The buzz around Verizon Center prior to the Wizards and Celtics tipping off on Monday night was Gilbert's apology/op-ed in the Washington Post. I'm sure I'll have time to post about that at a later date so we will leave that discussion for another time. Before the game I had the chance to speak with Ronny Thompson about a myriad of things from Greg Monroe, to the current Wizards roster, other teams reasons for success and even a little bit about the ownership situation. For purposes of this game recap I'll stick with discussion about Monroe. I am a big fan of Greg Monroe and this weekend I posed the question to the twitterverse, "Would Greg Monroe and the Wizards be a good fit?".
The answers were a mixed bag. Ronny tonight summed it up best saying, "Greg Monroe would be a good fit on any team". Without getting into all the details of our conversation, as I have to save some things to write about later, the last point Thompson made about Monroe made the most sense and was something I was able to apply to tonight's Wizards vs Celtics matchup. Ronny said, "the thing with Monroe is he's not going to come in and try to be Batman, he will play Robin and that's why he'll be successful." He then added, "Greg will be completely satisfied with a 12 point 11 rebound night, as long as it helps his team win". This discussion naturally took us into talking about the Wizards current makeup and I think the one thing we both were very much in agreement about was that this squad as constructed does not have the right balance of players.
The Wizards played a Boston team last night that understands the importance of team ball, role players, star players and listening to their head coach. You consider the Celtics are a team loaded with some pretty big ego's yet they manage to win a ton of games because they can manage having Uber-headcase types like Rasheed Wallace coming off the bench. After the game Michael Lee posed a question to Mike Miller regarding the Wizards good ball movement in the first half and lack thereof in the second half. Miller's quick response was something along the lines of, "were we winning in the first half, right?" and moved on to the next question. This is just one microscopic piece of a larger problem. Look, we can harp on all the little things the Wizards don't do such as not passing the ball enough, taking bad jumpshots, not communicating on the floor, dribbling the ball too long, coming out of time outs with horrendous execution.
All of it contributes to the losing going on, but like any other organization in sports, it starts at the top and filters all the way down. We have a franchise without an owner, a GM who is coming up on the biggest trade deadline this franchise has witnessed in quite some time, a coach who signed up to win a championship with a core of 3 former all stars and a squad who seems to be losing the will to play as the season wears on. You look at a team like the Celtics and then you look at the Wizards and you can only shake your head and wonder how much longer before we can get this thing turned around?Well, the optimist in me would not have you look at Boston, but the team that helped Boston win its last championship. It's going to take a rebuild the likes of the Oklahoma City Thunder to get these Wizards turned around.
For the time being though, I guess we'll have to temper our expectations to getting a three game win streak. Boston was not willing to help us do that last night, so the Wiz move on to NY to see if they can start up a new streak. - Joe G. Game Recap in words, pictures and video...
WIZARDS HEAD COACH FLIP SAUNDERS On the fourth quarter: “The Celtics bench was big in the fourth quarter. I think that in the fourth they got extremely aggressive and we missed a lot of shots around the basket. There is no question that Antawn was bothered around the basket. I think that a lot of the guys were frustrated, especially Antawn. We played hard but we did not play as well as we needed to in the fourth.”
On the Celtics: “I think that everyone on their bench played well. Tony Allen, Rasheed Wallace and Glen Davis played big down the stretch. Those guys were huge for them. Those guys added freshness to the team.”
On Earl Boykins: “I think that Earl came in and did a great job guarding Rondo. Rondo was getting where ever he wanted in the beginning of the game and early in the third quarter. Earl played him at a better angle so we decided to go with him.”
On Andray Blatche: “I think that he had a great first half. The second half I think he played hard but he doesn’t have much to show for it because he missed some crucial shots around the basket. In the second half three shots within six feet of the basket came up dry.”
WIZARDS CENTER BRENDAN HAYWOOD On the fourth quarter: “Boston really clamped down during those last six minutes which caused us not to get any real good looks at the basket. You have to give Boston a lot of credit. As a competitor you have to play through every play and you can never think that it’s over. I think whenever a team only scores 10 points you have to credit your opponent for playing good defense, but is also shows that we have to do a better job of executing on the offensive end.”
WIZARDS FORWARD ANDRAY BLATCHE On the fourth quarter: “We struggled a little bit, but we had opportunities in the fourth off of their turnovers, but we didn’t convert. I can’t say that their defense got too much better in the fourth. I think we all missed some shots that we normally make. Once the pressure was there we became a little tight with the ball movement.”
WIZARDS GUARD NICK YOUNG On the fourth quarter: “It seemed that Boston picked it up defensively. I felt we had some good looks at the basket but they just weren’t falling. It seems like a lot of the games have been like that this year. We had them on their toes, but once it got to the three-minute mark they turned into the Champion Boston Celtics. We just have to pick it up against New York (Knicks) and get a win. We are going to get three wins in a row this season…and very soon.”
WIZARDS GUARD RANDY FOYE On the game: “Earl did a great job. He scored and got the team in great sets. We had a chance to win and just couldn’t pull it out in the end. I just try to be ready to jump back in the game and stay warm as I can so that when I’m put back in I’m loose.”
WIZARDS GUARD EARL BOYKINS On the fourth quarter: “I think we have to give the Celtics credit, but at the same time we were able to run our offense and got the guys we usually do some shots, but we just didn’t execute off of those shots.”
CELTICS HEAD COACH DOC RIVERS On the win: “It was a good team win for us. I thought a lot of guys did a lot of really good things. Rasheed (Wallace) and Kevin (Garnett) did a terrific job. I thought the second unit held their own and got us a lead. We didn’t turn the ball over down the stretch. We didn’t give up offensive rebounds down the stretch. We got stops. It came down to a couple of possessions.”
On holding the Wizards to 10 points in the fourth: “That’s what we haven’t done. Our offense has been sketchy in the fourth. Our defense has been worse. Today, I thought both things came through for us. I told our guys with five minutes left that if we don’t score again we have to win the game. I thought they had the focus on the defensive end.”
On finishing their four game road trip: “Before the stretch, I thought this would be the toughest of the four in some ways because it was the fourth game. I thought if we lost that first game it could be a tough road and it ended up being that. This last game I thought, either way - win or lose - today would be difficult emotionally.”
CELTICS FORWARD PAUL PIERCE On injuring his foot: “It rolled over when Caron landed on it. I think I have a mid mild foot sprain. I’ll check it out tomorrow and get an x-ray. I feel good but I did have pain in the foot.”
On the Celtics defense: “I thought we really grinded it out. I liked the way we played defense in the fourth quarter, finally. We haven’t been bringing that same consistency in the defense in the fourth quarter. Tony Allen really gave us a big lift. It was great to see him go out there and get extended minutes in the fourth quarter and really come through.”
CELTICS FORWARD TONY ALLEN On extended fourth quarter minutes: “Coach put me out there to defend and make plays. I was fortunate enough to do that. Caron Butler got going. My role was to go out there and contain him because he’s a great player. I think I did a pretty good job of that and we were fortunate enough as a team to clamp down and we got the win.”
CELTICS GUARD RAY ALLEN On ending losing streak: “When you lose a couple in a row, the next time you win is definitely a relief. It snowballs in both directions. It’s important that when you lose you stick together and get that ball rolling again.”
On fourth quarter defense: “That’s what we talk about all the time – getting stops and making them uncomfortable. They hit a couple big buckets and times but I think we still kept that uncomfortable throughout the game. Antawn never got to his comfort zone. Caron hit some tough shots but for the most part defensively we at least pushed him out a little bit.”
CELTICS GUARD RAJON RONDO On ending losing streak: “We just needed to get a win regardless of the past two games. We wanted to come out tonight and end the four games in five nights on a good note.”
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