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Only a Big Two, now
Antawn Jamison has been the overlooked one amid the national ascent of Gilbert Arenas and the All-Star push of Caron Butler.
Jamison has been undervalued and underexposed as one of the Big Three, despite impressive numbers and an important presence in the locker room.
His value to the Wizards was unmistakable in Toronto, where the team played its first game without him.
Jamison would not have stymied the assault of Chris Bosh.
But perhaps Bosh would not have been so comfortable in the presence of the Big Three instead of the Big Two and a slew of question marks.
The absence of Jamison sent a shiver down the collective spine of the Wizards and altered their sense of confidence.
The Raptors undoubtedly picked up on it and performed at an anxiety-free level.
The shakiness of the Wizards was exemplified by the early shot attempt of DeShawn Stevenson that nearly shattered the backboard.
The ball appeared to have been shot out of a cannon, possibly the result of a player feeling an urge to ease the Jamison-induced void.
It is no secret that supporting players find it far more difficult to make shots if one of the team’s leading scorers is out of the lineup.
The spacing on the floor becomes problematic, for there is one fewer piece to spread the floor and attract the attention of the defense.
Calvin Booth is always going to have the open 18-footer, because teams prefer to gamble on the percentages of Booth hitting a bunch of shots than Arenas or Butler.
Teams logically conclude that Booth is not going to dump 20 points on them.
The Wizards looked disjointed against the Raptors, as expected.
Arenas looked disjointed as well in the first half, which was not expected.
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Memories of a long brotherhood tempered in common struggle
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