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Archive for February, 2010

When the Wizards entered the OT tied with the Knicks at 112 and without the servies of Miller, Thornton and Singleton, I found myself saying, “who the hell is going to score?”  Boy, do I have foresight?

Andray Blatche had another great game.  I’m ready to declare him the real deal.   Can anyone contest the fact that he is playing extremely well.  But this is his problem and this is what he has to work on.  Last night, he could not carry us in the OT when New York knew that he was our only legit scoring threat. He has to learn how to pass effectively all the time out of double teams which will create open shots for his teammates.  Then his teammates need to learn how to give him the ball in the post again.  It’s a learning process.

The Wizards should have won last night as they could have against Memphis.  But again, I fear that my foresight was correct again in thinking that this team is going to have a hard time recovering from the loss of Josh Howard.  Those who want us to add more and more ping pong balls will be happy.  Those slightly delusional people like myself who were hoping for a playoff are getting more and more dissapointed, but hell this had been my fate as a Wizards/Bullets fan for the better part of 27 years:  ping pong balls and dissapointment. 

Maybe Leonsis will turn it around?  Maybe he won’t, but I’ll still be here as probably you will too.

Double vision:  I’m happy to hear that Shanahan intends to tender Campbell a contract.  I’m sure the ‘Skins will tender him a sum large enough that we will receive compensation in the form of draft picks if someone blows Campbell out of the water with a deal.  All this is logical, sound decision-making. 

I don’t know how I feel about Rabach returning, unless it’s only on a two-year non-guaranteed, small contract.  It seems like his best days are behind him.  Maybe we need him for another year as another stop-gap, but how ’bout trying the dudes we have on the roster – Montgomery and Edwin Williams at center – to see what they got.  Let’s see what negotiations bring.

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I did not watch the Czechs lose to Finland nor the Swedes  to Slovakia.  However I did watch most of the game where Russia got slaughtered by Canada.  Even though it wasn’t all his fault, I’m sure Ovie is really embarassed about how things went down.  He is probably devastated because he really thought Russia could win the whole thing as did many others.

Frankly though, I have no interest in analyzing Russian hockey vs. Canadian hockey.  I just care about the Caps.  How will this terrible loss effect the Caps?  Will Ovie and Semin and Varlamov to a certain extent come out with something to prove come playoff time or will they re-live Tuesday’s terrible game and shudder under the spotlight, especially if we have to play the two main Canadian d-bags, Crosby and Mike Richards in the playoffs, who no doubt will remind our Russians at every occassion about the loss.

My guess is that Ovie will rise to the occassion.  He does not want to fail on the biggest stage twice in the same season.  He will come back with renewed vigor and determination not only to prove he is the best player in the league, but prove he can be the leader to take us all the way.

Backstrom seems like a level-headed kid who is not necessarily carrying the torch for his country the way Ovie does for Russia. So, while Backstrom is no doubt dissapointed in Sweden’s loss, I can imagine that he will be able to bounce back from it.  Fleischmann needs to work on his face-offs and keep on playing agressively and he too should be fine. 

I don’t know why, but for some reason Semin seems so distant to me that I can’t get a read on him. 

Our friend at The Caps Lock (see their link on our blogroll) have done a good job assessing the top five storylines heading into the final 20 games of the season for the Caps and they involve the trade deadline, who will be our #1 goalie, Ovie quest for a 3rd MVP and the President’s trophy. 

All of the Caps goals are there for the taking and you have to hope that Ovie and the rest of the boys can get some rest, practice a little to get our game back and tighten up things on the defensive and come out and beat Buffalo on opening night of Part II of the season.  The Caps after all have a pretty easy schedule down the stretch, with occassional tough ones and the 1st game in Buffalo is one of those tough ones.

An key acquisition or two at the trade deadline will help the Caps, but what I think will help Ovie and the rest of our Olympians the most is returning back to D.C. and seeing one another and their teammates such as Laich, Knuble, Bradley, Poti and the rest of the leaders on the team.  Psychologically the Caps must remember what their season felt like before all this drama surrounding the Olympics.  Remember that we are the #1 team in the NHL before the break and now is the time to push all our chips forward in our race to be the champions come June. 

Next Wednesday can’t come too soon.

Double vision: I don’t mean to make fun of the situtation, but what’s up with Chad Rinehart and Byron Westbrook getting wasted in the off-season and getting into trouble because of it.  Rinehart’s incident seemed innocent enough, but Westbrook could find himself in some deep water.  I wonder how Mr. Discipline, Mike Shanahan, is going to handle the situation.  Both these guys showed some promise last year and I would love to see them play with Shanahan to see what good coaching could bring out of them.  Hopefully these guys get their acts together and get their legal problems resolved in time for mini-camps.

And in the meantime, Redskins, stay off from the sauce!!!

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The Wizards blew it last night.  They had a chance to beat Memphis, who is not a bad team, but certainly not great.  The Wizards sleepwalked through the first 7 minutes of the 4th period and lost a winnable game.  If they are going to make a run at the playoffs, (that’s right, the playoff watch is officialy on for the next 4 games), they have to win 3 out of the next 4.

Blatche had another very good game as did Thornton.  With consistent minutes, they are both contributing at high levels.  If you are the Wizards and this kind of production continues, you have to go into next season feeling good at the 3 and 4 position.  If you re-sign Mike Miller, you are solid at the 2 position as well.  Then you have two more positions to consider and a little someone who wears #0.

Last night was not about coaching or poor plays.  It was about the Wizards’ inability to control the big men of Memphis.  No one could stop Marc Gasol.  It was a bad combination of him having a very good night and McGee and Oberto having bad defensive efforts.

I guess buying out Ilgauskas was the financially prudent thing to do, but you have to figure that he could help out on nights like last night.  But then again, in the big picture, McGee needs the experience.  So while I would like to  chalk last night up to a learning experience for our new group of young guys who are playing more minutes, I can’t get over the fact that  McGee did not play all that much.

I know I can’t have it both ways – I want to make the playoffs, but I want McGee to play a lot, at least 25 minutes a night.  Is that not possible?

The Knicks come into town having lost 8 in a row.  For a good team, this would be a piece of cake, you could chalk up another win.  For the Wizards, it’s a  highly dangerous situation.  I actually wouldn’t be surprised if the last time the Knicks won was when they smoked us in MSG.

Double vision: The Russian lost last night, as did the Swedes as did the Czechs.  That means all of our beloved Caps are done from the Olympics and are returning home.  Any of you who read this blog know that I was very worried about the emotional and physical fatigue our boys would have to endure after the Olympics, but now that they have all lost, I kinda feel bad for them.

I hated see the Canadians meet last night, but what I hated more were the prejudiced, biased and jingoistic commentary by the NBC crew regarding Semin and his tough, but legal hit against Dan Boyle and Boyle’s subsequent cheap shot slew foot of Semin.  Obviously I’m biased, but I challenge anyone who watched that to say that Semin’s hit deserved that kind of retaliation. Furthermore, the comments about how Boyle was some sort of honorable tough guy because he wouldn’t take that kind of cheap shot from Semin are total bullshit.  Crosby was praised earlier in the game for finishing a similar check against Datsyuk.

Millbury is easy to hate if you’re a Caps fan and his history vis a vis our team is deplorable.  I will continue to dislike him and this whole pro-Canada/anti-Russia stuff is becoming a little tough to stomach.

To be honest, I even loved it when Malkin dished out a little elbow when some Canadian jack-ass player started trash-talking from the bench.  That’s the last time I will say something nice abotu Malkin, but needless to say, I will be pulling for anyone and everyone to beat Canada from here on out.

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Austin Freeman scores over a Louisville player and dominates as Georgetown defeats their Big-East foes 70-60 on the road.

The Hoyas’ reacton after they beat Louisville last night, 70-60, was the same as mine – not ecstatic, not particularly joyous, just satisfied and ready to move on.  I turned off the T.V. and was relieved that we had returned to our winning ways.

We out-rebounded Louisville throughout the game and in the 2nd half, our defense was able to put the clamps on the not very developed group of  Louisville’s offensive players.  In fact we turned a 6 point deficit into a 15 point lead with something like a 21-2 run.  Greg Monroe and Austin Freeman dominated the play last night for the Hoyas.  Freeman in particular was unstoppable in the 2nd half.  (Boy, I hope he doesn’t go pro at the end of this year).  It was a sight for sore eyes.

Georgetown got some solid production from its bench with Holis Thompson hitting a couple of big 3’s in the 1st half and Benimon doing his thing.  The last two games have been rough for Jason Clark and Julian Vaughn, but last night the Hoyas didn’t need them since the young guys got helped out some off the pine.

I still say Georgetown can make a deep run in the NCAA tournament, but in order to do so, they have to have a decent seeding.  Last night they showed why no one will want to play them in the tournament.  We have the will and athleticism to shut teams down and we have the skill level to explode on the offensive end.  We just don’t have the ability to do it every night.  Let’s see what the next 10 days bring.  3rd place in the conference is attainable if the guys play with some focus.

Double vision:  Go Russia!!!!  The match that everyone expected in the finals is happening in the quarterfinals since Canada got tripped up by the U.S. and Switzerland.  I’m not gonna lie, I’ll be bummed if Canada wins.  I want Ovie, Semin and the rest of the Russians to stick it to Crosby.  It will be something to see.

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The curse lives

Josh Howard was looking for a 2nd chance when he came here. He was one of the coggs that was driving this newly energized Wizards machine. The team was able to overcome his injury last night, but now that we know he is out for the year, will the team be able to continue playing with renewed confidence and energy?

I don’t know. I really don’t know. I was all smiles and giggles this morning. Now, I have to admit that I don’t know what kind of effort we will see from the Wiz tomorrow night. I don’t know if they have the firepower to keep this kind of effort going.

Calling Nick Young, calling Nick Young: we need 15 points, 3 rebounds and some active defense from you on a nightly basis.  Can you do it?  Can you live up to yoru potential????

Damn, I can’t believe this curse. It’s really uncanny.

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Smells like Teen Spirit

Al Thornton, last night's closer, scores against the Bulls in the Wizards 101-95 win.

Honestly, before the trade there were some big victories, but had there been a stretch of basketball this season where the Wizards have played better than in the last four games?  Andray Blatche had 25 points and 11 rebounds.  That means that since the trade he is averaging 25 points and almost 11 rebounds.  Damn! He plays with good defensive position, he is not committing stupid fouls, he is making the opposition double team him and he is making good passes from the post.

James Singleton continues to play hard and I continue to be right about Al Thorton being the second coming as the Wizards ran the offense through him for much of the last 5 minutes of the game.

Everytime we win another game I think of Wilbon who wrote that this team would be the worst in the NBA now that the team had traded Jamison and Butler.  He said he would take the Nets over us.  He said that the bottom of this pit would go very deep.  As of today, it looks like he’s made an ass out of himself again.  Maybe though he fell into the trap I fell into earlier.  Maybe I was too scared of change and honestly thought that Jamison and Butler were better than they actually are. 

The Wizards even overcame an injury to Josh Howard.  I think the team was shaken up a bit when the injury occured and you could see it in our play in the 2nd quarter.  But like we did in Toronto and against Denver, we played a very good 3rd quarter and took control of the game.  How many times this year did the old team play a good 3rd quarter?  Not many that I can remember, but I can remember a lot of bad ones.  This tells me that the locker room is strong and that the players are focused on Saunders’ message.

Randy Foye had nine assists last night.  Thorton had  7 rebounds. Singleton had 12 rebounds while Blatche had 2 steals, 2 assists and 2 blocked shots.  The dudes are doing the little things.  I think we are going to beat Memphis on Wednesday. 

Some other Wizards stuff:  Why should the Wizards release Ilgauskas and give him back to the Cavs?  Why don’t we force him to suit up and if he refuses, then fine him or  suspend him. I mean we kinda need another big man.  It’s not our fault that the Cavs thought he was expendable.  He can go a whine to them.  I don’t want him to screw up our chemistry, but why should he be allowed to go back to the Cavs?  The whole situation is screwed up and the fact that Boston and L.A. are moaning about the situation is even more hyprocritical since they got Garnett and Gasol for absolutely nothing, not to mention that Boston has made a habit of picking up players after they have been bought out by other teams.  If they are worried about Ilgauskas, then they should sign him.  This whole situation makes the NBA look pretty ridiculous.

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The Wizards played a good game on Saturday night and when Blatche hit that beautiful fade away to make it 100-91, I was feeling pretty good about our chances.  Problem was, so were the Wizards and they stopped hustling and doing the little things that not only built them that lead, but had won them the games against Denver and Memphis.

Andray Blatche is playing amazing since Jamison left.  He is averaging 25 points and 11 rebounds  in playing over 30 minutes a game.  And honestly, he has had a bigger impact on the game recently then Jamison was having.  Blatche is blocking shots, getting steals and has carried this team for stretches of all three games.  Pretty impressive.

I’m beginning to like this team.  It’s only three games, but they have made a good impression on me.

Al Thorton is going to be a very good building block for this team.  I think we should re-sign Mike Miller, as I have said many times before.  James Singleton is a good hustle guy.  Quinton Ross hit some shots against Toronto, but I don’t see keeping him.  Young, McGee, Foye and Blatche should all stay.  The real question will be if the team decides to keep Howard for one more year.  I think it’s too early to answer that.  (Well, it may be too already to say any of these things, but what the hell.)

Now, if the team decides that they don’t want to spend the big money on the big names that are out there, that’s fine. Save the money for Durant.  But at the same time, I don’t want the Wizards to blow the bank on Carlos Boozer, Joe Johnson or Stoudemire.    Instead, get a good point guard, maybe like Carl Landry from Houston who I have heard is a free agent.  Then you get a big guy in the draft if you can’t land John Wall.  If you land John Wall, then maybe you try to get a decent big guy to back up McGee.  

I think building up young talent like this is the way to repair the situation rather than spending money on a ‘B’ player that doesn’t do anything to alter the shape of the franchise’s future.

On top of all that, I think this team has a winning streak in it.  The next 6 games are very winnable and I’m looking forward to see whether this team can win 5 out of 6 games.  Sounds crazy, but I got a feeling……

Double vision :  I was happy to see the Russians win yesterday and happy to see the Canadians lose.   For some reason, it’s hard for me to put not see these games through my red Caps’ glasses.  Thus, as of now, I am  rooting for the Russians to do well even though I have to overlook the fact that Malkin and Gonchar are on the team. However, I was sorry for Fleischmann that the Czechs lost.  

It’s a little harder to get excited about America’s team since there are so may players who I see regularly play against the Caps, but it was very easy to root for them yesterday against the Penguins, oops I mean the Canadians.

I’m happy that Canada has to play an extra game, maybe that extra bit of fatigue will hurt the Penguins, oops I mean those Canadian players from other NHL teams, come playoff time.  Only time will tell.

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