The Wizards have such a small margin for error in games that Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler are putting up All-Star numbers. But an off-night for both means certain defeat. And that’s what happened tonight. Had Jamison gotten more than four of his 12 shots to fall, the Wizards would’ve been closer to winning. If Butler got more than one of his eight shots to fall, they would have definitely had more of a shot. The Bulls didn’t out-shoot the Wizards by a huge margin, the difference, however was 3-point shooting as Chicago was 9-for-19 from the arc and Washington had only four 3-pointers.
On what was the cause for his inability to “get into a rhythm” Caron Butler was miffed, saying “I can’t put my finger on it. I was out there trying to do the other things: rebounding, making plays, but from an offensive standpoint I never got a rhythm. It was probably my worst games ever as a professional player.”
I asked him if he thought the disruption in rhythm comes from being out of possition and if he needs to return to small forward where he is more of a playmaker and less of a facilitator and he said “At times, but whatever they need me to do, I’m going to do. It’s tough right now, because when you lose, everybody’s got so many different options and want to try different things just because you’re losing, and whatever you do when you’re losing, they want to tweak and try something different. But, what’s different is probably not always the best thing for some people as individuals, but as a team player you’ve got to go with the flow and see what happens.”
You may have heard Caron on the John Thompson Show on ESPN-980 yesterday, when he said that he didn’t think Gilbert Arenas is coming back this year. I was confused when I heard it because I had heard this take from Butler before, but on Monday, he and Jamison were both optimistic that Arenas will come back. So I asked him tonight, what gives? What was the change from Monday to Thursday?
His answer: “What happened?” Butler chuckled. “The truth. Man, the truth happened. I really don’t think it’s gonna happen.”
So I stepped out the locker room and there standing is Gilbert, so I asked him what the real deal was. At first he said “Well, Ernie [Grunfeld] said I’m coming back, so …” But I pressed him a bit further and he admitted he is in fact going back and forth on whether or not he should come back. “I mean, seven wins? Would you?” He asked me. He went on to say, “Right now, I’m not even close. It’s a matter of recovery. It’s taking a good two or three days to recover depending on how hard I go when playing 2-on-2. So, I’m not even sure. What am I gonna do, play a game here, play five minutes a game there?”
Gil said one thing he knows for sure is that he’s planning on playing summer league this year to get his rhythm back. Then, displaying how conflicted he is and how tough a decision this is, he added that he really doesn’t want to go a full two years without playing. He said that his plan is to start practicing with the team in February and then try to make a come back some time after All-Star break.
As always, stay tuned …