Caron: The Return

Went to the Wiz-Cavs game last night that featured Caron Butler’s return from injury. After sitting through any number of Wizards games featuring lackluster crowds, it was thrilling to be at a serious rivalry matchup with a packed arena and an audience prepared to really cheer and boo. Something that at least looked to Wizards fans like an egregious non-call on a three second violation even prompted clearly audible protests from the stands. It was good stuff.

Of course, the fact that the good guys won didn’t hurt. I’m really hoping we can manage to get into that fifth seed in order to produce yet another Cleveland-DC playoff matchup.

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Meanwhile, I note the following quasi-optimistic take on the 2007–2008 Wizards. Basically, they’re about as good as the 2006–2007 edition. Given that this year we haven’t had the services of Gilbert Arenas, some pundits have taken to talking about how the greater ball-sharing, etc., that the current squad offers makes them actually more effective without Gil. In reality, this year’s team scores 107.9 points per 100 possessions (11th in the league) whereas last year’s version scored 110.1; the reason the results have been similar is that the defense went from yielding 110.6 points per hundred to giving up only 108.2 per hundred. If Gilbert can come back and restore the offense to its former glory while the defense stays in touch with the skills it’s learned this year, the team can graduate from “mediocre” to “prettty good.”