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Given how successful the Wizards have been against the Sixers this year, it makes you wonder if things would be even worse if Eddie Jordan was still around. The case could be made that keeping the same system in place that made Gilbert, Caron, and Antawn successful could have prevented some of the problems this team has faced. Then again, they still wouldn't be anywhere close to being respectable on defense either.
Regardless of who was patrolling the sidelines, it was nice to see the Wizards deliver in the fourth quarter. The fourth quarter is where teams really clamp down on defense, making ball movement becomes more critical to success on offense. The team shot 12-19 from the field in the final quarter thanks to eight assists during the final 12 minutes. Who led the charge? Gilbert Arenas, who had five of those eight assists in the final quarter and had 14 total. Say what you want about his pending legal issues, but he set the tone in last night's win.
He's tried to use humor to combat this stressful situation -- which could lead to serious trouble for violating D.C. gun laws and league rules. And, as his teammates gathered in a circle before the game, Arenas got in the middle, formed his hands into pistols -- thumbs up, index fingers out -- and acted as if he were shooting his teammates. "They said, 'Do it. Do it. Do it,' " Arenas said of his teammates. "You wonder why I can't be serious?" His teammates laughed hysterically. "Gil being Gil," Nick Young said afterward. "He's still finding ways to be funny."
Considering all the 76ers losses preceding it - the first one to the Washington Wizards before Thanksgiving, the second to Washington before Christmas, a dozen others sprinkled in - one might hesitate to label last night's 104-97 defeat to the Wizards the worst of the season. Those other losses were bad. But this was worse. The Wizards won despite controversy swirling around starting point guard Gilbert Arenas, who could be facing a gun charge. The Wizards won even though they looked like the worst team in the NBA for the game's first 30 minutes: They missed layups, guarded no one, and generally appeared ready to board the charter bus parked outside. The Wizards won even though they trailed by 18 points (66-48) with 9 minutes, 11 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
This performance doesn't mean that the Wizards are going to rattle off several wins in a row, especially with consecutive games against Cleveland and Orlando coming up (and the Arenas suspension looming), but it was nice to see the Wiz close out a game in the fourth quarter and actually play like, you know, they cared.
Gilbert Arenas didn't let the Philly fans get to him, scoring 19 points and dishing 14 assists in 38 minutes. I can only imagine what was said from the stands. They're a creative bunch in Philadelphia, that's for sure. Still, Arenas continues to keep pressing on. Like I said before, the best you can do is keep plugging him in your lineup until we know more about what his immediate future will hold.
Young came off the bench to score 21 points and when asked if his performance was the result of making his first shot of the game, Young shook his head no. "It had a lot to do with my hairdo," said Young, whose new style was described by someone as what would happen if you rub your head on a crocodile. "I twisted it up for the new year. It's our good luck charm right now."
That was pretty horrendous. After being up 14 at half, and over 20 at one point, the Sixers were outscored 60-39 in the second half to lose by 7. Despite making almost half of their shots, Eddie Jordan's boys were undone by horrible free throw shooting, too many turnovers, and a complete defensive breakdown in the final two frames.
Best of Twitterville
Twitter / Mike Prada
I've never heard Phil Chenier criticize the #Wizards more than I have tonight. It's all measured of course, but you can tell he's frustrated
Twitter / Truth_About_It
Dear Washington Wizards, sharing IS caring ... was that the 13th assist of the game for Arenas?
Twitter / Gilbert Arenas
I know everybody seen the pre game pics..my teammate thought to break the tention we should do that..but this is gettn way to much
Twitter / wizznutzz
But Nick Young hair look good all twisted up, and it look like Eddie Jordan broke out new Sharpie to draw on his follicles
Twitter / Michael Lee
Nick Young is balling 2night. He's got 21 and just gave Wiz a 94-90 on a jumper. Yes, it was a fadeaway. What else would you expect?