MIAMI — Gilbert Arenas was admittedly miffed. He had just come out and turned the ball over a career-high 12 times, his team committed a season-high 22 turnovers for 27 Heat points, and the Wizards lost another player to injury.
Randy Foye rolled his right ankle in the second quarter after stepping on Michael Beasley’s foot and did not return. X-rays done tonight were negative, but the guard left the arena wearing a protective boot. The Wizards are now 2-6 after mustering just 76 points, and now have only 10 healthy players.
“I was sitting there like I’m glad I decided to play,” Arenas said. “I don’t know what Randy’s status is, but [sigh] we just keep getting hit. I don’t know what the hell is going on around here. I don’t know if some old player but a curse on us back in the day. I have no idea.”
Yeah, so about you ending up playing, Gil, how did all that unfold?
“I have a strained calf,” the guard explained. “At first, I was going to warm up, just to see how it feels. It got loose so I decided to play. I was planning on coming off the bench because I chose to play so late. Coach said, ‘Since you’re warm, we’re going to start you.’”
Arenas did get off to a solid start, recording eight points and four assists in the first quarter, and 15 points and five assists after two quarters. The Wizards did as well, spreading the ball around and shooting at a nice clip. At halftime, they led 49-41.
“I think what made them successful in the first half was that they were sharing the ball,” Dwyane Wade said. “Early int he game everyone was touching the ball and that was the reason they were playing so well and they just had everyone going.”
Then they fell apart. Gilbert had all seven of his teams turnovers in the third quarter and three more in the fourth quarter. He admitted that he had a mind to stop passing the ball after that.
“I’m always upset when I have turnovers,” he said and then had a dazed smile, then let fly a few cuss words. “I’d rather just shoot the ball and get the attempts than get the turnovers.”
Arenas gave his assessment of the game, but was just as confused as to what the cause has been.
“We’re moving the ball well in the first half and for some reason it gets stuck in the second half. For some reason, I’ve been the bailout man. nobody has a shot, I get the ball in the end and have to create something. I’ve been having bad second halves.”
Wait, bailout man? Arenas 1.0 was always a the late-game hero who wanted the big shots. Is he not feeling that anymore, what’s the change?
“Before I’d have the ball,” Gil tried to explain. “Now I’m getting it and will have to make something happen. I’m getting in the lane and I’m not getting calls. But I never really get calls early in the season anyway. It’s later on in the eseason that I’m getting calls.”
Ok, I’m still not seeing why he feels like his role as closer should be different now, but nothing with this Wizards team makes much sense right now. It doesn’t make sense that Caron Butler has been such a non-factor this season. It doesn’t make sense how this team turns the ball over left and right. Doesn’t make sense that they can’t for the life of them stay healthy!
Flip Saunders kept saying that alot of the second half miscues had to do with fatigue. Caron played a team-high 45 minutes, and Gilbert played 42 minutes. And with Randy Foye in a boot by halftime, DeShawn Stevenson was forced to play 39 minutes. Haywood and Blatche played 39 and 38 minutes, respectively.
Nick Young came in and dribbled like an And-1 player then launched an ill-advised shot and was out the game a minute later, never to return. Dominic McGuire showed some nice hustle and D’ed Wade up pretty well during his brief action, but we saw no JaVale McGee.
The Wizards have tomorrow off and then get back to the drawing board for some modifications on Thursday. They expect to have Antawn Jamison back for Saturday’s game and Mike Miller soon as well. They can’t get back soon enough.
Oh, and you may have seen Brendan Haywood jawing at Quentin Richardson and Richardson back at Haywood. The two, who cussed each other out off and on for much of the second half, were asked what went down.
Brendan’s take: “Q said something disrespectful to me at the end so I just let him know what it was.”
Said Richardson: “I think he wanted to give me a big hug. I couldn’t see him doing anything else. I think just he got his underware in a bunch.”
Man, what an ugly, crazy night …
— Mike Jones