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The man who thrilled the Verizon Center with his fearless, late-game shots, decided it was best that he pass -- to Brendan Haywood; the bemusement of everyone in the arena. Arenas threw a lob that hit the rim and bounced out of the reach of Haywood. Asked about the play afterward, Arenas said, "Obviously it hit the rim. That's it. I mean, it's not rocket scientist." Rocket scientist? Yep. It was that kind of night. Even the words came out wrong.
It was the Dwayne Wade show at the Phone Booth last night. When Wade was on the court, he poured in 40 to lead all scorers; unfortunately for the Wizards, they couldn't transplant their very good play for the short periods of time when D-Wade was on the bench to when he was playing. Gilbert Arenas had 32 to lead Washington, and Brendan Haywood and Caron Butler both chipped in double-doubles -- although the three were an ugly combined -34 in plus/minus.
It was a nostalgic reunion even if Wade, a shooting guard and Arenas, a point guard, didn't guard each other. Wade scored a game-high 40 points and Arenas had 32 as the Heat beat the Wizards 93-89. "There was one time we were both looking at each other (at the free-throw line),'' Wade said. "We just smiled because of all the battles that we've had over the years. I'm happy to see him back as a fan of basketball. Knowing Gil, I'm happy to see him healthy. Hopefully, he'll just keep getting better.''
DeShawn Stevenson did well guarding Dwyane Wade. That is, as well as one can against a guy who scored 40 points on 26 shots. "DeShawn played a really good game," said Wizards head coach Flip Saunders, "and it’s unfortunate that he missed the two free throws at the end because that is what everyone will remember but there are so many other factors that contributed to the loss."
Injury Updates on Miller and Jamison
Miller first hurt the shoulder in the third quarter in a collision with the Heat’s Mario Chalmers. He immediately clutched his shoulder and was taken to the locker room. "It felt like it came out of place, went numb," Miller said. "That scared me more than anything." Miller returned to the bench a few minutes later with his shoulder taped and re-entered the game with about four minutes left in the quarter. "I thought he played pretty good with one arm," Washington coach Flip Saunders said.
Unfortunately, just under three minutes into the fourth quarter, he injured [his shoulder] again on a hard drive to the basket. Scoring the hoop and the harm, Miller stayed in the game and made the And1 free-throw, which didn’t give the Wizards a chance to call a timeout. This time, Miller was clearly heavily favoring the shoulder. The Heat subsequently went down the court and Quentin Richardson missed a three pointer. However, the Wizards did not call a timeout to get Miller off the court. On the next offensive possession, the ball actually ended up in Miller’s hands, or hand, as he caught it and only dribbled with his right hand. And then the most amazing part which got Miller a standing ovation, he zipped a pass to Andray Blatche right under the basket for a dunk and his third assist of the game.
Flip Saunders said he'll likely be gone 7-to-10 days. But even if it really is that brief of a recovery, this means that within the season's first six games, 60 percent of the Wiz starters will have missed at least one game with an injury. The two who have been spared are Gilbert Arenas, who missed most of the last two years with rotted knee, and Brendan Haywood, who was sidelined for 75 games last season. Does that really seem fair?
I walked into the Verizon Center at 5:25pm, and Antawn Jamison was on the court. At that point, he was shooting three-point shots while the ball boys fed him him ball after ball. Then he moved down to the post,, and started shooting mini jump-hooks with both hands over assistant coach Sam Cassell. He then did some minor dribbling exercises, before picking up the pace a bit by shooting shots from everywhere on the court. At no point did this look like a man who is suffering any ill effects from a subluxation of the shoulder. There is still no official word on when he is to return, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him back on the court next week.
What's up with Tough Juice?
10:06:39 PM: Caron needs to put lowjack on Quentin Richardson. He’s got 16 on 4 3s, doesn’t he always kill the Wiz? Heat up 73-68, 9:30 left in 4th.
Flip said "Caron was doing a lot of other things for us," which is true. He had 10 rebounds. But also five turnovers. He was 6-for-13 tonight, but hasn't had the aggression that we're used to seeing out of him. Butler wasn't pleased with himself after the game, saying "I got caught watching the show instead of being a part of it a bit more. Deferred too much. I look forward to playing the next game and throughout the season. I know my role. Obviously, you just are adapting to the new situation, having guys back and just have to stay aggressive, be aware, don't get caught watching the show."
Butler should adapt and, hopefully, start playing like the old Caron. But, whether it's the fact that he's only played in four games and appears uncomfortable in a new offense, is adjusting to the styles of some new teammates, or is still dealing with knee issues (or a combination of all three), Butler is averaging the fewest points per game (14.0) that he's scored while he's been with the Wizards. He's also taking fewer shots per game (13.3) and is shooting a lower percentage (39.6). It's also not helping that he has more turnovers (10) than assists (three).
First C-Webb, Then Rasheed, Then Ben Wallace, Now...O-Pec?
The guy we drafted 18th overall in 2006, 3 spots ahead of Rajon Rondo, finally did something good. The only problem is that he had the best game of his career 5 games after we traded him, almost helping the T-Wolves to an upset of the Celtics.