Gilbert's Arena

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Rough Night in Atlanta

Well... that certainly sucked (Atlanta 114 - Washington 101). Caron Butler (thumb) and Antonio Daniels (wrist) both missed the game due to injury, so we started off the game with a handicap. It also became pretty clear early on in the game that Antawn Jamison didn't have his shot going, so it was all up to Gilbert to carry the load. He was up to the challenge in the 1st quarter as he scored 15 points and led the Zards to an early lead. In the 2nd quarter however, Arenas came up limping and was in obvious pain. He had to leave the game and head to the locker room, and I was so panicked that I thought my heart was going to explode. With Gil in the locker room, chaos ensued. Our offense was a complete and utter disaster without Gilbert, Caron, or AD on the floor, and the Hawks easily took the lead. Thankfully, Gilbert emerged from the locker room (albeit with his back heavily wrapped), but he clearly wasn't the same player. His explosiveness was gone, and he continued to grimace for most of the game. Gilbert still managed to pour in 41 points, but he also shot just 40% and had 8 turnovers, and it never felt like the Wizards really had much of a chance in the 2nd half. Hopefully he'll be ready to go against Miami tonight and this back injury won't linger.

Josh Smith had a terrific game for the Hawks and continued to show why he has as much potential as any young player in the league. He hit 3 of 5 from three point land, blocked 4 shots and changed several others, and had a huge impact on the game on both ends of the floor. It's easy to forget that this is only Smith's 2nd season out of high school, and he's just 20 years old. In 25 games since the All-Star break, he's averaging 15 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 blocks, and 1 steal. In a few years, he should be a perennial All-Star.

On the bright side, Brendan Haywood had a nice game inside. He posted a double-double and was especially active in the 2nd half. However, I'm not expecting that to continue tonight against the Heat, as Shaq should toss him around like a rag doll as usual.

Caron Butler and Antonio Daniels are both listed as day-to-day, and both said they would try to go tonight at home against the Heat. Gilbert complained of a pinched nerve in his back, and he said his status tonight will be a game-time decision. I have a bad feeling we might get pummeled, so it's a good thing Milwaukee and Indiana both lost last night.

Enjoy tonight's game and the rest of the weekend. I'll be back on Monday.



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