When I look back at the first five games of this season, I saw a lot of head-scratching, soul searching and finger pointing. What I see now is a complete and unexpected 360 turnaround in regards to my Wiz, as they destroyed yet another low caliber opponent, the Sixers, by 15.
The score differential was hovering at or near 30 points for the majority of this one. Maybe it was Gil’s bench mojo, or Earl “the Pearl” Monroe’s #10 going into the Verizon rafters, but whatever magic it was, it needs to be bottled and kept in the F street locker rooms.
Now before I start geeking out, I have to take into account the three recent teams we whooped up on, the remodeled Timberwolves, the AAU team out in Portland, and the hapless group of boys from a Philly hostel housed by Maurice Cheeks. When we start getting at the Celtics/Raps/ Pistons, then I’ll be able to breathe easy, but you gotta’ love the guys’ confidence.
“Bulletproof” Blatche is here. I’ve been trying to warn you all for about a good year, and tonight you all see why Ernie G is one of the illest GMs of all time. Whenever stars go out, there’s always the “pick up the slack” cliché that gets tossed around, well tonight the guys really took it to heart and played passionately, with some fun thrown in for good measure. Blatche (26pts, 8 rebs and a three) stepped in and looked less like an awkward teenager and more like a basketball savvy NBA vet. If the Wizards were Duke tonight, Dicky V would’ve tried to have Andray’s baby by halftime. The one note I want to make is that when he was drafted, the Wiz brass projected him to be a Garnett type, while he’s actually becoming more Bosh-esque (are you listening Ryan?). Keep in mind; we haven’t even unleashed O-Pec on the league yet!
Guess who stopped by for a few pickup runs? Yes, our newest multimillionaire DeShawn “ 2 Jersey Nets” Stevenson. DeShawn stopped punking out with jumpers and actually drove the lane with some intensity, getting 19 points in the process. Daniels still scares me as our backup point, because really, his basketball IQ isn’t too high. How many times have we seen him make an errant pass or break the “don’t leave your feet” rule? Hasn’t he been in the league for over a decade now?
Caron didn’t have to do too much work, and Twan was Twan (19pts). But the other sparkplug for the Wiz has been Young Nick (11pts), who’s got that “annoying little brother” energy about him that actually wears other guys out. He’s more competent than Juan Dixon and seems like a really genuine guy.
But the Sixers…..man, where do I start?
Seriously, ever notice how when a team’s star player/face of the franchise leaves, it takes YEARS for that team to come back? Even when they throw in a reasonable facsimile and try to hype it up as the same product? When Barkley left Philly, the Sixers went so far as to draft a guy who LOOKED JUST LIKE CHUCK (Clarence Weatherspoon) with disappointing results. The Pacers still haven’t gotten back since Baby New Year left, the Lakers are a travi-sham-mockery of their title days and the Bulls went south for years after Scottie and Mike. Same story here in the PHI, and it’s sad because Iguodala (10pts) doesn’t even get his own nickname, he’s “the new AI”. You can tell they’re a VERY young team, and they’re tip-toeing the line between “do we make this work and all get better as a team” (like the Bobcats) or “do we just play, get a paycheck and audition for everyone else every night “(Portland).
The Sixers got some good talent, Dalembert, albeit goofy, has some touch inside, while Lou Williams and Rod Carney look to be the horses that will make this engine run down the line, but its gonna take time.
But for the time being, all our horses are running (with the exception of a gimpy Arenas), and I’ll take the win.
Tomorrow is a division showdown with the new and improved Bobcats, who’d be giving the Magic a good run had May and Morrison not been hurt, so that my friends will be the seasons’ acid test.