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Hawks 113, Wizards 95

I know Gilbert Arenas and Mike Miller were both in their hotel rooms sick, but that didn't mean that the rest of the team didn't have to show up. The Wizards were understandably shorthanded without their starting backcourt and with Antawn Jamison sitting at the end of the bench and wearing a suede brown sport coat. But the team was out of this game before the start of the second period. It was mostly an eyesore the rest of the way, as the Hawks led by as many as 25.

"I told the guys afterward, I hope we got some conditioning, because from the standpoint of things that we worked on, there was no carryover," Coach Flip Saunders said. "The thing that was disappointing, I thought this was a good opportunity for some guys to step up and say, 'Here's what I can do.' And no one, I don't think anyone, really did that."

"As I told our guys, I don't determine who plays, they do," he said. "Depending on how you play, you can make my job easy. Based on tonight, they can make it easy."

Randy Foye got the start at point guard in place of Arenas and finished with 19 points and six assists, but it wasn't a performance that he will be really happy about. In the first seven minutes of the game, Foye had two turnovers and got his shot blocked by Al Horford. The offense never really seemed to be in sync. Caron Butler was extremely aggressive, as he scored 10 points on 5 of 9 shooting in the period, but the other starters --- DeShawn Stevenson, Andray Blatche and Brendan Haywood -- essentially sat around and watched Butler and Foye.

"I thought the first quarter, we never got into the flow," Saunders said. "The ball was sticking with too many people."

Foye had a nice lob to Haywood that brought the Wizards within 22-14, but the Hawks closed out the period with a 13-4 run and led 35-18. Foye is likely going to start the season as Arenas's primary backup at point guard, but last night, he appeared more comfortable when he was asked to score, not making decisions.

The Wizards got an offensive rebound with 29 seconds remaining in the third period and Saunders and the rest of his staff wanted the Wizards to run down the shot clock. They started shouting, "One! One!" Foye perhaps didn't hear them, since the shouts came from the other side of the floor. But Foye quickly took an ill-advised three-pointer with 22 seconds left and Saunders lowered his head. Saunders put Foye back for the start of the fourth quarter with Mike James playing point guard and Foye seemed to find his groove.

I asked Foye afterward which position he liked to play more. "I like playing both. I like point guard more," Foye said. "It's not too tough [balancing shooting and setting up teammates]. You got to get everybody flowing a little bit. You got to get guys like Caron going, got to get guys like Dray touches early on so they can get accustomed and when they start making shots, you can go back to them. But in this offense, it's always be aggressive first. If I come off a screen and I'm open at the foul line, I'm going to take it. It's all about making the right read."

Haywood, back after missing the past two games with an ankle injury, had seven points and 10 rebounds, but his presence may have backfired for the Wizards. The Hawks didn't have much interest in attacking the rim early as they just camped out and shot three-pointers. The Hawks made their first four three pointers and finished 8 of 14. "They was hitting threes, but at the end of the day, you want to force teams to beat you from the outside," Haywood said with a shrug. "But I felt all right. Wind didn't feel bad. I thought I'd feel a little winded, but I felt good, even though we lost."

Nick Young bounced back from his poor shooting performance the past two games to finish with 15 points on 5 of 11 shooting, but he was disappointed with his overall performance. Saunders pulled him aside a few times, after he missed a few defensive assignments and another time when the Wizards were on a two-on-one break and he ran to the three-point line. "We was missing some key players, so it was an opportunity for us young guys to get out and show we can step up, but things didn't go our way tonight," Young said. "I just need to be more aggressive, really and staying with the ball. It's learning things. I need to learn more."

The only person who seemed to be really into the game was Saunders. At the start of the fourth quarter, Fabricio Oberto was called for fouling former Maryland product Joe Smith. Saunders cursed, saying that the foul call was horse manure. He was immediately handed a technical foul. "If I got a tech every time I said that, I wouldn't coach a game in this league," Saunders said.

But Saunders provided more entertainment afterward. When Hawks guard Mo Evans missed the technical foul, Saunders channeled his inner Rasheed Wallace and shouted, "Ball don't lie!" The coaches on the bench chuckled.

Smith went up and missed the first free throw and Saunders shouted again, "Ball don't lie!" Smith missed the next free throw and Saunders shouted, "Ball really, really, really don't lie!" Sam Cassell nearly fell out of his chair.

Saunder said he hopes that his team can come with a stronger performance in Philadelphia, where they will again be without Jamison, Arenas and Miller.

"Gil's out. Mike's out. Antawn wasn't there. Right now, we're trying to find our way," Haywood said before joking, "Curse of the Wizards. Injuries and sickness always plague us."

By Michael Lee  |  October 19, 2009; 10:57 PM ET
 
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Comments

Wish the damn game had been on tv..

Posted by: dfresh58 | October 19, 2009 11:36 PM | Report abuse

I know Eddie is so glad he's out of here and doesn't have to deal with anymore "if we stay healthy we'll....

Posted by: ptp23 | October 19, 2009 11:40 PM | Report abuse

I wish JCrit hadda' been healthy.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | October 19, 2009 11:58 PM | Report abuse

Hate to predict it and I know it doesn't matter for pre-season but Sixers ae going to wallop the Wiz tomorrow.

Posted by: ptp23 | October 20, 2009 12:12 AM | Report abuse

It's going to hurt this team that the players have never played a single game together yet!

I believe it will end up costing the Wizards about 8 wins and that may make the difference between a 4th and a 6th seed.

You don't have to tell me I know nobody on here likes to hear the truth....you would rather think everything is great and this team will win 60 games and sweep every game of the playoffs and win a championship?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | October 20, 2009 12:28 AM | Report abuse

Is anyone else concerned that if you read up on Foye, his performance peaked when Kevin McHale took over as coach and moved him to shooting guard for Minnesota? It seems well-documented that he struggled at the 1. And his comments about preferring point guard aren't particularly comforting, because he's just trying to fit in, he knows that's where the most minutes are available, and he's in a contract year (restricted). He has the potential to break out for us and be a difference maker, but it'd be nice if we put him in the best position to do so.

Posted by: louis9 | October 20, 2009 12:52 AM | Report abuse

BulletsFan78,

The truth you speak of is like taking the safe bet in Vegas.

Sometimes 78, you just got to let it ride.

For this particular squad to even be in the conversation of potentially one of the top Teams in the East, you just got to let it ride.

Come on BulletsFan78, come with me, this time, this year, forget the safe bets in Vegas, Lets Let It Ride.

Who knows 78, we most definitely will some fun and we jus' mit' win something.

Lets go 78.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | October 20, 2009 12:53 AM | Report abuse

That "Ball don't lie" bit was hilarious. Good to see Flip has a sense of humor.

I said after the first (televised) game that Foye didn't look very comfortable running the point. I really think he'll be better served being out on the floor with another guy who can initiate the offense, be it Gilbert, Miller, or even Crittenton. Foye looks like a guy who needs to get his scoring going first in order to kick start the rest of his game up.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 20, 2009 1:02 AM | Report abuse

Louis9,

What you indicate about Foye would be correct. Close examination of him reveals that he is a two.

That is why I am bummed out that Crit has the ankle injury.

I am definitely of the opinion that Crit is going to be our best point behind Gilbert and not Foye.

This Team is a perfect match for a point like Crit. The UpTemPo attack style that Flip seems to be employing fits the style of Crit at the point moreso than Foye.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | October 20, 2009 1:04 AM | Report abuse

Aawwww....I wanted to watch Tuesday's game. No arenas/Jamison/Miller = no DVR time for the Wiz.

Posted by: Fontana1 | October 20, 2009 1:32 AM | Report abuse

Some Hawks fans were bragging about the win and saying to bring on Agent 0. They said he wouldnt have made much of a different tonight. They act like they didnt even realize that we were missing AJ & MM also. Some fans did and hesitated but most of there fans basically were talking about how they will be in the Elite group of the East this year and we are below them.


What I wanted to talk about though was one guy said, "we gave up 95 points to them without Gil, AJ, and MM? We will have to beat them 115-110 when the season starts".

I think that is something our fans have to think about. We scored 95 against a good defensive team on the road when we played pretty bad and were without 3 guys who make our O go. Dont overreact to tonights game

Posted by: dlts20 | October 20, 2009 2:02 AM | Report abuse

Wonder what D-Mac has done (or not done) toend up in Flip's doghouse! The reports from training camp were that he stood out, both for the little things he has done in the past (rebounding, perimeter defense, good B-ball IQ) as well as reliable mid-range jumpshot. However, other than the 2 non-roster players, Flip has given him the least run of any players. What's up with that?

Posted by: pk24 | October 20, 2009 6:21 AM | Report abuse

Quote: "Wonder what D-Mac has done (or not done) to end up in Flip's doghouse!"

Why would you write this after a game in which he scored no points and had no rebounds in 9 minutes of play?

Posted by: Izman | October 20, 2009 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Anybody have AB's line? Not even mentioned in the write up.

Now is the time some folks here say we're going to see that missing Jamison isnt a big deal since AB is such a better defender and almost as good on the boards.

So how'd he play in first chance to show us the new AB?

Posted by: divi3 | October 20, 2009 8:56 AM | Report abuse

AB had 8 points and 5 boards in 23 minutes. He also had the best plus/minus of the starters - which isn't saying much.

No one on the team played well.

Posted by: Izman | October 20, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Anybody have AB's line?
Posted by: divi3 | October 20, 2009 8:56 AM


http://www.nba.com/games/20091019/WASATL/boxscore.html

Posted by: prescrunk | October 20, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

thx for the link

7boards, 2blks, and just 1 foul for javale in 20mins of action...that's encouraging at least

Posted by: divi3 | October 20, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

It's going to hurt this team that the players have never played a single game together yet!

I believe it will end up costing the Wizards about 8 wins and that may make the difference between a 4th and a 6th seed.

You don't have to tell me I know nobody on here likes to hear the truth....you would rather think everything is great and this team will win 60 games and sweep every game of the playoffs and win a championship?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | October 20, 2009 12:28 AM | Report abuse

So your OPINIONS are the truth, and everyone else who posts here just wants to hear happy talk about how everything is great? What arrogant nonsense.

Posted by: rbpalmer | October 20, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

It is almost clear that the team need improvment before midseason is over.I agree with NY, he should be mad at himself,as a 3rd year pro, he should have used the opportunity to show what he has.

Posted by: gtefferra | October 20, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

rbpalmer
It's not arrogant when you're always right!

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | October 20, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

The Wiz don't have the players everyone think they have. The east got better and the Wiz didn't. The Wiz will be fighting for the last spot. It's going to be a long season.
Boston
Cleveland
Orlando
NJ
Philly
Detriot
Miami
Wiz

Posted by: rnbrown4 | October 20, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

"The east got better and the Wiz didn't."

They Wiz did get better. But, best case scenario (meaning everyone stays healthy) they improved on a team that, when last healthy, won 42 games and got swept in the second round. The Cavs, Magic, and Celtics improved on teams that, when last healthy, made it to the conference finals, made it to the NBA finals, and a won a title, respectively.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 20, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Nj is not a play off team. Not sure about Detroit, Miami either. One must consider Chicago and Indiana and Toronto. Making the playoffs will be a challenge fir the Wiz---no cake walk for defensively challenged teams. Good news is we will clear cap space next year. Maybe we can trade some young guys like Young and Blatche if they show no improvement and move up in the draft and get a real stud to go with the big three. While I like AJ, his no D approach would look better elsewhere.

Posted by: wizfanatic | October 20, 2009 6:42 PM | Report abuse

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