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Liiiiiiiink dump

Some nuggets to chew on while you recover from your Easter hangover.

  • So remember when the Wizards locker room was akin to a traveling circus?  Those times are over.  After two tough close losses, the mood has changed considerably, as DeShawn Stevenson said in the Post today.
Yeah, you feel good about forcing overtime and doing some good things but you want to get a win," guard DeShawn Stevenson said. "We're in these games but we're not doing the little things we have to do to win them."

Carter elaborated in the blog today.

DeShawn Stevenson talked about a "black cloud' hanging over the team's head, Jarvis Hayes was asked about his career-high scoring night but did so with his head down while stressing the fact that it didn't matter because they lost and Antawn Jamison winced when asked about Vince Carter's triple-double. Antonio Daniels simply sat at his locker - no doubt exhausted after playing 40 minutes on consecutive nights - and stared straight ahead. I don't know a lot about Darius Songaila yet but my early impression is that the cat really hates losing. He is polite and willing to talk after games but it's obvious that the guy takes this very seriously.

There was a looseness that existed with Gilbert around but that is gone now and the losing is only making the atmosphere tighter.

I usually don't like commenting on these types of things, because I'm not there to see the team's faces, but it does seem to show in their play.  They seem to pay far more attention to detail, whether to be covering pick and rolls on defense or running to the right spots on offense.  This is hardly a bad thing, especially with the lack of talent on the court.  They'll eventually get a win, and this problem will go away.

  • This is pretty old, but Brett Edwards of the Fanhouse has an interesting theory regarding Gilbert's injury.
How the hell did Gilbert's season end on a play where he was just standing there? The answer may be that Gilbert was thrown off by being benched to start the game, and that's something we can blame on Eddie Jordan.

Gilbert was late to the team's shootaround, his excuse being that he got caught in traffic. Coach Eddie Jordan decided to be a hard ass and start Antonio Daniels instead of Arenas, who had started every game this season. When a player is used to starting, it can be very difficult to mentally get right into the game coming off the bench. This could explain why, if you watch Gil's injury, you see him kind of standing there watching instead of reacting, and that's when he was unable to avoid the collision with Wallace. Sure he was tangled up a bit with Jake Voskuhl. But based on the fact that the injury took place when Gilbert had been in the game less than two minutes, I don't think it's that much of a stretch to say that this starter wasn't yet mentally up to the speed of the game after subbing in late in the first quarter.

I can't tell how serious he is about this, but my guess is that it's just your run of the mill conspiracy theory, and it's not actually what he believes.  

  • Juan Dixon is still one of my all-time heroes, but he just dropped a couple places, behind Gary Williams and Steve Blake, for these comments (HT: DC Sports Bog).
"We want that third seed," said Toronto guard Juan Dixon, who chipped in 17 points in 30 minutes off the bench. "We'd rather play a depleted Washington team than a Chicago or Cleveland right now in the first round. So hopefully we can continue to win."

I mean, he's probably right, but something tells me this all stems back to when he was not re-signed a couple years ago (a loss some people are still upset about).  No word yet on whether Dixon will now get the Steve Francis treatment on this blog.

  • Totally forgot to mention Gil's blog after the injury.  It's a funny read as always, especially the part where he complains about not being able to play video games.  Meanwhile, the always hillarious J.E. Skeets tried to imitate Arenas' blogging style, and actually ended up fooling a bunch of readers.

  • Last Arenas link, I promise.  His injury was discussed in length in the third edition of the Blog Show on Washington Post Live, as you can see below.

Meanwhile, Gilbertology recaps the Takeover here, and was kind enough to give Bullets Forever a shout.

  • Finally, in yet another link I missed over the weekend, here's a really good column on Antawn Jamison by the Post's Mike Wise.
Having a season blow up like this is tough on any player or coach in the organization, but no one is going to take the end of this once-promising year harder than Jamison. He's two months shy of 31. His joints and muscles don't move as quickly as they used to.

He can still get by on his circus runners in the lane on some nights -- all that old-school junk that keeps fooling the bigger, stronger kids. But he knows he hasn't got forever to win a title. And while this was by no means a championship team with Arenas and Butler, Jamison felt the momentum building -- especially in December and January.

In these last couple games, Jamison has shown flashes of his old high-scoring abilities, but he's been far too inconsistent.  Unfortunately, Jamison is probably as good as he's going to get, and he's not going to suddenly emerge as a bona fide go-to-guy.  If he keeps doing what he's doing, the Wizards have a chance at finishing strong.