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Elite!

Okay, the Wizards still aren't elite. But a one point game at halftime against the Spurs isn't bad at all. I note that Caron Butler just agreed that the Spurs are "the best team in the league." Obviously, that's true. But players on good teams out to at least pretend to believe that the best team in the league is their team.

UPDATE: May I also say that Comcast SportsNet's love of unorthodox camera angles is extremely annoying.

UPDATE II: More broadcasting complaints. The following is the worst joke ever: "Robert Horry would have to be some kind of alien to wear all his championship rings onone hand." Okay. "Because as a human he wouldn't have enough fingers." Got it the first time! "He's won six championships." If you have to explain it. . . .

November 12, 2005 | Permalink

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Comments

Ginobili looks weird with the short hair. Boy, is Duncan having a bad night.

The Wizards announcer just referred to the MCI Center as "The Phone Booth." Is this simply something I've missed, or is that entirely an invention that he pulled out of his ass?

Posted by: Haggai | Nov 12, 2005 8:41:13 PM

My god, Arenas is supernova-hot from the floor, 38 points after 3 quarters. If he hadn't bricked a few free throws, he'd already have 40.

Posted by: Haggai | Nov 12, 2005 8:48:34 PM

That's a real, albeit rarely-used nickname. See, e.g., here and here.

Also it should be said that Arenas is playing really, really well and Duncan not so much. Those are the important points.

Posted by: Matthew Yglesias | Nov 12, 2005 8:51:09 PM

Well, Pops just pulled the plug with 3 minutes left, down by 13, he yanked all of the starters. Spurs have been so utterly, shambolically awful in the 4th that he has to be about as angry as he can be. Gonna be a great win for the Wizards.

Quite the understatement about Arenas and Duncan there--this is possibly the best game of Gilbert's career, and the worst of Tim's.

Posted by: Haggai | Nov 12, 2005 9:16:42 PM

note that there is nothing extra-terrestrial with having 6 fingers in one hand. This is quite common (as in one in a few million, I don't know, but enough to exist). Usually removed shortly after birth, I knew someone who still had the finger in formol. Watched 'Farewell my concubine' last night, which starts with a 6th finger ablation... In the movie 'Gattaca', the gene which creates the 6th finger has been harnessed to produce concert pianists who can play Rachmaninoff...

Posted by: cedichou | Nov 12, 2005 9:43:35 PM

Also, Inigo Montoya's nemesis in The Princess Bride was six-fingered...

And, damn, Arenas goes for 43 against the Spurs? Wow. And, even better, holding Duncan to 3-18 shooting?!

Posted by: Al | Nov 12, 2005 9:49:03 PM

Antonio Alfonseca is the famous polydactyl athelete.

Posted by: spacetoast | Nov 12, 2005 11:35:40 PM

Er...famously.

Posted by: spacetoast | Nov 12, 2005 11:39:57 PM

It's a little disappointing that Eddie Jordan coached the fourth quarter responsibly instead of gearing the offense around trying to get 50 points for Arenas. That said: Awesome game. But seriously, what happened to Tim Duncan? The awe-inspiring defense of Brendan Haywood seems like an unlikely explanation.

Posted by: Matthew Yglesias | Nov 13, 2005 1:59:30 AM

All hail Gilberto.

And for those of you with League Pass who are fans of scoring point guards, check out Iverson vs Cassell at 6pm. It'll be interesting to see if the Sixers have any way of containing Elton Brand.

Posted by: Petey | Nov 13, 2005 1:26:41 PM

Timmy 3 for 18.
Gilberto 15 for 20.

I loved how pissed off Antonio Daniels got in the fourth quarter with the game already safely won. The guy's got limited skills, but he has the right attitude. Kinda reminds me of Eric Snow. His departure has to be one of a couple of reasons why Seattle went off the deep end.

Posted by: Petey | Nov 13, 2005 3:03:25 PM

it's good to see that this site is keeping up with its basketball... the knicks, my former love, are about to win... so yeah.

Posted by: kurt thomas | Nov 13, 2005 11:16:56 PM

if i might ask...

were you a knicks fan as a kid? did you change teams upon your move to washington? seems kind of weak to me, especially given the recent weakness of the knicks...

fairweather fan much?

Posted by: bschac | Nov 14, 2005 2:31:43 AM

While somehow I doubt it, it'd be kinda funny if that really were Kurt Thomas...

Posted by: Petey | Nov 14, 2005 3:23:08 AM

And while I'm at it, break up the Sixers! Four in a row, y'know...

So indulge me while I get irrationally exuberant. Here's the scenario for how the Sixers could possibly engage in a surprise title run this year:

Basically, it's the Phoenix Suns roadmap from last year. Steve Nash and Shawn Marion enabled the kids on Phoenix last year to seem much better than they actually were by letting them specialize in the things they did best. The theory would be that Iverson and Webber could play the same role, letting Iguodala, Dalembert, Korver, and Salmons have the kind of success the Phoenix kids did last year.

It probably won't work out that way, but hey, who knows?

Posted by: Petey | Nov 14, 2005 3:31:42 AM

Uh, yeah, Petey, "irrational" is the key word there. If Iverson + Webber = Nash + Marion, you're still missing an equivalent for Amare.

Posted by: Haggai | Nov 14, 2005 9:34:11 AM

Wizards aren't elite but they are a legit 50-55 win team, whereas last year they were a 45 win team that got a bit lucky.

The defense is pretty good. I mean, yeah Duncan had an off night, but Heywood's played very well defensively all year and Sat. night was no exception.

Petey: you read Charley Rosen's column on the Sixers on Foxsports.

Posted by: Chris R | Nov 14, 2005 10:27:54 AM

you're still missing an equivalent for Amare

Samuel Dalembert? (Hehe. I crack myself up.)

(OK - now a set myself up for a putdown against the old, defensively-challenged Nets. So be it...)

Posted by: Al | Nov 14, 2005 12:40:30 PM

Yeah, Dalembert is...not exactly an Amare clone. I do like Dalembert's game, though. He was pretty great against the Pistons in the playoffs last season.

Posted by: Haggai | Nov 14, 2005 3:18:17 PM

"you're still missing an equivalent for Amare"

The breakout player among the Baby Sixers is Iguodala. He's been absolutely dominant so far this year against the competition.

Between Iguodala's defense and Iverson's ability to draw fouls on opposing guards, they have the potential to take opposing backcourts right out of games.

Like I said, it's irrational exuberance. But with four wins in a row and the next two games against Toronto, it's time for a little irrational exubaeance.

Posted by: Petey | Nov 14, 2005 4:51:39 PM

"Petey: you read Charley Rosen's column on the Sixers on Foxsports."

Not until you mentioned it. Thanks for the tip.

Rosen is mostly on the mark, except for one particular Iverson slur. Rosen writes:

In his tenth NBA season, Iverson is playing for his sixth coach ... none of his previous mentors (not even Brown) could convince Iverson that the proper function for a point guard was to initiate, and not dominate, the offense.

Rosen fails to realize that last year was the first year since Iverson's rookie year when he played the point. Brown couldn't convince Iverson about the 'proper function for a point guard' since he never tried playing him in that position for a single game.

Posted by: Petey | Nov 14, 2005 5:05:52 PM

Petey (Iverson is the most maligned player in the NBA, imho -- I like him and wouldn't mind him on my team):

I have to tell you that I think the more apt Suns comparison this year might be Washington. Not because of personnel -- I like Heywood, but comparing him to Amare would be grotesquely silly -- but b/c of the way they use the personnel.

As one writer (the guy who wrote the Pro Basketball Forecast) aptly points out, there was a point in which the Suns last off season wisely didn't add another low-quality post player who would slow them down just because they had to. Marion moves to 4 and they resist the urge to pick up generic but ultimately unproductive pf.

Now look at the Wizards. Everyone runs, save Ruffin (who will be phased out over time), Thomas (and he has beaten people up the court) and Heywood. The "real" lineup of the Wizards (the "finish" lineup, not their "starting" one) is as follows: Heywood, Jamison, Butler, Daniels, Arenas.

That team can run -- makes the opposing 4 have to guard someone on the perimeter or the opp. coach goes small -- and it showed in the Seattle game.

True, Wash. is not as flashy or ostentatious in this approach as Phoenix (but Was is far better defensively), but I really think they're going after the same approach.

Posted by: Chris R | Nov 14, 2005 5:45:58 PM

Yeah, that probably isn't Kurt Thomas, but somebody really ought to go out and get Etan Thomas to comment here. Wizards and politics - right up his alley!

Posted by: JP | Nov 14, 2005 6:31:09 PM

"I have to tell you that I think the more apt Suns comparison this year might be Washington."

I've only seen one Wizards game so far this year, so I'm not the best commenter on them. (Although I expect I'll catch a bunch more. I love watching Gilberto play.)

I think we're talking about two completely different Suns comparisons. You're talking about the Wizards replicating the Suns tempo and trying to run the other team right out of the building. I'm talking about the Sixers replicating having a wily veteran point helping a bunch of athletic kids instantly reach their potential as his finishers.

And as long as we're talking comparisons, the Wizards/Sixers matchups should be damn interesting as the two teams have a similar construction. They're both dominated by a scoring point guard, with a medium talent PF providing help, and a bunch of scrubs trying to make a place for themselves in the league.

It'll be interesting to see if Iguodala is quick enough to successfully guard Arenas, much as it'll be interesting to see if the ultra-slow but sneaky Webber can keep Jamison semi-contained.

And to get way ahead of ourselves, if the Sixers win the East while the 'Zards lose out the #5 seed to Cleveland or Milwaukee, it could be Philly/Washington in the first round.

Posted by: Petey | Nov 14, 2005 6:35:55 PM

You know, I had the same thought this weekend re: Wizards/Sixers. I do think that Arenas/Iverson is a damn good comparison to make and one I've been making a lot recently. As far as the rest Sixers/Wizards, I have to admit I've only seen a quarter and a half of the Sixers this year (work late, so I can't get to the NBA package until 8 -- by that time, I have the Wizards TIVOd).

Now. As far as the East goes: Talk about getting ahead of myself, but I can see the Wizards getting one of the top 3 seeds. I don't like Miami's subtraction by addition strategy (too Dallas under Nelson and O'Neal will be hobbled too much for the team to win 55). .

But, btw, the Central is a bitch to play in. Poor, poor Chicago.

Have you seen Telfair play yet?

Posted by: Chris R | Nov 14, 2005 7:08:04 PM

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