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Game recap - Los Angeles Clippers vs. Washington Wizards (What......too dry?)


Ok guys. Here's my first official blog entry. As the newest writer here at BF, Jake offered me the assignment of doing the recap on what I assumed was going to be another frustrating Wizards loss. I had a bunch of really pithy comments saved up just for this occasion.

Oh well... maybe next time.

Anyway, be gentle with me.... it's my first time.

Box Score
Post Recap
Times Recap
Wizards Live Blog
Wizards Insider

Highest Plus/Minus: What? (pass)
Lowest Plus/Minus: Minus infinity....? (Is this a test? Where's the multiple choice?)
Best Five Man Unit: The Jacksons
Worst Five Man Unit: NSYNC  (Hands down)

Line up I liked the best: Crittenton, Young, McGuire, Butler and McGee  (The Fantastic Five?)

Game Thread Comment of the Night: "Hmmm - It seems like McGee’s height, wingspan, speed and energy can possibly used to create matchup problems for the opposing team. Wish we’d known that earlier in the season." by hotplate

Your Washington Wizards, getting ready for a second half run at the Playoffs..

Here we go.

McGuire jumping on the opening tip, but loses the tip to LA. McGuire is now 1-2 on opening tips.

Immediately, Brian Skinner makes an impact, tipping in a miss.
Now Skinner is posting up Jamison (are you kidding me) - nice baby jump hook for 2 more. Four to nothing LA.

10:08 First field goal for the Wizards - Mike James for 3.... Nice to see, as he has not been shooting well lately.
      Now, Marcus Camby with a jump shot; all bent elbows and sideways rotation; but he makes it. Boy, he's got an ugly jump shot.

8:51 Mike James carries the ball, and on the ensuing Clipper possession, Brian Skinner scores on another baby jump hook.  Clippers up by 5.
Maybe the Wizards should start doubling Brian Skinner...!?!???!

7:45 Butler to Jamison. Nice movement without the ball. Jamison pops out to the top of the key, and hits a jumper.

A Clipper's turn over.
On the next possession, the Wizards take the lead on Butler's jumper. Nice screen by Songaila to spring Butler.

5:30 Davis penetrates, kicks out to Eric Gordon who hits a wide open 3-pointer. Too easy.
Butler to Songaila. Nice movement without the ball. Song with the layup.
Butler to Songaila. Nice movement without the ball. Song with the layup. (NO - that was NOT a hick up... it really happened twice in a row)
One thing you can say about Songaila, he really knows how to play without the basketball in his hands.

3:49 Nice defense by Taser on Eric Gordon. He forced him to give up the ball. Clippers reset with only 9 seconds left on the shot clock. Double team by Butler and James on Thornton, he swings the ball back to Gordon  who drives and forces a shot as the clock expires. Miss. Good Wizards defense. Boy, I'd like to see more of that.
Caron to Jamison. Nice movement without the ball. AJ with the layup.
Gee - I'm sensing a pattern here.
Another Clipper turn over
Steve Novak with a wide open 3-point shot - good. (And I can't help it. It just popped into my head. Is this another one of those bench scrubs that will come in and have a career game against the Wizards?)

1:54 McGuire to Songaila. Nice movement without the ball. Song misses the reverse layup. Al Thornton rebounds.... but Songaila takes it away from him and scores on a layup.
Jamison switches on the Pick-and-roll, but doesn't close out on Baron Davis. 3-pointer - Easy open shot.
Butler is relentless on the Offensive glass. Shot, Rebound, tip, rebound, and finally puts in the layup.
Another Clipper turn over. (I'm sensing another pattern here)
Crittenton and McGee are now in the game, replacing James and Songaila.
Baron Davis immediatly schools the youngster as he showed him the ball, Crit went for the steal, and Davis just went right around him for a layup. Wiz up by 2.

0:20 Nice ball movement by the Wizards, as McGee goes to an open area in the key. Jamison to McGee. Nice little turn around jumper from about 10 feet, and it falls for the Rookie.
Another Clipper turn over. Davis carried the Basketball.... Is it me? Or does it seem like there have been like 12 palming violations this quarter.

End of the First Quarter with the Wizards leading 26 - 22.

Washington played pretty good defense - except for the open 3's.....
LA had 10 turn overs and the Wiz converted them into 11 points.
The Wizards shot the ball well (48%); mostly due to all the layups.

Negatives: Open 3-point shots for LA  (4 of 6 for the Quarter)
The Wizards should be up by more than 4 points.

Start of the Second Quarter:

On the floor: DeShawn Stevenson, Crittenton, Butler, McGuire and McGee  (interesting lineup)

11:35 Eric Gordon drives; gets his shot blocked by McGee, but battles, gets the rebound and puts it back in.
Stevenson to Butler on the baseline. Caron fumbles the ball. Turn over.
Eric Gordon wide open for 3. Yep, you guessed it. The Clippers lead by one. This Rookie is the real deal. I'm impressed.

10:17 Good Wizards defense causes a steal. Crittenton quickly sprints down court, behind his back, and he's fouled. He makes both - well done.
JaVale didn't block out - tip in by Camby. One of those "learning" things that Tapscott is always talking about. Clippers back up by one.
Butler to McGee. Nice movement without the ball. Camby blocks the shot, but Butler gets the loose ball and lays it in. Wiz by 1. (Pattern continues)
Davis fakes out Crittenton, goes all the way and lays it in. (hmmmm.... and I've been giving J-Critt props for his defense....). Clippers by 1.

9:03 Nick Young is now in the game, along with McGee, Jamison, Stevenson and Crittenton.
Young drives to the basket and misses, but Javale is there to clean it up. Wiz down 1.
Next possession, Crittenton pushes the ball, passes to Jamison who stops, pops and hits. Hey guys, a fast break basket. I'm starting to remember what those were like. Wiz up by one.
Another Clipper turn over. (Now it's just ridiculous - I'm sounding like a broken record)
Stevenson to McGee. Nice movement without the ball. McGee with a right-handed jump hook, semi-dunk kinda thing.
6-0 Wizards run, and they lead by three.

6:06 Ricky Davis with an open look for 3, but he missed.
Nick Young with a nice ball fake, drive and pull-up jumper from 12-feet - good.
Stevenson, tough defense on Davis; then Nick Young with some tough defense on the other Davis (Ricky); Crittenton gets hung up on a screen, so Young picks up Gordon but fouls him with 2 seconds left on the shot clock. Meantime, JaVale sent Gordon's layup attempt 3 rows into the stands. Nice Defense, even though a foul was called.
It's plays like that that make me wonder why the Wizards aren't better on defense. They can certainly do it sometimes..... they just don't do it enough.
Nick Young from Crittenton. Nice movement without the ball. Nick hits a baseline jumper. (And the pattern continues.)

4:51 Nick Young caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Veteran move by Ricky Davis, as he hits the shot... AND ONE. (That's one of Caron Butler's favorite moves). Wizards up by 4.

Funny incident: Nick Young misses a jumper. At the other end, Camby is fouled by McGee. Horn sounds. Substitution as James and Songaila enter the game.  Nick, Javaris and JaVale all go to the bench. So, as Camby stands at the Free Throw line, the Wizards have only 4 players on the court. Nick comes back in with a sheepish grin. I guess Nick thought since he missed a shot, Tapscott was pulling him; but he was taking out Crittenton instead.
Actually, I don't know if it's "funny", or sad, or significant in some other way.

Nice ball movement. James hits Songaila with a pass as soon as he pops open at the elbow. Swish. Wizards up by 4.
Players moving. Ball moving. This Wizards Offense is creating easy shots.

3:27 Butler to Young. Nice movement without the ball. Young with a pretty spinning reverse layup. (Same old, same old.... getting redundant now)
Butler drive and a foul. Caron hits 2 free throws. Wiz up by 3.
Good defense by the Wizards causes a 24-second shot clock violation. (include Nick Young in that good defense, as he agressively contested a shot that ended up as an air ball)
Nick Young, too much dribbling; then Mike James, too much dribbling; but Nick hits a LONG 3-pointer to beat the shot clock.
Another turn over for the Clippers.
Then, Nick with a ball fake, dribble baseline right, stop, pop, nothing but....
Another turn over for the Clippers.
Nick Young tries to drive on Eric Gordon, but kicks the ball out of bounds. Turn Over Wizards.
0:07 Wizards play pretty good defense, forcing a miss - Out on the break. Songaila to Jamison to James to Nick Young; who drives and dunks over Skinner. Monumental Air!
0:01 Wizards give up a quick lay up.
0:00 Long 3/4 court Unseld-like pass from Caron Butler to James, who hits a 3 at the buzzer. Wizards up by 11 at the break.

Anyway, this recap could go on forever... The second half featured more of the same from both teams. More turn overs from the Los Angeles Clippers; more ball movement and easy shots for the Wizards.
The Clippers shot the ball well (46%); but also shot themselves in the foot with 24 turn overs.
The Wizards Offense was spectacular when the players were moving and when the ball was moving. They also dominated the boards in the second half (31-14);
13 of those were Offensive rebounds with JaVale McGee and Butler doing most of the damage.

I railed at Tapscott after the Philadelphia loss. He said the Wizards needed to trust each other more and "share the ball".
I was livid at Tapscott, because the Wizards had 28 assists in that game; and I thought, "how can they share the ball any better than that?".
Tonight's game showed me what Tapscott was talking about. It's not about the assists. It's about movement. The players moving. The ball moving.

That movement causes defensive breakdowns, resulting in easy shots.

I know, I know. It's only the Clippers; but the strategy should still work against Boston, or Cleveland or anyone else. Move move move. As long as the Wizards can move ( and also get the Celtics or the Cavaliers to turn the ball over 24 times) the good guys should be able to pull out the victory.