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.
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