Live from Auburn Hills

Well, I'm here in D-town and as expected, the place is crazy about those Tigers. The Palace is always the loudest venue in the NBA but the folks who run the place aren't expecting too many screaming fans tonight. Not with the Tigers and Cardinals getting underway for the World Series at 8:30. The airport is a good hour or so away from the Palace so I was able to catch some talk radio on the way out. The Pistons weren't mentioned. Of course, neither were the Lions.

The kind lady who served me lunch at the hotel this afternoon said she's never seen a town go this crazy over a team. Good for Detroit. When I opened up the Detroit Free Press this afternoon, I kind of understood why the populace is so excited by the local 9. The main story on the front page was about the Ford motor company losing $5.8 billion and the top story in the Metro section was about the Detroit public schools having to lay off 450 teachers. Our society sure has its priorities straight no? Yeah, lets get rid of teachers. That's the answer. Anyway, I guess Detroit needs some good news and the Tigers are getting it done.

I caught Eddie Jordan about 45 minutes ago and he told me that he's going to start Gilbert Arenas, DeShawn Stevenson, Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison and Etan Thomas tonight even though the regulars played heavy minutes last night during the win in Atlanta. Etan and Brendan Haywood have been swapping starts all presason. Before I spoke with Eddie, I asked Gilbert if he was going to go tonight and he said: "Of course. I better be playing. I have to play." Antawn, who played 40 minutes last night and was on the floor with Butler during the game-clinching fourth quarter run, has the same attitude. Eddie did say that he will play the reserves longer tonight. Detroit coach Flip Saunders is not expected to play all of his starters because the Pistons close their regular season tomorrow night.

Wanted to respond to a couple of questions/thoughts from this morning's blog entry. Eackles asked me about possible cuts. The cut down day is next Monday by 6 p.m. Right now, you have 16 guys battling it out for 15 spots. The odd man out could either be James Lang or Mike Hall. The issue right now is Mike Hall's knee injury. He strained the knee Saturday night at Dallas and returned to DC to get it looked at. The word out of the lockeroom today is that injury won't require surgery and is not as serious as the team originally thought. I'll find out more when I get back tomorrow.

iceberg wrote asking about what Andray Blatche needs to do to get better at defense. I learned part of the answer in pregame warmups while watching Andray, Donell Taylor and Lang work on defensive drills with assistant coaches Mike O'Koren and Harvey Grant. The player had to sprint out from under the basket and close out on a player with the ball. As Andray approached, Grant yelled: "Stay down. Move your feet." That about sums it up right there.

Someone asked for a take on the Ben Wallace-less Pistons. I'll let you know tomorrow morning when I post again. One the of the Wizards, who shall remain nameless because the conversation was casual, opined that the Pistons could be better with Nazr Mohammed at center in place of Ben Wallace. The reason, according to said Wizard, is that teams didn't have to guard Ben. They will have to pay attention to Nazr and that will only spread the floor for Chauncey Billups, Prince and the other fellas. Interesting thought. Nazr is certainly better suited to Flip Saunders' style of offense. We'll see how it plays out.

Oh, Gilbert told me he's going to Los Angeles after the game to shoot an Adidas commercial. The Wizards are off until Thursday when they will start getting ready for the Cavaliers.

By Ivan Carter |  October 24, 2006; 5:33 PM ET
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Hi Ivan,

Thanks for the update. I am excited for the season to begin - especially since my beloved Skins...suck. I also visit the JLC blog but all the people there are so negative it gets depressing....guess we really do not have anything to feel positive about, though.

I only pray the Wiz have a great season.

Posted by: Lisa | October 24, 2006 6:59 PM

I stumbled upon you blogs and am quite pleased with the reads. I am a die hard Wiz fan! I think we are going to have a great season and surpise some of the haters! I have been reading up on Mason and I was pleasantly surpised at the way he has seemed to fit in to the thick of things with this team. I hope the fans will rally behind the Wizards and show them some love. I know I will! I can't wait until Nov 1 for the season opener. Keep the updates coming!

Posted by: wizfan4life | October 25, 2006 7:26 AM

8 days and a wake up!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This is going to be the year to watch. They now have a bench instead of just Daniels. I can't wait!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: PamelaBrandly | October 25, 2006 8:19 AM

Is Songaila's back making any progress at all? Has the crack Wiz medical staff figured out what's wrong?

Posted by: Zonker | October 25, 2006 8:36 AM

Thanks for the update, IC.

I agree with Pamela, the depth on this team makes it exciting. We should be able to maintain many more of those 10-20 point leads we often have in the third.

Posted by: Ledell Eackles | October 25, 2006 10:31 AM

Posted by: Azzurinz | October 25, 2006 10:48 AM

Thanks for the love, IC. Appreciate the observation. Blatche, GET LOW! MOVE YA FEET!

I hope you and Mike can keep this going through the grind of (at least) 82 games. Y'all are bringing the knowledge. I just hope that the Wiz' adjustments are enough to keep them pace with Chicago, Indiana and Detroit, not to mention Miami and Orlando.

BTW, this month's issue of GQ disses the alternate gold and black unis, putting them in the "Mama should have dressed you better" category.

Their best choice for alternate uni: The Warriors return to that lovely "The City" design from '67 to '71. (Too bad the Clippers didn't redesign theirs!)

Posted by: iceberg | October 26, 2006 10:13 AM

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