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Wizards Back to Work

Practice has ended at Verizon Center, where the Wizards were right back to work applying the lessons learned from last night's season opening loss the Nets. Coach Eddie Jordan reached back to training camp and leaned on some things gleaned from K.C. Jones -- the former Celtic player, Bullets coach and Celtics coach -- who attended camp and offered his wisdom.

"He told us a lot of things but what stood out was that when they won championships in college and with the Celtics they had team harmony. Harmony meaning they accepted roles, they knew now to communicate, they had positive energy. I want the best shooters to score, to shoot. If I'm a defender first, I have to get into my man and concentrate on defense. If I have to run the floor just to clear out space, that's what I have to do just to create harmony and retain harmony."

"So, that was important and missing from last night. The other thing he told us was that effort is inspiring. We gave some effort but we could have given more. When I give effort, it inspires my teammates to give effort. That was what was missing last night outside of some x's and o's stuff. We had some possessions that were not good. ..."

More Jordan: "I think there were some cases of us not trusting what we've done for over a month. Not trusting the defensive spacing, not trusting the system, the principles, not trusting the offensive rhythm. Not a lot of that but just a little bit."

Jordan also talked about his center rotation, something that will be a story line to follow all season in the absence of Brendan Haywood. Etan Thomas started and played well, finishing with 10 points on three-of-five shooting with eight rebounds and a block in just under 19 minutes. Andray Blatche saw some action at center, as did rookie JaVale McGee. Blatche had an uneven night, scoring 13 points with six rebounds. But he took some questionable shots, forced a few things and also turned it over five times.

In the fourth quarter, with the game tight, Jordan sat Thomas and played Blatche, who made three of his six shots in the period and scored seven points. McGee also played 4:33 during the period. Darius Songaila, Juan Dixon and Dominic McGuire did not see any fourth-quarter action.

"Etan gave a lot of effort, he got some numbers on the stat sheet relative to his time, his minutes," Jordan said. "I just felt that when we made some subs, Andray had some really good moments and maybe that's what we needed to win the game, that sort of playmaking ability and special skill ability. Maybe I should've stuck with Etan a little longer, you know, with that force, as we call but when a guy has it going to good, you try to maximize it. And again, we've talked about Andray and Nick (Young) being the guys that should inherit some core minutes. Let's see if they can earn that and I felt they did well in the first half."

Jordan played all 12 of his available players and tinkered with several lineups in an effort to get something going. If you saw the game, you know how flat it was. No flow for either team, few runs and just a strange vibe.

"I was just trying to find that spark, to light the flame and get us going," Jordan said. "To try and break way from that non-flow type of game. I was just trying to find somebody to give us that great spark and get us energized. Dee (Brown) can do it, Nick (Young) can do it and Andray can do it. And Dom (McGuire) can do it with his rebounding. I was just looking for someone to get us going."

Blatche on his game: "I take some fault in it because I had five turnovers. I can't have five turnovers off the bench. Besides that, I blocked out well, I protected the rim, I scored when I had some chances. So other than the turnovers, I felt good about it."


-If you haven't seen Steinberg's bog today, check out a post he put up earlier today with an interview Comcast did with Gilbert Arenas. In it, Gilbert - in classic Gilbert fashion - talks about his return for the Milwaukee game last season. He states that Jordan knew of his plans. Interesting because I remember it going to down exactly the opposite way. As with all things Gilbert folks, remember that there is history, revisionist history and Gilbert history.. Anyway check it out here

-Given last night's loss, this may not be the time to ask about a future Wiz championshihp but following last night's win by the Phillies, DC has been put on the spot (along with my hometown, Minneapolis, which hasn't won a title in the four majors since my beloved Twins did it in 1991. The Vikings choked in '98, the Wolves came close with KG but didn't get past the Lakers and I don't even acknowledge hockey after the North Stars carpetbagged it to Dallas. What's a Wild anyway?).

We've put a poll asking which of the locals will break through first. Keep the faith folks...

-I'm just happy that I won't have to listen to Philly fans whine and complain anymore....until the Eagles get bounced in the playoffs that is. Ease up on the misery folks, your baseball team did it.


By Ivan Carter  |  October 30, 2008; 2:50 PM ET
 
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Comments

I just hate that Arvis finally found his jumper... in another uniform.

Posted by: jcbcmb68 | October 30, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Nope. I'm not dumping on Etan at all. Again, Read ALL of the comments and posts and think first before commenting. If you go back and look, you'll see I commended ET on his rebounding. In fact, he probably should have gotten more pt last night. I've talked about the lack of defense on this team in depth over the last year. ET wasn't included in that. Yesterday I focused my thoughts on ET. His specialty is supposed to be defense and rebounding. Last night it was just rebounding because the interior d was lacking.
I'm not afraid to admit when I'm wrong.

You, on the other hand, are never wrong. At least that's what you like to think.

Posted by: original_mark | October 30, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Some thoughts; Etan looks good, EJ bought him along slowly which was the right thing to do .Antwan nor Caron could by a basket when it counted if they had made their free throws then........its not time to throw in the towel just yet.I watched the Hawks on the tivo they looked like a team thats ready to make some noise good depth,shooting, and rebounding now if Mike Woodson just keeps his mouth closed and lets them play they could be dangerous!!.

Posted by: dargregmag | October 30, 2008 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Some thoughts; Etan looks good, EJ bought him along slowly which was the right thing to do .Antwan nor Caron could by a basket when it counted if they had made their free throws then........its not time to throw in the towel just yet.I watched the Hawks on the tivo they looked like a team thats ready to make some noise good depth,shooting, and rebounding now if Mike Woodson just keeps his mouth closed and lets them play they could be dangerous!!.

Posted by: dargregmag | October 30, 2008 5:09 PM | Report abuse

"I'm not afraid to admit when I'm wrong. "

Then you better be ready to man up.

The Nets are a jumpshooting team. They have little to no post up game and with Jefferson gone and Carter allergic to contact, they have no one other than Harris who routinely even attempts to get into the paint off the dribble. The Nets scored the vast majority of their points off jumpshots, which had nothing to do with Thomas. Harris got into the lane some, but it wasn't all on Thomas' watch, so why hang it all on him?

It's a funny but I seem to recall there was much pissing and moaning last season about the Wizards inability to contain "small quick guards" and stop them from scoring easily in the paint. Small quick guards like ... Devin Harris. So if Haywood was the one man wrecking crew you seem determined to delude yourself into believing he was, there should never have been any reason for the topic to have come up should there? Because even if those dreaded "small, quick guards" did get into the middle, the mighty Haywood would have single-handedly swatted them all away. But that didn't happen, did it? The Wizards were, at best, a middling defensive team last season (which, sadly, was an improvement). Was Haywood part of that? Sure. But was he primarily responsible? No, because as was also discussed last season, Ayers defensive scheme is predicated on everyone digging in on the interior and helping the bigs, which is why the Wizards were one of the worst 3 pt defensive teams in the NBA (which, again, was discussed at length here last season). Haywood (A) was nowhere nearly the lone wolf defensive enforcer you make him out to be and (B) was as successful as he was because the entire team played into the defensive concept. In yesterday's game, they didn't. The guys on the perimeter weren't offering any resistance, either on jumpers or the rare drive into the middle, which left the bigs alone on an island. It was a total defensive breakdown in which, if anything, Thomas was as much let down by the team as the other way around. In the head-to-head matchup against NJ's bigs, Thomas actually came out on top.

I won't be holding my breath waiting for that mea culpa.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 30, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Les BouleS clearly lost last night because their shots were not hitting, they couldn't stop the other team on man defense, and they had too many TO's.

When Les BouleS play teams with a stronger inside presence, it may and probably will get even uglier than last night.

Last night's loss wasn't an ugly blowout. It was a close game until the end. Ugly blowouts are sure to come, due to Les BouleS weak interior defense with BTH's absence.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 30, 2008 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Les BouleS clearly lost last night because their shots were not hitting, they couldn't stop the other team on man defense, and they had too many TO's.

When Les BouleS play teams with a stronger inside presence, it may and probably will get even uglier than last night.

Last night's loss wasn't an ugly blowout. It was a close game until the end. Ugly blowouts are sure to come, due to Les BouleS weak interior defense with BTH's absence.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 30, 2008 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Les BouleS clearly lost last night because their shots were not hitting, they couldn't stop the other team on man defense, and they had too many TO's.

When Les BouleS play teams with a stronger inside presence, it may and probably will get even uglier than last night.

Last night's loss wasn't an ugly blowout. It was a close game until the end. Ugly blowouts are sure to come, due to Les BouleS weak interior defense with BTH's absence.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 30, 2008 6:12 PM | Report abuse

"That argument would hold sway if the Wizards had been beaten by a team that got most of their production inside, either on post up moves or drives to the hoops. The Nets are, and always have been, a jumpshooting team. Their drives to the hoop were few and had marginal impact on the outcome of the game. Haywood's loss was no real impact on this game because the Nets didn't beat the Wizards by taking advantage of the interior. Dikembe Mutombo in his prime could have been patrolling the middle, and it wouldn't had done much to stop Yi, Carter, and Hayes from canning all of those jumpshots. Nor would it have done much to improve Jamison or Butler's or Stevenson's woeful shooting percentages. But because certain people have an agenda that's more about the performance of their favorite players rather than than the success of the team, they waste no time taking advantage of an opportunity to pounce, even if it's a manufactured one.

Thomas easily had the best, most efficient game (for the minutes he played) of any of the starters.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 30, 2008 4:58 PM "

I still stick to my argument above that Les BouleS lost because they couldn't shoot, couldn't stop the other team, and had too many TO's..

but,

the error in your assessment is that it may have been possible that Les BouleS players didn't feel comfortable playing tight D on the perimeter players because they feared their man taking them off the dribble for a shot and/or the pick and roll/screen play.

As AJ has said and I've posted, they don't have BTH to tell them where to go and what to do defensively. As a result, playing off their man may have led to open J's for the Nets because Les BouleS players knew they didn't have BTH to back them up. It's more embarrassing to give up a blow by dunk rather than a long J.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 30, 2008 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Playoffs?!? The Eagles?!? They'll be lucky to win 9 games this season... seriously.

As for the Wiz, I need more from Darius and Antonio or they should sit down.

Posted by: elfreako | October 30, 2008 11:18 PM | Report abuse

More Jordan: "I think there were some cases of us not trusting what we've done for over a month. Not trusting the defensive spacing, not trusting the system, the principles, not trusting the offensive rhythm. Not a lot of that but just a little bit."

Over the last month? This is the same sorry team that was on the floor last year. Admit it people this team is going nowhere till it cleans house which will not be for six years since they resigned Gil.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | October 31, 2008 12:39 AM | Report abuse

Colossus was not a one man wrecking crew and I've never tried to make him out to be one. What he WAS/IS is a deterrent. Lets see what happens. There's no way I can make a determination about how good ET is after one or two games. I'm willing to withold judgement until after a bunch of games. For te record, I was a huge fan of Etan in college and when he got here. I thought he was a shotblocking beast. he and Kenyon Martin used to have shotblocking highlights on ESPN. I just think that he's a bit smmall and undersized in this league.
Also, I happened to meet EJ a few years ago and had the opportunity to ask what the deal was with Etan playing PF. He indicated (not directly) that foot speed and lateral movement were the issues and that ET really only had one true position. I had always envisioned Etan at PF and Colossus at C but it'll never happen.
Anyway, we all know that our interior and exterior defense is below average. At this point there's no one culprit. It sure would be nice to have a big guy in the middle, though. No one wants to wind up seeing their shot get thrown out of bounds on Sportscenter. I think JM will see increased pt as the season goes on because of the presence (wingspan). Etan is probably great in spurts but I have doubts about his capability as a full timer. Let's see.

Posted by: original_mark | October 31, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Too early to make any judgments, but the Wiz won't win many games against anyone when the Big Two go a combined 9-29 and our supposed go to guy CB3 takes one shot in the 4th quarter. Despite uneven play through three quarters, the game was still there for the taking in the 4th and the Wiz missed foul shots, had silly TO's, and failed to stay in their offense. NJ ran their offense and got open looks for Jarvis and isolations for Vince Carter.

Against bigger team like Detroit, we are going to need more length and J. McGee may be playing in the first half once ET sits down. AB has shown he's not an effective 5 and plays a finesse game. EJ would be better to use him to back up AJ and Caron to keep their minutes closer to 35. I don't see Songaila offering much at all at this point given his lack of footspeed and leaping ability. He's a good passer and mid-range shooter, but is too big a liability on defense to play significant minutes. Signing him to a 5-yr. deal looked questionable at the time and worse now that he's typing up salary and a roster spot.

If we can't beat Milwaukee or NY at home next week, then I'll be worried since those are teams we should be able to beat.

Posted by: wizfan89 | October 31, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Eddie Jordan still tinkering with lineups? Huh? Isn't that why they have 6 weeks of training camp and preseason so that the coach can see what he has in his team and figure out the best way to use them? Yet another one of EJ's faults that the media refuses to talk about because apparently leading a team to 4 straight years of mediocrity makes a person untouchable in this town.

Remember, this same thing happened the summer that Caron Butler was brought in along with guys like Daniels and Chucky Atkins. Eddie tried all kinds of combos and it wasn't until Hayes got hurt and Atkins got bought out that he was forced to settle on a consistent rotation. Once he did that, the team won at a 60% clip, the Big Three was born, and they ended up having a great season against Cleveland.

Eddie needs to stop playing mad scientist and decide on a rotation. Otherwise nobody will ever know what their role will be from one night to the next. How can you expect guys to produce in that kind of environment?

Posted by: LyricalRico | October 31, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone else think that CB looked a little stiff in his movements? As if his back was bothering him or something.

Posted by: SportzWiz | October 31, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

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