This past spring at my office they gave out the “EASY” button to all us I.T. dudes after a secretarial shopping spree at Staples. It still sits atop my TV, collecting dust with the word EASY on it. Right now EASY looks like PANIC, and that’s mostly because of another rusty loss by the Wiz tonight in Jersey.
As I mentioned in my last few recaps, it looks like the Wiz are still only about 70% ready for the regular season. But here’s the thing, the Mavs started slow and ended up blowing the regular season to bits (before bowing out to Run TMC: The New Class), so on that accord, I’m not too worried.
Okay, I lied.
I am worried, because the Bobcats, Magic and Hawks have grown up into respectably dangerous teams. The geriatric Heat are right with us at the bottom, with nowhere to go until Wade comes back (Ricky Davis + Pat Riley = Class Clown + Substitute Teacher). So as soon as we really get into the flow of the season, I’m hoping we’ll be good.
But hope won’t help you keep a 20-point lead.
I swear, it’s like the Road Runner cartoons, where you know the Coyote is gonna get it, but you don’t know when or how comically tragic it’s going to be. So far the 2007-2008 Wizards are Wile E., to the leagues’ Meep-Meep. Tonight, for the second game in a row, we dropped the anvil on ourselves, letting a team slip out from a figure four leg lock to get the pin.
We were on fire to start the game, and thus far our most consistent Wizard is Antwan (24 points, 9 rebounds), who finally nailed some threes in the flow of the game. It was as if the Wiz knew they were gonna have to take their first win of the season, as every bucket came from good ball rotation and spacing. Brendan’s gummy berry juice wore off in this game, giving a typical “Wood” performance (2 points, 3rebounds). To be fair to Brendan, you can tell the refs had their awkward center/whiny guy radar on and weren’t cutting him any slack. The bench, while energetic, made more mistakes than good plays, and that will come as the season goes on.
The one thing I’m really, really starting to worry about is Gil’s knee. Is it really wise to go play 43 minutes of All-Star caliber professional basketball after having juice sucked out of your knee!? This to me ranks right up there with Ben Roethlisberger playing right after having his appendix yanked out. Granted, we had a few days in between games, but c’mon, he can’t be anywhere near 100%, and it shows. He’s timidly doing his patented “drive-n-crash” move, and he’s been wincing a bit after landing. The guy’s a warrior, because he still managed to grind out 21 points and 4 boards. I think I might be good to shelve him for a bit, let him heal up while the season’s still young and then unleash him at full strength. I’m really hoping he doesn’t turn into a “never-the-same-after-the _____ injury” kinda player, and that title usually goes to guys who never really let injuries get better.
Caron was good (21 points, 7 rebounds), but he didn’t really get going until late, and Stevenson, while wearing two jerseys (he has one tatted on his back) was still unable to score in limited action.
Jersey brought their usual guys, Jefferson, Kidd and the first graduate of the Danny Ainge School of Whining and Facial Expression, Vince Carter. Vince (24 points, 5 rebounds) gets more flop-tacular every year, while Kidd (6 points, 10 assists, 8 rebounds) and Jefferson (why hasn’t he been an All-Star yet?) do the dirty work. Bostjan Nachbar (14 points, 3 rebounds) absolutely killed us on open jumpers. Jamal Magloire pitched in with 12 rebs, and after the 3rd quarter, the Roc Boyz were in control, doing just enough to snatch to carrot away from the Wiz.
We have Denver at home tonight, and yes, I’m fully looking eye-to-eye at 0-5 if Stevenson and Butler don’t step up. That’s what has killed me the most about us this season, last year, we had grenades, hibachis, Chinese throwing stars, you name it, we hurt you with it. Now it’s as if we latch onto the first guy to make a bucket, and if he clanks a few, the squad gives up. We’ll see who shows up when the Answer and the Rocky Mountain Menace come through.