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Hawks 100, Wizards 89


Well, you don't have to worry about the Wizards going 82-0 this season. But you might have to worry about how many players the Wizards have left at the end of the season. It might not be anything serious, but it was not a good sign late in the second period, when the Hawks called a timeout, and Caron Butler was on one end of the bench, massaging his knee and talking with head athletic trainer Eric Waters while Coach Flip Saunders was addressing the team.

Butler scored just five points in 17 minutes and Saunders said that he might have injured himself late in the first quarter when he dove for a loose and rolled around the court in agony. The knee possibly stiffened up while Butler sat in the second period. He tried to come back at halftime, but taking a few warmup jumpers, he shook his head, frowned, and called it a night.

It would be easy to say that the Wizards lost simply because they didn't have Butler, but if you ask them, the difference of the game was turnovers and the Hawks' ability to get to the foul line. Gilbert Arenas started out the game scoring or assisting on 13 of the Wizards' first 18 points. But after the Wizards built an early 10-point lead, they got sloppy with the ball. Arenas had three turnovers in the final two minutes of the period, as the Hawks closed on a 24-9 run.

"Turnovers really hurt us tonight," Saunders said.

The Wizards also got hurt with a huge free throw disparity. The Hawks were 31 of 34 from the line, while the Wizards were just 14 of 22. You could say that the Hawks were more aggressive. "Some of it was them being aggressive and some of it was stuff I can't comment on," center Brendan Haywood said.

What Haywood left unsaid is that the referees are obviously still in preseason form. Haywood led the team with seven free throw attempts, while Arenas attempted just four, even as he didn't hesitate to attack the basket.

If you look at the stat sheet, the Hawks didn't dominate the Wizards. The Hawks had just seven more rebounds (47-40), two more second-chance points (13-11), two fewer points in the point (40-42), two fewer turnovers (13-15) and made just as many three pointers (5). The Wizards also held the Hawks to just 41 percent shooting from the floor and 25 percent from beyond the three-point line.

"They got to the free throw line. That's where the game was won today," Arenas said. "We did our job. When you shoot 16 more free throws made than the next team, you should win that game. Sometimes you're going to win, sometimes you're going to do. We did what we're supposed to have done."

By Michael Lee  |  October 31, 2009; 12:01 AM ET
 
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Comments

Keep in mind this with the PF's pretty much even at 23 vs. 24. I think Gilby had at least 2 offensive fouls from charging and pushing, which he always does to get the advantage.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 31, 2009 12:09 AM | Report abuse

is it just me or is it hard to take the refs seriously in the light of Donaghy's book excerpt. i sure as hell hope the whole thing gets published...this could really ruin the integrity of the game and force Stern and the NBA to start all over.

Posted by: kman2 | October 31, 2009 12:31 AM | Report abuse

lmao, now you got Michael Lee and BH debunking your theory of an evenly called game. I get it. You just like being a pessimistic contrarian.

I never said it should have been perfectly even in foul shots, but the disparity was utterly unwarranted and not correct.

Posted by: rphilli721 | October 31, 2009 12:40 AM | Report abuse

...this could really ruin the integrity of the game and force Stern and the NBA to start all over.

Posted by: kman2 | October 31, 2009 12:31 AM | Report abuse

Like Donaghy's has any integrity?

Not to say the NBA isn't close to becoming the WWF or whatever they call it now.

Some of the NBA games are a joke, since (other than LA and Bos)nobody wants to play as a team.

It's all about "ME" and not about "US".

Wait isn't it OUR TIME around here?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | October 31, 2009 12:44 AM | Report abuse

Kman,

Don't know how much of it is true as he has an axe to grind and he is a convicted felon, but it does lend support to the conspiracy theories that have plagued the NBA for years. You don't get those kind of accusations leveled at the refereeing in any other sport. Maybe the usual bad calls, bad games, but not the overall consistent cries of favoritism and conspiracies. It's a problem that should be addressed somehow.

Posted by: rphilli721 | October 31, 2009 12:44 AM | Report abuse

While certainly the officiating played a role in this loss the Wiz were their own worst enemies. Lack of patience on offense, could not drop the free throws they were given and beaten to rebounds most of the night. Not to mention Nick Young could not throw it in the ocean tonight.

Even with that, no Butler or Jamison and they stayed close most of the night. I still found it engouraging, Blatche played well for a 2nd game and McGee made a nice impact. Tough loss but nothing to diminish the potential for the season. If Butler's knee becomes more than a bruise however...

Posted by: The_Shadow_Knows | October 31, 2009 12:58 AM | Report abuse

"lmao, now you got Michael Lee and BH debunking your theory of an evenly called game. I get it. You just like being a pessimistic contrarian.

I never said it should have been perfectly even in foul shots, but the disparity was utterly unwarranted and not correct.

Posted by: rphilli721 | October 31, 2009 12:40 AM | Report abuse "

And BTH is not supposed to have bias?

Please.

Yes, the NBA and Stern want the Hawks to win the championship this season...whatever.


Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 31, 2009 1:05 AM | Report abuse

"With the same amount of fouls but different trips to the FT line, that usually means most of the fouls on the Hawks were shooting fouls....Hawks were more aggressive."

Posted by: DC_MAN88

--------------
I'm not sure I agree with your conclusion about the Hawks being more agressive. I saw Gil, Miller and others take the ball to the rack only to come away with nothing, no call, no ball, NOTHING.
Are we to believe the Hawks are more skilled at separating man from ball when said man is taking said ball hard to the basket?

Posted by: Firuz1 | October 31, 2009 1:06 AM | Report abuse

I don't care if you don't believe me....read what Mike and BTH said:

"The Wizards also got hurt with a huge free throw disparity. The Hawks were 31 of 34 from the line, while the Wizards were just 14 of 22. You could say that the Hawks were more aggressive. "Some of it was them being aggressive and some of it was stuff I can't comment on," center Brendan Haywood said."

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 31, 2009 1:12 AM | Report abuse

I love how you cherry pick to support your stupid arguments. Never said he doesn't have a bias, but then again Michael Lee watched the same game as well and agrees. So, I guess everyone is wrong and has a bias, but you. You're flat out wrong! Deal with it!

And who said anything about the refs wanting the Hawks to win a championship? Arguing using obfuscation and diversion is completely unintelligent.

Nevermind the fact that BH did give a pretty impartial correct statement. "Some of it was them being aggressive, some of it I can't comment on." - sounds completely biased to me.

By the way, how did that Mavs game turnout? Now, THAT was a blowout! Lakers emptying the bench with 3 mins left in the game.

Posted by: rphilli721 | October 31, 2009 1:16 AM | Report abuse

I think they even suited up Jack there at the end.

Posted by: rphilli721 | October 31, 2009 1:18 AM | Report abuse

Oh well, so much for 82-0.

I said before the game that Atlanta's quickness and athleticism would create problems. They came out early attacking and playing at a faster pace and the Wiz had trouble keeping up. By the time the Wiz started to get things going in the right direction, they'd dug too big a hole to climb out of.

I love Mike Miller's unselfishness but (A) He has to start looking for his own shot more aggressively; with the team struggling offensively he has to get up more than 5 shots, and (B) someone really needs to tell him to stop throwing the ball to Haywood in heavy traffic in the lane or 15 feet from the basket for a jumpshot. Nothing good will come from that. (I love how hard Miller works on the boards, too.)

I could tell from his body language the first time he walked out onto the floor that Young was going to stink the joint up. He looked like the "D" math student being called up to the board to solve a complex equation in front of the class. He appears to be in need of constant confidence boosting and ego stroking, otherwise he hangs his head and pouts the second things don't go his way. I won't miss him when he's gone.

Some solid work by the bigs, overall.

Early on it looked like Haywood was reverting to form, taking bad rushed shots out of his range and pounding the air out of the ball on ill-fated post ups (it didn't help that Miller was encouraging him). But he did manage to get it together. It was a bit troubling, though, that he didn't grab his first rebound until midway through the 2nd quarter.

Blatche played pretty well. Numbers aren't really the thing with him, it's about how he approaches the game, and he seems to be playing with more focus and less nonsense so far. Hope he can keep it up.

I knew Flip couldn't keep McGee off the floor. As usual, he was an interesting mix of the spectacular and befuddling. Made some nice offensive finishing plays, blocked a couple of shots, and provided a much needed energy jolt. But he also gave up at least 2 or 3 easy buckets by being wildly out of position on defense and not covering where he was supposed to.

As for the FT disparity . . . that's what happens when one team is attacking from the beginning and the other one is settling for jumpshots. By the time the Wiz tried to go into attack mode in the second half, they were obviously trying to force contact to get back into the game. But if you force it too much too obviously, sometimes the refs won't give you the benefit of the doubt.

The Hawks are a good team that have always given the Wiz problems. Just shake this one off and move on to the next.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 31, 2009 1:52 AM | Report abuse

Nice analysis there Kal.

While I don't disagree that generally the Hawks were more aggressive, it was not to the point of justifying such a huge disparity in foul shots. There were more than a few fouls that should have been called on them against Arenas and others. Nobody was more aggressive on the court than Arenas. And, forced or not, he still blows by his man and gets by the second layer of defense about as good as any guard in the league. He just didn't get the calls.

Posted by: rphilli721 | October 31, 2009 2:10 AM | Report abuse

Did I watch a different game? Gil didn't get the calls AND he didn't finish. If you finish a couple first, then you start getting the and-1. Yes, I thought Gil was fouled -- I'm a Wiz fan too -- but the fouls were ticky-tack and Gil was never finishing above the rim. If you're expecting to get those calls it may be a long year. Gil will need to adjust, right?

BTW I thought the bigs played well. I was very pleased with the efforts and energy. Now if they could only learn where to move their feet on defense they would get a lot more in return for all the hard work. All the same, the interior defense showed a rare promise I have NEVER seen from the Wiz before. There were some playoff caliber moments mixed in there.

Posted by: EWE1 | October 31, 2009 5:12 AM | Report abuse

MM picked up his 2nd foul in the first and Flip subbed DS. That meant 3 non-scorers on the floor at the same time and the Wiz went cold. Flip did try NY, but he wasn't ready. From 10 up to 10 down in a breeze. That was the story of the game.

The Wiz should trade NY for a back-up point guard, move Foye to the 2, and use MM to back-up the 2 and 3.

Posted by: Izman | October 31, 2009 7:17 AM | Report abuse

So we won't win 82 games but so long as they play well, it's not too bad. Good to see AB being consistently for 1 games. We'll see if he can do it back-to-back tonight.

Posted by: tundey | October 31, 2009 7:22 AM | Report abuse

I agree with another poster. Wiz lost because they could not match Atlanta's athletism. Flip playing Oberto and Stevenson infront of McGee and Young. What a joke. He is killing these 2 young players. Everyone else play their young players. Atlanta ran away jumped over and around the Wiz. It'll get worse when AJ returns. Miller, Butler and Jamison are all a 3. We need a 2 to start. Foyer or Young. I feel sorry for Gil because he is playing very good. Oberto and Stevenson should never get off the bench. Wakeup Flip or NJ will do the same tonight.

Posted by: rnbrown4 | October 31, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Is Flip trying to blow out Gilbert's knee again? I don't see any other reason to play him 38 minutes on the front end of a back-to-back, in a game that was basically over midway through the four quarter. Why isn't Grunfeld insisting that his minutes be limited early in the season? It's insane to treat a $111 million investment this way, especially after he played a grand total of 15 games the last two seasons. If Gilbert goes down again with knee issues, I think I've watched my last Wizards game. Just too frustrating.

Posted by: nschei | October 31, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Did I watch a different game? Gil didn't get the calls AND he didn't finish. If you finish a couple first, then you start getting the and-1. Yes, I thought Gil was fouled -- I'm a Wiz fan too -- but the fouls were ticky-tack and Gil was never finishing above the rim. If you're expecting to get those calls it may be a long year. Gil will need to adjust, right?

BTW I thought the bigs played well. I was very pleased with the efforts and energy. Now if they could only learn where to move their feet on defense they would get a lot more in return for all the hard work. All the same, the interior defense showed a rare promise I have NEVER seen from the Wiz before. There were some playoff caliber moments mixed in there.

Posted by: EWE1 | October 31, 2009 5:12 AM | Report abuse
_____

Let me get this straight. So, it's not a foul unless he makes a couple of shots after getting fouled first. He's got to finish the play before any fouls are going to be called??? What??? NBA games would end 0-0 by your logic. Please.

@nschei

What are you flipping out about? If Gilbert's knee is healthy as it supposedly is then you play him. The game was not really over until about 4/5 mins left in the game and even then it was not over over. Look, you're paying the man 111 million dollars to play basketball and that's what he is doing. If his knee goes out, if goes out. Nothing you can do about it.

Posted by: rphilli721 | October 31, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

The Hawks came out from the tip with their heads down, charging the paint looking to get to the rim and drew contact in the process, thus they got the early calls. The Wiz came out shooting jumpers (including their big men) and didn't create contact in the flow of their offense. In the second half Arenas came out looking to correct that, but he was more focused on getting hit, creating contact and balancing the FT disparity than getting a quality shot off.

Was he fouled? Sure. But if the refs called every contact that could legitimately be termed a foul, the game would be stopped every 12 seconds. Contact in some circumstances under some conditions is more likely to draw the call than others. When an offensive player obviously initiates contact in an attempt to buy a foul (and at the expense of actually focusing on the rim), there's a good chance the refs won't buy the act and blow the whistle.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 31, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Just ask Brent Barry.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 31, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

gilbert looked like a SG forced to play PG tonight.

nick young has regressed.

our biggest issue is our interior scoring. unless our bigs have plays set up for them, you can mostly forget about points in the paint (although haywood will have his occasional layup).

Posted by: swishjobs | October 31, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

This team will win alot of games but they are still missing a post presence. Jamison has the best post moves on the team and second now belongs to Blatche. Either way neither of them is the PF we need to be a top tier team. I watched yesterday how we had no choice but to stick with a cold jump shooting team because there was no one who could get the ball in the paint and finish. Haywood is slow and all his moves take days to finish. Oberto is hustle but he cant do anything for himself. McGee is pretty much a throw me a lob guy. Flip kept Blatche out too long on that second quarter binge ATL went on. Without a functioning PF, this team will struggle all year when their jumpers arent falling.

Posted by: jrbell84 | October 31, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

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