The 2010-11 Washington Wizards season, which ended Wednesday night with a 100-93 loss at Cleveland, will largely be remembered for the sparkling play of rookie point guard John Wall, who averaged 16.4 points and and 8.3 assists per game and would be a shoo-in for Rookie of the Year if it weren’t for the stunning emergence of Blake Griffin. Apart from that, however, most of the positives of this past season could only be seen on paper, rather than on the court.
To wit, in December, General Manager Ernie Grunfeld traded Gilbert Arenas and his horrendous contract to the Orlando Magic for the slightly less odious commitment made to Rashard Lewis. Two months later, with the NBA’s trade deadline approaching, Grunfeld swung a deal with the Atlanta Hawks that brought Mike Bibby and two promising young players to D.C. in the persons of Jordan Crawford and Mo Evans. Grunfeld then became even more fortunate when Bibby became so desperate to play for a contending team (eventually settling in Miami with the Heat) that he passed on all of the $6.2 million the Wizards would have owed him in 2011-12. Continue reading →
Like a lot of things, basketball works in mysterious ways. If Austin Daye’s buzzer-beating three-point shot Tuesday night had done what many thought it was going to do and rattled through the net, Washington’s 107-105 win over the Detroit Pistons would instead have gone down as one of the three most excruciating losses of a largely excruciating season (my top two being the 95-94 home loss to Miami on December 18, the day the Gilbert Arenas trade was officially announced and the Wizards blew a four-point lead with 17 seconds remaining, and the 100-99 home loss to Orlando on November 27 that was settled with a Dwight Howard baby hook).
But Daye’s shot didn’t rattle through the net. Instead, it rattled back out, leaving the Wizards players shaken by just how close a call they’d had. “I’ve never seen [a shot like that],” said John Wall after the game. “I’ve never seen one go all the way in like that before coming out.”
“We’ve lost enough tough ones,” Flip Saunders said ruefully after the game. “We deserve a little bit of luck. That last one was definitely pretty right on.” Continue reading →
Defying the odds and most expectations, the Washington Wizards gave the star-studded Miami Heat a run for their money Wednesday night at the Verizon Center, twice cutting their deficit to one point early in the fourth quarter. But ultimately, the 94 total points scored by LeBron James (35 points), Dwyane Wade (33 points), and Chris Bosh (26 points) proved too much to overcome as the Heat (52-23) defeated the Wizards 123-107.
As heartening as the performance was by the Wizards (18-56), it’s hard not to wonder what might have happened if Washington’s star rookie point guard John Wall hadn’t gotten himself thrown out of the game with 8:48 to go in the first half and the Wizards leading 37-36.
The incident began innocuously enough, as Zydrunas Ilgauskas grabbed a loose ball at the top of the key and was defended by Wall. As Ilgauskas turned to face the basket, the Wizards rookie got right into the Lithuanian’s personal space, and Ilgauskas responded by nudging Wall twice with his right elbow. Wall took a futile swipe at the ball as Ilgauskas brought it over his head, an action which left the Miami man’s midsection exposed. As Wall turned to face up to Ilgauskas, television replays showed that the Kentucky alum pursed his lips, picked a spot, and let fly with a right cross to Ilgauskas’ ribs at the same instant that the 7-foot-3 center reached out with his left arm to shove Wall further back. Continue reading →
The first five minutes of Monday night’s Wizards game against the Chicago Bulls set the tone for the rest of the night. Chicago rebounded, blocked shots, and knocked Washington up enough to grab the reigns and dominate the game with a 105-77 victory.
“[The Bulls] reached in right from the beginning and took hold of the physicality of the game,” Wizards Coach Flip Saunders said after the game. Continue reading →
NBC Washington has the video of Verizon Center personnel removing Arenas banner from the side of the building this afternoon. It’s not clear if this is a deliberate move by the Wizards, or by the Verizon Center management, but either way, Agent Zero’s profile is a bit smaller right now.
Fellas, be glad that Abe Pollin didn’t live to see this. Because this would’ve killed him from sheer embarrassment.
In addition, federal authorities and MPD are investigating the incident. I’m not sure why the feds are involved, as this would likely be an MPD investigation, but if the reports are corroborated, Arenas and Crittenton could face felony firearms charges.
The best comment so far is from abias, a commenter at DC Sports Bog: “Judging by the way they’ve been shooting on the court, was anybody really in danger?”