Wizards @ Celtics, and more
The Boy Wonder (Gilbert's self-given nickname) was absolutely phenomenal last night in Boston. It was one of those games where even when the opponent keeps the game close, you don't worry because Gilbert clearly has things undercontrol. He finished with 38 points, 8 assists, 8 rebounds, and 4 steals. He did whatever he wanted, and in the final quarter he was simply unstoppable as the Zards put the Celtics away, 108-91 (Boxscore: http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/boxscore?gameId=260405002).
Last night’s win was big for the Zards. We need to play well on the road to finish out the season and hang on to the 5th seed for the playoffs (6 out of our last 9 are on the road). If we fall to the 6th seed and play the Nets, we're in trouble. They've been red hot, and our defense can't stop one guy of Carter and Jefferson's caliber, let alone both of them. We've had success against the 4 seed Cavaliers this season as well. If we beat the Cavs, we'd face the Pistons in the 2nd round, who we've also beaten twice. On the contrary, a first round win as the 6th seed would get us a date with the Heat, and we wouldn't stand a chance with our shoddy perimeter defense (Wade) and black hole in the middle (Shaq vs. Haywoodustopsucking?).
Here are the updated standings after last night's games:
5. Washington (39-35)
6. Milwaukee (37-38, 2.5 games behind)
7. Indiana (36-38, 3)
8. Chicago (35-40, 4.5)
9. Philly (34-40, 5)
We play Milwaukee twice more this season (April 12th and 18th), but we're done with Indiana.
In other news, Brendan Haywood was re-activated last night. For those who missed it, Wood was inactive for the past 3 games. He missed the first game with what was reported as "lower back soreness", and then Eddie Jordan kept him on the inactive list because EJ said he wanted to make sure Wood was 100% ready to return. Meanwhile, Wood was telling reporters that he was ready to go. It seems pretty obvious that EJ was trying to send him a message (for about the 5th time this season) that his soft play inside was unacceptable. Quotes such as this from EJ only encourage that theory: "I want him to give 100 percent effort," Jordan said. "Take a physical approach to the game and compete at the rim. The other guys are doing it and we want him to do it, too."(http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/04/AR2006040401678.html).
To be honest, I prefer the way this team plays when Etan Thomas and Michael Ruffin handle the inside duties, so Haywood's soft play doesn't upset me that much. I just don't think he's mentally wired to be an aggressive force, so why keep hoping he'll turn into one? Put Etan and Ruffin out there, tell them to play tough D and crash the boards, and let the Big Three run up and down and gun it. It's a formula that worked for the Sonics last year (Reggie Evans, Danny Fortson), and I think it's our best bet to make a run in the playoffs until we can make a move for a legitimate interior presence in the off-season. I know there a ton of teams who would gladly overpay for Haywood, just ask Jim McIlvaine, Travis Knight, and Jerome James. And I have faith in Ernie Grunfeld to make the right move.
> Gilbert is the guest host on TNT tonight with Sir Charles and Kenny the Jet. I can't even explain to you how excited I am to see Gilbert interact with Barkley.
> Playoff tickets go on sale on Saturday at 10am: http://www.washingtontimes.com/sports/20060406-120137-5975r.htm
> According to the Washington Post, Gilbert has been collecting autographed jerseys from his opponents on the past few roadtrips. His goal is to eventually build a glass-floored basketball court with the jerseys underneath the floor. GOD I LOVE GILBERT ARENAS (
> Courtesy of http://scamboogah.blogspot.com and an Australian genius named Thumbboy, here are two photoshop masterpieces that feature ex-Zards.
The least handsome man in the history of the NBA, Popeye Jones: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v112/wayne24/joneses.jpg
The family photo of current Detroit Wizton Rip Hamilton is also quite lovely: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v112/wayne24/meetthehamiltons2.jpg
When I look at these, I don't know whether to laugh or cry.
NEXT GAME: Friday night at Atlanta