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Wizards 102, Mavericks 91

After a game like that, it's really hard to pinpoint who was most responsible in leading the Wizards to victory in the first game of the Flip Saunders era. It's easy to credit Gilbert Arenas, who had 29 points and 9 assists in his first season opener in two years. Or Andray Blatche, who had 20 points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots.

But it would be difficult to ignore Brendan Haywood, who scored seven of the Wizards' first 15 points. Or Caron Butler, who had 16 points, eight rebounds and two blocks and held Shawn Marion scoreless in the second and third period.

You'd have a hard time leaving out Fabricio Oberto, who scored just five points with three rebounds, but frustrated Dallas all-star forward Dirk Nowitzki and contributed to him missing 15 of his 25 field goal attempts. Or Randy Foye, who came off the bench to score 19 points and shared the fourth-quarter scoring load with Arenas.

And while DeShawn Stevenson went scoreless, it was impossible to ignore his defense on reigning sixth man of the year, Jason Terry, who missed 11 of his 15 shots from the floor. And finally, you had Mike Miller, who scored just six points, but added eight rebounds and nailed a huge fourth quarter three-pointer to give the Wizards a 10-point lead.

The contributions came from all over, and they really had to, with Antawn Jamison sidelined with a dislocated right shoulder and out for a few weeks, and being on the road in one of the most difficult buildings in the NBA. Scoring also stands out, but the stats that really were impressive were the ones posted by Oberto, Foye and Miller, whose plus-minus ratios were off the charts. Oberto was a plus-15 in just 17 minutes. Foye was a plus-16 and Miller was a plus-12, meaning that the box score doesn't always tell you how a player can be a factor in a victory.

But the one area that truly led to the Wizards' victory on Tuesday was that they held the Mavericks to just 39.5 percent shooting for the entire game. Arenas was asked afterward which team was most responsible for the Mavericks' poor offensive output.

"Might as well take credit for the defense," Arenas said. "You guys [reporters] have been kicking us in the [butt] saying we don't play it. We did a great job. If we had kept Dirk off the free throw line, we could've blown the game out earlier, but like a superstar, he kept them in until the end."

Nowitzki had a game-high 34 points, but he got 12 of them from the foul line. "I don't know how many times I've said this team has won cause of their defense or grinding it out, but that's what they did tonight," Saunders said.

Butler was a classic example of that grit. He got torched in the first seven minutes of the game, as Marion scored six points to help Dallas build an early 15-9 lead. But Butler responded with more pressure, and forced Marion into missing his next five shots in the second and third period, when the Wizards started to get some separation. "He really keyed us defensively," Saunders said about Butler, whom he called, "Mr. Steady."

"I thought that Marion got some buckets, but he didn't get all of them on Caron. I thought Caron fought him and did a nice job," Saunders said.

Butler credited Saunders for keeping him focused on defense. "Coach challenged me, he said, 'Continue to stay aggressive on the defensive end and remember what I said, that's your challenge on the defensive end, and I take it personally.' "

Funny thing was, after the game, Saunders praised almost every player on the floor and didn't mention Arenas until his name was brought up by reporters. Arenas really looked good. His knee hasn't been a worry since the preseason started. How he played in the preseason was a concern. But on Tuesday night, Arenas proved he had just been toying around for the real games.

He picked the right time to pass and the right time to score, taking advantage of the Mavericks' poor pick-and-roll defense and Jose Barea (why he guarded Arenas most of the night, I have no idea) to get to the basket whenever he pleased. At times he was a bit too aggressive, especially in the third quarter when he unwisely tried to go on a one-on-one battle with Nowitzki. But he settled down in the fourth and went in for the kill.

"Well, what's there to say about him? I think he did his talking on the floor tonight," Saunders said with a laugh. "Gil showed glimpses of why he's got that unbelievable burst of speed and his ability to weave through people and score at the rim. I thought he ran our offense great as far as getting the ball to people. He had 29 and nine tonight. So, I think that anyone that had any questions about where he's at ... he's just going to continue to get better."

By Michael Lee  |  October 28, 2009; 1:41 AM ET
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Next: Morning brew


The Wizards are back baby! Beating the one of the elite teams not only in the west but in the entire NBA. And the greatest thing about this, is that we did it all without Antawn. So imagine our squad with him. 2009-10 champs BABYYY

Posted by: mbrothsc | October 28, 2009 1:58 AM | Report abuse

I would say it is "tooooo early" to say (2009-10 champs). But i will say this. I was really impressed by the way how they handled this good Mavericks team. I am looking forward to this season and i believe its going to be a great ride(champs or not).

Posted by: beede81 | October 28, 2009 2:19 AM | Report abuse

If you want to crown their azz crown their azz! lol

Jumping the gun a little, but the first game could have not been much better.

Posted by: rphilli721 | October 28, 2009 3:20 AM | Report abuse

1/82 way through the season

1/19th of our wins last season


Posted by: bullets8890 | October 28, 2009 4:16 AM | Report abuse

Why not many posts yet?

Oh yeah ... because most fans on this blog only like posting negative stuff about the Wiz.

Where is DCman? Lol. I wonder how long he will last this season.

Posted by: arenasmvp | October 28, 2009 4:54 AM | Report abuse

Nice game, fellas.

Posted by: Samson151 | October 28, 2009 5:33 AM | Report abuse

Fanastic win. Wiz led ALL thru the 2nd Half. Now just need to sustain this energy and effort. Where is DCMAN_88?

Posted by: sean_mac | October 28, 2009 5:38 AM | Report abuse

Poll to the right

Vote for the Wiz-Cavs game to appear on NBATV on November 3rd!

Right now the Lakers-Thunder game is ahead ... WTF?! That will not even be a good game. It is only winning because of the tremendous LA fanbase.

Spread the word.

Posted by: arenasmvp | October 28, 2009 6:00 AM | Report abuse

It sure is nice being able to watch not one, but two PROFESSIONAL sports franchises (Wiz & Caps) last night! What are the chances the Oompa-Loompa in Ashburn watched?

Posted by: Satiate | October 28, 2009 6:28 AM | Report abuse

Gosh, I really hope they keep this up. After watching last night's game, they've set the bar really, really high. I thought there was absolutely no way we would win... Anyone hear the stat Glen Consor mentioned during the broadcast? Dallas was 100-19 at home since the 2000-01 season. That's crazy.

Posted by: rachel216 | October 28, 2009 6:32 AM | Report abuse

I will take the limited rotation as a respect to the opner.AB had a perfect nigt.
Washington can play to the next level, to the level boston did last night but they still need more depth in the front, EG need to start to look for one as off now.
Please do not under mine oberto he is a clasic defender won a shampionship multiple times, if we are going to be close to that he will be one of the contributers.If flip wants the defense to continue, he need more bodies on the rotation. No need to burn few bodies.

Posted by: gtefferra | October 28, 2009 6:34 AM | Report abuse


Ummm..not have your coffee yet? Want to make sense next time. Tired of all the negative bs in these threads especially after a great opening win. Wake up and smell your coffee.


I agree with your sentiments and Dallas is tough at home, but a 100-19 record since the 2001 season makes no sense whatsoever. They play 41 games a year at home x 8 seasons. Do the math.

Posted by: rphilli721 | October 28, 2009 6:44 AM | Report abuse

Well then, 100-19 since 2005. Simple math.

Posted by: charley42 | October 28, 2009 6:58 AM | Report abuse

In the post game thread last night, there was a discussion Foye being better at 2 than 1, and about Javaris, and someone commented that he "is a career backup" and that his shot is a liability.

I'd like to point out that (a) we aren't talking about making him a starter in this discussion---so backup is not really an insult in this context; (b) it seems to me that he defends well, has great size for a PG, attacks the basket, and (most importantly) can distribute the ball and run the offense. Foye seems to have a scorer's mentality. Let him play 2. (He was great last night, btw, but better at 2 than 1.)

Finally, about Javaris---he is YOUNG still. Yes, he's been on three teams, but I suspect he will eventually be a starter in this league. The league is full of guys who improve their shooting, but even with that being poor now, if he runs the offense well, and is on the floor (for example) with Foye/Miller at 2, Butler/Miller at 3, Jamision/Blatche at 4, and Haywood/Oberto/McGee at 5, he doesn't NEED to score a ton to be effective. He just needs to make good decisions with the ball, and be his normal threat to drive.

Posted by: psdfx | October 28, 2009 7:02 AM | Report abuse

...I didnt realize what Foye can do. Very nice 4th quarter action. He will be good for GA's head. AB looks very focused. I loved the moves Flip made at the end of the that is coaching. I cant remember the last time the Wiz held a lead late and closed it out against a quality team. Renewed confidence...hope this becomes habitual.

Posted by: oddjob1 | October 28, 2009 7:06 AM | Report abuse

I said it 2 weeks ago and I'll say it again....
We are a better team with AB starting than we are with AJ. It's our dirty little secret that no one seems to want to admit but AB is better defensively and just as talented on offense. He's also a better passer than AJ. As long as he keeps rebounding and defending like he did last night, it's an upgrade.
Two...Gil needs to score 25 still for us to be at our best. This notion that we're better off with him at 19ppg, 10apg is crap. He's our superstar and his thing is scoring so he should score. I can't see him getting 29 and 9 every night but I can see 25-28ppg and 7/8 apg for the year easily.

After watching Marion light us up in the preseason, I had doubts about CB's defense but he did a GREAT job. BTH did what he does best...take up space and dunk when close.
Just imagine how good we could be if our 2 most athletically talented players (NY and JM) come around. This team could be really special.

Posted by: original_mark | October 28, 2009 7:15 AM | Report abuse


If you want to make up a year to fit the numbers and hope it is correct, be my guest. I did not hear that stat so I don't know. I do know that what was written makes no sense, but thanks for playing along.


As I pointed out to Kal as well, there is no evidence as of yet that JC would run this offense any better as a backup PG than Foye can. None. Zip. You're making assumptions that may or may not be true. It is true they have different skill sets and I, for one, am a big fan of Foye's at the moment. It's a long season and a lot can change, but I doubt JC plays much at all this season. And, if Saunders thought he was a better fit in said role, don't you think he would get those mins? I guess now I am making assumptions, but based on the situation probably correct ones.

Posted by: rphilli721 | October 28, 2009 7:26 AM | Report abuse

Please release Stevenson.

Posted by: SWA69 | October 28, 2009 7:30 AM | Report abuse


While the notion of AJ not being starting material at PF on a real contender has always intrigued me (and I like AJ), to say AB is "just as" talented offensively as AJ is absurd. To say he is better defensively than AJ, well that is hardly a ringing endorsement. Plus, it's one game. Blatche has teased in the past and then gone MIA for large chunks of the schedule, which is what you seem to not appreciate about AJ. He does his thing game after game after game. It's called being a true professional. Nice start to the season for Blatche though!

By the way, Blatche did not start, but played starters mins thanks to a couple of ticky tack foul calls on Oberto in game 1 for the real refs.

What is your over/under on how many points Blatche scores in the next game??? I got under 13, but we still win.

Posted by: rphilli721 | October 28, 2009 7:43 AM | Report abuse

What's not to like about that one, naysayers?

Posted by: khrabb | October 28, 2009 7:43 AM | Report abuse

Until Blatche plays like this for 2 WEEKS straight...I don't wanna hear anything about benching Jamison. Blatche is way too inconsistent.

Foye IS better at the 2. He's a better scorer. He struggles with getting himself going and getting others going when playing the 1. He's said as much himself. He's a scorer, that's what he does best. Get him open shots and let him go. It's much more difficult to get 4 other people AND yourself going.

Critter is a pure PG...with PG skills. It's what he does. He would be better suited to get Foye the ball and let him do the scoring. A Crittetnton, Foye, Miller, Blatche and Oberto 2nd unit (when AJ comes back) is still extremely balanced and talented.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | October 28, 2009 7:50 AM | Report abuse

Great win though...I can't believe people are saying the Mavericks are a creampuff team that we're supposed to beat all of a sudden. Quality win against a quality team.

I can't wait for Saturday night.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | October 28, 2009 8:00 AM | Report abuse

Nice way to start the season. AB delivering is good, and his self assessment that "consistency" is what he needs to deliver is even better. The Wiz beat a very good team in their home opener. Gil looked great...fantastic even. It was a nice team win. Only one game, but in past years when they have started slower we had to wait to see them play good basketball. It is refreshing that Flip had them playing this well, together, for game one of the season.

Doesn't stop the hurt over the Redskins, but I am willing to take a few of the dollars I would have spent on the skins and spend them on the Wiz instead.

Regards -


Posted by: HughGRection | October 28, 2009 8:05 AM | Report abuse

...and when was the last time we had this type of depth that delivers? We have to go back beyond the Webber/Howard teams.

Not saying the Wiz will be the champs of the conspiracy called the NBA. Boston has improved and the games against the Cavs will be better litmus tests.

Posted by: HughGRection | October 28, 2009 8:09 AM | Report abuse

I dont think it's absurd to believe that AB is as talented offensively as AJ? They score in different ways but AB is a very capable scorer. Granted, AJ has proven to be able to drop 20ppg and AB has not...yet.
But (and this is a big BUT) AB has never been in a position where he is expected to score and not required to play defense. Over the course of his career, AJ has been playing on one half of the court basically. In GS, he ran and gunned. In Dallas, he was shooting off the bench. Here, we see what he's been doing. He's a master at the unorthodox when it comes to scoring and is a very good 3 point threat.

AB doesnt have the range but we've yet to see what he could do if he was a focal point of the offense. On this team he probably never WILL be.

I like what AJ has done for us and he's been a battler on the boards but I still believe that for us to take the next step, we need AB in there. Maybe I'm getting carried away but I've always been a big Ab fan. I still believe he has the most talent on this roster and that includes Gil. If he can harness it and focus it (and I believe he can and will), he'll be our second 2nd round all-star one day soon.

Posted by: original_mark | October 28, 2009 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Great mental toughness last night. After the first quarter, Dallas never put much of a run together, because we kept focused, aggressive and no knuclehead breakdowns. As someone said, great to see them sustain a lead over three quarters. Flip's substitution patterns were great--lots of people in and out but it always felt seamless (except when he sat Foye right after he sank a three; I didn't get that). I don't think Nick Young got in at all. Now there's a message. Flip is telling Nick he's got too much talent at the #2 guard to put Nick in unless he's going to play within the system and play defense.

Posted by: jweber1 | October 28, 2009 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Put me down for 16 and 8 with 1.5 blocks per game for AB as long as he's getting the minutes, rphilli721.

Chalk it up to maturity, his mama's talk or a coach who believes in him but this is his year.

Posted by: original_mark | October 28, 2009 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Satiate- couldn't agree more. Was great to watch the only two professional sports franchises in town get big wins last night.

Can't wait for Saturday night, but I wonder if Flip will give lighter minutes to Gilbert in the second game of a back-to-back?

Posted by: bryc3 | October 28, 2009 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Good win, no injuries. Good defense on a high-scoring team and extremely good production from the bench. I know AB had to play lots of minutes 'cos FAB go in foul trouble but nice to see the bench scoring from the Wizards. We've typically had one of the worst benches in the past couple of seasons. With Foye, AB and Nick Young coming off the bench, that's a lot of scorers.

Posted by: tundey | October 28, 2009 8:25 AM | Report abuse

DEFENSE, DEFENSE, DEFENSE....!!! That is what I noticed the most last night. No more flashing our "5" out high and causing the whole floor to be totally unbalanced. I love it. (76er's you are in trouble because you have the Wiz's entire coaching staff that opened the season for us last year).

Basketball is not a complex game like football. Both Eddie's from the past made it harder then it had to be. Look how AB is now responding to "positive" reinforcement vs. "negative" reinforcement which both Eddie's loved to do to hime and Haywood.

Glad to see Haywood is finally getting his due as a above average "5" in the league. He could having been having this same success if Eddie J was not so determined to get Etan minutes.

As much as I love to see McGee and NY on the floor, I could see there was no minutes for them last night. They may have sealed their fate for minutes in that Philly game in the preseason. They played great, but made some boneheaded decisions at the end of the game that did not sit well with Flip.

Football season (Redskins) is over for me, so I am glad I have the Wiz. to fill that void.

Posted by: BulletsFever | October 28, 2009 8:33 AM | Report abuse

OK...I know I ragged on folks not being specific, but I am torn:
I htink Gil has just been toying with us and is going to have a 30 pt, 10 assist 6 rebound game tonight.

or maybe a 12 and 7.

I just don't know.

Posted by: Blurred | October 27, 2009 4:33

I am just glad he was closer to my first prediction than my second. I really had no idea what to expect, but am glad that he is truly an elite player.

Will say that haywood still scares me. He had about 3 great minutes, but right before that had 3 dunks blocked and right after that got run over by Barrea (BARREA!!!!) when Barea drove right at him. Plus, until he can make 70% of his FT's he has no place on the offense at the end of the game.

I think he did a fine job on D at the end of the game last night, though. As long as we don't need points at the end of the game, he is the best we have. I hope he can keep up with the Lopez, Gasol's, etc, though. Dampier is in his 14th season and is really a career backup. Gooden has always been on the cusp of starter/backup and has slowed down.

Nowitzki blew by Haywood the 3 times Haywood was covering him, but Nowitzki does that to just about everyone.

Not trying to ride Haywood too hard, but that is the one part of this team that scares me a bit for the long haul.

Posted by: Blurred | October 28, 2009 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Regarding Foye and Critt, every player has some strengths and weaknesses. They just need to get better coaching and improve those weaknesses so that those weaknesses are not holding them back too much to get some minutes.

Foye for sure is a combo guard who excels in scoring and has some PG skills but has a bit of limited court vision. You also have to take in account that with the TWolves and with their scarcity for talent, he was mostly their lone threat on the perimeter, so he's used scoring like he was at 'Nova. With more experience and the better talent on this team, he will slowly improve his playmaking skills.

Critt is a pure PG known for his quickness/speed/size combination to penetrate the lane. He has good ball skills, decent court vision, and has the tools to be a very good defender. His weakness is his jumper or lack thereof, but if he didn't have that, he wouldn't have been traded 3 times and would start for PG desperate teams.

They're both a work in progress and were acquired by EG without paying through the nose considering they were both pretty highly regarded prospects especially Foye, who was a 2006 7th overall pick.

Be patient, they're both young and not finished products yet. They will contribute in their own way with good roles on this team, presently or in the near future. This is where working with the assistant coaches, in particular, Cassel will pay big dividends for their careers and hopefully, the Wiz!

Posted by: TakinAWiz | October 28, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Miller makes me happy though and Foye as well. Miller shoudl get 6th man this year, if Blatche doesn't.

Great game from Dray. I hope he really feels it and can give us close to this every night. History shows that is not the case though.

All in all, I was very happily surprised with how good our team looked. I loved how the intensity never stopped, regardless of who was on the floor.

D Steve made a lot of good, hard working plays, but he wasn't even close on his shots, except the 3 that didn't count.
I think he adds value to this team as a hustle guy, but hopefully he gets his shot back.

Posted by: Blurred | October 28, 2009 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Past experience made me believe that the Wiz would blow it in the 4th quarter. But they made play after play on offense and defense. It was a thing of beauty. I really can't say enough about the way they played last night, top to bottom. The defense, dare I say, was very, very good. If it continues, this squad will be able to win a lot of games.

It's hard to ignore how well A.B. played last night. I thought his shot looked better in preseason, but he was shooting it so confidently and w/out hesitation last night. Awesome. He's not going to have many games like that, but as long as the effort is there, I think he'll have a very good year. I'm not ready to insert him in the starting lineup, yet, but he guards the 4s much better than A.J.

There was very little to say that is negative, but I thought Caron was forcing it a little too much last night on offense. He needs to trust his teammates and not be afraid to swing the ball to the open man.

Posted by: ZardsFan1 | October 28, 2009 8:50 AM | Report abuse

This was just a great win. Yeah, it's only 1 game but it shows great potential. This truly is a completely new team. Nothing against NY, but it's great to know that we have a team where our coach doesn't consider NY to be in the top 8 players... and that's without AJ.

Posted by: rbelleisle | October 28, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Great win last night Wiz! I am freaking pumped about this season! one of my co-workers made a $1 bet with me that the Wiz wouldn't make the playoffs this season. I gladly took that bet...

Blatche looked unstoppable at times and he made moves with absolutely no hesitation. Hopefully Blatche can keep that up. I also think we got a player in Foye. He showed he can shoulder some of the scoring responsibility when he has to. Finally, Gil looked great. That jumper? A thing of beauty. From my view, the only player with a prettier jumper than Gil in the NBA is Ray Allen...

Posted by: MEssex | October 28, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Wow. This makes you appreciate what we've been missing. Good cloaching and some veteran depth!

1) I counted less than 5 contested jack-em-up jumpers, and none early in the clock.

2) Late in the 4th Gill was not in his 40th minute. A fresh Agent Zero in the 4th, when have we ever seen that?

3) Foye is a closer

4) No Knucleheads! NY and JM rode the pine. AB played like he's serious.

We're going to win a lot of games!

Posted by: cballer | October 28, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Yes, it is pretty clear that McGee and Young are not part of the rotation. McGuire may get some minutes here and there with AJ being out. Stevenson likely will get on the court for defensive matchups against certain teams. If he is not needed for that, Young may get some PT in certain games.

Hopefully, this is part of the further education of McGee and Young on what it takes to get on the court.

Posted by: cannontl | October 28, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Echoing what other have said, one of the major keys to last night's win was the improved defense.

Posted by: cannontl | October 28, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Outstanding opener last night. The HAWKS are in some disarray with HORFORD down. Now's the time to do some good. Take care of SMITH and all will be well.

Posted by: glawrence007 | October 28, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse

I think when AJ gets back...Miller will go back to the bench and DeShawn will start.

One thing I noticed. Oberto played Dirk very tough. When AB came in for Oberto and fell for the pump fake and pull up at the top of the key, the next time Dirk had an iso he pumped 3 times and Dray just stood there. That was one thing that impressed me. He was under control for the most part.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | October 28, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

A real quality win. Let's see another in Atlanta! This promises to be a satisfying season. Good win, Wiz!

Posted by: 7snider7 | October 28, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Folks, don't be so quick to dismiss DS. His role as Saunders has defined is as a hard-nosed perimeter defender and knock down some 3 pointers every now and then.

He's taking his role well and doesn't complain. Granted, he took a few ill advised shots that missed badly but he's a team player that Saunders will task to slow down some high scorers off the bench, like the Jet and AI, etc.. He did have a beautiful backdoor pass to AB and for the most part, does OK facilitating the ball to post players.

That's his role - a poorman's version of Lindsay Hunter. I think Saunders wants to groom Critt to eventually take over that role but for now, DS does a credible job.

Posted by: TakinAWiz | October 28, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Great win! was good to see the Wizards make a statement and not have the usual slow starts.
They won on the road against a pretty good team in spite of some preferential foul calls.
Question; I have always wondered do basketball fans really want all the ticky-tack calls that go in the favor of star players? Was Fab. really fouling Dirk? Seems like some Wiz players got popped alot under the hoop. Im with "Let'em Play" but slowing the game up with ticky-tack Star Calls? Would love to hear some opinions.

Posted by: millineumman | October 28, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Great win and the Wizards finally played some good defense.

Folks crying for AB over AJ need to get in the real world. AJ is an all star and shows up for every game; not every 5th game. AB is better coming off the bench.

GA has all the qualities plus he is huge and got muscle his way. The FG and foul where he muscle their PG was great.

They can only get better with AJ coming back and the whole team learning to play together.

Posted by: fearturtle44 | October 28, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: frankjomama | October 28, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

now accepting bandwagon applications...

Posted by: mrhney03 | October 28, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Though one really shouldn't take too much stock in one game of 82....I certainly will!!!!!


Posted by: Cartaldo | October 28, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Foye, Miller, and Oberto really round out the team and fill in the holes that existed on the prior playoff versions of the Wizards (2004-2007). It's very nice to have another "go to guy" during the 4th quarter like Foye who can get his own shot.

As for the DEFENSE, obviously the players are buying in to what Flip is selling. Butler played tough D on Marion and Oberto frustrated Nowitzki into taking a lot of tough shots in the 4th quarter. Great use of the rotation by Flip down the stretch. Unlike teams of the past, we didn't buckle when the Mavs made their run and put the team away. The team showed the killer instinct in the last 4 minutes.

AB looked great last night - more mature, focused, no silly TO's or bad shots, played within the structure of the team. I hope we see this a lot more while AJ is out. I still like AB coming off the bench to help give us scoring along with Foye.

Posted by: wizfan89 | October 28, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

The four teams with the best records in the NBA this morning could easily be in the Conference Finals at the end of the season: Lakers, Portland, Celtics and Wiz.

That should bring out a few naysayers and haters.

Posted by: Izman | October 28, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Not trying to ride Haywood too hard, but that is the one part of this team that scares me a bit for the long haul.
Posted by: Blurred | October 28, 2009 8:46 AM | Report abuse

after haywood was blocked twice, he got into a groove and was more solid. fact is, he was solid all around and didn't hurt the team at all. nothing to be scared of.

Posted by: crs-one | October 28, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

The thing I like most about the Wiz this year is their attitude. They've got this air of tempered confidence about them. I credit Flip first and foremost, plus the growing maturity of the players. They seem to be treating this as a good win, knowing they'll need many more to get where they want to go. They didn't seem surprised at all by their play.

They've got the attitude of a champion now, let's hope they can keep it. Thinking they're going to the 'ship at this point is way too premature. I'm glad the Wiz know that.

Posted by: SlimSkins | October 28, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

No hating here.I think 50+ wins is reasonable. I also still believe that from top to bottom we have more talent than any team in this league. It's just a matter of harnessing it properly. (defense)

Posted by: original_mark | October 28, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

There was one play that typified AB's focus to this season. After scoring a basket on a dunk that BTH missed, he sprinted back downcourt to make sure that his mand didn't get a Dirk didn't get the ball on a Dallas break. Now it may not mean much and doesn't show up in the stats. But that's the FOCUS that's needed to play in NBA. I think the young fella's ready. AJ better get healthy quick. This team is gonna realize that it's much better have a 4 play inside and playing defense than shooting 3s and not defending.

The WIZ players played like men last night. NY and JM needs to get that in them to start getting clock.

Posted by: justman1 | October 28, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

They Wizards had an excellent game. I won't start saying NBA Finals because the Celtics looked good and so did the Lakers. But I can say this team has showed a lot of depth. Anytime you can have Caron rest up until 5 minutes in the 4th and have guys like Foyle and Blatche provide 30+ points off the bench, and Mike Miller only score 7 points shows how amazing deep this team

Now we'll have to see how continue down the road. I can't wait until Jamison gets back then this team will be really deep

Posted by: rcnasa | October 28, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Great win! Can't wait till Friday's game.

Posted by: Fontana1 | October 28, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

I didn't get to watch the Wiz game because I was stuck at the Boston airport. Watched the Celts put a hurt on the Cavs though...that was enjoyable!

Posted by: authorofpoetry | October 28, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Anyone have a problem with CB, Gil and BTH playing 38 minutes? That seems like a reasonable number to me ...for once.

Posted by: original_mark | October 28, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

seeing gil back on the floor is a beautiful thing and all the new additions showed us their value, very solid win and the d was especially encouraging

Posted by: bford1kb | October 28, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

I know it's only one game but what a fantastic victory for the good guys. And boy did we here in DC ever need it. I can't tell you the last time I enjoyed a victory by a Washington team in any sport as much. And this ones on Flip. What a fantastic coached game. This guy has more rotations and substitutions thatn I've ever seen. Great job and great defensive effort as well. What a huge, huge win and what a game.
Go Wiz~

Posted by: dovelevine | October 28, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

As usual, many on this board overreact to one game.

There are still some important questions about this team that will take some time to be answered.

Posted by: cannontl | October 28, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

"We got a nice team. I love what we got. I love what we did."

Posted by: WilliamCarr | October 28, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Hopefully, this is part of the further education of McGee and Young on what it takes to get on the court.

Posted by: cannontl | October 28, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

i hope playing behind DS isn't supposed to be NY's education in what it takes. DS is getting slower and worse each year. it was gm 1 and he didn't have to lock anyone down b/c terry and Dirk is all Dallas got so i'm not gonna say he ain't "the locksmith" anymore, but those airballs and overall bad looking shots got to go. DS was a really good set shhoter for us about 2 yrs ago, but since the injuries to the knee and back, he doesn't get to the basket and hasn't yet found his shooting touch. it's just game 1 like i said, but i'd look at him or CB to see their numbers decrease after the first couple weeks of the season.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | October 28, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

--As usual, many on this board overreact to one game.Posted by: cannontl

Maybe but I don't care. If ever the first game was a statement game, this was it. This game felt like a game 7 playoff rather than an opener. This was a REAL opponent with real stars on the road in their home opener. Just can't underestimate the value of this fantastic win. Wow did we enjoy this last night and I just don't see it being an aberration.
That first half was as good a half as I've seen the Wiz play in ages. Second half they just gutted it out.
Man o Man. Good stuff.

Posted by: dovelevine | October 28, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

The team looked great last night and we didn't even have AJ in the mix.Impressive.We have added more closers in Foye & Miller and multiple closing options on given nights: AJ,CB,Gil for sure.

Brendon Haywood played great. With the team that we have now, all we need is 10 and 10 from BH.Blatche played under control and understood situation and possession. We can't het too high on him yet.The season is very long and there will be distractions especially if we're winning. He looks good though.

AJ still needs to be your starting 4 because he pulls opposing 4's away from the basket.MATCH-UP problem even if he can't stop anyone form scoring. Veteran presence and well respected. High IQ to share with AB. ABlatche should continue to come off the bench. WE R DEEP!! LOL :-))

I was a very disappointed that NY couldn't get in. He needs to play to keep his confidence. He can learn to play defense but he needs to learn on the court in the mix with the rest of the core players.

Oberto and DS understood their roles.I appreciate DS and what he brings to the table. All championship caliber teams have role players but he'll never be able to go 1-8 from the three point line again because there want be 8 shots for him. Not really an offensive threat. I like MM at the 2. We are going to cause a lot of match up problems. Most importantly, there never was a drop off no matter who was on the court.

Maybe people will start to see what I've been seeing since Ernie Grun made the big trade. we will need another veteran big soon.

Posted by: JWADE4 | October 28, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

I glad that I do not have to pay for CSN through a sports package from DirecTV. I now have it for free. The game was a good one and it speaks to the future success we will have this year above and beyond getting to the second round a few years ago.

Posted by: silvermarvin | October 28, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Although only one Game I am impressed with the depth. Hopefully they coninue to share the ball. Good move Ernie. By the way we have to wait a while and see how the the #1 draft pick plays out.

Posted by: bonggong | October 28, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

oberto is a junkyard dog and if he plays d like that all year i don't care if mcgee never plays.

Posted by: jnicol2 | October 28, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Dovelevine, you sound like a jilted lover. It's just as much okay to get excited to see the wiz win against a good team as it is to see the skins lose against a bad team. Even if it's the first game. This is sports (entertainment). No need to exclude one game and chalk it up as if it never happend. It happened and they looked good. I'm excited. If they lose against the Hawks, I'll be dissappointed. Better to have love and lost.

Posted by: justman1 | October 28, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

......BALL DON'T LIE!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: iamasofaking | October 28, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

That new guy, number 7, is great. He kind of reminds me a little of Blatche, except that he plays a lot harder.

Posted by: pjkiger1 | October 28, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Okay!! They looked good last night and the serial skirt chaser(AB) was the best player on the court other than Gil,they will be here in the A-T-L friday night and my co-workers claim to be Hawk's fans(they don't even know who was the Hawk's best off-season move)but anyway they are talking smack i told em "it's too early in the season" but one of my co -workers claims to have an "inside friend" in the Hawk's front office for tickets, WHATEVER!I told em i'm in if they get good seats got my Wizard's warmup pressed and ready to go! I was surprised Nick got no time last night what's up with that? Oberto didn't look bad but man he scare's me when he shoots, yikes!

Posted by: dargregmag | October 28, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Nice review sir. I like the video update as well. Keep em coming. We need baby steps everybody. only 1 game but positive trends. Especially on defense. Let's see how the next game goes. 1/82 ...

Posted by: Levelheadedskinsfan19 | October 28, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

I'm confused by the continued complaints that we're too thin up front. With the addition of Paul Davis we've got 7 dudes over 6-9 on the roster and 4 that are either 6-11 or 7-0.

Granted, a couple of those guys are raw and/or just a warm body, but if we get to the point where we're digging all the way down to the end of the bench, we're already screwed no matter who we add.

What do you guys want, half the team to be All-Stars over 7'0 with one guy who's 8-4? lol

Posted by: Plix | October 28, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Good point Plix!

We are not as deep up front, but like always how many teams are? Celtics maybe. Lakers. The point is not many.

The great thing was that Flip actually played bigs together and it caused no stagnation for us whatsoever and caused matchup problems for a very solid Mavs team.

Yeah, I get it's only one game, but the difference is that we played defense consistently for the first time with this core of players. And, that was the best coached game I've seen from this organization in eons. I don't think those things are going to change no matter the outcome of near future games and that bodes well for a very successful season.

Flip's substitution patterns were great--lots of people in and out but it always felt seamless (except when he sat Foye right after he sank a three; I didn't get that).

I know exactly what you are talking about bc it was the only time the entire game where I said to myself "what" while watching. Then I realized Foye had played about 9-10 straight mins. That's why he got subbed. These guys are not exactly in mid season shape yet.

Posted by: rphilli721 | October 28, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

"As I pointed out to Kal as well, there is no evidence as of yet that JC would run this offense any better as a backup PG than Foye can. None. Zip."

Of course there's no evidence that Crittenton would run this offense better than Foye because he's yet to actually play in this offense. But to anyone who has actually watch the two of them play over the last couple of years, there's clear evidence that Crittenton is better suited to running an offense than Foye, whose strength is scoring, not playmaking. Foye is a classic example of a guy who was a scorer in college but had to try and pretend to be a PG in the NBA because of his size. That's not a knock on him, it's just the way things work.

And your overzealous defense of Foye and cavalier dismissal of Crittenton are both unnecessary and shortsighted, because (A) no one is attacking Foye and (B) no one is suggesting that Crittenton supplant him. The only point being made is that Foye's strength is scoring not playmaking, therefore reducing his playmaking burden would allow him to focus more on executing his strength. The best way to do this is to make sure he's always paired with another backcourt player who can take over the playmaking duties when the offense bogs down . Someone wondered if Crittenton could be that guy. I think he could be. but even if he's not, that doesn't change the fact that there needs to be that guy out there with Foye for the majority of his floor time, be it Areans, Miller, or Mike James. And, really, nothing you've said actually addresses or disputes that basic point.

"And, if Saunders thought he was a better fit in said role, don't you think he would get those mins?"

A purely speculative question whose asking carries no meaning, since Crittenton's injury makes it impossible to answer at this point. It's entirely possible he does think Crittenton fits the role. But since Crittenton cannot play now, there's nothing he can do about it.

"You're making assumptions that may or may not be true. "

Yeah, well that's pretty much true of all assumptions, isn't it.

"I guess now I am making assumptions, but based on the situation probably correct ones."

Ahhhh . . so you assume that any assumption that counters yours is untrue, but that your assumptions are "probably correct" despite the fact that the evidence on either side is, basically, exactly the same.

New season, same old nonsense.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 28, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

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