clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Just Play Basketball

Box Score
Game Flow
Live Blog
Pretty much everything else here.

Highest Plus/Minus:
Brendan Haywood (+4)
Lowest Plus/Minus: Antawn Jamison (-30)

Before I get into to my "rantcap" (it's a rant, it's a recap, it's a rantcap) we need to establish one thing: Basketball is a finesse sport.  Yes, it requires toughness and yes, it requires some physicality, but that doesn't invalidate the fact that it's still a finesse sport.  There's nothing wrong with physicality and athleticism, in basketball, but if you don't put it together with skill and knowledge of the game you're dead in the water.

Last night, Washington decided to value physicality over skill, and in the process managed to lose the ability to do either effectively.  If you're looking for the exact point in the game where it happened, let me point you back to this moment in the live blog:


Gil is now in...and is covering LeBron when the Cavs next get the ball. LBJ easily comes off the screen towards the basket. One. Two. Three. Yep, three steps. Travel right? Nope.. foul on Wizards. 15-11 Wizards.

You could see it on their faces (well at least I think I could see it, the signal was kind of fuzzy out at my place for most of the first half) after the foul was called that something changed.  Up to that point, they were doing things well; Jamison was hot, the defense was solid, and the Wizards were playing like they were capable of playing, but after LeBron got that first foul they just decided to abandon everything that had built up that early lead.  Now I understand the frustration, but 28 other teams had to face the Cavs this year and Cleveland sure didn't go undefeated against all of them.  It's not like the Wizards are the only team in the NBA that has to deal with unfavorable calls with the King, yet they seem to be the only team that sulks about it and tries to completely change their game rather than elevating it to another level.

After that foul, the Wizards managed to go 2-9 from the field (both makes from Blatche, oddly enough), commit a tech, allow LeBron to get a momentum changing dunk, and let Wally Szczerbiak get open for a three in the 3 minutes right after the foul.  It didn't take long, but over that short stretch the Cavs gained something that the Wizards are still looking for.


Teams that are confident that they can win don't abandon their offense and defense so that they can try and out tough the other team.  Teams that are confident don't resort to setting cheap picks (besides Southern Miss of course).  Teams that are confident don't resort to taunting when they're down by sixteen points.  Teams that are confident don't foul players while they're in mid-air.  For the record, I think Haywood's move was more dumb and clueless than it was malicious.  If he was actually trying to hurt LeBron he would've had that cocky smile on his face or something, but when he got ejected he had that "Oh crap, they're running a pick and roll.  What do I do?' face going which tells me the foul was more of a panic move than anything.  Of course, I'm hopelessly biased.

So far in this series, the Wizards have played the role of the bully: Lots of talk, lots of physicality for the sake of physicality, and ultimately a whole lot of nothing when they're paired up against someone their own size.  The worst part of it all is that they don't even have to resort to this stuff.  Like cuppetcj said, the Wizards don't need to reinvent themselves to beat the Cavs, they just need to rely on the skill that got them here.