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The recap that doesn't deserve a title: Blazers 100, Wizards 87

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Highest Plus/Minus: Darius Songaila (+2)
Lowest Plus/Minus: Antawn Jamison (-13)
Best Five Man Unit: Juan Dixon, Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison, Darius Songaila, Andray Blatche (+5 in the 4th Quarter)
Worst Five Man Unit: Mike James, Caron Butler, Dominic McGuire, Antawn Jamison, Andray Blatche (-9 to start the game)

Four Factors

Photo of the Game


(Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)  In the interest of full disclosure, I almost went with this, but figured that I should try to keep things on topic, at least until the end of this sentence.

Mid Major Dunk of the night (aka Jake's chance to pimp George Mason, even though they lost a hard fought game to VCU)

(via Mister Irrelevant)

Game Thread Comment of the Game: "So...we know that “Fist-1-3” is the play that calls for Caron to shoot up a wild three that airballs. Glad we established that" by YellaFella

There are games where the scoring deficit isn't indicative of how close the game was, and then there are games where the scoring deficit isn't indicative of how one-sided the game was.  You can file this one under the latter category.  If it wasn't for the Wizards shooting unusually well on threes in the second half (9 for 11) this game would've been much worse and closer to the blowout that it felt like I was watching last night.

Normally when the Wizards lose, you can more or less boil it down to one of these three reasons.

  1. The Wizards couldn't score
  2. The Wizards couldn't stop the other team from scoring.
  3. The Wizards couldn't rebound well enough.

One of the reasons that you don't normally hear is turnovers.  Usually they're able to keep games closer than their offensive and defensive numbers would indicate because they're pretty good about holding on to the ball, so even if the other team is shooting at a higher rate, the Wizards can keep it close because they have more opportunities.

You definitely couldn't say that about the Wizards last night.  In 91 possessions, the Wizards turned the ball over 26 times.  In other words, every time the Wizards brought the ball up the court, there was a 28.5% chance that the Wizards would cough up the ball.  You just can't win games when you're that sloppy with the ball and from the looks of it, that sloppiness may have eminated from a sloppy shootaround to start the game.  Check out this report from Ben of Blazers Edge:

It's difficult to imagine a team caring less about winning or playing the game the right way than the 2008-2009 Washington Wizards.  

It started with the most lackadasical warmup routine I've seen this year, starring an assistant coach who was practically begging Nick Young to focus for 5 seconds so he could hit at least 1 15 foot jumpshot out of a series of 7.  In the co-starring role: 7 footer Javale McGee, who, while practicing complex crossover dribble moves on the perimeter unguarded, was challenged by a teammate to make a 3 pointer for $100.  He attempted to take up this bet but, before he could launch a shot, found himself running across the court to track down the ball that he had managed to dribble off of his own foot.  

This scene was followed minutes later by another Wizard firmly declaring, "male sperm swim harder than female sperm." [Ed. Note: I'm going to guess that was Andray, but there's six or seven players on the team that probably could've said that and it wouldn't shock me. -Jake]

Later, the crowd was treated to Deshawn Stevenson, who had scratched himself from tonight's contest due to lower back pain, shimmy-dancing in his seat (through the pain?) during multiple timeouts.

Now we know that the Wizards have been one of the looser teams in the NBA for a few years now.  I've never really gotten to see the Wizards warm up on a consistent basis so I don't know if it's been like that for a while or if this is a more recent development, but given the way they played against the Blazers last night, it wouldn't shock me if it played into the team's incredibly sloppy performance.

Other observations from last night's game:

  • Something that I've noticed a lot more recently is that they're using Dominic McGuire and Caron Butler a lot more to bring the ball up court when Mike James is in the game.  I know they want to get the ball in Caron's hands a lot and Dominic McGuire is a nice passer, so that alone isn't necessarily an indictment of Mike James' point skills, but they seem to go to that more when he's in the game than when Javaris is running the show.
  • There was some talk from Buck and Phil about when Obama would attend his first Wizards game at the Verizon Center.  FreeDarko predicted that the first game the President would attend would be February 4th against the Nets.  They also go on record saying Gilbert Arenas will drop 46 to get back at Obama for picking Biden, so we've got something to look forward to next month if that prediction holds true.  But with the way the team is playing, I wouldn't fault Obama for avoiding the Verizon Center
  • Have you ever seen someone do something that looks fairly safe but is still unnecessarily risky?  That's the way I feel every time I see Mike James whip the ball behind his back to Jamison off the pick and pop.  It's probably just one of those things that I worry about for no reason, but it just seems like an unnecessary risk.