4.30.2005

Seal it with a


(Spotted sharing some enthusiastic words with Etan Thomas following this afternoon's first playoff contest.)

Ah, youth. Great at home, horrendous on the road. So is the case for young teams. The Wizards playing the way they should can beat the Bulls, the Bulls minus their unflappability have lost what makes them a playoff team. Ignoring everything I wrote last night, I'm going to say that today's win doesn't really mean anything, since all it proves is that the Wizards have the talent to steamroll another bunch of playoff novices. This series is as much about the Wizards' battles with themselves as how they match up with the Bulls—I'll actually have to see them do something twice to believe it.

And if anyone wants to break Juan Dixon's arm before Game 4, I won't object. That might be an even higher priority than discreetly ripping all the hair out of Nocioni's face. If Nocioni could get suspended for a hard foul that injures Dixon, the Wizards would be in the driver's seat and be there to stay.

I'd forgotten all about that play where Nocioni thwapped Dwyane Wade on a jumper, and then threw him to the ground when they got tangled up. Nothing says "man" like manhandling a shooting guard and then having Udonis himself send you stumbling into the stands, look on your face like a Hamburgler!!!!!!!!!!! Just try and pull that on Larry Hughes, whose skin is now dangerously close to becoming one thin, continuous layer of ink; he's probably also the Wizard most likely to play the Udonis role, too.

That may be the Wizards' biggest problem in this series, actually. They've got a shot-blocker who knows who James Carville is, a raw, physical marvel who can't help but smile timidly when the crowd cheers for him, and Haywood, a fairly legit seven-footer that for some reason can't ever claim that position for himself. Versus Tyson Chandler and a limitless supply of cagy vets. . . (Insert cliche about playoff basketball here).

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