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Live from Verizon Center

I just arrived here at the arena for tonight's game against the Indiana Pacers, a team that won its first three but has since dropped four straight, including a home game last night to the Boston Celtics.

If you read my story in today's paper (and I know you did), you may have noted that the Wizards are going into a stretch of games against teams who aren't exactly tearing the league up. The combined record of the next seven opponents, including Indiana, is 15-29. Now, that doesn't guarantee anything but it should, at the very least, give the Wizards a chance to climb back towards .500.

-Everyone is healthy and going for the Wizards tonight. Same with the Pacers with the possible exception of Marques Daniels (sore left) knee.

By Ivan Carter  |  November 14, 2007; 5:16 PM ET
 
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Next: O'Neal: "Not Really Enjoying It"

Comments

any word on rooks getting time?

Posted by: CreditZard | November 14, 2007 5:38 PM | Report abuse

If the shots aren't falling tonight, I presume that you are available to sign and suit up - very quickly!

If they are falling, then it should be a blow-out and you and the rooks can play in the 4th quarter anyway.

Should be entertaining....

Posted by: Izman | November 14, 2007 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Everyone including Pesh??

Posted by: C.Bell | November 14, 2007 6:40 PM | Report abuse

What's the over/under on Gil's minutes?

If it's 37, let's all hope the under wins.

Posted by: truthaboutit.net | November 14, 2007 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Here here, truth. Very nice work from Butler in the first quarter and some actual defense from Stevenson. Lets hope both of these things continue.

Posted by: George Templeton | November 14, 2007 7:28 PM | Report abuse

It came down late but Troy Murphy is out with a sore achilles for Indy. Good start for Wiz so far. Good energy and Caron is playing great so far.

Posted by: Ivan | November 14, 2007 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Very nice, and balanced half for the Wiz. Keep it up guys!

Very clean game, Wiz only have 3 turnovers, Pacers have 4.

17 minutes for Gil. He didn't go out of the 1st until 1:30 left, came back in the game with about 5:30 left in 2nd. Curious to see how that plays in the 2nd half.

Keep it up Andray! Earn those minutes homey.

Posted by: truthaboutit.net | November 14, 2007 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Ten minutes left, Wiz up 17. Gilbert checks back in... WHY??

Just leave him on the bench for the rest of the game unless Indiana makes a mini run. We're playing well enough to sustain the lead at the moment, wouldn't it more sense to leave Mason out there or put in Young in case Mason needs a breather?

There's no point in playing Gilbert when we're up big and playing well.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 14, 2007 9:02 PM | Report abuse

His knee stiffens up when he's out too long, that's why EJ put him back in.

Posted by: juandixonformvp | November 14, 2007 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Good game, "big ball" works again. It is clear that EJ is going to ride his top 8 players now. AB showed potentials, but also inexperience. I am happy that he got playing time to work on his game.

It is also encouraged to see that Gil got 11 assists. Maybe this injury is a good thing in disguise.

Posted by: Sagaliba | November 14, 2007 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Apparently Etan and Gil's injuries/conditions were blessings in disguise since both are going to be ok. It forces BTH to play full time and Gil to rely more on his teammates more. It'll be awesome when GA is fully healthy and the bench starts rolling later on this season. I'm sticking with my 50 win prediction assuming EJ continues to give Ab at least 20 minutes a game and scraps small ball.
It's good to see that we can win even without one of the 'Big 3' playing well. I predicted a 12 point win, so I won't be losing my car. Another dbl-dbl for Haywood.

Posted by: mark | November 14, 2007 9:37 PM | Report abuse

I also liked seeing Gil's assist numbers. He played an efficient game on 9 for 18 shooting and 30 points in only 36 minutes.

The tall ball was good with Caron at the two. EJ recognizes that to keep the best players on the floor he has to give some minutes to Caron at two, at least until they start winning more games.

Playing the rooks will have to wait a while.

Posted by: Tim | November 14, 2007 9:42 PM | Report abuse


Well, I won my bet on the under, 37 points.

According to NBA.com, Gil played 36:15 minutes.

Does anyone know if they have, or plan to get, a stationary bike at the end of the bench so Gilbert can keep warm when he's out?

Ivan?

Posted by: truthaboutit.net | November 14, 2007 9:47 PM | Report abuse

EDDIE, EDDIE, EDDIE. NOW THAT IS THE WAY YOU CALL A GAME. More Haywood and AB and you will get positive results. More no playing AJ at the 4 and Songalia at the 5 (small ball) get you positive results. Giving Haywood "worthwhile" minutes and substituting offense for defense will get the Wizards and Eddie a lot more wins.

Keep up the good calls in the game Eddie. Now it finally looks like you got a good pulse on the game and your calls and player substitutions and combinations
reflected that.

Posted by: Bullets Fever #1 | November 14, 2007 9:52 PM | Report abuse

EDDIE, EDDIE, EDDIE. NOW THAT IS THE WAY YOU CALL A GAME. More Haywood and AB and you will get positive results. More no playing AJ at the 4 and Songalia at the 5 (small ball) get you positive results. Giving Haywood "worthwhile" minutes and substituting offense for defense will get the Wizards and Eddie a lot more wins.

Keep up the good calls in the game Eddie. Now it finally looks like you got a good pulse on the game and your calls and player substitutions and combinations
reflected that.

Posted by: Bullets Fever #1 | November 14, 2007 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Yo Mark and Keith. Haywood finally getting a fair shake, $10.00; Haywood finally getting "real" minutes, $25.00; Haywood getting multiple "double-double's"; priceless........

You know who will still find something negative to say, but who cares; the dude is looking real good getting minutes don't you think?

Posted by: Bullets Fever #1 | November 14, 2007 9:59 PM | Report abuse

BF#1,

Right as rain, my man. Is Eddie starting to see the light? Lots of tallball tonight. In fact, more than tall - hugeball, with Caron playing significant minutes at the 2. I love the lineup with Brendan at 5, Blatche at 4, Antawn at 3, Caron at 2 and Gil. Terrific defensive team. I don't remember the last time I saw Jamison work so hard on D.

I don't think (though I could be wrong) that anyone other than BTH and AB played center - did Songaila get any minutes there? He did get some run at the 4, which is where he should be. And Haywood, once again, dominated inside. Both Brendan and Andray intimidated underneath, guarded the rim very well.

Gilberto was fabulous; played under control, looked to involve his teammates, hit 3s, drove to the basket. Not his usual explosiveness, but enough. He had an amazing play near the end of the first half where he drove down the lane, and a Pacer (I think it was O'Neal) jumped in front of him. Gil immediately cut right and went up, forcing O'Neal to slide left. Foul O'Neal (instead of a sure charge if Gil doesn't twist right), Gil makes the layup and one. A brilliant play, I thought.

Mark, you're right on about the blessings in disguise -- it's forced Eddie's hand, and I think he's seen how effective a big lineup is.

This is the 51-win team I predicted. Will they keep it up? Who knows? But it could be the start of something good.

Posted by: Keithinator | November 14, 2007 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Tonight showed how the Wiz will get that 0-5 start behind them.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Posted by: iceberg | November 14, 2007 10:45 PM | Report abuse

The team showed a commitment to defense. Even Gil and AJ were bearing down. And guess what? It didn't hurt them on the offensive end? Maybe we can put that myth to rest.

Love that tall ball and love seeing AB get so many minutes. Wouldn't have minded seeing Nick and DMac get a couple mop-up minutes.

Brendan, Brendan, Brendan!

Posted by: Prazak | November 14, 2007 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Good game. Blatche managed to be both Jeckyll and Hyde in this one. He showed the incredible upside of his ability, but he also made the kind of mental mistakes and errors in judgment that help explain why Jordan may be reluctant to play him extended minutes in a game that's closer than this one was for most of the way.

Haywood looked good, but he had good stretches early last season before heading into the tank. Credit to him for bouncing back from a couple of weak efforts (NJ and Denver) with a couple of strong performances in wins. He still needs to prove it over the long haul, though. It'll take more than 4 or 5 games to rewrite the book on him.

Big game from Songaila. They need more of that from him off the bench.

Caron looks like he may be making a move on Gilbert for the team's Alpha dog spot. He's starting to really get it going.

The defense was good, but they still need to prove they can do it consistently. They've given lip service to it in the past and played hard at it for a game or two, but it needs to be night in and out if they're really going to be legit.

Posted by: kalorama | November 14, 2007 11:02 PM | Report abuse

From being at the game it was obvious the defensive intensity was there for all 4 quarters. Also obvious Gil let the game flow to him and avoided forcing shots or passes. he played a controlled floor game, combining slashing with outside shooting and making the right pass repeatedly. If he could commit to this kind of game, even when he feels 100% he will 1) really lead this team to a lot of wins and 2) take away a reason to live for a certain blogger on this post. both would be welcome.

Posted by: arnie | November 14, 2007 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Bullets Fever#1, we called it. I suspect Brendan Todd Haywood might just be a player after all. Let's hope he continues to get 35 plus minutes a night. BTW, the games that he didn't put up numbers this year were against perimeter oriented centers. Ppl. will look at the box score and think he was just inconsistent but that was not the case.

Posted by: mark | November 14, 2007 11:44 PM | Report abuse

In the post game comments mentioned playing Caron at the 2 as if he'd just discovered fire. I been asking him to do that and start Blatche at the 4 since June. I hope he's seeing the light. I'll give him credit though. At least it only took 5 games or so to switch up. A lot of coaches (Gibbs) see things smacking them in the face (Gibbs) and STILL won't make changes. (Gibbs). Hail to the Wizards, hail victory....

Posted by: mark | November 14, 2007 11:47 PM | Report abuse

Bwaha

Posted by: Anonymous | November 14, 2007 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Mark: the fire comment with Caron. Hilarious. great win for the Wiz. Let's keep it rolling. Night and day for these two teams compared to opening night.

Also, will Stevenson come around or will he soon be filed under "bust" status?

Posted by: duk | November 15, 2007 12:11 AM | Report abuse

Wizards playing defense?
Tall Ball?
Haywood getting starters minutes?
Offense-Defense substitutions?
Blatche playing significant minutes?
Caron Butler at Shooting Guard?
The Wizards point guard with 11 assists?
Sensible rotations?

OMG - Eddie Jordan HAS to be reading this blog!

Posted by: Rook | November 15, 2007 12:26 AM | Report abuse

Interesting comments by Eddie Jordan after the game. He mentioned that the big line-up was a key, and that he liked the productivity with Haywood and Blatch playing together.

He also said he moved Caron to Shooting Guard, but Caron needs more practice because he kept reverting back to his "forward" ways. That seems to indicate he may continue using Caron at Guard in certain situations.

It's also encouraging to see the Wizards forcing other teams to adjust to our lineup, rather than the other way around.

Posted by: Rook | November 15, 2007 12:31 AM | Report abuse

Yessssssssss. Haywood must be thinking he is in the Deandome. Near perfect game from Gilbert. Fingers crossed this keeps up and we can send a crow dinner to Bill Simmons.

Posted by: khrabb | November 15, 2007 12:39 AM | Report abuse

take away a reason to live for a certain blogger on this post. both would be welcome.
____
Funny, but that guy/girl/it is determined, kinda like roaches--step on em and they still running around (or run their mouths.).

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2007 1:26 AM | Report abuse

Love the wiz and everything about 'em, just wanna say that the sooner gil learns that sharing is caring, it will open up more scoring chances for him as it did tonight. Also glad to see Eddie didnt get down on BTH after a couple bad games statistically like he has in the past. If the wiz are truly a contender this year, they'll go at least 5-1 in this next stretch vs lesser opponets
Go Wiz!

Posted by: TROB | November 15, 2007 1:54 AM | Report abuse

Why is Eddie not playing the rookies? I'm not understanding, it seems as though they played well in the preseason but are not getting any time during the regular season. Now is the time to play the rookies to see where they are in their development. Bottom line the team needs a bench. Playing Gilbert 40 minutes a night isn't helping anyone let the young guys play and put the pressure on them to produce. The Wizards need as much bench support they can get to make it in the Eastern Conference, esp to win the Southeast Division

Posted by: Robert C. | November 15, 2007 7:25 AM | Report abuse

It's pretty amusing that Eddie Jordan is now doing things that even novices like ourselves have been calling for for a long time -- playing Haywood longer, playing Haywood and Blatche together, going with a big lineup instead of a small lineup, and playing Caron as guard -- NOT as a strategy that he brilliantly devised, but because HE HAS NO OTHER ALTERNATIVES! Etan is out, so he has to play Haywood. He doesn't trust the rookies, so since the players he does trust to be in the lineup are predominantly taller players, he has to go big and play Caron at guard.

Brilliant coaching Eddie!

I do give him credit for cutting Gilbert's minutes last night. 36 minutes sounds perfect.

Posted by: Sean | November 15, 2007 7:50 AM | Report abuse

Jordan coached a really complete game.

If the five game losing streak is what we needed to go through to get to this kind of ball it was worth it.

Haywood, Pecherov and Blatche in together! Ray's got to come back on here and have something to say about that!

Offensive and Defensive switches!

Arenas played a great all around game, the assists were nice and good solid D. And really smart to post Tinsley and make the Pacers adjust to the mismatch.

Mark gets to keep his car! If they keep playing like this, maybe he can win the house back!

The rooks time will come, let Eddie figure out how to mix the top 8 to maxium efficency then he can work them in.

Butler at the two with the big frontline, The Wiz are going to finally create mismatches and make teams adjust for a change!

Posted by: GM | November 15, 2007 7:55 AM | Report abuse

For once I can say I actually watched a Wizards game where I was not going to be ticked off if they lost. By that I mean, EJ called the game perfectly. Resting Gilbert that long stretch was perfect. Gilbert not gunning the ball and finally being a "point guard" instead of a "shooting guard" playing point guard.

Not playing AD and Gilbert in the backcourt together and not playing Songalia at the 5 and Jamison at the 4 with that stupid small ball made my night.

Man, it is a shame it took certain situations to happen to "force EJ" into seeing what we have already been seeing since last year. But guess what, as GM put it at least EJ sees it now and that is the bottom line.

The man is a smart dude, however I think his ego keep getting in his way with his rotational calls and his player combinations during games. Let's hope he stays humble and continue to see the light in helping the Wiz's get more wins.

Posted by: Bullets Fever #1 | November 15, 2007 8:21 AM | Report abuse

For once I can say I actually watched a Wizards game where I was not going to be ticked off if they lost. By that I mean, EJ called the game perfectly. Resting Gilbert that long stretch was perfect. Gilbert not gunning the ball and finally being a "point guard" instead of a "shooting guard" playing point guard was paramount to the win last night.

Not playing AD and Gilbert in the backcourt together and not playing Songalia at the 5 and Jamison at the 4 with that stupid small ball made my night.

Man, it is a shame it took certain situations to happen to "force EJ" into seeing what we have already been seeing since last year. But guess what, as GM put it at least EJ sees it now and that is the bottom line.

The man is a smart dude, however I think his ego keep getting in his way with his rotational calls and his player combinations during games. Let's hope he stays humble and continue to see the light in helping the Wiz's get more wins.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 15, 2007 8:26 AM | Report abuse

forgot my name.

Posted by: Bullets Fever #1 | November 15, 2007 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Why is Eddie not playing the rookies? I'm not understanding, it seems as though they played well in the preseason but are not getting any time during the regular season.

Posted by: Robert C. | November 15, 2007 07:25 AM
---------------

Until the team is back to 500, I don't think Young and McGuire will get much run. Eddie Jordan said as much last night after the game.

It makes sense...They started out in a hole. In order to climb back out, EJ needs to rely on his top 8-9 guys.

You might not agree with it, but it's not your job on the line either.

Posted by: Rook | November 15, 2007 8:34 AM | Report abuse

If BTH keeps it up, he's going to be comeback player of the year.

Posted by: DC Man88 | November 15, 2007 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Hey...Thanks for the response Rook...

Not playing them doesn't help Eddie's chance in losing his job either. Young and McGuire are not the reason why the Wizards are in the hole; it was poor execution by the entire team. It's still early in the season but my concern is with the Wiz bench. The bench play has been below average, Daniels, Mason and Stevenson hasn't been shooting well(which by the way why Eddie has Gilbert playing so many minutes). I'm not saying that the rookies are the answer but perhaps they can help a bench that is not producing. Hayes struggled last season(on both sides of the court) with the Wizards yet Eddie would continue to play him. Just give them a chance why waste a pick on 2 guys you have no intention of playing this season, ....But again it's still November hopefully Eddie plays them more.

Posted by: Robert C. | November 15, 2007 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Sometimes when things are out of wack it helps to play less guys not more until a chemistry can get established again.

When the core is playing better then start to mix the other guys in. If the core can't get it right then try mixing in a new part one at a time.

If guys are being constantly mixed and matched sometimes it's hard to know what's causing things not to work. It's still only Nov. and there's plenty of time to work the rooks into things as the season progresses.

I'm sure Eddie is letting Young cool his heals a little like he did Blatche last year. He wants these guys to know the offense and the defense instead of just free lancing when they get out there.

But like Blatche, Young's got so much talent it will be hard to keep him sitting for long. We'll all have to be pateint with these young guys while they take some time to develop. but it could be really fun when the do.

The big lineups will give both TMac and Pecherov added chances to get on the court if Eddie likes that look. I'd love to see Haywood, Blatche and Macguire out there in a Tall Ball look.

Pecherov has gotten forgotten with the injury, but in the end he may become quite valuable in some of the tall ball lineups that I can see that we can put together.

Posted by: GM | November 15, 2007 9:21 AM | Report abuse

On veteran teams rookies sit, watch and learn.

Posted by: But what do I know... | November 15, 2007 9:28 AM | Report abuse

I love the lineup with Haywood, Blatche, Jamison, Butler and Arenas. Real good defensively and on the boards, interior defense with Haywood and Blatche's length and Andray's ability to defend several positions. Offensively set better screens/picks, ball movement, cleaner shots, and scoring in the paint. Bring Darius and AD as 1st two off the bench. I really like it and hope it continues.

This should be our starting unit and main rotation with Pesh, McGuire, Stevenson, Young and Mason rounding out the bench.

Looked good last night as well as vs ATL when they went with it.

Posted by: Darnell | November 15, 2007 9:34 AM | Report abuse

I just checked out the standings, and can you believe it, but the Wizards are 1 1/2 games out of being tied for 4th in the Eastern Conference??!! Three teams are burning it up in the East, but everyone else is mediocre or worse.

Posted by: Sean | November 15, 2007 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Once again, the Wood Man bringeth.

Another great game by C-But too, and a nice performance by the Agent. AJ didn't have his best game but it was good to see him not trying to force things on offense.

I agree with Sean that to a large extent EJ has been forced into playing the right guys, but for whatever reason, at least he is now playing the guys he should be.

Last night's rotation gives due consideration to the fact that it's better to play tall, more talented players than small, less talented players:)

EG's roster (quite intentionally, I'm sure) and Poet's absence have created a situation of "addition by subtraction" whereby the ATOFPG (Average Talent on the Floor Per Game) is now much higher than last year. This is because last year EJ went with Poet (a guy with much less ability than BH), Ruffin, and Hayes a lot. Reliance on these 3 guys with average talent at best was bound to reduce the ability of the team to produce wins.

Now the real issue is when the inevitable injuries take place what will EG do. I don't this team is built to handle even 1 or 2 injuries.

Posted by: Mitch | November 15, 2007 10:34 AM | Report abuse

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