The Wizards just wrapped up practice about two hours before they’ll jump on a plane for Orlando, and spirits are high.
Having pulled off a win over the Cavaliers, and returned to the higher level of play they had sported before falling badly to Boston, the feeling is that they are close to turning the corner.
“I said yesterday, that could be the difference maker for the season. I’ve always been what I couldn’t do in life and what I couldn’t do on the basketball court, and now here I stand a two-time All-Star and successful in life as well,” Caron Butler said. “There are things you can accomplish through adversity. We went through our trying times early and I really feel like we can pull this thing together.”
Another thing boosting the spirits of the Wizards was Gilbert Arenas out on the court looking better than he ever has. Three days after the mood over his chances for a comeback was rather glum, Arenas’ teammates are encouraged, and that — although they still don’t know when it will be — coupled with the development of the younger players, are cause for optimism.
Butler said he now definitely thinks Arenas will be back at some point this season. Jamison believes so as well, but he won’t get his hopes up too high right now.
“I have no idea. I see him when you guys see him,” he said. “I guess he’s been in the batcave, working with, what’s the butler’s name? Alfred? Yeah, Alfred-Koichi, but he looks good from what I’ve seen. I just don’t know a timetable or whatever, just trying to concentrate on basketball.”
[Alfred-Koichi is the Wizards’ assistant athletic trainer Koichi Sato, who has been working almost exclusively with Arenas to get him back to full health since his September knee surgery.]
Caron and Antawn were both asked if they knew what a crab dribble — which LeBron James said he did at the end of the game — was.
Caron: “A crab dribble is a travel. [laughs]. That’s the hottest thing on the market right now: is the crab dribble a regular dribble? I think he established his pivot. Once you go up, you can go up, but he switched his pivot again, so obviously that’s a travel. I couldn’t do it in AAU, couldn’t do it in college, and obviously can’t do it now.” [more laughter].
Jamison: “I don’t know. I know what a travel is. He saw it a couple of times and said he didn’t travel, but we all know what a travel is, and they have tape to prove the history of that signature move that he has, but it was a travel, hands down. When he beats us on end of game situations and finds a way to get the job done, we give him credit, but that didn’t happen last night and the right call was called.”