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After big shot a tough loss

It was a few minutes after Gilbert Arenas hit that game-tying three-pointer to force overtime that he was getting ready to take the floor for OT and was stretching out his legs on the scorer's table. I was sitting under the basket, right next the end of the Wiz bench furiously reworking my story after the shot when I looked up. Arenas looked at me, smiled and winked. It was a telling moment.

Now, folks are justifiably freaking out about this loss. The Wiz shot poorly, missed way too many free throws, allowed Jamaal Tinsley to pick them apart and lost to a team that was without two starters but that look in Gilbert's eye may have been the most encouraging thing to happen so far this preseason/season.

I've covered the pretty complex dude for nearly three years now and that look told me: "I've still got it. Yes, I've put on a brave face but that knee injury was the worst injury of my basketball life and it scared me but making that shot showed me that I'm still able to do what I want to do a basketball court. I'm going to be fine." And to me, that's THE biggest factor for this season. It was the first time that I truly felt that Gilbert was feeling like his old self since the injury.

Now, Gilbert was playing on rubber legs and missed some shots in overtime, Caron missed some big free throws and the Pacers made some big shots, especially Mike Dunleavy and Danny Granger.

I asked Eddie Jordan after the game whether he considered putting DeShawn Stevenson on Tinsley after he'd been going around Gilbert and then Antonio Daniels in the fourth quarter and Eddie said he'd thought about it but felt that Stevenson had been sitting a long time and would be stiff. Stevenson did tweak his knee early in the game and it looked to me that he was uncomfortable on it when he returned to the game. He was also grimmacing on the bench throughout the game.

I didn't get a chance to catch him in the lockeroom after the game so I won't know until tomorrow how he's feeling but I have an idea that the knee wasn't right and Eddie didn't want to put him out there. Clearly, he would have been their best defensive option for handling Tinsley at that point in the game.

Judging by his body language, Caron was pretty ticked at himself after the game. He told me that he was too jacked up for the opener and was rushing things. "I was so anxious to finally play a real game, I wasn't letting it flow." I'd look for him to come out especially focused on Friday night in Boston. He always gets up for Paul Pierce anyway.

Tinsley, good shotmaking by the Pacers, untimely turnovers and missed shots by Arenas, Jamison and Butler cost the Wiz a win tonight but Gilbert getting that positive vibe from seeing that shot go down may wind up being more valuable to this team than an opening night win. We'll see.

Gotta get up early for a flight to Boston to catch practice. I'll update at some point tomorrow.

By Ivan Carter  |  November 1, 2007; 12:38 AM ET
 
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Next: Update from practice II

Comments

One game does not a season make...but have we not seen this scenario enough already?
THe focus on defense...where was it.
AJ unable to stay with his man, GA sinking back in the middle , rather than face up with his man, and then run around trying to find him, continually losing his man.
THe same darn rotation, or lack of one.
EJ 's days are doomed here. It is ridiculous to play the big 3 44 plus minutes a man, and when Haywood is actually productive, offensively and defensively, he sits him. No wonder BH is always frustrated, so are we.
And after one measly game?
If the Rooks are not played more, including Dmc, it is a repeat of last year. What is with that same small ball lineup in crunch time.
Sayonara EJ!!!

Posted by: mricklen | November 1, 2007 1:19 AM | Report abuse

Kalorama there is a lot of merit to the points you made in the other post about the loss to Indiana. But you have to be disturbed by the rotation choices of Eddie Jordan (specifically very little Brendan Haywood, Andray Blatche or even Dominic MacGuire down the stretch) and the continued inability to put forward even adequate defense on the perimeter.

Posted by: George Templeton | November 1, 2007 1:57 AM | Report abuse

LOL, LOL1!Another winning game by Gilbert.
Basketball is a T E A M sport!!!
He is not Michael Jordan and this is not 1998. I don't see any sense of team effort just a bunch of BS about Arenas who makes who better by his presence?

Oh yes...Stevenson - the bench warmer..

A youngster - Chris Paul also coming off injury outshined Arenas. So did Bosh

So now what?

Report on some real basketball like

Posted by: Brady | November 1, 2007 2:03 AM | Report abuse

I'm not freaking out (didn't see the game) but the box looks like classic Wizards weak sauce prep for a game (mental mistakes, lots of missed FT's, no D).

The thing that surprises me so much, and maybe it shouldn't, is that the box looks pretty much like any box from any Wiz game last year: Big 3 pouring in the offense and minutes, no substantial help from the bench, really high score, and we lost. Guess all the rays of hope over the summer were just typical offseason optimism.

I see some minutes for Bulletproof but not a whole lot of productivity. Not a good sign.

Posted by: dgack | November 1, 2007 2:58 AM | Report abuse

The Big 3 have to be on every night, it appears, for the Wiz to win. An off night by any one of them - Caron last night - spells big trouble. And they completely collapsed in the OT - maybe having DS available would have made a difference. Ivan, thanks for asking about DS. Wish you had asked why DSong was in the game late instead of Haywood? Brendan's game is the one thing the Wiz can take away as a big positive from an otherwise disappointing effort.

Bottom line - still playing to the level of the competition, just like last year. Guys, you gotta beat the teams that are less talented AND undermanned, even on the road! You just gotta!

I hope Ayers makes them watch the OT over and over and over and over...

Posted by: reispace | November 1, 2007 6:19 AM | Report abuse

I thought they looked really good early. For a while there, they were actually playing a bit of D. Our perimeter players were actually playing tight to their men. When they were doing that, it took a lot of pressure off of our interior guys. Allowed Brendan to look really, really good inside, on both ends of the floor. Even Antawn didn't get caught out on D. But as the game went on, Gil, Caron, and AD started sagging inside like always and started trying to get steals instead of playing in-your-face D. I think part of the problem was the injury to DS. That contributed to the other guys playing too many minutes and running out of gas. Would have helped if EJ had allowed the youngsters to play a little more, too.

We'll be much, much better off in the long run if they get some real playing time. Yes, they'll make mistakes, and we'll lose games because of it. But the East is still pathetic. We just need to stay at 0.500 to get into the playoffs. Then the extra playing time for the youngsters will pay off in our staying over 0.500 in the spring.

Posted by: TC | November 1, 2007 6:27 AM | Report abuse

Smart observations in TC's post above.

Ivan and others always say that Jordan always preaches defense, but the players don't get it done. There's talking, though, and action. The team's three best defenders got the following number of minutes:

Haywood - 30
Stevenson - 18
McGuire - 2

That's a combined 50 minutes in a 53 minute game. If you value defense as a coach, those numbers would be different. If you value defense, when the game is on the line, you don't have Jamison and Songalia as your PF and C. Did you guys notice that when Songolia came in for Haywood with 2:45 left in the 4th, Indiana drove to the basket three straight times? Teams do tons of scouting and coaches in the league know -- Jamison and Songalia don't block shots and don't pick up charges. So when they are the Wizards' front line, go to the hole.

Hopefully last night was a valuable learning experience for Randy Ayers. I hope he saw some of the lineups Jordan rolled out in critical situations and thought, "What the ...?" And in time, he expresses his concerns.

I said it a month ago, and will say it again: the sooner McGuire starts getting real minutes on this team, the better off the team will be. He will change the defense and the defensive mindset of the team. Although he might not be ready for it, giving him minutes now will make him ready. Start giving this kid a minimum of 10 minutes a game starting Friday.

(Arenas looked very good. Whew.)

Posted by: Henry | November 1, 2007 6:54 AM | Report abuse

Reispace, you are exactly right. Wiz still can't play D, still play to the level of the other team (and don't beat down the bottom 1/3rd of the NBA like they should), and still can't win on the road. Hopefully they will bring it on Friday.

Posted by: CurtisLee | November 1, 2007 6:56 AM | Report abuse

One more thing -- was I the only one who thought when Ivan recounted Jordan's comments about Stevenson being stiff that maybe, um, Eddie, ... did you think about asking Stevenson, um, to get off the bench and do some jogging and stretching under the stands, you know, just to see if he could get loose? What am I missing here?

Posted by: Henry | November 1, 2007 6:59 AM | Report abuse

I'm sorry but the wizards should be embarrassed. Playing a depleated Pacer team there should never have been a need for Agent 0 last minute shot to tie the game. Are you kidding me, the number of shots missed including free throws by CB. Another year of talk and nothing to show. Second coming of a DC massacare in Boston on Friday.

Posted by: Steve | November 1, 2007 7:09 AM | Report abuse

1. What everyone else has said, especially about EJ's "rotations" and EJ's futre (that's an intentionally shortened version of the word "future").

2. I predicted a 35-47 finish, perhaps I was overly optimistic.

3. Quote from gIlbert:

Arenas, who had missed his first six 3-point tries, stuck one from the top of the key to force overtime.

"I never doubt myself," he said. "I did it again, but it wasn't enough to bring us to victory." (from Yahoo sports).

Sounds just like a point guard whose team just had a total of 15 assists in an overtime game. I'm looking for the "I" in team, but can't find it. But there's plenty of "I" in gIlbert.

4. I'm sure we'll see a lot of progress in DMac off that under a minute of PT he got last night.

Posted by: Mitch | November 1, 2007 7:17 AM | Report abuse

I have a few observations...
1.Caron seems to get a pass becvause of his 'tuff juice' rep but he is also poor on defense. Move him to the 2 and at least he dishes out as much as he takes. Most 2 guards aren't strong enough to guard him. Then we could put AB in at the 3 for defense. Worry about the backup C position later.
2.

Posted by: mark | November 1, 2007 7:20 AM | Report abuse

During the preseason, I had to laugh when posters were excited about the prospect of Jordan using a "tall ball" lineup. You didn't really think that would happen, did you?

Let's consider this hypothetical. You are a coach and:

1. The opposing team's starting PF and C are out with injuries.

2. They can't handle your center inside -- he has 8 or so offensive rebounds in the first half alone.

3. Their best remaining big man fouls out in the 4th quarter.

4. You've got a 6'11" guy who is quick enough to guard the other team's small forward, which lets you roll out a huge front line.

What should you do?

NEVER POST UP, AND GO SMALL, SILLY!!


By the way, Ivan, I have to laugh whenever writers call a loss a "tough loss." In almost every situation, they really mean "bad loss." Why can't you just call it what it is?

Posted by: Sean | November 1, 2007 7:31 AM | Report abuse

Mitch,

I agree with you somewhat on Butler, although I would say that he's slightly below average defender. I think alot of people misinterpret his steal count as good defense when its really just his willingness to play the passing lanes.

The other thing I have to say is that it seems as if us fans are the only ones being vocal about Eddie and his horrid substitution patterns. Is there any chance we could get some info to see if anyone is actually confronting the coach about this?

And yes, I apologize about my comments in the previous post - they were a bit overdramatic but its just very frustrating year after year to hear the Wiz preach defense only to watch the opposite in actual games.

Posted by: David N. | November 1, 2007 7:34 AM | Report abuse

2. Anyone still questioning whether Gil gets the same 'end of game' calls that Kobe gets? On the play where he drove and was fouled near the end of regulation, there's no way Kobe doesn't get that call. Fortunately, caron got the foul call on the rebound(and missed both free throws) but my point in the post a couple days ago was validated. Gil would have made those free throws and it would have been a different game. We may still have lost but that's beside the point.
3. Rotation is still uneven. How does BTH get 13 rebounds and wind up only playing 25 minutes? Was he tired? Did he ask to come out? he only had three fouls at games end. Same old Eddie.
4. Like I've said before, I like Songaila's hustle and smarts but I'd rather see McGuire get all of his minutes. McGuire is just as good a passer, a better defender (help defender, that is. he still needs on the ball defense improvement) and a better rebounder. You know what you're gonna get with Songaila. I'd rather integrate McGuire into the lineup now so that by Feb/March, he's a veteran and doesn't get scared when he gets in the game. his presense alone might have stopped some of those Tinsley drives and could have been the difference in the game. Gotta let the dude establish a rep as a shotblocker to deter penetration. No one wants to end up on Sportscenter getting their shot spiked.
5. It's only one game but can we all stop thinking we're gonna be vastly improved on defense? If we can't ratchet the intensity up for the first game after having defense drilled into our heads all summer, what happens 15 games into the season ? try something new. and stop trapping. the baseine 3 has been our nemesis for 10 years. I still have visions of Calbert Cheaney running out in vain and catching 3's in his grill. WWSD? What Would Spurs Do? They have a defense against 3 pointers. Let's watch some game tape and figure it out.
6. People need to realize that the NBA is morphing into something closer to the international game. Every team has lots of three point shooters and that shot is the equalizer. lesser talented teams can stay in games if they shoot threes. While it may be tough to sustain for a series (though golden State did it to Dallas), it makes any team in this league capable of beating any other team. We have to adjust. Either start shooting more 3's or start defending the 3 and let your bigs guard the middle. what we're doing aint working.
7. the Gil bashing should stop. he gave us a shot to win. it's not his fault our coach failed to make adjustments when he was forced to guard a quicker guy. Would he put Gil on AI? Good coaches make adjustments. What's with EJ and Gibbs? Is it an epidemic? The same dumbfounded expression on both coaches during games. ADJUST !!!

Posted by: mark | November 1, 2007 7:35 AM | Report abuse

I can't believe how disappointed I am about this loss even though i realize it's only one game. typically you can say one thing about good teams. They beat who they are supposed to beat. we were supposed to beat that team last night. though Donnell Taylor played poorly, we may regret not keeping a small, quick guard on the squad to defend against guys like Boykin, AI, Tinsley, hinrich, etc. We are totally helpless against those types. bad matchup for us because they drive and either dish for open 3's or score because our 'defense' has pulled our center away from the hoop and. Brian Chase played well in the summer. Why did we cut him again?
Songaila is a heady player but he has a 3 inch vertical and is not all that strong. he's a liability on defense. Blatche needs to build up confidence. we have to get him some shots to get his head into the game early. we can't forget that he's a young player who has never done it in real games, yet. build him up so that he can be a factor. Who's calling plays? After AJ hit a tough 3 with a guy in his face to bring us close, did he shoot again? why not? so many questions.. If something doesn't change between now and Friday, I predict ray Allen gets 13 open 3's and makes 11 of them to set an NBA record. 10 of the 11 will be from the baseline. someone needs to tell the coaches that that particular shot IS in bounds and counts. maybe then we'd devise a defense to counter it. i've finally reached the point where i can't blame the players anymore for the lack of defense. It's on the coaches now.

Posted by: mark | November 1, 2007 7:46 AM | Report abuse

2 reasons why this next game with Boston scares me:

1. With our defense, I predict Jesus will light us up on the perimeter. That, and the fact that Jamison will be guarding KG.

2. Gil tends to choke on ESPN and TNT games.

Posted by: David N. | November 1, 2007 7:51 AM | Report abuse

I know its the first game but IT'S THE SAME OLD THING. The wizards were as usual one step behind on defense and the pacers made them pay EVERY TIME like they were supposed to, and expect to see Antawn's lame underhand layup thrown into the stands before the season is out. It's a weak shot and almost anyone in the NBA can block it.

Posted by: keedrow | November 1, 2007 8:01 AM | Report abuse

I like it when wizards players believe they have been fouled and either fall down and/or remain downcourt leaving a 5 on 4 situation at the other end of the court. This is a regular occurance. See for yourself next game.

Posted by: Keedrow | November 1, 2007 8:07 AM | Report abuse

is it too late to trade something with memphis for one of their point guards? Damon Stoudemire is starting for them. With Lowry and Mike Conley on the team, they are overloaded. AD? Songaila? I know I'm grasping here but we HAVE to stop the penetration. Either that or play a combo zone with a big patrolling the middle and others playing man on the wings.

Posted by: mark | November 1, 2007 8:12 AM | Report abuse

That was the first game. There are 81 remaining. We'll be okay.

Posted by: Juan DC | November 1, 2007 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Here are my thoughts on the game. As I have said before, just give Haywood some "meaningful" minutes and see if he sinks or swims. Let the fans see him fall on his face if he is as bad as you said he was last year EJ. As you can see, with a starter's "regular" minutes you see what the dude is capable of doing.

Now, I know this was just one game and the naysayers are going to say "we need to see this night in and night out". This is true, so lets hope EJ gives him these types of minutes the next two games against some "real competition" (Garnett and Howard) and see what he does.

As for EJ's rotations, not as bad as last year. I was normally very critical on EJ about his rotation calls, but again they were not totally bad last night. This was a player's lost other than a coach's lost to me. CB and the crew missed entirely too many FT's yesterday.

However, I must point out I feel EJ played Caron and AJ "way to long" in the first half. AJ played the whole 1st quarter and most of the 2nd before sitting down and so did Caron. I did not understand what EJ was doing when he had DMac sitting on the pine?

The other posters were right, why at the end of game DMac was not out there at the "2" and AB in for AJ at the "4" is a very good question. This has and always will be EJ's downfall. For some odd reason he does not like to subsitute "defense (AB & DMac) for "offense" (AJ & Songalia).

All of the good coach's do this move on the daily. We were getting killed "up top" by Tinsley and why DMac was not put in to neutralize him is beyond me. I think Mark made a great point about how it seems like EJ and Joe Gibbs seem to have no clue on how to make adjustments in games.

Posted by: Bullets Fever #1 | November 1, 2007 8:16 AM | Report abuse

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Can anyone say "Groundhog Day" deja vu all over again? I guess Les BouleS didn't hit the ground running once again, even though this is the first game of the season, but this was totally embarrassing.

* Jamal Tinsley shredded Gilby's "defense" all day. Sure, you say Gilby beat him also, but everytime Gilby beat him, JT followed him. Gilby instead though, was just flatfooted and turned around, hoping to run to the other end for the break.

* Les BouleS lost to a team without their only all star, Jermaine O'neal, nevermind Troy Murphy also, and they lost Jeff Foster to fouls in the 4th quarter. Given all that, how can there be a tie in rebounds at 56 for both teams?

* Gilby made the only 3 that counted, but was 1-8 overall. Not good. These two team swas neck and neck throughout the entire game, when it should have been a blowout!

* DS went 1-4, got hurt, and nick young couldn't do anything. AD went 2-4, 3 assists in 29 minutes. Les BouleS have no impact scoring off the bench at the 1 or 2. JCN, where are you?

* Indiana with 12 steals! A rag tag team outhustled a fully staffed Les BouleS comparable to last year (minus Opech).

* Where's Waldo (ie. Blatche)? This guy was not in the flow of the game coming off the bench. He cannot shine coming in spot minutes and then getting yanked.

* Gilby forced the issue too much. Didn't pass and play smart. Had 2 costly charges for fouls. He should take a chapter from Tinsley on how to be a real point guard. Run the show, pass the ball, get your team in position.

* Les BouleS, whenver the other team is shorthanded, continues to make a nobody on the opposing team a superstar hero. Case in point Zaza, Walter Herrmann, and now Danny Granger? Who the heck is Danny Granger?

* Gilby can continue his march onto self stardrom and self acclaim and score all the points he wants, but if the team does not win, it does not mean anything. He needs to carry the team to the win. Gilby did nothing during overtime, so Ivan, the little wink from him to you meant nothing.

* Final slap: Please with the "Gilby does not get calls" BS!!!!! GILBY PUSHED OFF WITH HIS RIGHT ARM RIGHT BEFORE HE LAUNCHED HIS GAME TYING 3, AND THE REFS DID NOT CALL IT, SO PLEASE WITH THE BS ABOUT HIM NOT GETTING KOBE CALLS!!!!

Somewhat Bright spots:

* The play of AJ. There is no scoring off the bench right now. EJ needs to consider bringing AJ off the bench and put AB as the starter so he can get into the flow of the game. AJ scored well, but if you look at the box score, he shot 8-25. Not good.

* Les BouleS used a zone defense early on. Seemed somewhat effective, but they went away from that.


NOW WHAT DO THE APOLOGISTS HAVE TO SAY NOW?!?!

Posted by: DC Man88 | November 1, 2007 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Damn people, it is only one game. You all have bought the casket and are ready to bury them. What a somber website! Geeze!

Posted by: Anonymous | November 1, 2007 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Last Point. "Small-Ball", I "HATE" it. EJ it does not work........!!! HELLO......!!!!

Posted by: Bullets Fever #1 | November 1, 2007 8:33 AM | Report abuse

"NOW WHAT DO THE APOLOGISTS HAVE TO SAY NOW?!?!"

Dude, you're way too hype for it to be 8:30 in the morning. You're also too hype for a team that you're supposed to be a fan of lost. And finally please breathe, its game 1.

Posted by: The Owl Wizard | November 1, 2007 8:34 AM | Report abuse

No response to GilCrush. You are officially ignored. Anon, I'm not ready to bury them yet but the complete absence of defense when it's been preached all summer is what has my panties in a bunch (and I'm a dude). I still think we can outscore our way to 45 wins. defense only happens if we change the lineup and rotation

Posted by: mark | November 1, 2007 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Ok, owl, so you say it was OK to lose to a team that was without 2 dudes, one being their main franchise player and all star? What about all the hype about all the great games at Barry Farms, all the intense workouts at VC, etc?

The game should not have been neck and neck. If you're saying it's only game 1, you're apologizing. Teams with championship or deep playoff aspirations don't lose to teams like Indiana when you HAVE YOUR BIG 3 AND YOUR STARTERS FROM LAST YEAR!!!!

Posted by: DC Man88 | November 1, 2007 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Mark's got the gil crush b/c whatever Gilby does, it's okay with Mark. Mark is probably overstimulated from his panties being bunched up. Weak attempt at an apology though.

Posted by: DC Man88 | November 1, 2007 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Ivan, I know you read these blog comments, so as you can see, there's a bit of consternation over here at WizNation. But it seems to me th majority of comments are directed at the same old problems. Can you ask Eddie:

1) Why he refuses to give Haywood more minutes, especially when he's as effective as he was last night? What more does the guy need to do to be on the floor?

2) Why this team, game after game after game, sags down around the lane, and refuses to close out on shooters on the perimeter.

3) Why he won't play Blatche more. Andray was his best player in the preseason, and did good things for the few minutes he was in last night.

4) Why he continues to go smallball, with Songaila a C and Jamison at PF, when it's proven over and over to not work. Again, in the preaseason, lineups with Haywood and Blatche at PF were very effective. Will he not even try it in the regular season?

5) Why he continues to overplay his Big 3.

These are exactly the same issues that killed the Wiz last year. Does Eddie actually study tape? Does he not understand what's happening?

Posted by: Keithinator | November 1, 2007 8:48 AM | Report abuse

no comment, Gilcrush.

Posted by: mark | November 1, 2007 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Yes, just one game. Opening day against potentially the sorriest team in the league without its two best players. Gilbert moved well but continues to play for his own entertainment rather than the betterment of the team. Would EJ ever dare to sit Gil after he indiscriminantly jacks 3s with no thought of executing the offense? I think not.
Gilbert seems like a cool guy, contributes to the community, funny blog, but he is not going to take this team any farther. He is focused on production to justify max money for his opt out.
Done with EJ, we need a coach who will bring structure and accountability.

Hope everyone enjoys the 3-4 game winners Arenas will produce this year because those will be the only moments to celebrate.

Posted by: Dr. Strangelove | November 1, 2007 8:51 AM | Report abuse

I have no problem with anyone disagreeing with me whatsoever. In fact, it's the things that we ALL see that are more than likely the problem. My opinion alone doesnt count for jack. It's just my opinion. But if we are all seeing and complaining about the same thing, there's probably something to it. Seems like we all have issues with the rotation and the lack of defense on 3 point shooters. Let's concentrate on the consensus.

Posted by: mark | November 1, 2007 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Did anyone else notice Arenas limping a fair amount (particularly towards the end of the game)? Anyone else concerned that maybe his knee isn't 100%?

Posted by: TheT | November 1, 2007 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Keithinator - I agree with you all the way on this one. EJ is a pretty good coach, but in order to be a great coach you need to know how to make adjustments during games and to also know your personnel.

AB never got a chance to find his grove because he barly got any minutes. Is he going to be last year's version of Haywood and his minutes situation with EJ? I think this whole thing goes back to EJ not trusting rookies or 1st year players.

EJ needs to change this way of thinking before he ends up losing his job. As I have said before, EJ's rotations and calls at the end of games drives me crazy and he needs to fine tune his approach on these issues.

Posted by: Bullets Fever #1 | November 1, 2007 9:12 AM | Report abuse

The T, He said that he was having leg cramps and that explains the limping. Also said he was leg-weary.

Posted by: mark | November 1, 2007 9:15 AM | Report abuse

When you do what you did....you get what you got..... another mediocre season...just not good enough

Posted by: Linda | November 1, 2007 9:16 AM | Report abuse

mark - thanks a lot. That's a relief.

Posted by: TheT | November 1, 2007 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Ivan - Could you please find out "who" made the call to double Tinsley in OT when everybody knows when you double-team someone at the top of the key, the guy is going to swing the ball around the horn until someone is wide open.

Then you have "dead legs" trying to chase the ball and close in on the shooter to block or contest the shot. Who are the "dead legs" I am talking about?

You guessed it, the big three who have already logged over 40 minutes, and the slow footed "small ball" lineup substitutes.

So again, Ivan was it EJ who called the "trap and double-team" on Tinsley, or was it Ayers??????????? And please ask why he did not have DMac in there guarding Tinsley when Tinsley was in there abusing Gilbert??????????? Thanks...

Posted by: Bullets Fever #1 | November 1, 2007 9:21 AM | Report abuse

DCIdiot, you make the comment that the Wiz should not have lost to a team (they were visiting) without their all star player - but you jumped all over the Wiz for not been able to win without BOTH their All Stars! Can't have it both ways, you freaking moron!!!

You are a JOKE!!!

Posted by: Laughing | November 1, 2007 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Headline from yesterday game should read Gilbert plays zero defence in the 4th quarter.

Haywood was much less affective in the second half he was getting eating alive by Harrsion. Haywood not in the game is not what cost team.

It's the first game of the year, my only concern at this point is the big 3 logging 40 plus minutes all year long.

Posted by: pg posse | November 1, 2007 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Two observations:

1. Even with Blatche, EJ still played 10 minutes of "small ball" (i.e., no Wizards above 6'9" are on the court).
2. Wizards is still playing Eddie's defense (i.e., they do not guard opponents on 3-pt line).

Posted by: Sagaliba | November 1, 2007 9:30 AM | Report abuse

how soon we forget, 4-8 then 25-17. One game everyone, "I"M FREAKING OUT!!!!!" JUST MELLOW

Posted by: Burg w/ a U | November 1, 2007 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Amen, Laughing. Bullets Fever#1, good question. Same thing has killed us for years. After playing so many minutes, not too many people could dbl down and then recover to the wings. Maybe Sean Taylor. Maybe.

Posted by: mark | November 1, 2007 9:31 AM | Report abuse

In the past, I can understand the reason behind "small ball," because sometimes you do need the quicker lineup and Wizards' "bigs," Haywood, Etan, Ruffin, Booth are not quick. But now you have Blatche and McGuire, both excellent shot blockers who are also quick; why small?

Posted by: Sagaliba | November 1, 2007 9:37 AM | Report abuse

I know this in only the first game but it is also a MUST win for the Wiz since the Pacers didn't have their best player. These are the games that will decide if they will be in the playoffs or not. If they can't win this kinda games then they will be fishing come March and sayonara to Gil, AJ and EJ.

EJ should give more PT to Blatche!

Posted by: Dave | November 1, 2007 9:39 AM | Report abuse

DCMann,
Saw two replays of the 3 pointer by gilbert at the end of regulation. C'mon, there was no foul on Gilbert. He did extend his arm, but he created zero separation.

Posted by: M.E.G. | November 1, 2007 9:44 AM | Report abuse

I'm looking at the schedule and the next 5 games are against Boston, Orlando, NJ, Denver and Atlanta. None of those games are easy, and judging from last night, no game will be easy. A 1-5 or 2-4 start is conceivable.

I hesitate to make any predictions, but I believe that the leash on EJ is much shorter than what Wise and Ivan reported yesterday. Ayers has head coaching experience, so it would not surprise me in the slightest to see EJ get canned if the Wiz get off to another slow start this year. This will be particularly true if the team continues to be plagued by the same old problems: uncontested perimeter shots, inability to stop penetration and underutilazation of the much improved bench.

Posted by: M.E.G. | November 1, 2007 9:55 AM | Report abuse

I may just be one game, but it is the same kind of loss that has killed this team for the last couple of years. I don't think anyone is really freaking out, we were just hoping that the Wiz would be a contender this year. Contenders consistantly beat bad teams, win on the road, and close out games that they can win. They will probally be fired up to play the Celtics after all of the hype this summer, and will play a lot better. I hope they do because if they show up in Boston and play like they did last night it will be an ugly loss.

Posted by: CurtisLee | November 1, 2007 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Check BTH's rebounds 1st half vs. 2nd. He does disappear late.

Posted by: joe c | November 1, 2007 9:58 AM | Report abuse

The more I think about the game last night, the more I fault EJ for most of the problems. Haywood plays great ball, but he gets just 25 minutes. I can't understand that. AB plays well in the preseason, and he gets just 12 minutes of run last night. I can't understand that. DeShawn sits on the bench in OT, while Tinsley makes a mockery of the Wiz "defense." I can't understand that. (And of course DeShawn was tight, EJ didn't play him at all in the fourth quarter. Give me a break, Jordan. If you don't want him to be tight late in games, then give him some damn minutes.) The team has plenty of height and length now, yet they still go small. I can't understand that.

A lot of this is on EJ because he seems so stubborn and unwilling to change how he does things. I find that utterly ridiculous because what he's done in the past really hasn't been that successful. Sure, the team has made the playoffs, but have they done to get noticed in the EC? Nothing. EJ needs to suck it up and start trying some different things because, quite frankly, his ol' stand-by routines simply don't equate to great success.

(And how unprepared did the Wizards look for last night's game against a depleted team? That falls on EJ a great deal, too, but it also says something about this team's lack of mental toughness. Can't say we didn't see this last year. The Wizards beat the Spurs or Suns, but lose to teams like the Nuggets without 'Melo and a couple of other starters. I don't understand it. I'm flipping through all the NBA League Pass channels last night, and I'm seeing good teams beat down on lesser opponents. That's all I want to see from the Wizards. Knowing this team, they play lights out against Boston. The C's should play without Allen and Garnett and Pierce on Friday, and I bet they beat the Wizards.)

Posted by: Colin | November 1, 2007 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Help me out...I just don't understand something. Those who keep saying it is only one game need to stop and think: WHAT DID YOU SEE LAST NIGHT THAT GIVES US ANY HOPE THAT THIS TEAM WILL BE DIFFERENT THAN LAST YEAR'S TEAM? Matador defense on the perimeter continues. I thought that both Haywood and Blatche sought to be a solid presence down the middle and yet we saw small balldown the stretch. We see our best defensive players on the bench because the coach thinks offense though supposedly preaching defense all summer long. We see an average team at best with 2 key starters missing beat us. We see the big 3 playing too many minutes, too little defense. We see Gilbert getting phantom calls and missing key field goals. We see EJ with that look in his eyes that we have seen so often. Yes it is only game one. But they promised us that they understood the problems and that they would have a new attitude and come out focused.

Playoff teams that are to be taken seriously (Spurs, Mavs, Suns) take care of their business in these situations and I am wondering if we are just another 1 and out playoff team again. It will be fascinating that we will need to match the intensity of the Celts on Friday. We are talking Garnett against Jamison folks.
Gilbert will need to light up Rondo and their other their point guards for fifty five if we are to have a chance. The sad thing is that he just may do that and folks will think that the ship has been righted. WE HAVE MAJOR PROBLEMS THAT ONLY BETTER COACHING CAN SOLVE. Our only hope is that Randy Ayres will get in Jordan's ear and make him change his strategy and rotations.

Posted by: BmoreRev | November 1, 2007 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Someone mentioned earlier about being a team game. The Wizards will never be a contender as long as Arenas continues to be a gunslinger. Unbelievable shot at the end of reg, but it should of never gotten to that point. Tinsley ate him up in the 4th quarter.

Posted by: Mombo | November 1, 2007 10:04 AM | Report abuse

If the Wizards win 50 games that will give some 32(0r was that 34?) times to come on here and gloat.

Last nights game was why I wasn't ready to predict 50+ wins for this team. To do that a team has to learn to be road warriors, these guys aren't quite to that level yet.

Terrible free throw shooting really did them in last night. Saw some good things, and some of the same old same old. Jim O'Brien will have that team back contending for a playoff slot this year.

From some of the other games, Cleveland really seemed out of sync. Was also flipping back and forth watching Memphis against the Spurs, boy is Navarro even smaller then I thought when you see him in the game against NBA starters and not Euro guys or scrubs. I do think he shot 3 of 6 from three point range, and he knows how to play.

But he's really a slightly built guy, the Spanish Juan Dixon comparison really seems to fit. He just kind of seems to flit around on D, trying to guess a passing lane and deflect the ball.And Memphis seems to have enough little guards to stock two teams.

Back to the Wizards, I'd agree I was a bit perplexed that we didn't see more of Blatche. Jordan rode Haywood too long in the 4th and at one point he was completely gassed. I'd have liked to have seen him spelling him with Blatche a little more.

He's got to learn how to spell the big three, still too many minutes.Daniels and Songalia really do have a sixth sense with each other, we should be able to rely on those two to carry the offense for the second unit at times.

Considering Gil's coming off injury, and Butler was cold they should have been spelled more. Eddie's got to develop and use that bench and trust them sometimes.
Young looked good in the breif time he was out there, if that kid picks up enough defense we're going to see alot of him this year.

God, I've always hated Dunleavy. Still do.
Next time I'd give him a little bigger dose of TMac in his grill. But you know the kid looks like he's finally an NBA player. but I still don't like the damn Dukie!

Posted by: GM | November 1, 2007 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Indy shot 45% from 3. Thats how bad teams stay in and win games. Thats why Jim O'Brien was brought in to coach them.

After all the hand ringing, btching and moaning some simple facts remain.
-Make anywhere near the normal percentage of FT's and they win.
-Caron plays anywhere near his normal game and they win.

Its the first game of the season, expecting mid-season basketball is going to give you headaches or make you look like an idgit, or both.

Posted by: Monte | November 1, 2007 10:07 AM | Report abuse

I did a quick run-through of the posts here and I'm in agreement with many. Most notably Henry, totally accurate on calling EJ's BS about preaching defense and then not having Haywood on the floor when the game counts the most. How can you play defense with 5 guards?

And Colin, I totally agree with faulting EJ on most of the problems. He was the main problem last year, he's going to be the main problem this year, and until EG figures it out, this team goes nowhere. It may be worth starting out 0-10 to get EJ fired.

Posted by: MikeBHay | November 1, 2007 10:08 AM | Report abuse

"Haywood was much less affective in the second half"

Of course he was less effective in the 2nd half! Did you see him flying out trying to block a 3-pt shot? I don't think that was his man, but no one was guarding that guy.

How can a center be effective if you ask him to fly out trying to block a 3-pt shot and hurry back to protect the rim!

Posted by: Sagaliba | November 1, 2007 10:22 AM | Report abuse

From -- Star reporter Mike Wells, www.indystar.com, Nov. 1, 2007:

.... O'Brien didn't let his players put their heads down as they walked off the court. He reminded them during the timeout that "they're tired, they're tired," in reference to the Wizards. As Washington struggled from the field, missing its first eight shots of overtime, O'Brien's intense practices during training camp paid off because the Pacers had more energy and desire to win the game. "This is a game we probably wouldn't have won last season," Granger said. "We just kept coming at them and you could tell they were wearing down." Led by Mike Dunleavy's 25 points, the Pacers had five players score in double figures and four players attempt at least 11 shots. Tinsley was a rebound and two assists shy of getting a triple double. "It's certainly a morale boost for the troops, with those guys out, beating a legitimate team," Dunleavy said.....

Posted by: NeedTheD | November 1, 2007 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Mombo I agree on Arenas. He just fires shots like it's a game of Horse, no concept of team basketball. Agree also that Tinsley (a mediocre player) ate him up in the 4th.

Posted by: MikeBHay | November 1, 2007 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Same old Wizards. Selfishness on offense. No defense. No leadership. Small ball at crunch time. Our best player (Gil) is not a leader and worse, is a stat-chaser. Our coach is unwilling to confront said best player even when said player is playing on-line poker at halftime. Our "leader" (AJ) is a one-dimensional gunner and that diminishes his "leadership". Our "tough guy" is physically tough but gets nervous. Our GM did not hire our coach. The team has a flawed foundation that will not allow it to win a championship. We will win our share of games and have some exciting moments, but we won't win it all.

Posted by: Firuz | November 1, 2007 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Wtf...they kinda looked like the Dakota Wizards out there at times. Too much one-on-one, not much movement on offense, except for that play when Blatche hit Gilbert going backdoor with a great pass for a layup. Hardly any assists by the Wiz as a result. And they gotta make free throws. Hopefully, that'll be the only time this season that our best FT shooter bricks two key ones.

I'm glad to see that Gil's attacking the basket again and that his shot is starting to fall (at least the midrange). But he's got to work harder at staying in front of his man on D. No way should J. Tinsley, who isn't looking to score, get 14 points in the 4th on anybody. I mean, the dude was getting into the paint on practically every posession (that is, when he wasn't being allowed to square up for that fugly 1940s-style set shot from behind the arc...agggh.)It's time for Gil to start being a superstar at both ends.

I would have put Blatche in there to guard Bender and keep him from getting into a rhythm with his J. He's another one of those guys who can only hurt you if you let him.

Great game by Haywood, though to keep it in perspective, the other team's starting 5 was out. 10 offensive boards every night is too much to expect, obviously, but if he comes out and plays that hard all the time, we're going to be in good shape.

Posted by: John Brisker | November 1, 2007 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Monte,
One of the teams last night apparently had expectations to play mid-season basketball, and they subsequently won. And that team had two key guys out. EJ & the Le Boulez look like the idgits. And I hope EJ has the headache right now.

Posted by: NeedTheD | November 1, 2007 10:41 AM | Report abuse

"DCMann,
Saw two replays of the 3 pointer by gilbert at the end of regulation. C'mon, there was no foul on Gilbert. He did extend his arm, but he created zero separation.

Posted by: M.E.G. | November 1, 2007 09:44 AM "

NOT! Gilby clearly extended his elbow and Tinsley thus couldn't jump at him while Gilby was going for the shot Gilby clearly pushed off, but the ref gave Gilby a break. No homecookin' by the ref there.

Posted by: DC Man88 | November 1, 2007 10:46 AM | Report abuse

"

DCIdiot, you make the comment that the Wiz should not have lost to a team (they were visiting) without their all star player - but you jumped all over the Wiz for not been able to win without BOTH their All Stars! Can't have it both ways, you freaking moron!!!

You are a JOKE!!!

Posted by: Laughing | November 1, 2007 09:25 AM "

Les BouleS lose with 3 all stars and the starters intact, while Indiana wins with a bunch of journeymen and young players.

EAT THAT!

Posted by: DC Man88 | November 1, 2007 10:48 AM | Report abuse

"If the Wizards win 50 games that will give some 32(0r was that 34?) times to come on here and gloat.

Last nights game was why I wasn't ready to predict 50+ wins for this team. To do that a team has to learn to be road warriors, these guys aren't quite to that level yet.

Posted by: GM | November 1, 2007 10:07 AM "

SWAAAAAADAGGGGERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!

* actually, Bucky used "BACKBREAKERRRR!!!"

Posted by: DC Man88 | November 1, 2007 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Oh yeah, Les BouleS were clearly "shorthanded" in the paint last night. DSong ended up with 4 rebs, and still can't jump, while AB ended up with 1 reb.

How many times was the ball batted around and then grabbed by an Indiana player? They even got a rebound after their own player missed 2 free throws at the end!!! David Harrison played a big role at the end.

Posted by: DC Man88 | November 1, 2007 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Well Well Well ! WE are back! And here we go again!I didn't see the game because I had to work but looking at the box score and seeing the highlights on NBA TV it's the same old story.

This is a bad loss and let me tell you why?
The big three is jacking up to many outside shots period. look at the shooting percentage!They are playing to many minutes. They are not attacking the basket amd putting the pacers bigs in early foul trouble.To much help defence! Thats right I said help defence!

Why would you run help defence on a team that has no inside game allow the spot up shooters kill you. Listen people basketball is simple.When a team has a weakness you attack it.And when they have a strength you attack it as well. Every wiz dog should have been instructed to stay on his man and force the pacers to take it to the hole. Then you will find the weak link in the armour. That's when the coaching staff can make the adjustments defensively. Down the stretch in the 4th quarter DMac should have been on tinsley and EJ should have told him to stay on him all 94'. Were ever he goes you go. If he walks over to the coach for instructions you go as well,If he goesbeats you to the hole commit a "HARD" foul. Young fella you six fouls to give and I need you to use all six of them. what ever happen to lock down D.

I saw Danny Graniger play last year against the bobcats in person and he burned them for about 30 points and not a single player forced him to put the ball on the floor and creat for others. I bet the same thing happen last night?

I now the guys are watching film and getting scouting reports but after you have played against these players several times you should know there weakness.

EJ stop playing the players all these minutes and utilize your bench. Seng AJ to the bench like the MAVS did Jason Terry and you will be much stonger. Start DMAC in his place, AJ can still play 30+ mins per game.You would have the best bench in the NBA. And the wiz dogs could win 55 games if EJ got everyone involved early and often.

Posted by: The Godfather | November 1, 2007 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Ok, we agree EJ's coaching is down right horrible but do we really want to replace him with Ayers??

As I recall, Ayers' track record as a head coach is not too glowing either.

Posted by: Wizzz | November 1, 2007 10:59 AM | Report abuse

DCMan, I'm going to break my own rule and engage you for a moment. (I'm not really sure why people talk to you to begin with.) You're off point most of the time on this board. You make a lot of ludicrous claims and seem to revel in everyone else's disappointment. A real class act, you are. Bring something to the table or get lost. Anyway, that's it. I'm going back to ignoring you and your asinine posts.

If the Wizards were tired last night, that's a sad statement about the work this team did during the offseason. Did EJ let 'em loaf? Isn't he supposed to be getting them ready to play in actual NBA games?

Posted by: Colin | November 1, 2007 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Ivan, good looking on the bright side of things...

But I have to agree with the overall sentiment of the blog comments. We've seen this before. Wiz lose to a depleted team b/c they cannot get a stop when they need one.
Gilbert scores a bunch of points, but they lose; he doesn't seem to care all that much b/c he got his higlight shot and that will help him publicize his new cartoon about himself.

Posted by: pfunk | November 1, 2007 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Firuz, in regard to your comment: "Our "leader" (AJ) is a one-dimensional gunner and that diminishes his "leadership"." I understand (almost) everyone gets frustrated after a loss, but AJ works his heart out for this team every game and, despite his defensive deficiencies, is in fact a "leader" and is far from a one-dimensional gunner. A good team can win with AJ, but whether a team coached by EJ and run on the court by gIlbert can be a big winner is a more doubtful proposition.

Posted by: Mitch | November 1, 2007 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Mercurial - characterized by rapid and unpredictable changeableness of mood.

The face of this team has been described as mercurial by many. The team certainly has talent but has also played this way for the past couple of years (from quarter to quarter and game to game) which reflects Gilbert's personality. From throwing the ball cross-court (and out of bounds) to stupid long-distance shots with no rebounders in place this team simply lacks discipline and this is the responsibility of the head coach. He can't simply say "that's just Gilbert being Gilbert" and ignore it as he's done since Gilbert arrived.

The three that he made to send the game to OT was great but without the 10 - 20 wasted possessions during the game (turnovers, stupid shots, missed free throws) it shouldn't have come down to this in the first place. The wink that you talked about shows me that, in his mind, all else is forgotten because he hit one shot at the end. It's this cultural mindset that will keep the Wizards from going to the next level.

Posted by: Greg S | November 1, 2007 11:23 AM | Report abuse

"Kalorama there is a lot of merit to the points you made in the other post about the loss to Indiana. But you have to be disturbed by the rotation choices of Eddie Jordan (specifically very little Brendan Haywood, Andray Blatche or even Dominic MacGuire down the stretch) and the continued inability to put forward even adequate defense on the perimeter."

I don't have to be concerned by the rotation and, after only 1 game, I'm not. That's one of the things that'll likely change over time as adjustments are made. And in the other post you cited I specifically mentioned the defensive weaknesses as an issue (albeit not really a surprise).

One game. One game. One game.

Posted by: kalorama | November 1, 2007 11:25 AM | Report abuse

This team will be fine. Arenas may have overworked himself in preparation for the season, and thus the cramps (I seriously doubt the problem was lack of enough conditioning). Hopefully Eddie gives the team today off from practice so they can be fresh tomorrow at Boston.

The missed free throws and open 3s on D are the biggest concern to me. Fix those 2 issues and this team wins 50+ games...

Posted by: Barno | November 1, 2007 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Barno, the missed FTs don't concern me. The open 3-pointers on D? Well, that's been a problem for a couple of years now, so why should we expect to see that fixed at all?

Posted by: Colin | November 1, 2007 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Greg, excellent post. That summed up Gilbert's night.

Posted by: Keithinator | November 1, 2007 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Godfather you are pretty dead on with your comments. Danny Granger got open shots all night without having to create for himself, the Wizards just kept leaving hin open (good for my fantasy team, bad for the Wizards). And he is a good player. Like last year it was a no-name or some bum that lights the Wizards up (this time its noted bust Mike Dunleavy).
There is no way he or Jamaal flipping Tinsley should eat the Wizards lunch all damn night like they did.
And that is what is so frustrating. Yes this is only one game, but it is the continuation of some disturbing trends and EJ's hard-to-understand rotation choices. Why doesn't our head coach use all the tools that are available to him? Why doesn't he try to go offense-defense as much as possible in the final 2 minutes or 1:30 of the game.
This ain't rocket science, we as fans know these things and most NBA coaches do these things, yet Jordan doesn't do them. I want Eddie Jordan to succeed, but if he keeps coaching the team this way, he won't and the Wizards won't either.
As for what happens if Jordan is fired. Ayers coaching record inspires very little confidence. Mike O'Koren is probably the best choice on the staff, but you have to wonder if he won't coach the same way Jordan would. Jeff Van Gundy, Mike Fratello and Rick Carlisle are TERRIBLE fits for this team and its personnel. You can see why Thibodeau pulled a u-turn on taking the job here. He would be the most likely candidate to get the job if Jordan were fired and he was an assistant and that's a terrible position for both Jordan Thibodeau to be in.

Posted by: George Templeton | November 1, 2007 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Thank you, Colin. You said what i wanted to say without making me break my rule on GilCrush88. The comment that OBrien made to his team about us being tired is disturbing and telling. First, we should be in as good a shape as anyone. Our team is relatively young. Even AJ is only 31. maybe chasing people around screens rather than switching has folks worn out. I know I saw Gil fighting around screens a lot last night. Also, it means that (as almost everyone here pointed out) we aren't using our bench enough or properly.

Posted by: mark | November 1, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

"This ain't rocket science, we as fans know these things and most NBA coaches do these things, yet Jordan doesn't do them."
And that's simply not true. If playing solid defense was so easy then every team in the NBA would be locking down it's opponents. Guess what? It ain't happening. The Wizards identity is an offensive team. That's how their built and those are the kinds of players they have. Can there be improvement? Sure. But anyone expecting a seas change overnight into the Bad Boy Detroit pistons is fooling themselves.

Posted by: kalorama | November 1, 2007 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I feel that it's time for Ivan Carter to call EJ on his small ball tactics that are hurting the team. Ivan has generally given EJ a free pass on it while writing that EJ is stressing the importance of defense. The hypocrisy of stressing defense but putting 5 guards on the floor in crunch time should be emphasized by the press.

Posted by: MikeBHay | November 1, 2007 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I'm not worried. I thought Gil looked good, and I think that's the main thing as Ivan said. I thought Haywood had a real good game. If he steps up his play to that level consistantly, this team is in good shape. I also liked what I saw from Blatche. Caron will not have another game like that the rest of the season. He just could not catch a break all game. I also was pleasantly surprised to see Young the 1st guard off the bench when Stevenson got hurt (not Daniels or Mason), and glad McGuire got in the game. And I thought the defense looked improved compared to last season. It was the 1st game, on the road, at a tough place to play. We lost in overtime. I'm not concerned, this team is going to have a good season.

Posted by: Darnell | November 1, 2007 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Kalorama, I understand that the Wizards identity is offense, but in my post I didn't say that they should play great defense. Nor do I expect that. What I expect is that when something doesn't work (small ball with Jamison at 4 and Songaila at 5) that a coach would try something else (like playing Blatche and Jamison, maybe even MacGuire down the stretch more). To see very little (or none possibly) of those three guys in the final 2:30 of regulation and the overtime makes very little sense to me. I think kalorama that you and I and nearly everyone else would have played those 3 players more and especially in the final minutes of the game. And that's also what makes stuff like last night hard to take.

Posted by: George Templeton | November 1, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

The comment that OBrien made to his team about us being tired is disturbing and telling. First, we should be in as good a shape as anyone. Our team is relatively young.

Posted by: mark | November 1, 2007 11:43 AM

EJ really paced and rested the starters - particularly the Big 3 (and most especially Gilbert) - during preseason. None of us complained because it gave the kids a chance to get some significant PT. It should be no surprise that, playing 40+ minutes each, they're winded. More substitution would have helped tremendously.

Posted by: reispace | November 1, 2007 12:13 PM | Report abuse

"The Wizards identity is an offensive team. That's how their built and those are the kinds of players they have. Can there be improvement? Sure. But anyone expecting a seas change overnight into the Bad Boy Detroit pistons is fooling themselves.
"


Whenever I suggest this, I get called names by GilCrush. I honestly believe we are hurting our offense by wasting energy in a halfhearted attempt to play D. If we hadn't been running around screens all night, maybe we'd have had some juice left in OT. Start switching or something. since our strength is offense, let's try to score 120 and try to hold someone to 110. Otherwise, bench a couple guys and start Blatche and McGuire.

Posted by: mark | November 1, 2007 12:16 PM | Report abuse

as adjustments are made.

Kalorama, that's what scares me. Adjustments weren't made at any point last year to Eddie's love of smallball, overuse of the Big 3, or getting out on shooters. Last night was more of the same. What evidence do you have at this point to assume he will make adjustments? I'd say the evidence points to the contrary.

Posted by: Keithinator | November 1, 2007 12:22 PM | Report abuse

"If the Wizards win 50 games that will give some 32(0r was that 34?) times to come on here and gloat.

Last nights game was why I wasn't ready to predict 50+ wins for this team. To do that a team has to learn to be road warriors, these guys aren't quite to that level yet.

Posted by: GM | November 1, 2007 10:07 AM "

GM, being the senior apologist here, I am not surprised that he equates this loss to any of the 32 (or 34) losses that he predicts for the season.

For people with a sense of reality though, this loss is not the same as losing to an elite team like Phoenix or San Antonio. This is a bad loss to a team that was in the lottery last season and was without an all star franchise player, one of their starting big men, and their other big man (Foster) for 1/2 of the 4th quarter.

Sorry GM, but it's not the same. I will bash for this loss, because it's not the same as losing to an elite team. Apples and Oranges my old friend.

Posted by: DC Man88 | November 1, 2007 12:24 PM | Report abuse

"DCMan, I'm going to break my own rule and engage you for a moment. (I'm not really sure why people talk to you to begin with.) You're off point most of the time on this board. You make a lot of ludicrous claims and seem to revel in everyone else's disappointment. A real class act, you are. Bring something to the table or get lost. Anyway, that's it. I'm going back to ignoring you and your asinine posts.

Posted by: Colin | November 1, 2007 11:02 AM "

"I"m wrong most of the time," and you have no exact points that back your statement. What have you provided, ever? Who the heck are you? Unless you spell it all out, and prove that I am wrong, you are what you call me.

Posted by: DC Man88 | November 1, 2007 12:28 PM | Report abuse

"What I expect is that when something doesn't work (small ball with Jamison at 4 and Songaila at 5) that a coach would try something else (like playing Blatche and Jamison, maybe even MacGuire down the stretch more). To see very little (or none possibly) of those three guys in the final 2:30 of regulation and the overtime makes very little sense to me. I think kalorama that you and I and nearly everyone else would have played those 3 players more and especially in the final minutes of the game."

And that's the potential hazard of making assumptions.

I certainly would not have played McGuire down the stretch of the game. He's a 2nd round rookie with no NBA experience at all. Playing Blatche down the stretch could have been counterproductive because they were behind and needed to put points on the board. Blatche has done nothing to establish himself as a clutch offensive player. Is it possible he might have done something? Anything's possible. But the idea that putting Blatche on the floor would have inevitably reversed the tide is pure wishful speculation.

hindsight is always 20/20. Could things have been done differently? Sure. But would that have guaranteed a different result? No. Was the strategy Jordan employed doomed to fail? Hardly. It didn't work in this instance. But that doesn't mean it can't work or he was crazy for going with it.

One game. One Game. one game.

Posted by: kalorama | November 1, 2007 12:28 PM | Report abuse

r u kidding me...the missed free throws and threes dont bother me at all...it was the first game of the season...even kobe...a known 85 percent freethrow shooter, missed like half his free throws...whats encouraging to me is as bad as their offense was, they still put up a lot of points...there offense will get better as the season progresses.....the D if u guys noticed definitely showed better rotations for streches, the key is being consistent...like i definitely see better rotations on their assignments when they double someone off the pick and roll than i saw last year...but i definitely feel things will click, i doubt it will click by friday...but give it two weeks and we'll be ok

Posted by: jjmat84 | November 1, 2007 12:29 PM | Report abuse

I watched the game last night and I have to say the most glaring problem was Gilbert's refusal to play defense: he just sags six feet away from his man, letting him take 3 point shots. In the NBA, your man is going to make a lot of 3-pointers if you don't cover him. He doesn't even try to get in his man's face, ever. That's just sad.

Posted by: DC | November 1, 2007 12:35 PM | Report abuse

"What evidence do you have at this point to assume he will make adjustments? I'd say the evidence points to the contrary."

What evidence? It's only been one game.

And complaining about Jordan "overusing the Big Three" is just silly. They're his best players, by a wide margin. What is he supposed to do with them? Save them for emergencies?

Posted by: kalorama | November 1, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

DCMan, your posts speak for themselves. You degrade people on this board ("Mark is probably overstimulated from his panties being bunched up. Weak attempt at an apology though.") or revel in others' disappointments (If the season had indeed 84 games, Les BouleS would have been eliminated last season, and this coming from a team that led the EAST!!!!!!!!
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!) or make asinine comments ("Jokers like to say Kobe didn't do anything without Shaq...when did Shaq ever carry a team?". So there are some examples for you.

As for who I am, I've been here since this blog started. And I like to think I put forth some reasoned analysis about the Wizards. You obviously pay attention. Or perhaps you only care about whatever nonsense you have to put forth.

Posted by: Colin | November 1, 2007 12:52 PM | Report abuse

But Kalorama, when you are behind it is probably more important to shore up on the defensive end. It's getting stops that can win games for us, because offensively we have enough fire power.
I mean Blatche is not a black hole out there, but say we go with him at C and Jamison at 4, Butler at 3, Arenas at 2, Daniels at 1 in crunch time. That is plenty of firepower to score the points needed to come from behind don't you think.

Posted by: George Templeton | November 1, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

It's all about defense for spurts. They don't need to play rock-solid defense for 48 minutes. They just need to lock down at the end of halves and for most of the third quarter. Even that would be a vast improvement. But the defense actually seems to get worse as the game goes on, which is incredibly problematic.

Posted by: Colin | November 1, 2007 12:59 PM | Report abuse

I think this game demonstrated the value that DS has for this team. Gil and AD should never, ever be on the floor at the same time. They both need the ball in their hands at the offensive end, and they're both way too small to play any D against a big 2-guard. To make things worse, with the loss of DS' minutes, AD and Gil were way too tired to even try to play D at the end of the game, no matter who they were matched up against.

NY should be able to put in some useful minutes, but he had that deer-in-the-headlights look yesterday. DMac also needs to get time at the SG position, especially against someone like Dunleavy, who's 6'-9". EJ used DMac for all of 2 minutes. Maybe EJ doesn't trust DMac's ball handling to help bring the ball up the court? But the Pacers weren't applying any pressure in the backcourt anyway. Maybe Blatche can help out there if necessary.

Hope DS will be ready to go on Friday.

Posted by: TC | November 1, 2007 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I love that guy - thanks for the insider info - it is indeed encouraging.

Posted by: Patty | November 1, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse

DC88 does make some good points, but can you drop the boorish childish crap? I am beginning to skip over reading your posts when I see your signature.

Posted by: oddjob | November 1, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

I can smell 0-2 already! Same old story from last year. I don't think the starters can play defense very well. Jamison is slow, has bad shooting percentage & boring to watch. Arenas needs to learn how to shut down his man on defense. Caron looks small for his position and can barely provide shot blocking. The starters need to learn how to square up their man and stop going for quick steals.

EJ needs to mix up the rotation a little bit and give the young guys minutes. AB needs to be in there! I think he's the second best player in this team.

It's going to be a long season.

Posted by: bdunkadunk | November 1, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

I was smelling 0-2, as well. But then I thought about it. This team, last year, would always throw up clunkers against undermanned squads that they had no excuse losing to. Then, they'd go out and beat a team like the Suns or Spurs or Mavs. I can't understand it. But what it does mean is that the Wizards probably actually stand a better chance against the C's than they did against the lowly Pacers.

Posted by: Colin | November 1, 2007 1:22 PM | Report abuse

George,

It would be great if they could bring Blatche in and the defense could lock down the opponent down the stretch. But, realistically, do you actually think that's going to happen? I don't. And as much as he might like it to, I doubt Jordan does either. There are a number of ways to keep an opponent from scoring. As big a cliché as it is, there is some truth to "the best defense is a good offense."

Look at Phoenix. They're hardly a lock down defensive stopping team. But they had a pretty good opponents' FG percentage last season and had a knack for forcing misses in the crunch. How? By pushing the ball and forcing the tempo on offense, putting points on the board in a hurry and forcing the opponent to play at a faster pace than they were comfortable with in an attempt to keep up. It's a formula they've been using for years and it's working.

Now I'm certainly not suggesting the Wiz are in the same class as the Suns. The point is that D'Antoni looked at the strengths and weaknesses of his roster and decided that rather than try to remold them into a shape they weren't comfortable with, he found a way to use what they were good at to compensate for what they weren't so good at. That should be the model the Wiz look at. The problem, as it relates to last nights game, is that for it to work, they have to make their shots. Last night they didn't. But I don't expect that to be a season-long issue.

Posted by: kalorama | November 1, 2007 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Kalorama, YES !!. That's what I have been advocating all along. Wear opponents out by making them try to run with us. I think we're deeper than most teams. If we can just guard wide open guys it would make a huge difference.

Posted by: mark | November 1, 2007 1:38 PM | Report abuse

I checked their schedule and I'm smelling 0-5 to start the season.

I know this is water under the bridge but has anybody able to watched the Memphis game? JCN hit 3 3 pointers......big mistake.

Posted by: Dave | November 1, 2007 1:42 PM | Report abuse

And complaining about Jordan "overusing the Big Three" is just silly. They're his best players, by a wide margin. What is he supposed to do with them? Save them for emergencies?

Silly it is not. Players, even your best players, get worn out with overuse. Playing them near, or more than, 40 minutes a game is asking for injuries and exhaustion at the end of games, when it's most important. That's when guys stop moving their feet, stop moving without the ball, jacking up bad shots, and the offense bogs down.

I'm not saying play them 25 minutes a game -- that's what he does with Haywood, no matter how well he's playing.

But yes, giving them around 35-38 minutes per game will keep them fresher, for each game and for the season as it plods along.

In addition, it will help build our bench, which is critical for this team.

Posted by: Keithinator | November 1, 2007 1:52 PM | Report abuse

What evidence? It's only been one game.

No it hasn't been. It's this one game, PLUS the 82 games last year.

Posted by: Keithinator | November 1, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

What evidence? It's only been one game.

And complaining about Jordan "overusing the Big Three" is just silly. They're his best players, by a wide margin. What is he supposed to do with them? Save them for emergencies?

Posted by: kalorama | November 1, 2007 12:41 PM

Kalorama - What the poster was trying to say is "spread" their minutes out more evenly over the 4 quarters. EJ played AJ the whole 1st quarter and most of the 2nd. He played Caron almost the whole first two quarters.

AJ and Caron also played all of the 3rd and a lot of the 4th. Yes they are your big guns, but you have a "BENCH" now. EJ has to "trust" his bench now. AB received "no run" at all. That is "crazy". He got no run last year and now none this year so far.

And that post about you agreeing with EJ on not playing DMac is crazy. You can use that not having "trust" thing with DMac if he was playing point guard, and then I understand. But playing the "2" and being asked to just play "D", why is trust needed in that.

Why if he is a rookie factoring in that decision when Tinsley is taking AD and Gil for bad, causing all kind of defensive problems? DMac plays great "D". It is not like we were asking EJ to put in Nick Young, then you and EJ would have a valid point of not playing a rookie then.

You mention 1 game, 1 game, adjustments will be made. How can you say that with EJ's track record of not changing or adjusting to game conditions and situtions the past 4 to 5 years he has been here?

The sad thing here is EJ is a very good coach who just does not know how to substitute correctly. I don't want him fired because he was too pig-headed to change his rotations to some degree.

Did you see the look on EG's face when the camera panned in on him. It was of total fustration. Remember last year he is the one who went to EJ to make him play Haywood in that second playoff game. What is that saying? Translation - I do not like the way you are substituting.

EG made sure he got rid of Ruffin, Jarvis, Booth, and Thomas (tried to trade him numerous times). There was a reason to that.

He also provided EJ with a re-tooled younger and more agile bench. Again, what is that saying about EG and what he thinks about EJ's skill at game and substition management? To see EJ not using his bench looked like it was really pissing him off. I think he is sick of the "small-ball" just as much as we are.........

Posted by: Bullets Fever #1 | November 1, 2007 1:58 PM | Report abuse

"Silly it is not. Players, even your best players, get worn out with overuse."

Silly it most definitely is when you're complaining about it after the first game of the season.

"No it hasn't been. It's this one game, PLUS the 82 games last year."

Key phrase: last year. This isn't last year. It's a new season with about 1/3 of the roster having been replaced. That was then. This is now.

Posted by: kalorama | November 1, 2007 2:03 PM | Report abuse

AJ and Caron also played all of the 3rd and a lot of the 4th. Yes they are your big guns, but you have a "BENCH" now. EJ has to "trust" his bench now. AB received "no run" at all. That is "crazy". He got no run last year and now none this year so far. "

Seriously, give the random quotation marks a rest. It's gotten beyond annoying.

As to the actual basketball stuff...

The bench consists of a bunch of unproven rookies and a player who's only just starting to get his feet wet after a slow apprenticeship. Should they be worked into the rotation? Sure. Did they need to play 30 minutes on opening night on the road? Not really.

Again, it's one freakin' game. All of this team's problems were not going to be corrected in one night, let alone the first night of the season.

Posted by: kalorama | November 1, 2007 2:08 PM | Report abuse

All I want for Christmas is for DCMan 88 to go away.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 1, 2007 2:10 PM | Report abuse

"He also provided EJ with a re-tooled younger and more agile bench. Again, what is that saying about EG and what he thinks about EJ's skill at game and substition management?"

In and of itself, absolutely nothing. It may, however, say something about hoe Grunfeld felt about the quality of the team's bench last season, which is more a statement about Grunfeld than Jordan, since Grunfeld was the one who assembled last year's bench.

Posted by: kalorama | November 1, 2007 2:15 PM | Report abuse

This team shouldn't "have" any problems..they have their same starters plus from the last 2 yrs..

This is in from Indiana:

"Pacers back-up point guard Travis Diener keeps the ball away from Gilbert Arenas of the Wizards." (Notice it says "backup PG"

"It's certainly a morale boost for the troops, with those guys out, beating a legitimate team," Dunleavy said. "We played pretty well in the preseason, but (people were saying) it's only the preseason and you're not playing the elite teams in the league. For us to come out and get this win is important for us."

This team hustled like hell to win that game..even the rookie backup point handled GA.

Their coach, Jim O'Brien, did one hell of a job motivating those guys to stay the course of GA's 3 pt'er. They were missing the key front court players. Thats what this group of players need. Notice I didn't say "team" As someone wrote earlier, there's a "gunslinger" and other complimentary players on board.

ESPN wrote EJ is having problems "motivating" his "star" player..
Wonder who that could be????????????

Posted by: Rick | November 1, 2007 2:23 PM | Report abuse

"All I want for Christmas is for DCMan 88 to go away.

Posted by: | November 1, 2007 02:10 PM "

Go ask Abe for a Christmas present. Oh, I forgot, he don't do Christmas.

Posted by: DC Man88 | November 1, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

"DC88 does make some good points, but can you drop the boorish childish crap? I am beginning to skip over reading your posts when I see your signature.

Posted by: oddjob | November 1, 2007 01:15 PM "

I would, but it takes two to tango. If people don't get on me for being so right, then I wouldn't have to throw it back in their faces.

Posted by: DC Man88 | November 1, 2007 2:35 PM | Report abuse

"DCMan, your posts speak for themselves. You degrade people on this board ("Mark is probably overstimulated from his panties being bunched up. Weak attempt at an apology though.") or revel in others' disappointments (If the season had indeed 84 games, Les BouleS would have been eliminated last season, and this coming from a team that led the EAST!!!!!!!!
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!) or make asinine comments ("Jokers like to say Kobe didn't do anything without Shaq...when did Shaq ever carry a team?". So there are some examples for you.

As for who I am, I've been here since this blog started. And I like to think I put forth some reasoned analysis about the Wizards. You obviously pay attention. Or perhaps you only care about whatever nonsense you have to put forth.

Posted by: Colin | November 1, 2007 12:52 PM "

Don't hate me for my creativity. At least I'm not asking for max money, or any money for that matter, when I give it. :D

Posted by: DC Man88 | November 1, 2007 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Navarro played 17 min and made 3 of 4 tre's. He looked lost on D and turned it over 4 times. Not exactly a splendid debut. Wiz loss was a bad one. We have to win these types of games on the road. We should be subbing D for O whenever possible in the 4th. Whoever said coaches know to send their players to the basket when Heywood is out are right. We have to stop it and use hard fouls....No layup rule in effect. It was just one game and I saw some pretty competitive action league-wide last night. Spurs, Nets, Raptors & Nuggets all played well. We'll see what the Wiz do at Boston Friday night and I'll hold judgement on EJ's substitution patterns for a few more games.

Posted by: G$ | November 1, 2007 2:45 PM | Report abuse

I just like JCN better than Nick Young right NOW. He's a more mature player and a better feel for the game. Plus, we have too many rookies and EJ don't seem to trust them much so that leaves as with 8 players. I've been a critic of EJ substitution pattern since early last season.

Posted by: Dave | November 1, 2007 3:14 PM | Report abuse

I agree Dave the Wizards need to add a few more players.

Posted by: wizzo | November 1, 2007 3:24 PM | Report abuse

It's deja vu all over again.Just like last year when we lost on the road to all the shorthanded/undermanned teams on our schedule.But during the last 2 years we have one of the best home records in the east.Of course it would help if we learn to shoot free throws,& and play defense(at least in the last 5 minutes of the 4th quarter).If we cannot do that then go back to being the Suns of the east & run & gun the other team until their tongue's are hanging out.We need to play to our strengths & and save the defensive talk for Eddie Jordans replacement next year.

Posted by: dcpirate1 | November 1, 2007 3:49 PM | Report abuse

"It's deja vu all over again.Just like last year when we lost on the road to all the shorthanded/undermanned teams on our schedule.But during the last 2 years we have one of the best home records in the east.

Posted by: dcpirate1 | November 1, 2007 03:49 PM "

I hate to borrow a quote from Wilbon that he borrowed from someone else, but Wilbon quoted MJ where MJ said something akin to "great teams win on the road...winning at home doesn't mean as much."

It makes sense. When you are home, you are in a comfort zone, so naturally, you are more likely to win because you have the fans and the environment behind you. When you are playing away though, you have everything against you, but that is when good teams step up and win.

Therefore, just b/c Les BouleS have a good record at home, doesn't mean as much as you think it does. It's mental, and the good tough teams beat other teams on their home court.

Posted by: DC Man88 | November 1, 2007 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: House appartment | December 18, 2007 10:04 AM | Report abuse

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