Like a cruel joke, it was just a couple of days before Antawn Jamison got hurt that I read John Hollinger arguing that the Wizards were unlikely to stay on top of the East because they had no ability to survive an injury. And how true it is. The Hayes/Songaila duo that tried to replace Jamison went a collective 3–12 from the field while failing to get to the line and grabbing just five boards in a combined 36 minutes at power forward. In particular, Hayes kept getting the ball for open jumpers that he would miss, followed by me muttering “Jamisonw would have hit that.” Obviously, Gilbert launching 15 (!) three pointers and only hitting three doesn’t help.
Unrelatedly, far be it from me to tell Phil Jackson how to coach a basketball team, but if the Lakers were healthy and I were (as tends to happen today’s NBA) facing a lineup that didn’t have a proper inside scoring threat, I would try to play Bryant-Walton-Odom-Radmanovich-Cook . . . with all those sharp-shooting tweeners you’d be an overall decent rebounding team and could spread the floor super-wide for Kobe.