Gilbert's Arena

Monday, April 17, 2006

Weekend Wrap-up

Before I get to this weekend’s action, READ THIS IMMEDIATELY. A few highlights:

> Gilbert plays on-line poker in the locker room at halftime of games.
> During the summer, he bowls 3 to 4 hours a day, every day, and his high score is 277.
> He thinks resting in the off-season leads to burn out. I’m not sure how that works, but I like it.
> He wants to write and film his own shoe commercials this summer and post them on-line. One of his ideas features Ron Artest going into the stands after a fan, only to slip and knock his own teeth out.

Sometimes I love Gilbert Arenas so much it hurts. Moving on…

On Friday night, we traveled to Chicago, where we suffered our 5th straight loss without Caron Butler (L, 103-101). There were two major reasons we lost this game, and the horrendous charging call on Jared Jeffries on the last play of the game wasn’t one of them. Although Andres Nocioni clearly shouldn’t have gotten that call, I also don’t think it should have been a foul on Noc. If anything, it should have been a “no call”, in which case the clock would have run out. The real problem was that Jeffries didn’t call a timeout when he got the ball with 3 seconds left on the clock. I’d rather set up a play for the winning shot than have Jared Jeffries careen wildly down court toward the basket in a full-court one-on-one situation.

That charging call aside, the real reasons we lost this game were: A) Ben Gordon, and B) Gilbert Arenas’ calf. Gordon went 9-for-9 from three, tying the NBA record for most threes in a game without a miss. He was lights-out in the 4th quarter, and it didn’t matter if we had a hand in his face. He wasn’t missing. Meanwhile, Gilbert was ice cold in the 4th quarter. At the mid-point of the 3rd quarter, Arenas was 11 for 20 from the field with 30+ points, but then he came up limping. He went to the bench where the trainers massaged and treated his calf. When he came back out a few minutes later, something was clearly wrong. Antonio Daniels was bringing the ball up the court, Gilbert wasn’t moving at all on defense, and he stopped driving to the basket. When he shot jumpers (which was all he did for the rest of the game), he had no lift, as he was clearly jumping off one leg. To make a long story short, Gilbert shot 2 for 12 over the last quarter and a half. Game over.

On Saturday, our Eastern Conference competitors handed us a gift. Philadelphia lost to Orlando, Indiana lost to the lowly Charlotte Bobcats in overtime, and Milwaukee got drubbed by the Atlanta Hawks. So going into Sunday’s game against the Cavaliers, we had a 1/2 game lead for the 5th playoff spot. Then we got more good news…

Caron was back! And it made a world of difference. The Zards played with the kind of aggressiveness, confidence, and energy that's been missing over the past 2 weeks. We looked like a different team. Gilbert was picking his spots rather than forcing his shot, we constantly pushed the ball up the court and relentlessly attacked the rim, and Antonio Daniels’ production became a luxury off the bench rather than a necessity. The game was over after 3 quarters, as we took a 26 point lead into the final stanza. The Cavs even conceded the game at that point by pulling Larry Hughes, Lebron, and Big Z. Caron was clearly the player of the game, finishing with 21 points, 8 rebounds, 4 steals, and 3 assists (box score). With the win, we finally clinched a playoff spot. About freaking time!

This week, the Zards have Milwaukee on Tuesday in our final home game of the year, followed by the Pistons on the road on Wednesday (hopefully with their starters resting). We need to lock down the 5th spot, and at this point we control our own destiny thanks to a one game lead over Milwaukee, Indiana, and Chicago. We are a better team than the Cavs, as our 3-1 record against them this year shows. We can definitely beat them in a 7 game series, and in the 2nd round we’d face the Pistons rather than the dreaded Heat. The Pistons are clearly the best team in the league, but at least we have confidence against them. We’ve beaten them twice this year, including a win at The Palace, so we won’t be afraid.


> Michael Wilbon jumps on the anti-T-shirt bandwagon. Says Wilbon: “It’s time for the Wizards to act like they’ve been there.” AMEN.

> Eddie Jordan has given Caron the nickname “Tough Juice”. I like it.

> Get your off-season dose of Clinton Portis! The Mighty MJD


  • Nice summary. After the agonizing L to Chicago, I couldn't even watch the Cleveland game. I was convinced that the Wiz were gonna lose the rest of their games this year. Thank God that Caron was back, and don't even get me started on La Sooz and the t-shirts...

    By Blogger zombie squirrels, at 12:56 PM  

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