Wizards and Knicks Pre-Game

Information on tonight's game:

Starting lineups: Wizards (Antonio Daniels, DeShawn Stevenson, Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison, Etan Thomas). Knicks (Chris Duhon, Jamal Crawford, Quentin Richardson, Wilson Chandler, Zach Randolph).

Wiz inactives: Gilbert Arenas, Brendan Haywood and Oleksiy Pecherov.
Knicks: Stephon Marbury, Jared Jeffries (broken leg), Eddy Curry (out of shape).

Refs: Scott, Wall, Eric Lewis, Scott Foster.

Line: Wizards by 5 1/2.

Notables: This is the first of four games between the teams this season...The Knicks won last season's series 2-1...Antawn Jamison averaged 24.3 points and 8.7 rebounds against the Knicks last season while Caron Butler averaged 23 points and 6.5 rebounds...This will be the first of 17 back-to-back sets for the Wizards, who play at Orlando tomorrow night...The Wiz were 9-11 in the first game of a back-to-back set last season...The Knicks (2-2) are coming off a 101-98 home win over Charlotte...Knicks Coach Mike D'Antoni said yesterday that rookie first round pick Danilo Gallinari will not be in the rotation.

-It may be a good idea to take the over tonight because neither team is playing much defense. The Wizards are giving up 108 points per game and allowing opponents to shoot 50 percent while the Knicks are giving up 105.8 ppg and allowing opp to shoot 49.4 percent.

-Wiz G Nick Young (15.7 ppg) ranks fourth in the league in bench scoring while Knicks G Nate Robinson (15.8 ppg) is tied for second.

-Huge disparity in three-point shooting for these teams. The Wiz have made 11 of 52 attempts (21.2 percent) while the Knicks have made 40 of 115 attempts (34.8 percent). Only Orlando (128) has attempted more 3s than the Knicks.

-The key for the Wizards will be matching up with D'Antoni's small lineup. All five players can shoot from outside and they will shoot early in the shot clock. Rebounding will be huge. "It's different and it's difficult to defend them as small as they are and as versatile as they are," Jordan said. "It's going to be a lot of quick shots and they take them anyway they can. Pull ups. Threes. Pass ahead threes. Real quick pick-and-rolls. First side postups and what we have to be ready for is long rebounds and awkward rebounds. Let's not get caught up in their game. We want to slow it down a little bit more they do."

By Ivan Carter |  November 7, 2008; 5:17 PM ET
Previous: Or Should the Wizards Go Big? | Next: The Other Side: Orlando Magic


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"The key for the Wizards will be matching up with D'Antoni's small lineup.

Oh geeze, I hope they go big there because if Jordan goes to "smallball" the Wiz will lose.

My one knock on Jordan is he is easily lured into "smallball." If he really wants to try something different he should run McGee at the 5 when the Knicks go small.

At least they won't get easy layups.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | November 7, 2008 6:35 PM

If Eddie coaches as patience will dictate, then this will be another loss.

The starting backcourt is highly suspect going into this game. How long will he stick with them???

Posted by: Izman | November 7, 2008 6:49 PM


If D'Antoni wants to rush down and take a bunch of 3's, then the Wizards should go big and pound the ball inside.

Front line should be Jamison, Blatche, McGee - with an emphasis by all three on Defensive rebounding.

Juan Dixon at Point, and Butler at the SG... Make D'Antoni adjust to trying to defense Butler on the Post or Jamison posting up his SF.

Posted by: Rook6980 | November 7, 2008 6:56 PM

Dixon can play the point.

Butler, Jamison, Dixon, Young and McGee.

Blatche can be a good F/C back-up.

The Wiz don't have a decent back-up to Dixon and Young at guard. Maybe AD.

Exciting b-ball when the right guys are in the game. They should get better with playing time together.

Posted by: Izman | November 7, 2008 8:12 PM

this game is very entertaining!! Javale is awesome, and so is Juan. :D

Posted by: rachel216 | November 7, 2008 8:40 PM

I feel like the wiz are just one step away from winning games

EJ finally stayed with who was hot (no ET, DSong)

the wiz just ran into a hot team. although giving up all those wide open 3s in the corner didn't help...

JM should start regardless of the rookie mistakes

Posted by: yukiwith2us | November 7, 2008 9:26 PM

As I said before, good 3 pts shootings is the characteristic of D'Antoni's team, and it shows to night.

Wiz rebounded very well in the game, not continentally Songaila didn't play.

With the exception of his last turn over, I think AB played his best game this season, 7/5 in 13 minutes. But still didn't get much play time. Of course this may have something to do with MecGee's performance. The guy is exciting, but for a 7 footer with long arm span, he leaves his feet too often on defense, and is often caught out of position as well. Something he will have to learn.

That's it, that's all the positives I can say about this team, I think Ivan should run on poll on when the Wiz will win their first game this season.

Posted by: sagaliba | November 7, 2008 9:30 PM

I can probably state what others have said one here, but the Wiz can't play a lick of defense.

McGee is going to be a really good one once he can play instinctively and stop thinking so much.

This is going to be a transition year for sure and it wouldn't surprise me to hear Stevenson trade rumors at some point.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | November 7, 2008 9:46 PM

0-4 :( ....can't get stops at key times... seemed like everytime we were gaining momentum, the Knicks would find a way to score...it's not going to get any easier tomorrow vs Orlando...

Posted by: rachel216 | November 7, 2008 9:46 PM

It's laughable. They are playing a team that runs like no other in the league and Eddie Jordan keeps the same 5 out there the entire 4th quarter. They were gassed. The only time a sub came in was when Dixon got a cramp. He really has no clue when it comes to managing the game and his substitutions. It's also laughable that after 5 years with EJ they still can't defend a simple pick and roll. Our only hope is that something drastic happens like they go 0-10 and Pollin has to fire him.

Posted by: mschmall625 | November 7, 2008 9:54 PM

No complaints from me this time. I have to give Eddie his props on this one. I think CB got tired at the end. McGee is going to be a beast.

I was quite surprised Song. got 0 minutes. I still think he should have gotten some minutes in the 2nd half from AJ. AJ played the whole 2nd half.

EJ pretty much benched Stevenson and AD, along with Etan. I must admit I thought he was just giving lip service but he proved me wrong.

The Knicks just could not miss. I am still puzzled on that sag defense the Wiz keep playing. Any NBA player, and I mean "any NBA player" up to the 12th man, can hit a wide open three when they are allowed to set their feet.

The Wiz need to change that D. No need to sag when you have McGee back there covering the paint. A little bit more tweaking from Eddie and I think he will find the right combination and minutes to come up with a good group.

Posted by: BulletsFever | November 7, 2008 10:02 PM

Yes, I too am as content as possible after a loss. EJ really stayed with the folks who were producing, they were taxed at the end of the game but kept it competitive. All in all a credible effort against a red hot Knicks team.

So happy to see McGee getting quality minutes, I don't mind the mistakes at all. Upside so silly that within a few seconds of an error he does something to make you forget it. Quick learner and an obvious zeal which appears contagious when he is on the court.

NY continues to impress, defensive effort/focus is improved and he can still get a shot at will. Needs to go to the rack more and more...

I am encouraged, although it will be a struggle to stay competitive, I no longer feel it is destined to be a wasted year.

Posted by: The_Shadow_Knows | November 7, 2008 10:23 PM

Granted Knicks were hot but Wizards's perimeter defense was very poor. And Daniels and Stevenson simply can't play fulltime anymore. They're role players.

My guess - just a guess - is that some of the vets are tuning out EJ.

Or will shortly.

Posted by: SteveMG | November 7, 2008 10:29 PM

Les BouleS lost because they had absolutely no inside game whatsoever and had poor rotation on defense.

Look at the stat sheet. AJ got his numbers, but he went to the free throw line ZERO times. He spent most of the night jacking 3's and shooting dipsy doo's.

As effective as AB was when he wasn't making a blunder, he only had 13 minutes.

Juan proved why Les BouleS stuck with him instead of Dermarr Johnson.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | November 7, 2008 10:35 PM

Agreed DC, Juan was solid. 11 assists and 8 rebounds for the University of Maryland standout was huge.

When was the last time we have seen 11 assists from a Wiz player?

Posted by: The_Shadow_Knows | November 7, 2008 10:43 PM

The Wiz were the WORST team in the NBA at guarding the 3 last year and that has not changed!

Entertaining game although leave it to Jordan to go too far in the opposite direction of what he did previously. McGee had a very positive effect on the game, but at that pace I think he played something like a quarter and a half with no rest. He could barely jump at the end of the game. CB was gassed as well. EJ is a sad sad coach and always has been. We might just be bad enough this year for him to finally get fired.

Whomever thought Blatche played well must be smoking something with him. He took bad shots and turned the ball over as usual. Hate to say it, but his basketball IQ greatly diminishes his physical skill set.

Posted by: rphilli721 | November 7, 2008 10:48 PM

I liked the decision to bring the subs in as a single unit in the first half, rather than swapping them piecemeal for the starters. It looked like they played a lot looser than usual. I think being out on the floor with the vets makes them tighten up and defer, to the team;s detriment sometimes. Of course, the flip side is that they also made a bunch of mistakes, but their overall play was good enough to that the positives balanced out the negatives.

Dixon played a solid game. Looks like the time he spent cooling his heels on the bench in Toronto and Detroit may have turned a light on about what he needs to do to be valuable on the team and that shooting every time he touches the ball isn't it.

The outcome was tough, but predictable to an extent. The Wiz just don't know how to defend the 3 pt line. It's been their Achille's heel for years now. When ach Randolph is canning 3's, you know it's going to be a long night.

If they can get the same kind of effort they got in this game and clean up the mistakes just a bit, they should have a chance, at least against the middling teams. But without their full lineup of players, they're going to struggle to hang in against good teams.

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 8, 2008 12:49 AM

Missed the game, but delighted to hear that JM got playing time. Also from the comments I see that more of you see that EJ must go. Believe me in that the right offensive philosophy for this team can produce a 575% winning record. And I believe tha either the Duke or Carolina assistant coach on the bench can get the job done. EG will not wait to much more longer if EJ keeps screwing up this team.

Eddie fires Eddie!

You heard it from LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | November 8, 2008 8:12 AM

BF and Kal are correct: this team just doesn't know what to do about guarding opposing 3-point shooters. How many times will you see a proper rotation on shooters all the way around, until it gets to the last pass. Then whoever is supposed to close out on that guy stands there, not sure whether to hang back and prevent the drive, or just jog out there, getting out too late. It's sickening to watch.

On the other hand, McGee is going to be sensational if his learning curve keeps at this pace. When was the last time you looked at a Wiz player and just kept saying "Wow", over and over. He not only has solid skills an instincts, but plays hard every second he's on the floor. Blatche should be paying attention. I'm in love, I'm in love, and I don't care who knows it!

Posted by: keithward64 | November 8, 2008 8:32 AM

I think I mentioned this last year but we've sucked at defending 3's since Calbert Cheaney was here. I remember Calbert running out to catch 3's in his grill repeatedly. Of course, when we aren't making any either we're done. We can win every stat in the sheet but if the other team outshoots us from out there, we still lose.
Good to see JM isn't on the standard Wiz/Bullet 4 year plan. He's out best center option. Next year, assuming BTH comes back healthy, he should be our starting PF next to BTH. AJ can slide to sf next year and force CB to play 2 while GA plays pg. BTH and JM can cover up any mistakes by the perimiter guys and allow them to guard the 3 point line.

As for this year, we gotta keep rolling with what we just did. Teams like the Knicks are an anomoly. Most teams won't shoot that many 3's. Last night's rotation against most teams is a solid one. We just need to stop helping and sagging and let JM man the middle.

Posted by: original_mark | November 8, 2008 9:28 AM

I like McGee in the middle let him play some nights it will be painfull, but eventually he'll get it and will be a force i'm a little worried about AJ his jumper is still in training camp,hopefully it will come around Nick Young should start but i understand EJ's dilema bring him off the bench for a spark or.......Juan is doing a good job at the point but he is not the long term answer but he hustles.and makes few mistakes.

Posted by: dargregmag | November 8, 2008 9:42 AM

After the game, EJ said: "Relax a little bit, go down to Florida and see if our veterans who sat a little longer today can bring energy and we can win a game."

He's looking to DeS, AD and ET to beat the Magic in Orlando???

They have the highest negative combined rating for their positions in the league.

In contrast, their subs have one of the highest combined ratings for their positions in the league.

0-5 with this mentality.

Posted by: Izman | November 8, 2008 9:52 AM

I also want to give Juan some big props at playing the point the way he did last night. As Kal noted, Juan had the mindset of a point guard last night. The old Juan normally would not have went that long without jacking up a shot.

However he was content to run the offense and give McGee those great lob passes. He only shot when the opportunity presented itself and it was in the flow of the offense.

Which brings me to AJ. His jumper does not look natural right now. He is aiming it in and it looks like he is shooting a set shot. He shoots 3's and J's way to quickly before anyone is set under the basket for a rebound and is most of the time out of the flow of the offense.

Just like Eddie made an example out of Stevenson, Songalia, AD and Etan, he might want to start doing it for AJ. Eddie needs to tell him to start taking his game down low more, and stop jacking up all of those Bob Cousey set shot jumpers.

Posted by: BulletsFever | November 8, 2008 10:22 AM

Last note. AB looked good in the 1st half, however he started making bonehead plays in the 3rd quarter. Why does it seem like AB is like a quarterback (i.e. Health Schuler) who throws nothing but interceptions?

By that I mean, I have never seen someone turn the ball over so much either dribbling, passing, walking, or charging into somebody.

I have always tried to support the young boy and argue Eddie should let him play through his mistakes. However last night for the first time I had to side with Eddie when he pulled him after that pass turnover in the 2nd half.

Right now I do not know what is going on with AB, other then watching McGee take his title as "Mr. X factor", but he really needs to right his ship before EJ starts to make him inactive.

AB needs to come in and do what he did the first half, rebound, play defense and not shoot any jumpers. He should take all of his shots inside and eliminate all of his turnovers.

Posted by: BulletsFever | November 8, 2008 10:32 AM

BF1: "The Wiz need to change that D. No need to sag when you have McGee back there covering the paint."

For whatever reason, Wiz players like to sag (and not guarding the perimeter players properly) even when the opposing center is Joe Mo! This has been Wiz's problem for years. In the past, BTH has to push some players back out, or sometimes rush to try to block a 3 pt shooter (without avail).

Yeah, AB has tons of TOs this season. 2 TOs in 13 minutes last night, room to improve, but I thought that wasn't terrible. The last TO came after he fought real hard for the rebound and then just threw it away, prompted EJ to sit him down for the duration of the game. McGee also made mistakes, but EJ allowed him to play, I think EJ should do the same with AB.

One thing I forgot to mention, I like the 2nd go-around of Dixon, he has made himself an assist man!

Posted by: sagaliba | November 8, 2008 11:06 AM

"BF and Kal are correct: this team just doesn't know what to do about guarding opposing 3-point shooters.

Posted by: keithward64 | November 8, 2008 8:32 AM "

Guarding the 3 wasn't the Achilles heel to last night's loss. Guarding period (aka playing defense) was and is and continues to be the problem.

Nate Robinson hit one 3 pointer. He shot 8-15 and had 17 pts overall.

David Lee hit one 3 pointer. He shot 6-10 for 13 pts overall.

Zach Randolph hit one 3 pointer. He shot 8-16 for 22 pts overall.

Wilson Chandler hit one 3 pointer. He shot 8-12 for 17 pts overall. No points from the FT line.

Shockingly, the Knicks looked like a team that's played together a long time with a long tenured coach and having had 4 playoff appearances.

They were way more fluid with the ball, much better on interior passing, and had 36 assists compared to Les BouleS's 27 assists.

When the opposing team's 3 big men shoot well over .579 combined, you are in for a long night.

BTH would have made a dent on the interior defense. He is and will continue to be missed, irregardless of JaTravel's shot blocking presence.


Posted by: DC_MAN88 | November 8, 2008 11:07 AM

It does not matter if the Wizards go big or small
The way they play it won’t matter at all
Coach EJ loves to plays the vets
Put your money on the other team if you want to win the bet
With this roster they will never win a championship
So play the rookies and get a better lottery pick

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | November 8, 2008 11:07 AM

If we can't beat the Knicks it's gonna be a very long season.

I thought we had a "D" coach. He should be fired. There has not been any improvement.

Tighten up on the outside and let Javale take of the paint.

Lets call it a season and let the youngens play.


Posted by: VBFan | November 8, 2008 11:17 AM

BTH would have made a dent on the interior defense. He is and will continue to be missed, irregardless of JaTravel's shot blocking presence.


Posted by: DC_MAN88 | November 8, 2008 11:07 AM

DC I am a little confused on why you keep referring to McGee as JaTravel? AB is the one who keeps getting called for travels?

Even you must admit the youngsta is not looking all that bad, huh? Now I am sure your boy Mario is still doing good, but I must rather strike gold on a TRUE "5" then a "1" any day of the week.

Folks that have been bashing Ernie on some of his offseason moves need to at least give him credit on this "steal" of the draft.......

Posted by: BulletsFever | November 8, 2008 11:41 AM

JaTravel is catchy like "LeTravel" that someone else uses here.

He's doing well, but I think he may have small Patrick Ewing type of hands. I've yet to see him palm the ball and he missed several gorgeous alley oop passes from Juan last night.

He's been basically catching and dunking. I think he has the urge to dribble and drive and to do more.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | November 8, 2008 12:52 PM

McGee and Young show a lot of promise. If Javale continues on this pace, our future looks good, wont be this year though.

Posted by: washwiz | November 8, 2008 12:57 PM

The Wizards shot just under 52% from the field and outrebounded the Knicks 50-36. And handled the ball okay (12 TOs vs 10).

At home.

And still lost.

That hurts, real bad.

Posted by: SteveMG | November 8, 2008 2:55 PM

No word yet on what EJ's reaction was this time coming out of the locker room.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | November 8, 2008 5:06 PM

The Wizards shot just under 52% from the field and outrebounded the Knicks 50-36. And handled the ball okay (12 TOs vs 10).

At home.

And still lost.

Because the Knicks also shot just under 52%, just over 40% from 3pt range (while the Wiz shot 31% themselves), and outscored the Wiz almost 3 to 1 from outside the arc. The Wiz shooting under 60% from the line didn't help either.

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 8, 2008 5:44 PM

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