Wednesday, April 4, 2007
Big Nights from Songaila, Thomas, and Arenas Keep Wiz in Playoff Hunt
CHARLOTTE, April 3 — Several Wizards picked up the slack for injured forward Caron Butler Tuesday night in Charlotte, as the Wizards continued their playoff push playing four quarters of basketball in Charlotte. Using the game as a warm-up for worthy competition, the Wizards innovatively decided to see what it was like not playing defense at all as opposed to not playing defense frequently, ultimately ending up non-victorious, 102-122.
But the lack of defense, effort, passion, guile, heart, and constitution didn't deter significant contributions from a few. Gilbert Arenas torched the Bobcats with 33 points and seven assists while offseason acquisition Darius Songaila continued his ascension from "who?" to "maybe he doesn't suck" status with 16 points on 8 of 9 shooting. The night was so special for Songaila that after a rare missed layup from the token power-forward-having-a-career-night-against-the-wiz Gerald Wallace, the potential rebound bounded off of Songaila's milky shoulder into the opposition's basket. You can't even practice a bucket like that! Wallace was credited with the bucket along with 32 other points 14 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 3 steals, likely cementing someone's fantasy championship.
Etan Thomas, never one to back down (without travelling, HA!) from having great stats in a blowout, asserted his position as Eddie Jordan's center-of-(the moment) choice with 17 points and 14 rebounds. Thomas was likely saying "Take that," to rival sulking center Brendan Haywood, who played nine minutes of turnover-ing registering one point and one pout. Jordan's patented "punish Brendan with the bench" technique lead the mercurial 7-footer to have a great stretch of play earlier in the season before Haywood ultimately became bored with the whole playing-in-the-NBA thing.
The always creative Eddie Jordan found ways to short-circuit momentum in lieu of resting players who will be needed for tonight's rematch in D.C. even inserting George Washington alum Mike Hall in the third quarter, registering a bucket and a story for his attention-lacking future grandchildren. Jordan's jazzy (not the Utah kind) brand of line-ups this season has become a great unpredictable aspect of what should have been a strong Eastern Conference contender. With Butler having a 6-week lay-off, Jordan is given even more opportunity to screw around with minutes. Tonight's starting lineup featured Jordan fave Jarvis Hayes, who continues to wrestle with effective basketball play.
The Wizards are obviously looking past the hilariously named Bobcats (even if Walter Herrman's hair is totally glorious, and simply must be seen) instead challenging themselves, kind of like the way Gilbert handicapped himself in that shoot-out with Deshawn Stevenson. Eddie's funky line-ups, Haywood's lack of desire, the team's lack of defense-playing, Butler's lack of left hand; all self-imposed challenges made to prep them for the playoffs. Ignore Wilbon.