The Washington Times - January 12, 2009, 10:36PM

The broken record plays on for the Wizards, who lost 97-91 to the Milwaukee Bucks and fell to 7-30 on the season.



These are the two most common types of Wizards losses: The one where they trail all game then make a rally, pull even or take a brief fourth-quarter lead and then they run out of gas. OR, they lead at halftime, lead in the third and fourth quarters and then blow it once again in the clutch.


The latter happened tonight as the Wizards held an 11-point halftime lead, twice led by 12 in the third quarter and then fizzled, overcome in the fourth quarter and splat.


It’s a tired, old theme and it’s wearing on the Wizards. After the game, Antawn Jamison just sat in his locker for a good little while, entranced and racking his brain for answers.


Ed Tapscott, who appears close to blowing a gasket each time he walks off the court like this, keeps preaching that the Wizards simply cannot settle for jump shots and before the game, he said “I can guarantee you, if you see a string of five or six jump shots, there’s a lull coming.” Sure enough it happened. The Wizards opened the fourth quarter going 2-for-9 from the field and every single one of the attempts was a jump shot.


The Bucks had 14 points in the paint in the fourth quarter. The Wizards had only two. The Bucks had six offensive rebounds and six second-chance points in the fourth. The Wizards also had six offensive rebounds, but couldn’t get those putbacks to fall and finished with only two second-chance points int he fourth. Milwaukee out-rebounded Washington 11-9 in the fourth and that made the difference.


Here’s what Tap had to say after the game: “They were really efficient on offense and Nick Young did a really good job at keeping us in the game. On the other end, the Bucks’ defense made us struggle offensively, but our defense wasn’t enough to stop them. In the fourth quarter, we had a number of opportunities to get stops, but we couldn’t get the ball and as a result we gave them second chance opportunities which led to them getting a large lead. Tonight, lessons were learned. They were painful lessons, but lessons were learned.”


What those lessons were, I’m not sure. We already know that the Wizards can’t get lured into a jump-shooting-shoot-out. And they don’t seem to learn. Every game they slip into stretches like that and they pay for it. Maybe we did learn that Nick Young has come of age. Three straight games now he’s done all he can to help his team. Now, if they could get Caron Butler going on the same nights ….


Caron said the Wizards are struggling to develop the chemistry between he, Jamison and Nick. One or two of them get it going, but all three have yet to do so. It’s a curious problem because when Nick’s in the game, Caron can move back to his natural position of small forward. But it also means when Nick’s in the game and he has it going like tonight and Chicago, Tap is calling plays for him, which takes Caron out of the game except for putbacks.


The Wizards have practice tomorrow then head to New York where they’ll play the Knicks on Wednesday.