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Flip Saunders goes off

In the past three days, all three active D.C. pro sports teams lost at home, badly. The coaches responded differently. Some highlights.

Jim Zorn: "I can't fault our guys for the try-hard on offense, but we just couldn't stand up to what they had going on defense....The guys that we do have are really wanting to do well....The guys that are in there are fighting hard."

Verdict: I'm sure someone's backside remained pink for at least 0.00056 seconds after you lightly slapped him with that banana peel, coach.

Bruce Boudreau: [Honestly he didn't say anything remarkable and probably shouldn't even be included here.]

Verdict: Well, it's not like he's been shy about raking hot sharpened pokers of scorn over his players' bums before. Plus, his captain and another well-liked guy had just been traded, and he refused to use it as an excuse.

Flip Saunders: See video above. Ah, heck with that, it's too good, I'm including all the words, too.

"This team, for the last five years, has been known as the worst defensive teams [in the NBA]," he began after Tuesday's nasty home loss to the Oklahoma ThunderSnow. "We couldn't stop anybody out there. We could have taken five guys in this [media] room out here, they would have had a chance. They had 46 uncontested shots. I mean, I've never seen that, ever, in a game. That team is playing a lot better, but that's not the Cleveland Cavaliers or the Los Angeles Lakers or those teams yet.

"I said to you guys before the game, until our guys decide that it hurts when teams score on you, we've got no chance. We're kidding ourselves. We can say we're two games out of the playoffs or whatever...[but] I didn't come here to make the playoffs, I came here to try to win a championship. And we need a total mindset change of how we're going to go about doing that. And until we have that--and that's from everybody, from staff to players--and everyone's totally committed to that, we're gonna have games like this where we're gonna hang around, hang around, and then when it comes time to make some stops, you don't have the ability to do it, you're gonna lose games.

"Whether it's lineup change, hey, it's all up in the air right now. I'm frustrated....I feel bad for the people that came to the game and had to watch, let's put it like that. Because we've got a responsibility, as professional athletes, as entertainers, to go out on the floor and perform at a high level, especially at home, in front of your home fans. Hey, I mean, the last game, Philadelphia at home, we had to take the starting lineup out and put the other guys in to get juiced up.

"So we'll come back to practice in two days, and spots will be open for whoever it is. If guys don't like it, that's fine, but that's the way it's gonna be. Because I'm not gonna sit there, stand there and look at that any more. Through 30 games, you evaluate through 30 games where you're at, and right now, the way it's going, it ain't getting done more our zone got us back in the game, then they scored a couple times on zone, guys want to come out of the zone to play man to man. They can't guard anybody. You know, I think I can go out there on that floor and take anybody on our team one-on-one, 52 years old, and drive right around them....

"We've got to wake up. As I told them, don't ever think it can't get any worse, because it can. There's no question, it can."

Verdict: Everyone done picking the shrapnel out? Good, now pour this Tabasco on top, and then shove a few pop rocks in the oozing pus. Sweet heavens Flip, thanks for that.

Also, let's now pick the ideal starting five from the media corps to have a chance vs. your 2009-2010 Wizards.

PG: Dan Hellie. Guaranteed to be called scrappy three times a game.
SG: Ivan Carter. I've seen him shoot. He could get a 10-day somewhere.
SF: Kelli Johnson. Four-year starter at Idaho.
PF: Mike Wise. Needs to put aside showboating urge and stay sound.
C: Thom Loverro. Fouls to give. For two more days, anyhow.

Regardless, at least this ship is going down with the captain on the bow, screaming bile into the swirling ocean of sub-.500 despair. Instead of, you know, praising his team's "try-hard."

Also, turns out the Wizards end the decade with the worst record against the Vegas spread of any NBA team. Congrats to all. (See, via @darrenrovell1.)

By Dan Steinberg  |  December 30, 2009; 12:24 AM ET
Categories:  Caps , Redskins , Wizards  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Sunday Night Football does the Caps
Next: Goodbye to the Times sports section


DC United hired Curt Onalfo as the head coach. Some would consider that a bad home loss.

Posted by: sitruc | December 30, 2009 2:19 AM | Report abuse

Skins lose 17-0 on Sunday, Caps lose 6-3 on Monday, Wiz lose 110-98 on Tuesday, and the last crappy post after midnight on Wednesday was all you could do?

It's a blog (bog), not a transcript hub. Post your thoughts and ideas and whatnot, the Skins loss alone should have actually had some original content, and maybe something about Jose being awful for the Caps, but basically, in 4 days, you came up with a nationally televised "GO CAPS" banner at an awful football game that happened days before, and the Wiz coach calling his team out after a 12 point loss against a team as equally awful as his own.

I love the Bog, but Jesus dude, put in some effort here....

Posted by: ncromcr | December 30, 2009 2:58 AM | Report abuse

Countdown begins to the annual "Fletcher Pro Bowl snub" article.

Posted by: MillBurray | December 30, 2009 8:26 AM | Report abuse


while I too notice the Bog fall off (and have mentioned it on here before), let's remember it is the holiday season and there are alot of things going on in our respective lives. Think what you want but I've confirmed that Steinberg is, in fact, a real person and not a robot. Therefore, he has family and possibly Daddy Day Care commitments. So let's give him a break until Jan 11th (an extra week from the New Years hangover) and then reassess the situation.

Posted by: fushezzi | December 30, 2009 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, I can't get too mad at Steinz for wanting to spend time with his family during the Holiday Season, and thus cutting back on the bogging. If it turns out he's in Vegas stuffing Washingtons into someone's G-string, I'd feel differently.

Posted by: Lindemann777 | December 30, 2009 8:44 AM | Report abuse

...and life imitates sport, as the commenters give Steinberg an azz-patting/azz-brutalizing reminiscent of the same topic they're not really commenting on.

GOOD, Coach Saunders. The Wizards have long been the most indifferent, unfocused bunch of athletes representing this town, and whatever shame they're feeling over this latest squandered season, it's clearly not enough.

Whatever drastic changes are necessary to move forward, I trust someone who gives a press conference like that to make them.

Posted by: JohnnyBlades | December 30, 2009 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Missed you too, @ncromcr.

Yeah, I definitely took a couple days off for a family get-together in Philly. Poor timing, as it turned out, thought it's a slower Web week than usual, which is why I figured it'd be ok. I don't consider myself a heavy user of vacation time, but if you think differently, that's fine.

As for the transcription lament.....I hear ya. Really, I do. But the allure of my recent traffic numbers keeps me coming back. It's like an addiction.

Posted by: DanSteinberg1 | December 30, 2009 9:05 AM | Report abuse

I have a whole new respect for Saunders. Good for him for calling out these bums! Maybe it's time to blow this thing up.

Posted by: garg8050 | December 30, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Carol Maloney off the bench.

Posted by: rdpinva | December 30, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

wut abt the key grip over at WUSA TV 9, i bet he could score 35 on antawn's weak sauce defense. get ready for the wiz to be blown up at the trade deadline. we should have hired the little general avery johnson instead of mr. laissez faire. it's about time he showed a little emotion and we actually played some D.

Posted by: crsiggy | December 30, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Now Saunders has to back this up by starting his best four defenders (Haywood, Foye, McGuire, Umberto?)plus Butler, the best defender among his three scorers, and see if they can hold someone under 100 points.

Posted by: hapster | December 30, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

right on. but talk is cheap, and let's see if he's willing to sit $200 million in contracts for more than a few min.

Posted by: thickman22 | December 30, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Good job Flip Saunders!!! I'm in your corner all the way big guy. Finally, Washington has a basketball coach with some grapes. (Note to Flip: consider trading Arenas and Butler for a "scrappy" rebounder/shot blocker and some draft picks.)

Posted by: carterm1 | December 30, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Way to go, Coach.

The Wizards are a bunch of rich, pampered athletes who are SOFT. I spend my sports dollars on guys who work hard and give it their all. Needless to say, I won't be buying Wizards tickets any time soon.

Posted by: PrinceBuster21 | December 30, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Wiz were -28 with their game's leading scorer on the floor. 'Nuf said.

Posted by: learnedhand1 | December 30, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Enough is enough. It is unexplainable but this team can't play defense against anybody and finds ways to miss free throws and final shots when the game is on the line. As painful as it may be, Arenas needs to be traded in a "Herschel Walker" type of deal that will perhaps pick up a defensive minded big man, expiring contracts and draft picks while clearing cap space for the future. In 1989, at the height of his NFL career, the Dallas Cowboys traded Walker to the Minnesota Vikings for a total of five players (LB Jesse Solomon, DB Issiac Holt, RB Darrin Nelson, LB David Howard, DE Alex Stewart) and six draft picks (which led to Emmitt Smith, Russell Maryland, Kevin Smith, and Darren Woodson). This was judged to be one of the turning points in the rise of the Cowboys to the top echelon of the NFL. Ideally, trade Arenas to the Western Conference (Dallas?)

Posted by: yoseltzer | December 30, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Good luck with that, Flipper.

Posted by: NateinthePDX | December 30, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Steinz, how about putting Stretch Leonhardt in the pivot. he's eight inches taller than Loverro.

Posted by: bottomfeeders10 | December 30, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

FINALLY! I'm hopeful that Flip has the support of the organization to follow-up on his words and make necessary changes. He's a really good coach with a bad deck of cards that must be replaced! I'm out like 4 flat tires.

Posted by: mbriscoe4 | December 30, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: clt200057 | December 30, 2009 11:18 PM | Report abuse

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