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The Tapscott Era Begins, Warriors at Wizards

Information on tonight's game:

Wizards starters: JaVale McGee, Antawn Jamison, Caron Butler, DeShawn Stevenson, Dee Brown.
Inactives: Brendan Haywood, Gilbert Arenas, Antonio Daniels (right knee).

Warriors starters: Andris Biedrins, Corey Maggette, Stephen Jackson, Anthony Morrow, Jamal Crawford.
Inactives: Monte Ellis, Richard Hendrix, Marcus Williams, DeMarcus Nelson.

Refs:Mark Wunderlich, David Jones, Derrick Collins.

Line: Warriors by 2 1/2.

Notables: Crawford will see his first action as a Warrior tonight after last Friday's trade brought him to Golden State from New York...The Warriors are playing the second of a five-game road trip....Daniels will miss his seventh game with that right knee problem.

Ed Tapscott, who will make his debut tonight after replacing Eddie Jordan as coach yesterday, talked about his plans for a rotation before the game: "I told the players that I was going to try to pair the rotation down just a little bit. I really think that our rotation of about nine guys, maybe 10 on some nights depending on who we are playing and what the matchups are, is the best way to create chemistry. Guys need to play with one another, learn to react off of one another and create that chemistry."

On defense: "I don't want drives to the rim and the ball go in every time. Sometimes you have to send a guy to the foul line jus so they don't see the ball go through the rim. The more consistently that ball goes through the rim, the bigger that rim seems to get. So, we want to shrink that rim. Most of what we've talked about is on the defensive side of the ball. Getting back in transition will be key tonight."


By Ivan Carter  |  November 25, 2008; 4:55 PM ET
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Next: Blatche Comes to Play, Tapscott Wins Debut


Break up the Wizards! Tapscott is a genius who has magically transformed the Wizards from a 1-81 team to a 72-10 team!

OK, that might be a bit much, but they have looked pretty good so far . . . And they could still blow it in the 2nd half . . .

Posted by: bucky_katt | November 25, 2008 8:20 PM | Report abuse

It will be interesting to see how the "Trade Andray" characters react to his performance tonight...

Posted by: KShark28 | November 25, 2008 8:38 PM | Report abuse

I was a member of the trade Blatche club but also an advocate for the departure of EJ. I did not think EJ was the right person for developing our young talent but frankly am pretty surprised to see Blatche explode the very next game. It is the Warriors but damn these guys came to play tonight and Blatche has shown it has always been up to him.

Posted by: The_Shadow_Knows | November 25, 2008 8:52 PM | Report abuse

It's just one game, but yeah, it's amazing what 1. playing in position, and 2. not being jerked around by his coach seems to have done for Blatche. In the last 2 minutes of game time, he's had a great drive and dunk and got 3 offensive rebounds in the same sequence. And he just knocked down a 3. What is going on here?!!

Posted by: bucky_katt | November 25, 2008 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Thank You Eddie Tap for playing guys who have been scared to really play for Eddie J. Wizards are way too good to have a 1-10 record. As much as I liked Eddie Jordan, it was so difficult watching him bench any young player who had a bad minute or two. Thank you Abe/Ernie for making this move.

Posted by: prknguy | November 25, 2008 8:55 PM | Report abuse

ET needs to be fired. What an atrocious job and the players looked totally unprepared.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | November 25, 2008 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully this will be a repeat of what the Capitals did last year after a coaching change.

Tonight is a great start.

Posted by: isnadd | November 25, 2008 9:21 PM | Report abuse

AB done did good tonight, but funny thing...he looks like a shorter Manute Bol out there with those string bean arms.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | November 25, 2008 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Now that is what I'm talking about. Is it not amazing to see the energy AB came to the game with? That is what you call getting a gorilla (Eddie) off your back and being free to play your game.

There was no Songalia at the 5 spot from what I saw. I missed the first three quarters so I am about to look at the tape.

Did Etan get any minutes? I noticed CB was playing at the 2 spot. I wonder if that is going to mess with his status in the league as a "3" as Eddie was saying. Go figure....???

Larry from Clinton, Mark and the other minority of folks who saw that this was a good move like me to make a coaching change, lets enjoy the ride now. It is time to have some fun.

I know the haters are going to come up with the excuse that this is just one game and this always happens when there is a coaching change; blah blah blah.

No there was food (AB, DMac, McGee, and NY) in the cupboard but we did not have the right cook (EJ) to prepare a dinner. Now we have Chief Ramsey (ET) and there will be a great meal prepared and the fun will now begin.

Ernie enjoy the win and don't worry about all the folks calling for your head because of this move. You made the right one....

Posted by: BulletsFever | November 25, 2008 9:34 PM | Report abuse

First game after a new head coach steps in and Andray Blatche has a career night.

Coincidence? Maybe.

But I do know that this team hasn't played anywhere near this level so far this season. It's amazing how much looser and confident the guys looked out there.

Substitution patterns looked borderline genius too. Was it really that hard to create a "big" lineup with the guys we have?

Posted by: spizzle | November 25, 2008 9:38 PM | Report abuse

"There was no Songalia at the 5 spot from what I saw. I missed the first three quarters so I am about to look at the tape.

Did Etan get any minutes? I noticed CB was playing at the 2 spot."

Just to confirm your suspicions:

No Songaila at the 5.

No minutes for Etan.

CB was moved to the 2 occasionally.

Posted by: spizzle | November 25, 2008 9:41 PM | Report abuse

calm down people, its just only a game. let see if we can keep winnin for the couple more games..

Posted by: forbid | November 25, 2008 9:48 PM | Report abuse

One reason I believe Jordan was so unsuccessful this season is that our team this year relies heavily on young talent. The past several seasons, this was never an issue (Daniels, Butler, Jamison, Arenas, Stevenson, etc.). Jordan has very clear preferences for veterans, something that obviously frustrated many commentators here with regards to his rotations. EJ didn't seem to handle young talent well, especially in his handling of Blatche, whom he often benched after only one or two minutes of bad play and didn't seem to have much faith in. Some may say that, if the Wizards played like this earlier, EJ wouldn't have been fired. But that is exactly the point: EJ wasn't able to motivate this team's young talent to elevate their game to this level. Tapscott is certainly familiar with young developing players, as he was the director of player development.

Also, the one difference between this game and every other this season was DEFENSE. We got rebounds, both offensive and defensive, steals, blocks (Blatche had 5!), and just possessed an overall level of aggressiveness and hustle that was absent for the first 11 games. EJ never emphasized defense, but defense is so crucial to getting fast break points and staving off opponent's runs. I love that Tapscott emphasizes defense so strongly, and I think the proof is in the product we put out there tonight.

Of course this was only one game, but I can say with a fair degree of confidence that we don't win this game with Jordan as coach. We wouldn't have gotten 25 pts from Blatche, and we wouldn't have had the monster defensive effort we got (54 rebounds, 27 assists, 12 steals, 9 blocks, 20 turnovers generated). I know a lot of people have criticized our players, but they're a lot better than 1-10. The only significant loss from last season was Haywood, who certainly shouldn't make or break our season. The big key to the rest of the season will be Blatche being consistent, and keeping those role players off the bench involved. I also felt like Butler got his groove back, which was very needed. I'm excited for the rest of the season.

Posted by: KShark28 | November 25, 2008 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Tapscott pushed all the right buttons tonight.

Posted by: rachel216 | November 25, 2008 9:51 PM | Report abuse

It's clear ET is focusing on Defense for the team.

Gilby might as well sit out this season and wait for the "permanent" coach, or otherwise face getting his max money @ss Tapped if he doesn't play D.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | November 25, 2008 9:57 PM | Report abuse

This was a pretty good scrappy game by Les BouleS overall, but I must admit that Nick Young's attempt at impersonating Gilby at the end of the 3rd quarter was oh so sorry...

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | November 25, 2008 10:08 PM | Report abuse

1-10 team? Bad roster? As I said, those who argue that this is a bad roster and then complaining about EJ being fired is just self-fulfilling cause they do not want to see what a different coach may be able to do with the same roster.

AB certainly played with a lot more confident. He did hesitate like he did in early season. Wiz also outrebounded opponent for a change. Not every game will be this rosy, but this is a good start!

Posted by: sagaliba | November 25, 2008 10:09 PM | Report abuse

What? It's a Wizards blow-out win in Eddie Tapscott's debut and it's this quiet?

Congrats on your first win Coach Tapscott!

Posted by: tenk | November 25, 2008 10:09 PM | Report abuse

I'm waiting to hear Kalorama say:

1) it was only Golden State;
2) it was only one game;
3) Blatche is so inconsisent that he'll never do it again;
4) Taspscott just got lucky;
5) the players won it for EJ;
6) the team will lay a turkey on Thanksgiving; and
7) the personnel is so bad that there is no way for them to make the playoffs.

Just don't tell him that AB and JM are going to show up to the game on Thursday with Superman outfits to have a little fun with Mr. Howard.

Posted by: Izman | November 25, 2008 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Congrats to Coach Tapscott on his first win. I was shocked to see the confidence and aggressiveness that Blatche showed throughout the game. Three rebounds on one possession and a driving dunk between two big guys!!! Maybe EJ had beaten him down so much that he had no confidence.

Also, glad to see that Tapscott shortened the bench and even used Caron at the 2 at times. No way this team should have been 1-10 with some of the weak teams it played early this season. They should have won 4 or 5 games (Milwaukee, Atlanta, NY at least once, and Miami at home). The team was playing with no confidence and a change was needed. It obviously showed with the new found aggressiveness displayed tonight.

Posted by: wizfan89 | November 25, 2008 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Now thats what we been talking about BulletsFever. The significant difference is that Ernie T. allowed the players to PLAY. We knew this Wizard team was better than EJ allowed them to be.

You know I was listening to 980 today and I was still surprised to hear an interviewee still supporting the notion that Eddie's firing was unjustified and that the team was not able to win with any coach. This guy is an professional sports prognosticator and getting paid for it. He needs to be fired.

They had 108 points with 7 minutes left in the game. Wow!!! Runnin and Gunnin!!! I'm lovin it. Did anybody see an Etan sighting. I didn't, I'm happy.

Do you suppose by letting the players play to their abilities, play uptempo, might have also increased their defensive effectiveness? You Betcha!!!

I know this is one game, but if the foundation is good, we can build on it BaBee!!!

Hey BulletsFever, I ain't seen to many of them non-believers tonight. Maybe they got cramps in they fingers from blogging so badly about this good young group of NBA players that the Wiz's have.

I embellish a little, but this is good.

Runnin And Gunnin And Winnin!!! Who Next?

LOL... LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | November 25, 2008 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Blatche showed a bit of everything tonight. He had some nice assists.. no hesitation on his shot. Scrappy, hustle play. Sometimes when Andray has played, you could see the constant look of worry on his face, and the more you saw of it, the worse he played. I never saw that look tonight, he was inspired. Congrats to Coach Tapscott, and best of luck getting back to .500.

Posted by: satchmore | November 25, 2008 10:22 PM | Report abuse

1) This team actually ran NBA offensive sets tonight and wouldn't you know it, they won! I hope I never see any more of that top- of-the-key-weave stuff that does nothing but run time off the clock.
2) We learned that Antawn can play defense if properly motivated.

3) Ed Tapscott definitely knows you don't win with "small ball". That lineup he had in the 3-4 quarters was killer.

5- Blatche (he's ready!)
4- Songalia (actually kept some tips alive)
3- Jamison (didn't ballhawk)
2- Butler (played smart and hard)
1- DeShawn (only took wide open shots)

If Jordan had only realized that size matters in b-ball, maybe he'd still be around.

Posted by: Firuz1 | November 25, 2008 10:36 PM | Report abuse

It's just one game so before you all start buying your playoff tickets and enshrining Tapps you might want to think beyond the first game where your head coach just got fired.

Be realistic please.

Saying that, I really liked the fact the Etan and Pech never even got close to playing. If nothing else Tapps had a good sub rotation and it was nice to see Mac get some quality minutes behind Jamison.

One criticism of EJ that I did have is he always subbed in 5 guys at a time instead of mixing some people in. Tapps said in the post game presser that AJ OR Caron will be on the floor at all times.

Big thumbs up on that one.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | November 25, 2008 10:40 PM | Report abuse

yes agreed, on the comcast post show tonight Blatche said before the game he told Tapscott that he now felt free. The comcast sportsperson asked him what he meant by that and he said yes, he now felt free and now he can play his game.
Sad to see Eddie go, but if this helps the young players, especially Blatche, then it's for the better.

Posted by: washwiz | November 25, 2008 10:41 PM | Report abuse

A very nice win. Congrats to Tapscott and the team.

But I'd hold off on throwin' back that whole pitcher of kool-aid, just yet.

(A) It's pretty common for there to be a short-term spike when a new coach comes in, because guys are trying to impress the new boss and not look bad (also, if they come out and drop a turd for Tapscott, they lose the cover of the record being the deoarted coach's fault)

(B) The Warriors stink. They give up more points than every team in the league except for the Knicks. They're also (unlike most of the teams the Wiz have lost to) a terrible 3 pt shooting team (a surprise for a Nellie-coached team), the second worst in the league (just ahead of the Wiz). That means that they weren't equipped to take advantage of the Wizards' most glaring defensive weakness, which gave them the leeway to pack the lane without worry about getting hurt from the outside line.

This was the perfect storm of a first game for Tapscott. But a win is a win and he got the job done.

Blatche did the same things he's been capable of all along. The question now is the same as it was under Jordan: Can he do them consistently? If he comes out the next game and shoots bricks and throws the ball out of bounds on every other trip down the court, then his performance tonight becomes meaningless.

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 25, 2008 10:53 PM | Report abuse

WTF? Dee jacking threes and hitting them? Butler playing All World and screaming 'NBA Where Amazing Happens'-style again? Blatche's... nuclear explosion on BOTH ends of the floor. He's sometimes flashed O potential - and he was a monster offensively tonight - but what really impressed me was the elbows and muscle he threw into the D end. I've never seen that. I liked the looseness of the team. They seemed to abandon a tired, regimental adherence to the Princeton manual. Rather than pass halfcourt, set up, set pick, rotate, isolate, etc., they attacked - exploiting openings like jazz musicians improvising in a knife fight. Perhaps most importantly, they had fun, something I haven't seen since the first half of the 2006-07 season. As a fan, it was refreshing to hear Tapscott's post-game Q&A after hearing Jordan for five years. No knock on Jordan, but I think it gave us a sense of the new start, reset freshness a new voice can bring to players. Mcgee: Just how high can that do get? When he has some muscle, he will rain pain. Even Songalia had a few hustle moves. After 1-10, I'm still sceptical, but what a game.

Posted by: SammyT1 | November 25, 2008 10:53 PM | Report abuse

That one was for you Izman. Hope you had the tissue handy.

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 25, 2008 10:56 PM | Report abuse

That one was for you Izman. Hope you had the tissue handy.

(Of course, the fact that you already knew all of that simply confirms that those facts were glaringly obvious but that, as usual, you choose to ignore the facts in favor of your own agenda.)

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 25, 2008 10:58 PM | Report abuse

"Be realistic please."

So Ray, you still believe in Santa Claus, too?

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 25, 2008 11:00 PM | Report abuse

"As a fan, it was refreshing to hear Tapscott's post-game Q&A after hearing Jordan for five years. "

Players probably feel the same way, to an extent. Which is not to say they'd tuned Jordan out or lost respect for him, but after 5 years, it's possible to run out of new ways to try to get the same message across. A new voice can sometimes get people's attention. There's a reason why, at 5 years, Jordan was the third-longest tenured coach in the NBA.

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 25, 2008 11:04 PM | Report abuse

DC Man...are you serious? you get your wish with getting EJ canned, the team picks up a convincing win, and you're STILL complaining?

Posted by: crs-one | November 25, 2008 11:12 PM | Report abuse

My my, what a difference a coach makes, after what 1 practice.
How much of any sport is mental?
Free at last free at last.
A coach who actually has a clue.
He recognizes that we have a group of fast and athletic players.
Push the ball, challenge every shot, crash the boards, in your face defense, find the open man, pick and roll...oh my my...
And yes many will say, we know who you are, that they didn't put out or play like this for EJ, duh.
It is quite difficult to perform while sitting on the pines, AB?
Who knows, mayybe even BTH would free up and perform under this new approach.
There is nothing that potential losses to come will do to minimize or discourage the potential and talent, and consistent energy on display tonight...
A performance like this tonight, is something that they can build on, or refer to in tough times.
Hallelujah, free at last, free at last, thank you we are free at last!

Posted by: maxman2162 | November 25, 2008 11:21 PM | Report abuse

"DC Man...are you serious? you get your wish with getting EJ canned, the team picks up a convincing win, and you're STILL complaining?

Posted by: crs-one | November 25, 2008 11:12 PM "

Did I complain?

I wasn't going to call for EJ's job until 1/4 season (20 games) was up, but EG beat me to the punch.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | November 25, 2008 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone notice that Randy Ayers was not on the bench?

Posted by: kevin3791 | November 26, 2008 12:05 AM | Report abuse

Congrats to Coach T! I only wish there were more (and louder) fans, because this really felt like a potential season-changer of a game.

Posted by: mik_smith1 | November 26, 2008 12:27 AM | Report abuse

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