Washington Wizards 99 - Atlanta Hawks 105
I hate to sound like a broken record but for the second straight game Mike Miller decided to start the game with a shooters mentality. Tell me if you've heard this one before, 1st quarter Miller is 3 for 4, the following 2 quarters 0 shots. Then the 4th quarter comes along and he tries to get it going again but shots 1 for 4 and finishes the game 4 for 8 with 11 points. Look, I'm not trying to start a bash-fest on Miller but you don't have to be a basketball aficionado to understand that if you don't shoot the ball for 2 quarters your chances of being pin point accurate in the 4th are not going to be to high. It's such as strange thing with Miller too because it's not like the fans don't want him to shoot the ball. He's hearing things from the fans because they want him to shoot more.
We also got the mixed bag of nuts from our Face of the Franchise (FoF) Andray Blatche. Dray was impressive offensively as well as on the boards but not so much with the turnovers. If you saw his statline, 30 points on 12 for 19 shooting, and 10 rebounds you'd think it was a very good night. What you can't ignore is the 7 turnovers and from my angle what was a questionable shot selection at the end of the game. I'm not a big fan of the fade-away jumper from the baseline with a man guarding you tight in a two possession game.
Now out with the bad and in with the good. Nick Young came to play, again. That's the great news. This is the second straight game that Nick displayed a little swagger and hopefully his minutes can stay where they are right now, averaging around 24-25 over the last two. Nick is an absolutely gifted basketball player and Flip put it best after the last game, Young has to maintain the type of energy he has displayed lately whether his shot is going in or not.
My star for the Hawks, and I'm a big Michigan fan which makes me somewhat biased, but I would got with Jamal Crawford who had himself a game tonight. I seem to remember when Michael Jordan was the GM here and there was talk that he wanted to get Jamal in a Wizards uniform but it never ended up happening. Well ever since then, and it might just be me but I feel like he always has his way with the Wizards. Crawford, also know as "J.C." and "Crawfish" finished with 29 points and 3 assists. Not really impressive outside of the points but it was more a matter of how and when the points came. He basically went where he wanted to when he wanted to all night long.
My Most Valuable Wizard was by far JaVale McGee. Big Daddy Wookie was in full effect tonight. Epic Vale had so many dunks I actually lost count. There is one thing nobody can deny about JaVale, the young man can jump out of the gym. As I told Jacob Bourne from DCSportsFan at the last game, I don't think JaVale has ever seen a shot that he didn't want to reject into the crowd. The Big Secret was all over the place against the Hawks and has had a pretty decent stretch of games over the last 5 averaging close to 13 points and 7 rebounds per. Tonight though there was more to his game than usual. Obviously "The Choppa" had his signature dunks, one of which ended up in ESPN's top 10, but JaVale was getting up and down the court on both ends, communicating on the court and more importantly had a little edge to him. Maybe JaVale is not a big Pachulia fan? Who knows, what I do know is that the crowd enjoyed his energy and play on both ends. Kill + Mode = Cheese was in serious effect. Quick thanks to BulletsForever for the numerous aliases of JaVale McGee.
Overall I thought it was an entertaining game game with some good energy but in the end the Wizards just couldn't pull it out. With 20 games left in the season, we are left positioning ourselves for the draft lottery instead of playoffs. Not exactly where any of us thought we'd be but it sure will make Conference tournament week and March Madness more relevant to Wizards fans.
- Joe Glorioso Wizards Extreme Correspondent