- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Wizards fans knew, when the team was blown up in mid-February, that things were going to get bad.

Welcome to bad. Get ready for worse.

With Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood shipped off to Dallas, Antwan Jamison gone to Cleveland and Gilbert Arenas lost to suspension, the rest of the season looked like a death march.

In the first few games after the trades, a suddenly energized Andray Blatche postponed the reading of the Wizards’ last rites for a brief, shining week or so. But Blatche’s emergence as a legitimate 20-points-night-guy, as encouraging as it is, isn’t enough to keep this woeful team afloat.

On Monday night, the first night of a brutal four-game West Coast swing, the Wizards were flattened and left for dead by Carlos Boozer and the Utah Jazz, who scored at will in a 112-89 beatdown.

The dispirited Wizards had no answer for Deron Williams, who sliced through the paint for uncontested layup after uncontested layup for three quarters before finally sitting with the Jazz up 30.

Williams, with 17 points and 11 assists, is one of the league’s premier point guards, and he makes a lot of teams look slow. But the Wiz didn’t look slow — they looked motionless.

And emotionless. A frustrated Blatche finally drew a technical in the second half for jawing with the Jazz big men, but otherwise, the listless Wizards seemed resigned to taking a beating.

In the disastrous third quarter, the Wiz were 3 of 22 from the field.

Blatche, who was plagued by foul trouble, picked up some points and a couple of rebounds late in the fourth, long after the game was settled — but the 23-year-old forward remains the team’s one consistent threat. Blatche ended with 24 points, just below the 25.4 he’s averaging over the last five games.

The loss is the Wizards’ eighth straight — the longest drought of an already miserable season — and the losing isn’t likely to end soon: Washington faces the playoff-bound Nuggets on Tuesday, then the Trailblazers and the Lakers this weekend.

After they come back to the East Coast, the Wizards finish out the month with another tough stretch — including games against the playoff-contending Bobcats (twice) and the dangerous Rockets — as well as a rematch at Verizon against the Jazz.

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