Thursday, March 25, 2010

Wizards lose 13th in a row, this time to Indiana

It wasn't just any game that the Wizards lost last night. Sure, the Wizards have been awful lately -- 13 losses in a row awful, which ties the franchise record -- but last night was a different kind of bad. The Wizards lost by 17, 99-82, despite a bench player, in this case James Singleton, posting 19 points and a whopping 21 rebounds. The Wizards also allowed Josh McRoberts, who currently averages 3.6 points and 2.3 rebounds, to score 14 points and grab 12 rebounds. And Troy Murphy collected a Pacer-high 19 rebounds. And although the Pacers shot much better from the field than the Wizards -- 44.6 percent to 36.5 percent -- the Pacers made just six of 28 three-point attempts and still won by a comfortable margin.

But, again, the Wizards have been terrible lately, so it's not surprising that they lost to a rather mediocre team last night.

You also may have heard about this Andray Blatche-Flip Saunders ordeal, which was kind of a big deal Tuesday night and yesterday. Long story short, Saunders tried to discuss a bad defensive play by Blatche in transition against the Charlotte Bobcats, only Blatche was having none of it and apparently ignored Saunders and the rest of the coaches while he sulked on the bench for whatever reason. After that, Saunders removed Blatche from the game in the first quarter, and Blatche never went back into the game. After the game, Saunders had this to say: "In my fifteen years [of coaching], I've never seen anything like it. I'm more disappointed in him that I've ever been with a player in my coaching career."

So you probably know how this whole thing played out last night. Saunders was so upset with Blatche that Blatche started last night's game and played 39 minutes. Wait, what? How is that possible? Even if Saunders deserves some blame for the whole incident, how does Blatche get off basically scot-free despite angering his coach to the point of making him go on a post-game tirade that made all the rounds in sports radio and the blogosphere? Did Ernie Grunfeld have the final say in this? There's just no way that Saunders got over Blatche's actions that quickly. For the record, this is what he said after the Bobcats game:

"I would doubt it," Saunders said when asked if Blatche would play against the Pacers. "Right now I don't know, but I would doubt it."

And then before the game, Saunders acted like the whole thing was behind him, which led to some curious comments:

"He's going to start," Saunders said. "As I told him, when he came out of the game, it was a situation that if he wanted to go back in the game he had to talk to me, accept coaching. We talked about the situation, he didn't want to talk during the game about it, so he didn't play. We talked. It's over with. You move forward."

When someone mentioned to Blatche before the game that he was going to start, Blatche said, "I wonder why."

He said he never worried about not playing. "I wasn't worried at all," Blatche said. "I didn't do nothing wrong, so I didn't have anything to worry about. It was a situation that occurred. It should die down within time. Most important thing right now is to try to get a win."

For Blatche to say with a straight face that he did nothing wrong is downright laughable. He showed up Saunders and his coaching staff by ignoring them for the rest of the Bobcats game, and then yesterday he even went on The Mike Wise Show on 106.7 The Fan to make it seem like he was the victim in this situation. To defend himself is one thing, but Blatche didn't just do that:

"[Saunders] said that in the meeting after the game. Coaches are never wrong. And that's the problem. That's the problem right there. I mean, as a man, everybody makes mistakes. But as a man, you have to learn how to apologize, and therefore he needs to apologize, because he was wrong, because I never said that."

Wow. Of course coaches make mistakes, but you don't say something like that on a radio show for everyone to hear. And it's probably best to not mention that at all, especially less than 24 hours after the whole thing.

So, again, I don't really know why Blatche played last night, though this whole thing will probably go away. Hopefully it doesn't resurface down the road, but with a player like Blatche who seems to always have a dark cloud following him, I wouldn't be all that surprised.

I'd be thrilled if Blatche grew up and realized just how good of a player he can be. The saddest part in this whole mess is that Blatche has been awesome since the departure of Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison. He's one of the few bright spots this team has, and fans want to side with him in most cases. But trying to throw Saunders under the bus is the wrong way to grow as a player. The last thing the Washington sports world needs is another prima donna athlete, especially a 23-year-old one on a team that just lost its 13th straight game.

Here are some other Blatche-related links to check out:

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