very slowly.
Say what you want about the players, but it just doesn't seem like they're ever prepared. They need a coach who will get them prepared, and that coach is not Eddie Jordan.
If we're looking for positives, Thomas was fantastic tonight. Whenever I watch him, his final box score numbers never seem to be consistent with the type of performance I see. His numbers look good, but he doesn't really do anything to make the team better. Tonight, however, it was a different story. He was active on both ends, but was not too active. He was smarter with his rotations, smart in moving without the ball offensively, and was still able to block a couple shots and provide nice hustle. AD was also really great, although he shot a couple bad shots in the fourth. Everyone else was turning it over, except AD. Their absence early in the fourth quarter turned the tide of the game, and it's simply inexcusable to not have one in there at all times.
The bottom line though is that the season depends on Gilbert's knee. As much as we're about to despair, it will take a miracle to fall below 6th, and it's looking more and more like Toronto, and not Miami, will get the 3 seed. If Arenas comes back, there's a chance of the second round. If he doesn't, we might as well start thinking draft, even if the pick will be in the late teens.