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Wiz and Suns

Not much to update hoop wise as we get ready for Wizards/Suns here at VC tonight but I did catch Gilbert Arenas briefly in the lockeroom befor the game and the experience was, well, entertaining. Gilbert put some time in on a bike and had some fun with rookie Nick Young, who opened the door to trouble when he cracked on the orange slippers Gilbert was wearing.

They went back-and-forth a bit when Gilbert got in the fight-ender on Young.

"What? You're averaging seven points a game?" Arenas asked. "I can get that right now and I'm on crutches."

I would also be on the lookout for a Gilbert/Antonio Daniels V-log after Young and Dominic McGuire's latest offering (someone linked to it on my previous post).

"We're going to get some payback," Daniels told Arenas.

Stay tuned.

By Ivan Carter  |  December 7, 2007; 6:40 PM ET
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Killer 3rd quarter for the Suns.

Posted by: reispace | December 7, 2007 8:42 PM | Report abuse done. Eddie did nothing to stop the bleeding, no time outs, no change of personnel, statedgy ...nothing.

I know there are those who be offended but you just cannot let these guys go wherever they want without having a second thought. I would have laid out at least two of the Suns players during the 3rd and taken the flagrants. Barbosa had no problem taking Daniels out in the 1st half. I would have returned the favor in spades. Not undercutting to hurt anyone long term but I would have had McGuire come in and ring someone's bell.

I also would have fed Haywood all night long. 6-7 from the field and he has 18 min total for the game at about 3 min into the 4th. Damn, I am pissed.

Posted by: Dr. Strangelove | December 7, 2007 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for the typos...did I mention I am really angry?

Posted by: Dr. Strangelove | December 7, 2007 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Barbosa did not appear to me to try to take AD out.

Blatche is having a good game too, which might have something to do with BH minutes not being tremendous.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 7, 2007 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Angry? Lighten up - enjoy the silky smoothness that is the Suns. Get angry when they lose to "sorry, no-account" teams, not a clearly superior team.

Posted by: reispace | December 7, 2007 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Yes, the Suns are the model. Their coach is an excellent teacher. Eddie may "know" basketball, but the true measure of any coach/teacher comes in the results. Past and present, Eddie is not a winner. Just what IS his Master Plan?

Posted by: Frank | December 7, 2007 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Steve Nash - 2 time MVP, 5 time NBA All Star, 2006-07 All-NBA First Team

Shawn Marion - 4 time All Star

Amare Stoudemire - 2 time All Star, 2006-07 All-NBA First Team

Grant Hill - 7 time NBA All-Star, named to the All-NBA First or Second Team four times

Raja Bell - Named to the 2006-07 NBA All-Defensive First Team

Leandro Barbosa - Named 2006-07 NBA Sixth Man of the Year

Boris Diaw - 2005-06 NBA Most Improved Player Award

That's how you build a Championship Basketball team!!!

Posted by: Rook | December 7, 2007 10:18 PM | Report abuse

It would have been a nice morale boost if the Wiz got a W out of this one but realistically we didnt have much of a chance. Even thought the Suns only go 7-8 deep every one of those players can shoot the rock. Couple that with our team's tendency to clog the paint, leaving the shooters WIDE open and yes, you end up with a recipe for disaster.

The good thing is that the next few games are VERY winnable.The remaining games for this month are against New Jersey x2, Minnesota, Miami x2, Sacramento, Charlotte, Atlanta, Indiana, and Chicago. We cant settle ending the year on a .500 record. The Wiz should win a majority of these games.

And on a side note I agree with anon in that I dont believe The Brazilian Blur was trying to take out AD. It was just a hard foul but unfortunately their body positions ended up with Barbosa's knee hitting AD's groin hence the flagrant 1.

Posted by: Drexler | December 7, 2007 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Had a cocktail and better now...too emotionally invested. Thanks for the balanced input/perspective.

Posted by: Dr. Strangelove | December 7, 2007 11:04 PM | Report abuse

do you know where to find the DeShaun vlog that nick and dominic were making fun of?? If so let us know where to find it... thanks a lot

Posted by: Enrique | December 7, 2007 11:37 PM | Report abuse

LOL! I think Gilby's feeling a bit jealous or threatened by the upshot NY. Good story IC.

Posted by: DC Man88 | December 8, 2007 12:49 AM | Report abuse

Wow, the move to sign DS by EG looks like the steal of the century after every game. Not only did DS do his part, but he managed to lock down all of the Suns guards too, be they the point guard, shooting guard, or off the bench guards. Wowweee!!!

Posted by: DC Man88 | December 8, 2007 1:13 AM | Report abuse

"Yes, the Suns are the model. Their coach is an excellent teacher. Eddie may "know" basketball, but the true measure of any coach/teacher comes in the results. Past and present, Eddie is not a winner. Just what IS his Master Plan?"

Refresh my memory. How many titles has Mike D'Antoni won?

Posted by: kalorama | December 8, 2007 1:33 AM | Report abuse

"I also would have fed Haywood all night long. 6-7 from the field and he has 18 min total for the game at about 3 min into the 4th. Damn, I am pissed."

Numbers don't always tell the whole truth.

Any scoring Brendan contributes is icing. The actual cake is rebounding and interior defense, and he wasn't bringing it. Stoudemire was outmuscling him for position on the boards, beating him to up-for-grab rebounds, continually outracing him down the floor on Suns' run outs, outquicking him to get inside position to receive Nash's slick scoring pases and, on a few occasions, just shooting over him from midrange with no resistance.

That's why he only played 20 minutes.

Either that or Jordan is just stupid and hates him.

Take your pick.

Posted by: kalorama | December 8, 2007 1:43 AM | Report abuse

Since I live in Poland, I will have to rely on my son's comment from the family seats in section 101... "They completely blew it in the third quarter"...

A look at the box score suggests three things to me:

1. Jamsion and Butler both had relatively poor games (Ivan, it's great to tell me that Antawn had his juneteenth double-double of the season, but he shot barely 25% from the field in doing it).

Regardless of how well our bench did, we cannot win against a team like Phoenix when these two guys score barely 30 points between them...

I am sure that they will regain their touch against New Jersey!

2. My son (who is laconic and sparing with his praise) also said "Blatche had a great first half." That may be some of the reason we saw relatively little of Haywood despite his gaudy 6-8 field goal shooting, but the previous poster was also on target with the lack of rebounding and other defensive stats we need from the big guy. Anyway, kudos to Andray (and to EG for re-signing him).

3. Stevenson was toast in this game. That said, it would not be appropriate for EJ to make a starting lineup change at the 2-guard after a loss like this because, hey, it was Phoenix!

At some point in the season, I am sure that depending on the opponent's line-up we may see a starting frontline of Jamison, Haywood and Blatche, with a backcourt of Butler and Daniels (that might be worth a thought when we go to Phoenix for the return match).

By the way, it was not a mistake to sign DS, he is here basically to complement an Arenas-led backcourt and is bound to have a tough time finding his offensive footing in a backcourt with Daniels (who has been a real contributor since Gilbert went down, and must have been happy to have a hot shower and a cold beer after trying to cope with Steve Nash). That said, he has got to maintain his value by stopping his opponent, who in many if not most cases will be the highest scorer on his team.

At other times when it might make sense to try to run by and posterize an older, opposing 2-guard (Boston) opponent right from tip-off and then shut him down defensively, it might make sense to start Nick Young and bring DS in off the bench as soon as the game flow dictates it.

Posted by: khrabb | December 8, 2007 3:51 AM | Report abuse


The Deshawn VLog probably hasnt been taped yet. To see all the official Wizards Vlogs and videos go to:

Posted by: Drexler | December 8, 2007 8:09 AM | Report abuse

Here's a great article on what Gilbert should focus on in his upcoming rehab months.

I agree with pretty much the whole article. Gilbert should go back to just playing ball instead of his media blitz. I'm the biggest Gil fan but yea, overexposure is an understatement.

Posted by: Drexler | December 8, 2007 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Amare Stoudamire averages 29 minutes a game 2 years after surgery. How much did the EJ play Gil weeks after surgery? Brilliant!!

Posted by: Leon | December 8, 2007 8:39 AM | Report abuse

good post, Khrabb.

Posted by: mark | December 8, 2007 9:08 AM | Report abuse

At this point of the season the 4 teams that seem to be the cream of the crop are the Celtics and Magic in the East and the Suns and the Spurs in the West.

The Wizards are playing decent ball but at this point aren't going to be able to out gun the Suns or any of the other top teams unless they catch them on an off night. These are the games that the Wiz lack the pure firepower to win right now.

The style the the Suns play really makes them tough unless a team catches them on the second night of a back to back.

Don't get too uptite about Brendan's minutes tonight, Amare was outsprinting him from end to end and creating some easy baskets at the other end. The Suns are also the classic example of a team that can really space the floor and then the turn the rebounding into a battle of quickness.

Brendan played a decent game and Eddie stuck with him in the first quarter when he got in eary foul trouble, but in the third quarter the Wiz missed a couple of shots and it was an early track meet. No use in running Brendan into the ground in a game like that.

Like Drexler pointed out some winnable games coming up so the Wiz shouldn't let this game get them down and start looking at seeing if they can put together a nice little run here in Dec.

The Wiz couldn't get them out of their game played at their pace but they did do a nice job of hanging with them for a half.Washington isn't going to beat one of these top teams unless Jamison and Butler are on fire.

It's a shame I thought the way they battled in the first half the Wiz could pull an upset. But boy that thing was over in the first 5 minutes of the third quarter.

Posted by: GM | December 8, 2007 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Don't know if anyone saw this but listed the 11 teams over the luxary tax threshold and by how much and also the 6 teams that are less that $1 million away from it. The Wiz were listed as $107,249 away. For anyone hoping we sign another player, that would mean forfeiting just over $4 million, which is a number that could rise if one of those 6 that are close sign another player or if one of the over teams decides to spend more money. And that doesn't even include the money the Wiz would have to pay for going over the tax. As cheap as this team has been historically, there is 0 chance they sign anyone to anything other than a 10-day contract. Donell Taylor is not worth $5 million as a back up.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 8, 2007 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Steve Nash is good, but he got "season-high" 19 assists says something about Wizards' defense, isn't it?

I love it when EJ said "We tried to devise a game plan against their pick-and-roll. It wasn't working, so we had to make some adjustments and they capitalized on our adjustments. We wanted to go one-on-one instead of being caught in rotations. That worked for about three possessions, and then Steve and Amare adjusted to that."

Well, coach, if you play the same defense on 3 consecutive possessions, I'll be surprised that all-star like Nash would not be able to figure it out comes the 4th time! As Phil Chenier pointed out the key to play good defense is to mix it up and not play the same defense for 20 possessions and then switch to a different scheme for another 20 possessions!

Posted by: Sagaliba | December 8, 2007 1:19 PM | Report abuse

"I also would have fed Haywood all night long. 6-7 from the field and he has 18 min total for the game at about 3 min into the 4th. Damn, I am pissed."

I don't think EJ trust Haywood enough on his offense. We can see that from EJ's comment the other day. It looks to me like Haywood has developed a nice jump shot that we haven't seen before. I am sure if Haywood is involved in the offensive plays, it would not be difficult for him to average double digit scoring for the season.

Unfortunately, EJ (and some certain people on this board too) seems to have a fixation on using Haywood strictly as rebounder and shot-blocker.

Even though Haywood did not shine statistically on these two areas last night, I think he played Amare pretty well in the first quarter (look at Amare's scoring in the first quarter).

Posted by: Sagaliba | December 8, 2007 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Les BouleS lose to the Suns. Surprised? Life goes on.

Posted by: DC Man88 | December 8, 2007 2:06 PM | Report abuse

No it's not a surprise that the Wizards would lose to the Suns with the reduced fire power the Wiz have right now.

I hope they will be able to bounce back against the Nets tomorrow night. They always scare me when Jason Kidd is healthy to go along with the other weapons they have.

I would expect a close game.

Posted by: Tim | December 8, 2007 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Look how the Wiz made the Suns work hard that they didn't have anything left for tonight's 2nd half with the terrible Wolves.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 8, 2007 11:39 PM | Report abuse

This is off topic. Hatton-Mayweather: What a fight!

Posted by: George Templeton | December 9, 2007 1:38 AM | Report abuse

"Look how the Wiz made the Suns work hard that they didn't have anything left for tonight's 2nd half with the terrible Wolves.

Posted by: | December 8, 2007 11:39 PM "

And what does that do for Les BouleS? Too bad the schedule wasn't flipped.

Posted by: DC Man88 | December 9, 2007 1:40 AM | Report abuse

I must say, ole my God! I predicted it! The Suns lost on the second night of a back to back!

Sorry, I couldn't pass on that one guys!

Sagaliba, Good point about defense. One of the things we used to see Gil and Hughes do quite often is switch up on their man. In the process they'd run a quick trap on the guy with the ball. If they didn't get an easy deflection they'd just go ahead and switch.

With the 24 second clock it only takes causing confusion on the offense for 4 or 5 seconds to sometimes cause a forced shot.

Haywood did play well in the first quarter the other night, and Eddie did stick with him when he had two fouls. I'd say that Eddie seems to be settling into a rotation where he's not planning on playing Haywood alot in second quarters anyway since he rode him in the first with the fouls.

Haywood's offense, everybody seems to want Haywood to get the ball early on offense. But, one thing that I've observed is that he gets alot of offensive fouls on the first or second possession.

Not sure it wouldn't be a good idea for Haywood to get in the rythem of the game and let the refs settle in a little before he trys to get to the rack on a post move.

Refs will often call early fouls on post play just to let guys know what they're going to allow. Brendan is too easy of a guy to call a foul on when he muscles to the rack. Alot of arms and legs, so a guy can flop on him and get the foul alot early in games.

Against a team like the Suns that spreads and spaces the floor Haywood will struggle with his rebounding numbers. The Suns make rebounding the ball more about quickness and anticipating where the miss will go and less about strength and positioning.

And to block shots against the Suns and all of their backdoor cuts a guy's got to be really quick at coming off his man like Blatche.

For Haywood to have a good game agianst the Suns the Wizards needed to control the pace and they didn't do that. When a team's on their game playing at that pace they're hard to beat with that talent.

But the second night of back to backs are going to be killers and teams like the Spurs that can control pace are going to be tough to get by in the playoffs.

As much as I like to watch high octane basketball, until the Suns prove that they can get by the Spurs I'm not ready to crown them Champions just yet. Boy I'm starting to look forward to that series already.

Posted by: GM | December 9, 2007 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Not much to rebound if guys hit all their shots. The Suns spread the floor and one of them gets an open shot, and it drops. The thing I've noticed so far this season is that it appears the Wiz are not even attempting to defend against outside shooting. It's like they dare other teams to beat them with three-point shooting. Don't know if that's Ayers' style, or a recognition by Ayers that the team simply doesn't have the talent/know-how to play a complete defensive scheme.

Posted by: reispace | December 9, 2007 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Reispace, they're really not playing it a whole lot different then some of the really good defensive teams do.

They've improved to the point that they don't give up many easy layups against most teams. But they're still a step slow getting out to cover up the shooters after they force the dish.

That may improve as they get more comfortable in the system. It may also take getting some of the younger, long, quick, rangy, guys on the floor against the real three point shooting teams.

Those are the teams that I'd like to see McGuire, Blatche, Young, and maybe even Pecherov(when he's healthy) worked into the rotation more.

Stevenson and Jamison in particular seem to struggle defensively against the teams that really spread the floor and rely on quickness and the three ball.

But some nights those teams actually do miss a few of those long shots, we've hit some teams that got on unbeleivable hot streaks from three. Everybody in this league can get an open three pointer. Not everybody has 4 or 5 guys on the floor that can sink them at once.

Posted by: GM | December 9, 2007 9:37 AM | Report abuse

GM - that's pretty much the way I see it. They've gone from almost no defense to decent inside game defense. In other words, Ayers is concentrating on the fundamentals. The outside shooting defense is a more 'advanced' topic that has to wait. It's a skill some on the team may never acquire. Meanwhile, the JCN's, the Gibsons, and entire teams like the Suns and Warriors will continue to have a field day against the Wiz.

It's a good thing CB is developing his own outside shot. If you can't beat them, join them...

Posted by: reispace | December 9, 2007 9:56 AM | Report abuse

I agree, GM. Controlling the pace against the Suns is key. Jefferson had 32 and 20 against them and he's not a guy who scores on the break. They must have slowed it down and fed him. We may have been able to do the same with BTH. Maybe not but it's worth a try. I don't know that we can run with Phoenix without GA. Most teams, yes. Phoenix, no. GA makes Nash play defense and gets them into foul trouble with his penetration. Nothing against CB or AJ or AD but their games aren't really about drawing fouls. We'd have to play a close to perfect game and hit 3's to beat the Suns.
I've questioned EJ here before but he may have had his hands tied with this one. You hit it on the head when you said that BTH's mediocre rebound numbers were a result of long shots and long rebounds. Some games his numbers will just not be good due to the fact that he gets boards primarily in the paint. I don't fault him for that but Amare is a bad matchup for him defensively anyway. He can't keep up with Amare's quickness and speed just like Amare can't guard his strength and size.

Posted by: mark | December 9, 2007 10:29 AM | Report abuse

That's where I see hope in the development of some of the younger players that have the physical tools to play in space.

Alot of times people call for Jamison to move to small forward but when it's apparent that he struggles to guard quick guys in the open floor it's clear that's not a quick fix.

Against a team like the Suns I could even see in time using Blatche at center and McGuire at power forward to offset their quickness up front. Or even a long frontline combo of Pecherov, Blatche and McGuire.

But in order for that to work the Wiz would need alot of scoring from the backcourt. That's not a frontline Combo that could work with Daniels and Stevenson at the gaurds.

But Young and Butler in the backcourt could lead to some interesting mismatches for the Wizards if Young could harness that quickness and footspeed to become a really good defender.

And of course when Arenas would get healthy him and either Young or Butler could give the Wiz enough firepower to go with a more defensive minded frontline.

Then Jamison could concentrate on becomeing more of a scorer when he's in the game. He eats almost everyone's second unit power forwards alive and that's where the Wiz have a mismatch that Eddie should exploit more.

Posted by: GM | December 9, 2007 10:29 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sold on Pecherov yet, but I trust Ernie's instincts, so I'm hopeful. I do look forward to the day that Haywood/Etan comes off the bench and Blatche starts. That's a no-brainer. Blatche starting ahead of Jamison - conceptually it makes sense, but it's still a ways off. I can't see moving Caron, though. Caron is perfecting his role - why screw with that? Leave Caron where he is, wait for Young to develop into a starter, then, and only then, trade Stevenson for a backup shooting guard that can actually score (JCN?).

Posted by: reispace | December 9, 2007 10:59 AM | Report abuse


I agree that Jamison has difficulty defend against teams that spread the floor. He seems like to hand around the basket on defense (that's how he leads the team in rebounds).

Posted by: Sagaliba | December 9, 2007 12:38 PM | Report abuse

By the 3rd Q it was obvious to me the guys playin best for us were Blatche and Haywood. They were the guys we had most difficult for them to match up with. That 3rd Q I woulda put them both out there together. It was the one matchup where we had an advantage and we didn't take advantage of it. By then it was obvious we couldn't run with them or try to score with them. We would at least of been able to control the boards and the paint. Put those 2 with Jamison, Caron and Daniels, or with AD, Mason, Caron, or put Young in there with them. But those 2 were playing the best for us so you gotta put them on the floor, why keep your guys playing the best on the bench?? That is how I saw it, and what I woulda done.

Posted by: Darnell | December 9, 2007 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: khrabb | December 8, 2007 03:51 AM
The post above was pretty nice.

GM, your posts are too long, thus; some of us do not have the time to read your wisdom...break them, up or something.

I really think bringing Jamison off the bench is something this team should think about sooner rather than later. His offense would be a great spark. The added defence by Blachte will make the adjustment of NY to the starting lineup that much smoother. I agree with the person who said that DS is more suited to start with Gilbert than Daniels. He might be more productive with Mason than Daniels.

These changes may be forthcoming when Pecherov is finally healthy. I really think he can play backup center with some good rebounding and position defense. This will allow for a bigger lineup against the second stringers (if you include Songaila and Jamison).

Posted by: Skeef | December 9, 2007 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Krabb, agreed and thank you for some good ole common sense to this pipe dream.
I'm not sure what game Ivan was writing about either.

skeef, agreed yes, GM please shorten your posts. My thoughts exactly. People have no time to read novels.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 10, 2007 2:58 AM | Report abuse

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