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Live from Verizon Center

The more I've thought about it today, the more I'm feeling that this an important game for the Wizards. We've all seen them hang in there and play solid ball without Gilbert Arenas and lately, without Antonio Daniels, but this is a real test. The Pistons have won nine straight and been killing people while doing it. They have a veteran starting unit and a deep bench that his kicking in with 27.4 points per game (That's the most since the championship season of 2003-2004 - hmmm).

The Wizards have four victories over teams that currently have a winning record (Toronto, Dallas, Portland and Atlanta) and their last win over a team with a winning mark was Dec. 1 against Toronto.

Daniels will start tonight and said that right knee feels fine. He talked about feeling his way through it early and gaining that confidence back. I'm sure we'll see him taking off and taking one of those Antonio Daniels tumbles early on. Antonio pretty much only plays one way: all out.

Eddie Jordan on what tonight's game is all about it: "It's a test. Can we keep our discipline and composure and keep an emotional balance where if things don't go well we can concentrate and still do the things we need to do? So yes, this is a big test for us tonight."

One thing on the Pistons. I saw their reserves doing something in pre-game I've never seen a team do before. Every reserve was on the court (including Jarvis Hayes) and they were split up into teams for three-on-three half-court games with two assistant coaches watching and pushing (Terry Porter and Michael Curry). Then, they went through shooting drills. I mean, they were really getting after it.

The Detroit beat writers told me that they do this before every single game. That helps explain why they have such a productive bench. When these cats check in, they are already warmed up and ready to roll.


By Ivan Carter  |  January 2, 2008; 6:33 PM ET
 
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Comments

The Pistons bench is just sick. And I mean that in a good way. Even their rookies like Stuckey and Afflalo are studs, not to mention Hayes (who is shooting insanely well), Maxiell (who is a freak of nature), etc. They also have guys like Hunter, Brezec, Hermann (very underrated), who can contribute any time. This team is downright scary.

Posted by: Roman | January 2, 2008 7:23 PM | Report abuse

The Pistons just have too much championship experience than Les BouleS can handle. I think only AD on Les BouleS has any championship experience.

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 2, 2008 9:32 PM | Report abuse

We got nothing from the bench... We need GA back to compete with the top teams in the league. We can play with tier 2 teams but against the elite we will lose more than we win without GA. It was unwatchable most of the second half. The officiating was really bad IMO, but nothing that wouldve changed the outcome.

Posted by: JSchon | January 2, 2008 9:56 PM | Report abuse

I agree that we need GA back to compete consistently with the better teams. If the Wiz can beat the .500 or worse teams fairly consistently and beat the better teams occasionally, they should stay around .500 themselves and make the playoffs.

If a healthy GA can return by the playoffs, who knows what could happen.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 2, 2008 10:03 PM | Report abuse

I just got home from the game. Although it would not have made a huge difference, the refs tonight were horrible. They made a number of bad calls against the Wiz. The people in my section were calling for Eddie to throw the challange flag ! lol It's against the elite teams that they miss Gil and his 30ppg. This is the 2nd best team in the East, maybe the best once the playoffs start.

Posted by: Section101 | January 2, 2008 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Although I pinpointed Maxiell as the Pistons' bench monster in an earlier post, I had no idea that he was going to be THIS dominant against the Wiz. Blatche's scoring line and Songaila's DNP speak volumes regarding our inability to match up to him.

To "Section 101" -- Our family seats are there too and you saw it the same way. These are the games that point out that this team needs Gilbert Arenas if it is to win against the "big boys" (which, based on tonight's game in Orlando, also has to still include the Nets).

Posted by: khrabb | January 2, 2008 11:13 PM | Report abuse

I think Jordan made a mistake by not at least giving Songaila a look when Maxiell was out on the floor. Certainly Maxiell has a speed and leaping advantage over Songaila but since, unlike Wallace or McDyess, he's not a jumpshooter, it's less of a factor. Maxiell does most of his work in the trenches and it was clear that Blatche, despite his height advantage, was overmatched by Maxiell's strength. He just moved Adnray out of the way and got position under the basket. At least Songaila would have had a shot at pushing Maxiell away from the basket, making it tougher for him to clean the glass and score off those putback slams.

Posted by: kalorama | January 2, 2008 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Frankly, I just assumed that Songaila was injured. EJ likes Darius' offensive game too much to bench him--especially in a game when the bench's offense was sputtering otherwise. At minimum he would've used Darius to post up Maxiell, specifically; Maxiell is only 6'7", and I expect that Darius could've had some success scoring on him in the post.

Ivan: any word on a last-minute injury?

Posted by: keynote | January 3, 2008 12:20 AM | Report abuse

Ugh. The Pistons are so much better than the teams we've been subsisting on. Really not even worth debating our chances of coming out of the east until Gil is 100%. Both teams started well, but it was as if the Pistons understood that we could likely not sustain that level of play. Sure enough, we turned the ball over 3-4 times and they had a working margin. Give it up to Detroit. They're playing great early season ball.

Note to Wiz bigs. You must guard 'sheed at the top of the key. He's not going to drive past anyone anymore, so take away the trailer 3 he's been making since Chapel Hill days. 2 of those, sans defense, in the first half. Ugh.

Posted by: Pauly B. | January 3, 2008 6:11 AM | Report abuse

The Pistons forced the Wiz to play at their speed...slow. I couldnt believe how plodding this game was at times. EJ needs to find a way to speed the game up against these guys. Plus DS sucks.

Posted by: oddjob | January 3, 2008 6:23 AM | Report abuse

Which DS sucks, oddjob? We have two potential suck candidates. Songaila and Stephenson.
As far as the game goes, we're just not in the Pistons class right now. Despite what some folks would like to think, GA is a pretty good team player and we need him against the best teams in this league.

I just looked at our games from last year to see what GA did against the Pistons.
In 4 games against Detroit, he averaged 27 points, 9 assists, 6.5 rebounds. Billups averaged 20.5 points in those games against GA. I think there's a misconception about GA's defense being so poor that opposing pg's light him up. I haven't checked but I'd be willing to bet that it's the other way around. The problem was the defensive scheme (or lack of one). With bigs manning the middle without help this year, his D should show improvement.
It would take a total team effort and a hot 3 point shooting night to beat this Pistons team or the Celtics without GA. With him, we're on their level nightly.

Posted by: mark | January 3, 2008 7:51 AM | Report abuse

what is it going to take for Eddie to start RM over DS?

Posted by: oddjob | January 3, 2008 7:59 AM | Report abuse


I didn't think of this game being a big test. I'm sure Eddie would say it's a big game, because to the Wizards players and coaches every game is big test. I felt the Pistons had the better shot simply because their healthier team than the Wizards. Once the Wiz get back Gil then perhaps the test would be there against teams like the Pistons, Celtics, etc. Until then, the team is fighting to maintain a good record and chemistry. It was a tough lost but again, teams like the Celtics and Pistons are far superior than most teams in the league and playing at 100% is the best shot at beating those, tougher teams.

Despite the lost, the Wizards played well, I was impressed with the team free throw pct, and they gave their best effort, including AD, who returned from an injury, put up 18pts and attacked the basket like he never missed a game. There really wasn't a poor performance done by the Wizards (unless you point to the rebounding), in my opinion.

Posted by: Robert C. | January 3, 2008 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Robert C.
Did I expect us to win? No. Did I expect us to compete? Absolutely. Did we compete? for 12 minutes. Jamison called out the bench as he should have. The bench needs to come in and play as they are starters not come in and differ to the one or two starters that are in the game. AB, for example, drive the baseline and instead of putting up a shot or trying to get fouled he stepped back and looked to pass but no one was around and got called for walking. Get aggressive AB!!! I'd much rather you brick an aggressive layup instead being a non-factor on offense. Not sure you were really watching the same game I was, but they looked bad. The Pistons are a far superior team than the Wiz but for us not to compete is disappointing. There isnt one Wizard saying making excuses because we dont have GA, and neither should we. We've played well enough to expect a better effort than last night.

Posted by: JSchon | January 3, 2008 8:17 AM | Report abuse

I only saw part of the game but just looking at the numbers, it seems like the 3 point shooting was the difference. They were 11-22 and we were 5-18. If we were on, we'd have been in the game. I noticed that most of our losses come when we either don't take a lot of threes or don't make a lot. I guess it's an obvious point but we may need to look at that and make a conscious effort to tell the guys who can make that shot to jack it (up)when they're open. I'd tell RM to shoot whenever he had a chance. One thing I used to hate about Tim Legler was that as good as he was with that shot, he rarely took it. It's worth more than just 3 points. It also opens up the floor for our AJ and CB and gives BTH and AJ room to work down low. If they know you'll shoot it, they won't leave you alone.

Posted by: mark | January 3, 2008 8:27 AM | Report abuse

jschon, point taken. we can't make excuses for GA not being there and should play like we're no afraid. I think some guys just get scared against good teams, tho. As much as I like RM's game, he's definitely streaky....maybe too streaky to start. I'm not sure he'd be any better than DS at this point. Th one thing he'd do is open up the floor because no one's afraid of DS. Besides that, ?

Posted by: mark | January 3, 2008 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Did anyone notice how good the Pistons are at getting rebounds? They are smart enough to realize that if you cant grab the ball with two hands then you poke it out to the perimeter where the defensive team is not. The Pistons must have had 10 rebounds of tipping the ball out instead of trying to grab it with 6 other hands around. Just a little thing we dont do.

Posted by: JSchon | January 3, 2008 8:44 AM | Report abuse

RM is not a starter, not on this team and not in this league. DS was really off last night, but the difference is that w/o GA he is the 3rd option, sometimes the 2nd depending on the the lineup in the game. He shouldnt be the 3rd option let alone the 2nd. With GA in the game he can assume his normal role as the defensive minded 4th option.

Posted by: JSchon | January 3, 2008 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, Bench lost the game. Wizards were up by 1 at the end of 1st quarter. The competition started to turn one-sided when Wizards'' reserve came in at the beginning of the 2nd quarter. Wizards' reserve shot a combination of 1 of 10, and scored 8 points, while Pistons' Maxiell and Hayes scored 27 points!

Talking about bench, I wonder what happens to Songaila.

Posted by: Sagaliba | January 3, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

THE REASON WHY EJ DID NOT PLAY DARIUS IS BECAUSE DARIUS IS NOT PLAYING WELL,NOT REBOUNDING POOR SHOT SELECTION AND GOOF BALL PASSING AND ANDRAY DID NOT PLAY WELL EITHER SO WHATS A COACH TOO DO? YES GA IS NEEDED YESTERDAY! BUT UNTIL HE COMES BACK NICK,ANDRAY,DARIUS,AND ROGER NEED TO STEP UP. MAXIELL WAS A BEAST LAST NIGHT AND NO ONE COULD STOP HIM AS I SAID IN A EARLIER BLOG THE MOTOWN CREW IS LETHAL AND A GOOD BET TO TO WIN THE WHOLE THING.

Posted by: DARGREGMAG@AOL.COM | January 3, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Since every win since Dec. 1st has been against a sub .500 team the Wiz's chances weren't real good last night. Last night's game should have gotten the attention of the "we're better without Arenas crowd".

Didn't take Jarvis long to come off the bench a can a three pointer from deep in the corner with a hand in his face. Maybe the Wiz should have left him wide open, it always seemed to work for other teams against Jarvis in Verizon.

Just too much depth for the Wiz to handle last night, our bench got mauled 33 to 8 in scoring. It was probably worse in overall play.

The Wiz will need all hands on deck to compete with the Pistons. Right now I'd say the Motorcity guys are the class of the East based on their depth. I'm still not sure Boston can go through the playoffs relying on their big three as much as they do.

On the road against Milwaukee and then back home against Seattle. Two more of the bottem feeders that the Wiz have been living on, those are the kind of games Eddie and the guys need to get to stay above .500.

Posted by: GM | January 3, 2008 9:30 AM | Report abuse

THe Wizards have been better at defending the perimeter, but against the better teams, they have to really work to defend it.
The 3 pointer is the home run of BBall, and it instantly changes the pattern of the game.
Now that we have a few "bigs" inside to defend, more attention has to be paid to the outside shooters, no more packing it in.
This is a lesson that Gary Williams, has failed to learn, and one that has hastened the demise of his program.

Posted by: mricklen | January 3, 2008 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Heh, I like your point about leaving Jarvis wide open...

He did hit a wide open 3 late in the game though, too bad.

I wasn't too worried about Jarvis last night, he played about where I expected him to. The big question has been how healthy can he stay. He was always coming back from injury.

Last night would have been a great night for NY to get hot. But he is a bit streaky. He and Andray bring some weak moves to the rim at times. I like them, but they need to get better at making strong moves and playing through contact. NY could learn from Rip, his step back jump shot is deadly.

Posted by: g | January 3, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

...it was strange, the second team didn't seem to have the normal energy they bring to the game. Could have been the lack of DSong; for all his deficiencies he does bring energy everytime he steps on the court. Plus AB tends to play much better and more consistently when he is on the court with DSong. For some reason, when BH and AB are on the court together the team does not play too well on either end. Also, while AD did score well, I didn't think ran the Eddie-ball too well. Note he only had 2 assists and really didn't move the ball around to well throughout. But he probably justs needs to get his sea legs. I expect the same old AD to reappear next time out.

Posted by: oddjob | January 3, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Has anyone noticed that Nick Young tends to fade away and have poor balance on his jump shot? He even fades away when it is not necessary. I think this is to blame for his inconsistency. While he's got a sweet J, I think his discipline on his technique is lacking.

Also, I'm surprised how A. Blatche lacks explosion. He's so long that it often doesn't matter, but when he's in traffic around the hoop, it would be a real asset to be able to power to the hoop. Hopefully, he can overcome this weakness by gaining strength.

Posted by: MEG | January 3, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

I think it's useless to talk about what this team can and cannot do with Gilby in the lineup. Gilby is out injured and nobody knows what kind of player he will be if he returns this season or next.

Focus should be on the current roster of healthy players and what they need to do to keep pace with the good teams in the league. Everything else is just wishful thinking and hope, which doesn't put anything into the win column.

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 3, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

DC Man88...
I think we have. The Wizards arent going to beat any of the elite teams with the current roster, especially in a 5 or 7 game series. They can beat tier 2 teams if they show up and play like have shown at points this year. Their bench needs to produce and the ball needs to move around, neither happened last night even with AD back. We all know that GA is out and we are playing without him, and the facts are they arent that good compared to good teams and they will get blown out when their bench offers up nothing.

Posted by: JSchon | January 3, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Nick Young fades on his jumper even when it's going in. I'd think it would be too late to change the way he shoots. I'm sure people tried with Jamal Wilkes and Sean Marion, too. I would think that as long as he shoots it the same time every time, there's not a problem. In fact, it should help him 10 years from now when he doesn't have the same lift. He'll be able to get separation still.
As far as AB goes, it's becoming apparent why he didn't get much pt last year. After gaining strength, he's still waaayyy too weak to do anything meaningful around the hoop except dunk when open. Even on rebounds, he tips it to himself because he's not strong enough to stand his ground in a crowd and snatch them. He's obviously more effective in transition before defenses can set themselves.
Gilbert is supposedly coming back in a couple months and our playoff success (if we get in) depends in large part on his health and his role when he returns. While talking about what he could have done last night now may not be worth any victories, he's still the heart of this team (CB is the soul) and the one who will take us past these good teams.

Posted by: mark | January 3, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Jschon you hit the nail on the head, the Wizards didn't compete and that is what was frustrating about the game last night. I think it is interesting DCMan88 that you have changed your viewpoint from (and I am paraphrasing here) "Gilby is the problem, he isn't as valuable to this team as Butler" to "it's useless to talk about what this team will do if and when Gilby comes back and instead focus on what the current players to keep pace with the good teams in this league."
Is this a tacit admission by you that maybe this team needs Gilbert Arenas to compete with the top of the East and because of your antipathy of him you want to change the subject.

Posted by: George Templeton | January 3, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

"Is this a tacit admission by you that maybe this team needs Gilbert Arenas to compete with the top of the East and because of your antipathy of him you want to change the subject.

Posted by: George Templeton | January 3, 2008 11:01 AM "

Gilby obviously adds a dimension which is currently lacking from the current team right now. This happens when any team loses a 11 million dollar player who can score in bunches. Take Kobe off the Lakers, Baron off GS, etc.

I don't think I've changed my viewpoint, but I do think it's useless to talk about somebody who can't help the team right now. Even in my previous posts about Gilby, it was in response to someone bringing his name up and all his glory.

I still think Caron is the heart and soul of this team. Even with Gilby in the lineup, Les BouleS have shown how worse off they can be if Caron is hurt. It'll be interesting to see how Gilby's return, if at all this season, will affect the all star level play of Caron and AJ based on their increased output.

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 3, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Roman Afflalo is not a stud in fact he is a bum.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 3, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Section 101 best post on here! The refs were miserable. I wanted Eddie to get thrown out/get a technical something.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 3, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

First time in a while I have been disappointed by AB. He did not play with enthusiasm and seemed mentally overmatched as well as physically.

GAR

Posted by: Bridgewater, VA | January 3, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, I can't see how AB was assessed a flagrant foul on Jarvis when it was clearly accidental.

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 3, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Eddie Jordan's rotation is just annoying to watch. Also great call on Grunfeld's part not making any changes in the offseason while everyone in the east was getting better. I hope there are some major changes this offseason. I don't care if we have to rebuild. This team will never be a contender with or without GIL!! Also all you roger mason lovers....the guy is terrible. Sure he has some nice games this year against the worst teams in the league but on any good team he would never see the court. Anybody who thinks he is getting anything close to the MLE is a joke and is clueless

Posted by: Anonymous | January 3, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

g - you want Blatche and NY to go to the rim stronger, but then you want NY to get the fadeaway jumper of Hamilton? Huh? First of all NY fades on every shot he takes! He is actually a little lazy in that regard. For a 3/4 game stretch he was really setting up his man and not fading as much on his shot. Now he is back to fading every time. Not good!

Hey, the better team won! I think besides the other obvious reasons we lost as some have pointed out we lost because our ball movement was not very good in the second half. We started isolating most of the time. We did not even use the weave or anything that resembled the princeton offense. The first quarter it was beautiful. Don't know why we stopped?

It was also the worst officiated game I've seen in a long time and every close call went against the Wizards. Blatche got called for a Severe foul or whatever their called just bc Hayes landed awkwardly on what was a clean block up top. Then Maxiel tries to wildly block Haywood and smacks him in the face twice, but that is not deemed unneccesary contact? There were multiple other bad calls!

Posted by: Rob P | January 3, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

One other point in addition to all those made above: I think the Pistons definitely had the better defense last night. The fact is they forced the Wizards OUT of the Princeton offense into more one on one. EJ could have used more McGuire minutes last night for defending the likes of Maxiell.

Posted by: rgz | January 3, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

I don't think anyone should get too hot or cold on Mason or DS. DS had a good streak going, and what has he done lately?

Mason has a good streak going now, but I wouldn't say what Ivan said in his chat yesterday that he'd love to be Mason's agent at the end of the season. He didn't do anything last night, and isn't particularly athletic or quick.

These guys are what they are, role players.

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 3, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Well, I hate to say it but - I told you so. Thats why I said lets "Wait & See" This teams wins have been all "fools gold" against teams either missing major players or all bottom scrapers. Young & mason looked great cuz there was NO COMPETITION! It was equivelent to playing a "D" League or college team. Mason said he hadn't gotten hot like that since "college" Thats exactly what it was ..Just as I think "JShon" said he's not a starter in this league or any other. He's a 7 yr vet - still strugglin & straky. Nick Young, AB & MacG have time to build, grow & learn..they should run drills for them repeatedly. DS has some potential if they would drill him as well.

Its January - Aj is due out with an injury about now as normal. Lets pray he can get past January.

Posted by: OJ | January 3, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

The Pistons are a better team. They have better players right now. That's why they won. Unfortunately, I think it's that simple. When we get healthy, we can compete. Til then, we have to play close to perfect. The 3 point shot is the great equalizer but we didn't hit enough of them.
Then again, we DID score enough points. We just didn't stop them. I'll blame the D for this one.

Posted by: mark | January 3, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

It's surprising how the center Maxiell dominated and he's only listed at 6'7".

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 3, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Without Gilbert (and possibly even with him) the Wizards are simply not in the Pistons' class. They fought hard and hung around for a while, but the Pistons were too steady and had too much depth. As a native Detroiter, I love watching them play. Despite all of the hype surrounding Boston. I think Detroit is still the team to beat in the East.

Posted by: kalorama | January 3, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse


I saw a person named DARGREGMAG said that Songalia didn't play because of poor shooting. I disagree, yes his shooting has been poor but Darius has done well in other areas such as passing and rebounding let's not forget that if the opposition fouls him, he is 90+++ % from the line. I think Eddie felt the matchup didn't work for Darius or, it was some form of punishment.

Now if were talking about recent disappointing play, that goes to Blatche, his game dropped off big time, he played well in the Heat game but Blatche is always in foul trouble and last night did a poor job in getting out on Sheed when he hit those 3 pointers. I sometimes wonder where Blatche's head is at because some nights he plays well, others he just takes really bad fouls. We can't make excuse for his performance because he's been in the league the same number of years as Andrew Bynum.

As far as the Gil's absence not their being an excuse I'm not making an excuse. The Wizards are not at full strength and games against teams like the Pistons, Celtics and Spurs will be tough. Jamison and Caron should be all-stars for the excellent work they've done. And the team has played WAY WAY better in defense, but they still need that extra person to get them over the top. If you removed Billups from the Pistons lineup, the Pistons struggle same with the Celtics if you removed KG. This isn't an excuse it's a fact......No Wizard fan believe this team would compete so hard and have an excellent record...Heck the Heat lost Wade and now Shaq and the team has fallen into the tank. So I respect the players on the Wizards to come out and play hard every night.

Posted by: Robert C. | January 3, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Blatche is just 21 so he's still growing into that long lean body. But he's got a wide set of shoulders so another offseason in the weightroom is really needed for him to fill out.

Dumars really has to be admired for his work in Detriot. He's now built quite a bench to go with that starting five. Old Joe has really fleeced some guys over the years, including MJ on the Hamilton deal.

I could never figure that move out, MJ drafted Kwame out of High School but then turned around and traded Hamilton because he couldn't wait for him to mature into the Allstar that he was becoming.

If MJ would have traded for Brand instead of drafting Kwame,he was offered the deal, and kept Hamilton the Wizards would have had a nice core to build around. Grunfeld recovered nicely by netting Caron for Kwame and then putting together the package deal for Jamison.

But it's interesting when you look at today's Pistons and see Wallace, who was shipped out for Rod Strickland, and Hamilton and think about some of the bad deals that the Bullets/Wizards made.

When you think about that they also used to have Ben Wallace, who was shipped out in part of a package for Adkins(what a bust), this franchise has sure let some talented guys get away.

And somehow many of them have ended up in Detriot eventually. Even a broken down wore out Chris Webber landed there last year.

Hopefully Grunfeld will stop the revolving door and start to keep guys here instead of letting them mature somewhere else.

Posted by: GM | January 3, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

The wizards can't compete with the best teams in the league even when GILBY is healthy. This team will never win it all. I hope their are some major changes coming at the end of this season. Unless you guys enjoy being a 500 team that loses in the 1st round every year its time to give eddie/grunfeld the axe

Posted by: Anonymous | January 3, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Everyone on this message board needs to take the home blinders off and be realistic.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 3, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Let me point out more obvious things... its what I do best...

If you're hoping that DS is going to put up 15 a night while shooting 45%, you're going to be disappointed.

If you're hoping that RM is going to come in and light it up off of the bench every night, you're going to be disappointed.

DS is starting on this team for 1 reason, he can guard perimeter players, not because he is a slasher or scorer, we have our big 3 for that. DS wouldnt start on more than half of the NBA teams. The problem is that his role has changed because of the absence of GA. Its been a problem (and a blessing) all year, players playing out of position for periods during the game.

The Pistons are good and took us out of our game for the majority of it. We didnt compete last night, the staters cant do it all.

Posted by: JSchon | January 3, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

"

Without Gilbert (and possibly even with him) the Wizards are simply not in the Pistons' class. They fought hard and hung around for a while, but the Pistons were too steady and had too much depth. As a native Detroiter, I love watching them play. Despite all of the hype surrounding Boston. I think Detroit is still the team to beat in the East.

Posted by: kalorama | January 3, 2008 12:36 PM "

Les BouleS were outclassed last night, but question is if Les BouleS aren't in their class with or without Gilby, how do you explain Les BouleS past success against them? I think the record now is 5-3 over the last 8 games.

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 3, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

GM - Ben Wallace was traded for Ike Austin. I don't know if Adkins was a part of that deal, but I don't think so.

Too bad MJ didn't trade Kwame for Stackhouse ... but then we wouldn't have Caron.

As for officiating. I don't think the league should allow referee's to officiate a game that involves a team that the referee played for. Leon Woods played for the Bullets, and it seems to me that every game he officiates involving the Bullets/Wizards has plenty of questionable calls. But that's just me.

Posted by: 2cents | January 3, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

GM,

I don't think the Wallace for Strickland trade was that bad, because (his personal issues aside) Strickland was one of the better PGs in the league in his prime. I doubt the team would have been any more successful if they'd kept Wallace and continued to go with Brent Price at PG. Besides, odds are that it would only have been a matter of time before Rasheed's antics got him exiled from Abe's house anyway.

Trading Rip for Stack and trading Ben for Ike-effing-Austin was simply idiocy. But, as you said, Grunfeld wasted no time signaling a new era by fleecing the Lakers to get Caron and turning two locker room cancers like Laettner and Stackhouse into a real leader like Jamison.

Posted by: kalorama | January 3, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

"Les BouleS were outclassed last night, but question is if Les BouleS aren't in their class with or without Gilby, how do you explain Les BouleS past success against them? I think the record now is 5-3 over the last 8 games."

Key words: "past success" The Pistons are playing at a higher level right now than they have at any time since they won the title. They're a much better team than they were last season, record notwithstanding.

Posted by: kalorama | January 3, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

One of the things that the Wiz has been doing against the Pistons the last couple of years, is play a more up-tempo game. That was not present last night, and it allowed the Pistons to set there defense. The up tempo style of ball afforded the Wiz easy shots and exploited mismatches.

Posted by: bullets_0000 | January 3, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

DC Man88...
The Suns havent won the championship either with this current team. I wonder if they would be better off blowing up the team because they have lost in 3 straight conference finals? The answer is NO.

This Wizards team arent the Suns but the East is the East and Cleveland made into the finals last year. You dont win over night in this league, unless, you mortgage your future for today and that is a slippery slope you play. The Celtics may do it, but I'm not ready to crown them champs. You have to build pieces and get very lucky. San Antonio got lucky when their ping pong balls got them TD. Its hard to win it all in any league, only one team can win it and blowing up this team after 3 years doesnt seem intelligent when they are still very young.

Posted by: JSchon | January 3, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps the wiz will not win an extended series against the elite teams in the league but with a lineup of Arenas, (if he returns to form), Jamison, Butler, Haywood and either Daniels, Stevens or Mason, at the last guard spot(I prefer Daniels)I think they are competitive with any team.
Inexperience on the bench is the insurmountable problem, If they were a year down the road or if they,(Blatche,Young, Pecherov,DMac) mature quickly this season the Wiz will be a very good team. When they were healthy last year, from about 12 games in until the injuries later in the season they had one of the best records in the league as I recall.

Posted by: myshkin | January 3, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

I would of liked to seen Eddie throw something different at the Pistons.

by 2nd quarter it was obvious to me DeShawn was not playing well, and Prince's length was causing some problems for Caron. Maxiel was killing us on the boards.

I wold of liked to see Eddie throw Blatche in there and take out DeShawn (Haywood, Blatche, Jamison, Caron , AD)

Then you got Haywood and Blatche in there together on the boards and defending the paint. You got Jamsion on Prince. You got Caron on Rip, who he can post up and cause a mismatch. It's a lineup we've used occasionally this year (Caron at the 2), and I think it could of given us some mismatches and advantage considering the slow pace of the game and the way they were dominating inside.

Posted by: Darnell | January 3, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Kal and mark are right: we got our butts whipped by a superior team, simple as that. Let's not start jumping off buildings, or calling for sweeping changes.

The Pistons are a great team. They take away your main scoring options, forcing other guys to beat you. They all know how to play, and have great complimentary players. They're veteran-laden. I think they're the best team in the league right now, and would beat anyone, including SA and Boston, in a 7-game series.

No shame in being shorthanded and losing to a fantastic team. Or being full strength and losing to that team.

Posted by: keithward64 | January 3, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Darnell...
What happened is that Detroit stuck RW at the 3 point line to negate our size, where he buried a few long jumpers.

Posted by: JSchon | January 3, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Darnell, I agree with your point about EJ should have created mismatches, instead of trying to match up to Detroits starting five. It looks like he is convinced Detroit is a better team, and that he had no alternative but to play his starters against their starters, and just hope somehow that the bench would produce. Instead of that stagnant thinking, he should have concentrated on creating problems for the Pistons. something that the Warriors coach is good at. He should have planned this game ahead of time, he had a few days of practice.

Posted by: rgz | January 3, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Maxiell reminds me of a young Wes Unseld. Unseld in his early years could really get up around the rim and was as strong as an ox.

In his later years, when the Bullets went to finals and then won the title the next year, Wes's game was firmly planted on the floor.

I'd have to agree with the point made by several others today. The Wizards should be admired for playing and competing with an injury depleted roster. Including going 3 and 4 with their third string point guard starting.

There's not many team's that could stay in playoff contention with the injuries they've suffered. If they can get healthy in time to put on an end of year spurt and get playing as a unit by playoff time they could be interesting.

That's not wishful thinking, it's just looking at the job the two Allstars, three if you count Haywood's effort this 1/3 of a season. Along with some young talent on the bench that's showing an upside, and role players that have playing well.

A healthy Arenas should be able to produce more then ever as part of a deeper better rounded roster then the Wizards have fielded since he's been here.

But in those early years when the old Bullets went head to head with the Knicks in the playoffs Wes really could jump. When Gus Johnson was healthy they were quite a physical pair inside that both had surprising hops.

Posted by: GM | January 3, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Re: Maxiell

Peeps were so happy to have Etan out of the rotation. How many times was BTH (AB also) caught looking while Maxiell flew past them for dunks and rebounds before they could react?

Having length is one thing, but having some muscle in the trenches is another.

Posted by: Charlie | January 3, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Thouht I'd erased that last paragraph, don't know how it popped up at the end.

Posted by: GM | January 3, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

"Having length is one thing, but having some muscle in the trenches is another."

Yep. Maxiell basically just bodied Blatche aside and got whatever position he wanted down low. And he was too quick off the floor for Haywood to react to him.

Posted by: kalorama | January 3, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

"Key words: "past success" The Pistons are playing at a higher level right now than they have at any time since they won the title. They're a much better team than they were last season, record notwithstanding.

Posted by: kalorama | January 3, 2008 01:28 PM "

So what do you make of people on this blog when they go ga-ga after Les BouleS crush the sorry Heat, who are a shell of their former selves, and somehow equate that to payback for the 15-1 run they had on Les BouleS during their prime?

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 3, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

There's no shame in losing to Detroit--they're playing incredible ball right now. Our bench needs work. We have a good group of guys, but they are young--Blatch, Young, and DMac still need a lot of work. Didn't AB miss practice last week for personal matters? He is one cat that NEEDS practice. It's obvious his conditioning and strength are not where they need to be. He and Opec should be spending serious time with the trainer this offseason.

Didn't Maxiell kill us last year, too, even with ET in the lineup? I remember being quite impressed with him.

Posted by: Lou | January 4, 2008 9:31 AM | Report abuse

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