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Morning brew, weekend edition

Alexa Steele, our NBA editor, pointed out that I failed to introduce myself in my first Morning brew post following Tuesday's season opener. So by way of introduction, I'm Ed Guzman, the night NBA editor. I'm an L.A. native and I've been at the Post for nearly four years after working previously at The New York Times and The Oregonian in Portland. I'll be contributing here on occasion throughout the season to give Alexa and Michael Lee a hand.

Now, on to more important matters...

As Mr. Lee said in his postgame thoughts, we can put the undefeated season talk to rest. After a promising start by the Wizards Friday night, things fell apart quickly and the Hawks pulled away for the 100-89 victory.

Of much larger concern is the status of Caron Butler, who only played 17 minutes and missed the entire second half because of a bruised left knee. His status for Saturday's home opener remains in doubt.

In case you want to relive this game, here are the highlights courtesy of NBA.com:

The Washington Times went with the quick unravel/injury to Butler angle. The Atlanta Journal Constitution focused on the balanced efforts of the Hawks, who improved to 2-0. And Truth About It went with some quick thoughts following the game, including anointing Mike Miller the "Blond Fundamental."

League wide, we had 13 games on Friday night and there were plenty of notable performances...

*The Cavaliers finally got in the win column, knocking off the Timberwolves, 104-87.

*The Celtics made sure their game with the Bulls was not even remotely as good as any of the ones they played in their first-round series last spring, blowing out Chicago, 118-90.

*The Bobcats managed to blow a gigantic lead against the Knicks at home before pulling out a 102-100 win in double overtime.

*Remember that Mavericks team the Wizards handled earlier this week? They took it to the defending champion Lakers on their court, 94-80. Dirk Nowitzki had 21 points and 10 rebounds to lead Dallas. Kobe Bryant scored 20 points but his team was without Pau Gasol.

*Steve Nash, who comes to Verizon Center on Nov. 8, had 20 assists in the Suns' 123-101 win over Golden State.

And finally...

We saw this on Yahoo Sports' Ball Don't Lie blog. A fabulous tribute to a classic McDonald's commercial.

By Ed Guzman  |  October 31, 2009; 2:39 AM ET
 
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Next: Picture this: You in a Halloween costume

Comments

First!

Posted by: MeviousMan | October 31, 2009 2:58 AM | Report abuse

Where is everyone? Three O'clock is too early or too late?

Posted by: MeviousMan | October 31, 2009 3:01 AM | Report abuse

Well anyway, I hope we never have to play Atlanta in the playoffs. Those guys swarm all over the place. They go full tilt all the time like a bunch of maniacs. It's impossible to play a real basketball game with them, as ridiculous as that sounds.

Bottom line --- they are bad news. I wish them on someone else in the playoffs.

Posted by: MeviousMan | October 31, 2009 3:07 AM | Report abuse

Until the Wizards prove otherwise, you might as well put Orlando and Miami in that category of Atlanta and hoping to not meet them in the playoffs. From what I have seen so far, there is no way this Wizard's team has 50 wins in them. In fact, they remind me another Washington veteran laden team that is too prone to the injury factor. For example, take Butler and Jamison out, then you got an over-taxed and rusty Arenas that is just coming back from major injuries trying to do too much with very little support (scoring wise). It will be a major victory just to make the playoff this year! Forget the 50 win season and being in the elite category delusions! There are just too many good and young teams out there right now!

Posted by: JohnWWW | October 31, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

The Wizards are a slightly above average team (average = .500), which mean they are going to lose almost as many games as they win.

The people on here who blindly follow the organization will always see things the organizations way and will never place blame where it belongs (they just aren't that good)versus saying it's the refs, bad luck, and/or injuries. CB gets hurt every year so please save the sad stories for another day.

I stated (before the season even started) that I agreed with Mike’s assessment of the team (46 wins)and thought they would have trouble with team chemistry early on.

I see this team for what it is…a point guard (Gil) who plays like the me first master AI, a shooting guard Foye and/or MM who will never be able to guard a shooting guards like Kobe, a small forward who was born in a shooting guards body, a power forward who plays soft, and an average center. The bench is going to be good some nights and bad some nights but never consistent.

The best we can hope for is the Wizards make the playoffs and Abe gets the 3 million he spent this year to go over the luxury cap?


Posted by: bulletsfan78 | October 31, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Wizards was doing great and lost the momentum with several turnovers, and Atlanta capitalized on them. Refs allowed Hawks to use a lot of hands in defending, striping the ball, etc. (that's way TOs is so high) and also Arenas simply cannot draw any whistle. I feel that Areans should realize the situation (that he is not drawing foulfs) and try to dish off instead of going hard to the baskte. At that point Wizards seem lost; by the time they are rady to recoop, they lost Butler and filled in with Young, who shot 0 for 8 for the night, and was out of position on both ends several times.

I am not giving up on this team yet. Sure, Hawks have different players and play a different style. But I am not convivnced that Wizards cannot win a 7 game series against them.

Most pressing concern is, how bad is Butler's injury? Note to Butler, please Caron, if you want to dive on the floor, wear those kneepads like volleyball players do.

Posted by: sagaliba | October 31, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

It seems pretty obvious that the Wiz can be a 50 win team IF HEALTHY. You cannot discount the importance of having your 2nd and 3rd best players out for the majority of the game. Just see the Lakers as an example. Without Gasol, they are a 2nd round playoff team at best. These players matter in the W and L column, especially on the road. The team when healthy can score and will be able to tailor matchups to whichever team they may face. Having Caron to matchup against Williams means that MM can face Johnson and Jamison will be matched up against Horford. (Tough matchup both ways- but AJ can bring Horford out away from the basket, thus helping negate his rebounding presence on defense) As far a the benches are concerned that would be the real advantage as you'd have Foye, AB, Deshawn and Oberto there. This team will probably start somewhat slow, but if they can regain their health by the 2nd half of the season, can make a run. Be patient...

Posted by: dabwilldo40 | October 31, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

One game out of 82. Nothing to get rattled about. We lost! We did some good things and some bad things. Did anyone think we were going to go 82-0? We lost to a quality team on the road. Atlanta is for real, and Crawford will be their X factor.

In the meantime, some observations of the game. I thought Gil tried to force too much, and MM, as fundamentally sound as he is, doesn't seem to be smart enough to know when he needs to try to take over a game. I believe he took 5 shots all game. As great a shooter as he is, he needs to shoot more.

Defensively, they looked horrid at times, pretty good at others. Still a work in progress.

All in all, we're going to be alright. No need to get too high (Dallas) or too low. Season's just starting.

Posted by: bpybay | October 31, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

246 posts after the Dallas win and just 84 after the Atl loss?

What's up with that....did reality set in for a few of you?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | October 31, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

The fact that you actually counted the posts says a lot more about you then it does about the prospects for the Wizards season.

Two starters out and the Wiz lose on the road against a healthy, athletic team and we are supposed to hit the panic button...no thanks.

Posted by: The_Shadow_Knows | October 31, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

DC_MAN88

The "Creampuffs" beat the defending champion Lakers last night.

Your calling the Mavs soft and with an over-the-hill PG (who spent a considerable amount of time guarding Kobe, BTW) to support your "weak argument" didn't work out too well, did it?

I reasonably conclude (actually, restate)that the Wiz opened their season with a quality win against a quality team.

Posted by: Firuz1 | October 31, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

The fact that you actually counted the posts says a lot more about you then it does about the prospects for the Wizards season.

Two starters out and the Wiz lose on the road against a healthy, athletic team and we are supposed to hit the panic button...no thanks.

Posted by: The_Shadow_Knows | October 31, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse
_____

The same dunderheads that chided everyone's optimism after the first game ("it's only one game" or the Mavs are "creampuffs") are delighting in one road loss against a tough team with two starters out instead of one. Go figure! Not even sure why they waste so much time talking about and watching a team they supposedly despise so much. And the hypocrisy is beyond belief. Politicians are less obviously hypocritical.

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

I don't know that you need to know much more than what the Post staff already pointed out: one team got 34 FTs and hit 91.2% of them, while the other team shot 22 and hit 63.6%.

Atlanta got twelve more foul shots, that is, even though they committed one more personal foul than the Wiz.

Atlanta shot 41% from the field. Washington shot 44.3% and hit 3 more FGs than the Hawks.

Posted by: Samson151 | October 31, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Dunderhead.

Posted by: WilliamCarr | October 31, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

I don't know that you need to know much more than what the Post staff already pointed out: one team got 34 FTs and hit 91.2% of them, while the other team shot 22 and hit 63.6%.

Atlanta got twelve more foul shots, that is, even though they committed one more personal foul than the Wiz.

Atlanta shot 41% from the field. Washington shot 44.3% and hit 3 more FGs than the Hawks.

Posted by: Samson151 |

Careful, Samson151. The pessimistic contrarians will accuse you of not recognizing a "blowout" loss when you see one.

Posted by: Firuz1 | October 31, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

The fact that you actually counted the posts says a lot more about you then it does about the prospects for the Wizards season.

Two starters out and the Wiz lose on the road against a healthy, athletic team and we are supposed to hit the panic button...no thanks.

Posted by: The_Shadow_Knows | October 31, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

The_Shadow_Knows

At the bottom of each post the list how many comments there were. It took about 2 seconds and I even did the math in my head.

But it looks like a lot of people who crowned the team NBA champs after the Mavs win realized maybe they were wrong.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | October 31, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

"I don't know that you need to know much more than what the Post staff already pointed out: one team got 34 FTs and hit 91.2% of them, while the other team shot 22 and hit 63.6%."

Which raises a point that I don't think has been touched on much.

Everyone is up in arms about the disparity in the number of FTs taken, but not much has been said about the fact that the Wizards failed to take full advantage of the FTs they got.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 31, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

I agree with kalorama on the bad free throw shooting by the Wizards. But if they had done better, would have accounted for 5-6 pts not enough to win.

Also bad was rebounding. Mcguire might have been better battling the athletic Hawks for rebounds. Don't know that he could have helped offense.

Posted by: rickgonz | October 31, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

I love Mike Miller's game, but he needs to recognize that when he is on the floor with Brendan and Fabricio, he is our third scorer, and therefore needs to be more aggressive offensively (i.e., shoot the damn ball when you're open). I'm not necessarily saying he should be a black hole, and certainly he has been facilitating very well, but he should pick his spots to look for his own offense. Against Atlanta, we were not hitting our open shots, and that shot he hit in the fourth quarter (I believe the only shot he took in the quarter) was pure butter. That should have motivated him to look for his shot at that point. In short, we need him to be more aggressive offensively. He needs to find the right balance.

Posted by: bpybay | October 31, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

One game in the NBA doesn't mean much, however if we are to choose one of the two games to draw conclusions from, why not the Dallas game?
That said inefficient free throw shooting certainly hurt the Wizards. Execution is imperative against an athletic team like Atlanta; they were able to score off 2nd and 3rd offensive boards on a few possessions that also kept Washington from making a game of it in the second half.
Washington's ball movement and movement without the ball was not particularly effective either; only two games but Miller has struggled to get good 3 point looks so far for a guy who should be taking some threes each game.
Arena's assists were down, understandable with Jamison and then Butler out and 2 years of rust to shake off and new personnel to get used to.

Posted by: midlevex | October 31, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Looking at FT% from last season, appears that Atlanta was at 73% at home. The Wiz seem to have shot a few points higher. So that 91.2% last evening was anomalous.

Maybe the spirits of Mark Price, Rick Barry, and Calvin Murphy really did inhabit the Hawks at the stripe.

Posted by: Samson151 | October 31, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

"Looking at FT% from last season, appears that Atlanta was at 73% at home. The Wiz seem to have shot a few points higher. So that 91.2% last evening was anomalous."

So if the Hawks had shot their usual 73% they would have been about 25 instead of 31 for 34. A six point swing would have made the game more competitive, particularly if the Wiz had shot FT's at 73% instead of 63%.

Posted by: midlevex | October 31, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

"I agree with kalorama on the bad free throw shooting by the Wizards. But if they had done better, would have accounted for 5-6 pts not enough to win."

Doesn't work that way.

A basketball game is a series of events that flow from one to the other in a connected chain. Alter one of the events in the series and you alter all of the others that come after it.

For instance:

How many of the Wizards' missed FTs were rebounded by the Hawks and quickly advanced up the floor (either by the dribble or pass) for easy points and/or Wizards fouls? How many times did a Wiz player commit a loose ball foul trying to rebound one of their own misses, putting the Hawk on the line or closer to the penalty? Either of those scenarios results in 1 point the Wizards don't get and 1 to 3 points that the Hawks do. If the Wiz make their free throws, they not only get points themselves but take away opportunities for the Hawks to score quickly/easily. Made FTs also give the shooting team an opportunity to set up their defense at the other end, making it tougher for the Hawks to score.

Not saying that a couple of more made FTs would have guaranteed a win for the Wiz, but it could have altered the sequence of events just enough to make a difference.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 31, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Or, on a more basic level:

The Hawks are a team that thrives on the fast break. Fastbreaks lead to quick scores. It's easier to fastbreak off missed FTs than made ones. The more FTs a team makes, the fewer opportunities it gives the opponent to fastbreak off defensive rebounds.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 31, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

At the bottom of each post the list how many comments there were. It took about 2 seconds and I even did the math in my head.

But it looks like a lot of people who crowned the team NBA champs after the Mavs win realized maybe they were wrong.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | October 31, 2009 2:53 PM

Maybe you have time to go check on this... guessing the number of folks who posted after the Wiz/Dallas game that the Wiz will be NBA champs is likely equal or less than the number who believe, or hope, the Wiz will be as bad or worse than last year...pretty much you and DCMAN.

Like others who have noted this, I don't understand what the value add is to your existence to follow an organization which you clearly dislike. Personally, I face lots of challenges in life and try to remove anything negative which I have control over. Life is short, why waste your time on this?

Posted by: The_Shadow_Knows | October 31, 2009 6:02 PM | Report abuse

I actually banned myself from this blog a little over half way through last year as I simply did not have anything positive to contribute. New coach whom I respect, nice off-season moves, and a healthy Gil has reset my clock and I am again enjoying following this team. If I did not I would find something else to vest my time on.

Posted by: The_Shadow_Knows | October 31, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse

"A basketball game is a series of events that flow from one to the other in a connected chain. Alter one of the events in the series and you alter all of the others that come after it."

The Butterfly Theory applied to basketball. I'll buy it.

Posted by: midlevex | October 31, 2009 6:52 PM | Report abuse

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