Mavericks (0-1) at Wizards (1-0)

Wizards starters: Gilbert Arenas, DeShawn Stevenson, Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison, Brendan Haywood.

Mavericks: Jason Kidd, Matt Carroll, Shawn Marion, Dirk Nowitzki, Drew Gooden

Line: Wizards by 1.5.

This is the only time this preseason that home fans can get a live look at the Wizards -- to see if Gilbert Arenas really is okay; if Brendan Haywood can protect the paint as he did two years ago; if DeShawn Stevenson's has recovered from his back injury; and if newcomers Randy Foye, Mike Miller and Fabricio Oberto really fit. The Wizards will finish out the preseason with road games in Toronto, Grand Rapids, Mich., Cleveland, Atlanta, Philadelphia and Chicago. A lot of people wonder why the Wizards are rarely home for the preseason. Well, they are always given the boot in October, so that the Verizon Center can host the international horse show.

Count Mavericks Coach Rick Carlisle among those who think that the Wizards should be taken seriously in the Eastern Conference. "With the coaching change, and a healthy Haywood, healthy Arenas, Foye, Miller. They got half a new team available to play. That's a big deal," Carlisle said. "I feel like they are one of the teams that's going to challenge in the East."

Carlisle has coached against Saunders for years and his Pacers lost to Saunders's Pistons in the conference semifinals in 2006. He said the Wizards will be difficult to guard and that teams should sleep on Saunders's defense at their own peril. "Flip's a terrific defensive coach," he said. "Guys who are exceptionally good at offensive strategies are labeled as offensive coaches. But look at his teams in Detroit -- they were tops in the league defensive stats. They are going to be a good overall team. Offense, defense. They added a lot of shooting, which makes them even more dangerous. They are going to be a load to play."

Saunders plans on using Arenas for just 10 minutes on Friday. "I think with Gil, my thing is going in, playing in 10 minutes and that's pretty much it. If he feels pretty good about where he's at, then come back a little bit," Saunders said. "If he doesn't come back it doesn't mean, 'Oh somethings wrong with Gil.' Looking back, after he had seven assists in the first quarter, we probably should've shut him down. His line would've been even better."

Saunders said he plans on using Mike James tonight after James got a DNP-CD on Tuesday. "Can't play all 15 of them," he said.

Saunders wasn't feeling overly sentimental about making his exhibition home debut with the Wizards. "It's a preseason game," he said with a shrug. "When you've coached 1,000 games ... I'm interested in seeing some carryover from Richmond and some of the good things we did against Memphis and improving some of the areas we didn't do well."

Stevenson gets the start at shooting guard tonight. On his way out of the locker room after the team shootaround this morning, Stevenson was spotted wearing a bright yellow Pittsburgh Pirates hat and a pair of matching SpongeBob SquarePants slippers.

The Dakota Wizards, the NBADL affiliate for the Washington Wizards, will conduct open tryouts for their team at Verizon Center on Saturday and Sunday. Registration begins at 12:45 p.m. and the tryouts will be split into three sessions -- two on Saturday (at 1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.) and on Sunday (at 1:30 p.m.). The Wizards can bring up to 17 players to camp. The open tryouts have worked out in the past. New York Knicks training camp participant Ron Howard made a D-League team two years after showing up.

Wizards co-owner Irene Pollin is hosting the "Sister to Sister's Bike For The Heart" event at Verizon Center on Sunday. The fundraiser begins at 8 a.m. and will raise awareness for heart disease, which is the No. 1 cause of death for women in the U.S. Mayor Adrian Fenty will serve as the chair of the event, which includes a five-mile ride for families past the Capitol and the White House, an arena "spin-a-thon" on stationary bikes inside the arena and five-mile time trial around the city. Registration is available at www.bikefortheheart.org.

By Michael Lee |  October 9, 2009; 6:32 PM ET
Previous: Morning Buzz | Next: Mavericks 123, Wizards 115

Comments

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"Carlisle has coached against Saunders for years and his Pacers lost to Saunders's Pistons in the conference semifinals in 2006. He said the Wizards will be difficult to guard and that teams should sleep on Saunders's defense at their own peril."

Let 'em sleep on this team. 'Cause if/when the Wizards blow up this year and start taking it to folks around the league things will never be the same.

Posted by: jcbcmb68 | October 9, 2009 6:51 PM

dray's jumper looks like buttah...gil is in facillitator mode...same 1-on-1 offense from CB3...same 'ol jamison

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | October 9, 2009 7:55 PM

So yeah, about that defense...

Posted by: bryc3 | October 9, 2009 8:42 PM

Is it me or is Randy Foye a dead ringer for Nick Van Exel?

Posted by: Predator48 | October 9, 2009 9:34 PM

Is it me or is Randy Foye a dead ringer for Nick Van Exel?

Posted by: Predator48 | October 9, 2009 9:34 PM

It's you...

Posted by: mohammed10 | October 9, 2009 9:44 PM

The Wiz shot better from the field (53% vs 47%), but lost it from the free frow line shooting 26 for 42 (62%), while the Mavs shot 37 for 43 (86%).

The Wiz also outrebounded the Mavs 45 to 39.

Posted by: cannontl | October 9, 2009 10:02 PM

Yeah like I said the other day free throws are gonna haunt this team all season long PAGING Dave Hoopla Mr.Hoopla see Mr.Saunders as soon as possible, Brilliant move by the GM LMAO!!!

Posted by: dargregmag | October 9, 2009 10:32 PM

That was interesting. I'd say that Arenas and the Wiz are operating on 5 cylinders, but the tune-up is in process.

I didn't see anything from DS in the starting rotation.

Foye, Miller and Oberto didn't show me much. James is useless.

Blatche looks better this year. McGee is getting a lot of trash talk, but he played better than Oberto. NY was okay, nothing special.

Let's hope we see Miller in the starting rotation next game. Also, I'd like to see a rendition of the 4th quarter squad play a lot in the second quarter.

Hopefully this game will motivate the team to focus on defense.

Posted by: Izman | October 9, 2009 10:49 PM

It's so enchouraging to see Gil moves the way he does. Too many TOs in the 2nd half though.

Hope Haywood's injury is not serious. When he went down the defnese suffered. BTW, do we need to hire that shooting coach back? 0 for 6 FT%!

McGee has tons of talent, only if he knows how to play defense.

Posted by: sagaliba | October 9, 2009 11:08 PM

Okay, I thought there were some encouraging signs, particularly Gil's third quarter, and I think Miller will be a great addition. Caron looks really good as well. However, there isn't single player on this squad who can play the post. Well, there is, but he likes to float around the perimeter. This is a problem b/c the an effective post player is the guy you go to when you need a bucket. Instead, this squad, I am afraid, will run hot and cold, as it will rely to heavily on jumpers.

Posted by: ZardsFan1 | October 9, 2009 11:22 PM

Everything I saw tonight was what I expected.

Les BouleS still rely a lot of jacking up long J's and making one on one drives from the 3 pt line.

Gilby scored 9 assists, but after watching him play, don't mistake him for a set up/dribble drive guy like CP, Nash, or JKidd.

Gilby racked up most of his assists by waiting at the 3 pt line and watching guys run through screens for a J. There were some assists that came from his drive and kick out to an open man out by the line.

Gilby seemed to me as at least a step slow and he had 5 turnovers. Also, he didn't play too much D.

I think Gilby can do more than he did tonight, but it all depends.

The lost tonight was pretty much a blowout despite the close score which resulted from garbage buckets at the end.

MeTawn again got his stats with the loss.

Umberto showed me nothing.

Eminem with his bull in china shop defense/rebounding.

Blah...

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 9, 2009 11:45 PM

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