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Wizards 123, Nets 104 [UPDATED]


Andray Blatche put on his dark blade shades, slipped his charcoal jacket with white pin stripes over his burgundy shirt and had to absorb some heckling from his teammates. "See," Blatche said, "it's hard trying to look good."

Although his teammates questioned Blatche's taste in clothing, there was no denying how good the fifth-year forward looked on Saturday, when he came off the bench and scored a new career-high 30 points. Through the first three games of the season, Blatche has scored 63 points and snared 16 rebounds, keeping with his pledge to be Seven-Day Dray and maintain some consistency. His performance has been huge with the Wizards missing all-star forward Antawn Jamison.

"He's played fabulous since Tawn went down," Gilbert Arenas said. "We've been waiting for this, for four or five years now. He finally decided this would be the year. He put in the work and it's showing."

It's showing in Blatche's jumper. He made his first five shots on Saturday, including some ridiculous turnaround jumpers and a long baseline jumper that made Jamison, one of his harshest critics, get out of his seat and applauded. Blatche finished the night 15 of 18 from the floor and scored the most points by a Bullet/Wizards without a free throw since Rex Chapman scored 32 in a game back in 1992. That's taking it back. . .to when Blatche was six.

After the game, Blatche sat down to address reporters, he kept his sunglasses on and Brendan Haywood started tripping. "If he does the interview in those glasses, I'm out!" Haywood shouted.

Fortunately, Blatche decided that he wouldn't be too Hollywood for the room, so he took them off and explained that he's had these kind of performances in him all along. That up-and-under move that he learned from assistant Sam Cassell and led him to beat his chest in the second half, just another part of his repertoire -- even if Coach Flip Saunders joked that Blatche was doing moves that he didn't know he could do.

"Flip need to cool out," Blatche said with a laugh. "I can honestly say those are the same moves that I've been doing my whole career. I just feel more comfortable. I have a lot more confidence. I feel as if the game has slowed down for me."

If you had any concerns about Arenas being back, all had to do was watch him dismantle the Nets with 32 points -- on 13 field goal attempts -- in just 28 minutes. He also had seven assists and just three turnovers, which was a stark contrast to the night before in Atlanta when he had four assists and seven turnovers. Arenas said getting four turnovers in the first half against the Hawks kept him from being aggressive the rest of the game. He never let up against New Jersey.

"You learn from your mistakes," Arenas said. "Yesterday, even though we was going well, I had four turnovers in the first half and from there I didn't want to be aggressive because I didn't want no more turnovers. But I ended up getting three more anyway. You can't play basketball like that. You just got to go and play. Some days you're going to have seven turnovers. Some days, you're going to have one. That's how basketball is."

Some fans even chanted, "MVP! MVP!" throughout the game. "I wasn't paying attention," said Arneas, who tried to conduct his post-game interview with his hood pulled over his head before he was nudged to show his face for the cameras.

The Wizards gave out smiling Arenas masks to fans at the game for Halloween. The masks weren't based on his interactions with the press this season. He still came off as distant and melancholy, maintaining his routine. I don't suppose they could've made grumpy masks. Arenas kept his calm demeanor and showed restraint when talking about his game. "I did fine," he said.

The Nets are among the dregs of the league, but the game was a good display of the Wizards' depth. Jamison has been out with a shoulder injury, then Caron Butler went down with a bruise right knee on Friday, but Saunders simply inserted Randy Foye into the starting lineup, moved Mike Miller over to small forward and those guys combined for 26 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists.

"You got to pick your poison," Foye said after scoring 17 points. "Most of the time, they're going to try to stop Arenas, 'cause he got 32 points and didn't even try, so that leaves me and Mike open. When they do leave us open, and he finds us, we got to make shots."

Foye has also found his comfort playing alongside Arenas as a distributor. He had eight assists, including two alley-oop lob passes to JaVale McGee. They had two more lobs yesterday. "Me and JaVale done started a little connection there," Foye said. "When you got an athlete who can jump like that, it's easy to have chemistry. A little bit of eye contact and throw the ball up, he's going to get it. You know he can jump out the gym. You just throw it at the rim and you know he's going to dunk it."

The Wizards shot an incredible 61.5 percent for the entire game, their best field goal percentage in almost seven years. It was a complete game butt-whipping, the first home win for Saunders.

"I haven't been in DC in what seems like a long time because we've been on the road so much. But the time I've been here I feel like this is a city that appreciates hard work," Saunders said. "Probably the biggest crowd applause tonight was the play where all five guys touched the ball and we swung it to the side and got Andray a wide open dunk. There's no question people here appreciate hard work and appreciate you playing the game the right way."


By Michael Lee  |  October 31, 2009; 11:53 PM ET
 
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Comments

"@DCMANN,

Leave it to you to bring some sort of negative into an otherwise positive moment. Yeah, we beat a team we should beat. Sure. Ok. So what? We also destroyed that team and played great team basketball in the process. How many times did the big three when healthy have such a good game that they sat out the entire 4th quarter? Virtually never bc for that to happen you also have got to be able to play defense. No lead was ever safe with that team.

Of course, again, to further your negative agenda you leave out the fact we did it with 2 of our best 3 players out, but quickly point to Devin Harris being out for the Nets. Nice job! I would hate to live in your world.

Posted by: rphilli721 | October 31, 2009 11:59 PM | Report abuse "

Hey d0uche, both Eminem and Foye are starter quality players as is BTH. Gilby of course, is a big scorer.

Yi Jianlian and Brooke Lopez? Not so much.

Courtney Lee and Chris Douglas Roberts? Never really heard of them.

Do you know why?

Lopez, Lee and Douglas-Roberts are both 1 year vets, and Yi is a 2 year yet fresh from the China leagues.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | November 1, 2009 12:13 AM | Report abuse

"@DCMANN,

Leave it to you to bring some sort of negative into an otherwise positive moment. Yeah, we beat a team we should beat. Sure. Ok. So what? We also destroyed that team and played great team basketball in the process. How many times did the big three when healthy have such a good game that they sat out the entire 4th quarter? Virtually never bc for that to happen you also have got to be able to play defense. No lead was ever safe with that team.

Of course, again, to further your negative agenda you leave out the fact we did it with 2 of our best 3 players out, but quickly point to Devin Harris being out for the Nets. Nice job! I would hate to live in your world.

Posted by: rphilli721 | October 31, 2009 11:59 PM | Report abuse "

Both Eminem and Foye are starter quality players as is BTH. Gilby of course, is a big scorer.

Yi Jianlian and Brooke Lopez? Not so much.

Courtney Lee and Chris Douglas Roberts? Never really heard of them.

Do you know why?

Lopez, Lee and Douglas-Roberts are both 1 year vets, and Yi is a 2 year yet fresh from the China leagues.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | November 1, 2009 12:21 AM | Report abuse

"Both Eminem and Foye are starter quality players as is BTH. Gilby of course, is a big scorer.

Yi Jianlian and Brooke Lopez? Not so much."

I have no doubt that plenty of teams would like to have Lopez starting for them.

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 1, 2009 12:29 AM | Report abuse

Certainly beating the Nets isn't cause for giddy celebration. However, the way they basically dominated the game is both telling and significant, because the ability to go out and authoritatively beat the teams they're "supposed" to beat is something that this team hasn't really shown a lot of in the past few years. Too often in the past the team got up for big games but played down to the level of lesser competition, resulting in some embarrassing losses to bad squads. The fact that they controlled this game the way they did (esp. w/o Jamison and Butler) is a good sign and (hopefully) an important step in their development towards becoming the kind of team they think they should be.

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 1, 2009 12:30 AM | Report abuse

This is a team that would have troubled the WIZ without BUTLER and JAMISON in previous years. But the depth and team concepts that SAUNDERS has brought to the club border on insane. What a difference. They still will struggle against the top tier franchises even after BUTLER returns to form and JAMISON is active. But at least at that point, they will be a match for the MAGIC, HAWKS, et. al.

Posted by: glawrence007 | November 1, 2009 12:36 AM | Report abuse

that play that flip referenced was absolutely gorgeous. just sayin.

Posted by: crs-one | November 1, 2009 12:57 AM | Report abuse

@Kal, Lawrence

Yes. Exactly. On the same page. In the three games thus far, we beat a solid team on the road where we got a lead and maintained it to the end - new concept for us, we lost to a very good team on the road, didn't play very well yet were still in the game til the end and tonight's game we didn't play down to our level of competition for once. All positive signs that we could have a very good team this season. If the stars align properly, maybe we become this seasons Denver Nuggets, which I thought might be possible openly in these threads over the summer. I never thought we were an overhyped undertalented team like the Skins. On the contrary, we could very well be an under the radar more talented team than anyone expected. Time will tell! Regardless, it should be a very fun season.

Posted by: rphilli721 | November 1, 2009 1:09 AM | Report abuse

Agreed, the 5 player pass play was about as good as basketball gets.

The through his own legs bounce pass to GA from Oberto for a wide open 3 was also a sweet play. Dude can pass much better than I thought.

Both probably make the SC highlights.

Posted by: rphilli721 | November 1, 2009 1:13 AM | Report abuse

That between the legs bounce pass must be Oberto's signature move. I think he's done at least one in every game so far.

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 1, 2009 1:17 AM | Report abuse

...you've got to say: AB OMG. Is this what we can expect from AB all season? If so, Cleveland, dead man. Boston, dead. Orlando, dead too.

And I know I'm getting way ahead of myself, but looking at the Wiz roster, they do match up pretty well against the Lakers...

Posted by: oddjob1 | November 1, 2009 1:17 AM | Report abuse

@oddjob,

lol Gotta love your optimism. Don't think those other teams are dead, but it does look like we are alive!

Well, Cleveland looks like they might be the most overhyped team of the NBA thus far. Not dead, but Finals good not so sure anymore. Never was really. Shaq looks like he gained 20 pounds since leaving the Suns. That team is full of slower and slowest players especially on the front line. Check that. Their guards aren't exactly lightening quick across the board either. If you think the Hawks present a matchup problem for us, imagine what they could do to Cleveland.

Posted by: rphilli721 | November 1, 2009 1:41 AM | Report abuse

Blatche 2.0 makes the Wizards a very dangerous basketball team. Here's to hoping he can keep it going. High praise goes to "Sam I Am" for his work with Dray's offensive game over the summer. And to Dray for getting himself into good cardio condition. His primary problem in the pass was that after two or three trips up and down the floor, he was spent!

I wonder what happens to front court cohesion once Jamison returns? Oberto and Blatche are both very good passers out of the forward position. Twan's like a black hole. The ball goes in, but never comes out. I'm also willing to bet we will not see a line up that features Twan playing center anymore, forever....and ever

...and ever.

I'm also impressed by the way Flip is handling his young bigs. Dray is definitely a PF, not center or a small forward. Though he can give you minutes at those spots, allowing him to focus on a specific position and role has contributed to his turnaround this year.

Monitoring "Big Daddy Wookie's" game minutes, I'm sure, has created an environment in practice that encourages McGee to push through feelings of fatigue in order to earn game minutes. I'm guessing that as his physical conditioning improves, so to will his minutes.

Regarding players that worked with Cassell, how bad is the game slippage for Nick Young if after spending significant time working with Cassell, he still looks lost on both ends of the court?

The SE Division is shaping up to be the best Division in the NBA this year. Barring major injuries, Charlotte looks like the only sub .500 finisher in the division.

Now on to Cleveland...

Posted by: bozomoeman | November 1, 2009 1:49 AM | Report abuse

NY is playing like his confidence has been shattered. I think he thought he was going to be the starting SG coming out of the gate and he didn't get it. Not surprised. His all-around game is just not up to par as pointed out by Flip.

Part of me feels sorry for him and was rooting for him to make some buckets. But, then again, he came in and played the garbage minutes like they were garbage minutes. I'm not sure that is the way for him to impress the coaches and get more meaningful minutes later.

Posted by: rphilli721 | November 1, 2009 1:58 AM | Report abuse

Blatche shot the lights out, no doubt. Smart move by Flip to have resisted inserting him into the starting lineup. When Butler and Jamison come back, Blatche should not get hit with any so called rhythm issues and the bench gets better. I don't care how well Blatche, the beloved Oberto, and Mike Miller continue to play, Butler and Jamison will reclaim get their starting forward spots when they return. Perhaps that was needless to say, but just making sure we don't get carried away too far.

Posted by: low1 | November 1, 2009 2:20 AM | Report abuse

Tonight we blasted an inferior team in our building, which is exactly what a good team is supposed to do. As has been pointed out above, we have had difficulty taking care of business with this kind of team in the past. We did exactly what I expected us to do. This victory is very encouraging, especially since we did it without two of our three best players.

Bright spots were Oberto's five assists (in very limited minutes), the play of Gil and Randy together, the ball movement, and the rapidly ascending overall IQ of this team (now THERE's a novel concept). It's actually frightening to think how good this team could be after the all-star break. Remember, this is only the third game of the season and these guys have had only one training camp and an eight-game preseason in which to gel together.

I, for one, am really encouraged by the play of our bigs. Never have I seen a big man who can't score bring so much to a team. Big O has definitely won me over. I've already proclaimed 'Dre winner of this season's Most Improved Award (and possibly Sixth Man of the Year). JaVale's potential is off the charts and he will only get better. He is already showing some pretty significant defensive tendencies, and will be less of a liability as the season progresses.

The biggest problem in Atlanta, as I saw it, was not their free throw shooting, but their inability to hit shots. It won't be the last time that happens this season. If we are a 50-win team, that means we will lose 32. The Atlanta game, then, would be one of the 32.

Overall, I think we have a team to get excited about. If we are playing this well after only three games, with a new coach and completely new schemes on both sides of the ball, only God knows where we'll be come February.

Posted by: bpybay | November 1, 2009 2:56 AM | Report abuse

That's a team that really, really misses Devin Harris. Brook Lopez is one of the most impressive young big guys in the League. Yi I can't figure out. He's got all the skills, yet he seems somehow... distracted.

Nice win, Wiz. Best in a long, long time.

Posted by: Samson151 | November 1, 2009 4:27 AM | Report abuse

You can only play against the guys on the court. You may say the Nets are not a quality team but guess what? There's going to be lots of games against non-quality sides. If the wizards can beat them as they did the net, win a few games against quality sides and be competitive against their own level, they'll be in very good shape.

If you think playing weaker opponents is a gimme, ask the Redskins.

Posted by: tundey | November 1, 2009 6:35 AM | Report abuse

Did the Wizards EVER score 123 points last year when Tapscott was coach? If they did, I can pretty safely bet they didn't do it 2x.

Posted by: charley42 | November 1, 2009 6:35 AM | Report abuse

I believe 121 was their high in '08-'09.

Posted by: glawrence007 | November 1, 2009 6:46 AM | Report abuse

ATLANTA is our main competition in this division. I think we will jockey all year with them for the four-five spots in the eastern conf.

Posted by: glawrence007 | November 1, 2009 6:49 AM | Report abuse

One loss for every two wins? I'll take it!

Posted by: charley42 | November 1, 2009 6:52 AM | Report abuse

Last year, they scored 124 against GS and 122 in a loss!

Posted by: charley42 | November 1, 2009 7:00 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Charley---I had already forgotten the Tapscott "era." Ugh.

Kalo wrote:
However, the way they basically dominated the game is both telling and significant, because the ability to go out and authoritatively beat the teams they're "supposed" to beat is something that this team hasn't really shown a lot of in the past few years. Too often in the past the team got up for big games but played down to the level of lesser competition, resulting in some embarrassing losses to bad squads.

EXACTLY. And THIS is about coaching, I believe. The right matchups and strategy at the right time---putting players in positions to succeed. That's the formula for a more talented team to beat a less talented team. Bad in-game coaching can actually allow a less talented team stay in a game with a team it should lose to.

Re: Jamison. The talk of trading him is crazy. Just stop it. I think games 1 and 3 show what kind of team this is (we just shot poorly in Atlanta, and that will happen). ADD an all-star forward to the mix, and the team can only get better.

That said, an interesting question: What IF Blatche keeps this going? What IF his first three games are no fluke and we can count on him to be a consistent 17/7 type of guy who plays with energy and blocks shots? I have to say I like his passing better than Jamison's. And I like his defense MUCH better. Can anyone else foresee Blatche getting more crunch time minutes than AJ?

In any case, my biggest concern, before the season, was the PF spot. It is not longer a concern. And yes, when someone pointed out earlier this year in this blog that there may be a silver lining in Jamison's injury, I think we are seeing it: the emergence of a young guy who has ALWAYS had the physical tools to be a star, maybe his maturity is catching up. We'll see.

Posted by: psdfx | November 1, 2009 7:01 AM | Report abuse

One more comment, because I can't resist: Under what rock are all the EG haters hiding now? I know it is only three games, but good grief... Foye? Miller? Oberto? You'd have to be blind to not see how great each of these guys are fitting in.

The trade that brought us Foye and Miller for the 5 pick? It looks so good after three games that it seems almost unfair.

Foye and Mike Miller seem to be a perfect fit. We knew Foye was ascending. It is nice to see him meshing so well with Gil, and literally just fitting in as another playmaker and offensive threat.

And Miller? I'll use the word amazing. Not necessarily statistically, but as a fit for this team. We knew he could shoot (and we needed a three point threat badly). But I didn't know he was THIS unselfish. I didn't know he would sprint---every time---over to help guys up (seemingly a genuinely team-first guy). I had NO idea that he rebounded like he does. I LOVE the way he plays. If his unselfishness, hustle, passion, and team-first mentality rub off, it will be impossible to statistically quantify his positive impact on this team.

Posted by: psdfx | November 1, 2009 7:27 AM | Report abuse

Blatche (or anyone for that matter) scoring 30 points OFF THE BENCH! So cool.

I can't believe that this organization couldn't see how bad a coach Tapscott was last season - or at least HE couldn't see how bad he was.

I think this season will be fun!

Posted by: charley42 | November 1, 2009 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Another thing!

It's good to know that Saunders won't run our superstars into the ground by playing them the whole game - especially in big losses!

Posted by: charley42 | November 1, 2009 7:44 AM | Report abuse

@psdfx,

I'm with ya. I think Oberto exhibits those same qualities as well and is a major reason why our collective basketball IQ seems to have improved. Helps they are veterans as well. Add in some nice coaching thus far and we got something building I do believe. So many people heckled the idea they could win 50+ games this season. It's pretty obvious now that that is very possible.

Posted by: rphilli721 | November 1, 2009 7:57 AM | Report abuse

The Nets were missing Devin Harris. He's the Gil for the Nets. Without him the Nets don't go. We need to stop looking at Butler and Jamison as core players. With both of them healthy we didnn't play team ball. Foyer and Miller are huge additions. Flip needs to start Foyer, Miller and Blatche if this team is to do anything. McGee needs to be the first big and Young first gaurd off the bench to get his confidence going. This group will pass and play D. Oberto is good for 6 fouls.

Posted by: rnbrown4 | November 1, 2009 8:34 AM | Report abuse

The Nets were missing Devin Harris. He's the Gil for the Nets. Without him the Nets don't go. We need to stop looking at Butler and Jamison as core players. With both of them healthy we didnn't play team ball. Foyer and Miller are huge additions. Flip needs to start Foyer, Miller and Blatche if this team is to do anything. McGee needs to be the first big and Young first gaurd off the bench to get his confidence going. This group will pass and play D. Oberto is good for 6 fouls.

This is by far the dumbest thing I've heard all weekend...and I was out in Adams Morgan for Halloween night.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | November 1, 2009 8:41 AM | Report abuse

I think we're seeing first hand the value of good coaching even in the "Association". This team (and they are truly looking like a team)is so much more organized and focused on both the defensive and offensive ends of the floor and the credit must go to the coaching staff. The "associaton" has always been a player's league and you gotta have good players but good coaching can, as we're witnessing, make a huge difference. Hey, a good FO can make a big difference as well. No one available at 5 in the draft last years would have helped like the new guys have helped so far this year.
Kudos!!!

Posted by: robert48 | November 1, 2009 8:57 AM | Report abuse

And yes, when someone pointed out earlier this year in this blog that there may be a silver lining in Jamison's injury, I think we are seeing it: the emergence of a young guy who has ALWAYS had the physical tools to be a star, maybe his maturity is catching up. We'll see.

Posted by: psdfx | November 1, 2009 7:01 AM | Report abuse

And I got reamed for that assessment, psdfx. There are ALWAYS silver linings in dark clouds. All we have to do is look for them. Even Gil got reamed early last year when he made a reference to "if we finish in last place," alluding to getting a high draft pick. He turned out to be a prophet. I haven't heard him rub that in anyone's face, but he sure could if he wanted to.

With that said, I can't wait for Jamison to return. Will ANYBODY be able to stop this offense once the players master it!!!

Posted by: bpybay | November 1, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

I agree with the person who says as long as Drey stays healthy most improved award...But to be honest I think Randy Foye will be your 6th man of the year because if he continues to average 15 points 5 assists and 3 rebounds that is a starting PG numbers. It would be cool to have two awards with a first or second team All-NBA player and then maybe have the coach of the year if the team has a big turn around. I am not one to blow up individual awards but getting some awards after a disappointing season and having the players and or coaches recognized would be a big boost in the post season following a disappointing season last year!

Posted by: SkinzFan4lyfe | November 1, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

I think we're seeing first hand the value of good coaching even in the "Association".

Posted by: robert48 | November 1, 2009 8:57 AM | Report abuse

In my personal opinion, coaching accounts for 80% of a team's success/failure. The great ones win (eventually) wherever they go (Jackson, Daly, Riley, Sloan, etc.). In all pro sports, you have the best athletes in the world in their particular sport. Great coaches know how to orchestrate all that high-level talent. Remember what Phil did with those post-Shaq laker teams that no one thought could win more than 15-20 games?

And then you have your Kevin Lougherys of the world, those who are adept at taking a 50-win team and making it a 30-win team.

I never thought EJ was a "great coach." I do think Flip is on the cusp. If we stay healthy, Flip wins unanimous Coach of the Year.

Posted by: bpybay | November 1, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

"I can't believe that this organization couldn't see how bad a coach Tapscott was last season - or at least HE couldn't see how bad he was."

Of course they saw. But they also saw something that the fans lacked the foresight to see, that firing Tapscott and bringing in someone else wouldn't have made a bit of difference. This team was undone by injuries and lacked the talent off the bench to make up for the loss of Arenas, Haywood, and Stevenson. Even if they could have gotten a reputable, experienced coach to take over midseason (and they couldn't have) the results wouldn't have changed much. No coach can win without talent, and last year's team didn't have nearly enough of it. It's a problem that had been in place for a few years, but when the big 3 were all healthy, they were good enough to paper over many of the team's other underlying weaknesses. Last season the truth was laid bare.

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 1, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

I agree with the person who says as long as Drey stays healthy most improved award...But to be honest I think Randy Foye will be your 6th man of the year because if he continues to average 15 points 5 assists and 3 rebounds that is a starting PG numbers.

Posted by: SkinzFan4lyfe | November 1, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

I believe Foye will eventually break into the starting line-up. He and Gil are already gelling in a serious way.

Posted by: bpybay | November 1, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Foye's not going to start. With Crittenton out and James not in the plans, Foye is the closest thing they have to a backup PG. And when everyone is healthy, they'll need his scoring punch off the bench more than in the starting lineup, where they'll have plenty of firepower.

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 1, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

"But to be honest I think Randy Foye will be your 6th man of the year because if he continues to average 15 points 5 assists and 3 rebounds that is a starting PG numbers."

A starting PG on a 35 win team, maybe.

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 1, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

I can't believe that this organization couldn't see how bad a coach Tapscott was last season - or at least HE couldn't see how bad he was.

I think this season will be fun!

Posted by: charley42


I don't think the Wizards suffered from any delusions re Tapscott. He was there to hold the fort until sweeping offseason changes could be made. If anything, his appointment says something about the lack of confidence/trust they had in Jordan's remaining assistants.

Posted by: Firuz1 | November 1, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

30 points in 27 minutes?
I am not going to feel bad if AB is going to have bad shooting night,I have already seen enough about his commitment to turn it around.I saw the effort, he is constantly moving, he still need to add some smart moves to dominate the board on both ends, if he does that he is our KG.

Posted by: gtefferra | November 1, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Foye's not going to start. With Crittenton out and James not in the plans, Foye is the closest thing they have to a backup PG. And when everyone is healthy, they'll need his scoring punch off the bench more than in the starting lineup, where they'll have plenty of firepower.

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 1, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps. But Critt is not expected to be out all year, and the way Gil and Randy are starting to play off each other, AND the way Randy plays defense, makes it feasible (in my mind anyway) to think he will eventually start. Mike and DSteve are both more than capable of running the second unit, and you don't need as much firepower on that unit as you do your starters, although we will still have plenty of it.

I could also envision a scenario where they play Randy for the first 6-8 minutes of the game, and get him back in for Gil at the start of the second quarter, then sub Gil for him at about the six-minute mark. I can easily see a scenario where one of those guys are always on the floor, except in cases like last night's blowout. With Antawn in the starting line-up, they could also use Mike's rebounding on the second unit.

In any event, it will be interesting. One thing I think is certain. When Critt returns, Nick moves to inactive status.

Posted by: bpybay | November 1, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

With CRITTENTON's option not being exercised, the WIZ have put him on hold, pending results to be determined. They must be really pizzed at him for that unauthorized play in ATLANTA this summer.

Posted by: glawrence007 | November 1, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

I see the beginnings of the transition from the big three to a new team with "DRAY" and "JaVA-y" leading the way.

Check the ages:

#5 position:

A- BRENDAN HAYWOOD -- 29 in November 2008.
B- JaVALE McGEE------ 21 in January 2009.
C- PAUL DAVIS-------- 25 in July 2009.

C*-I would like GARRETT SILER in this spot.

#4:

A- ANTAWN JAMISON---- 33 in June 2009.
B- FABRICIO OBERTO--- 34 in March 2009.
C- ANDRAY BLATCHE---- 23 in August 2009.

#3:

A- CARON BUTLER------ 29 in March 2009.
B- MIKE MILLER------- 29 in February 2009.
C- DOMINIC McGUIRE--- 24 in October 2009.

#2:

A- RANDY FOYE-------- 26 in September 2009.
B- DeSHAWN STEVENSON- 28 in April 2009.
C- NICK YOUNG-------- 24 in June 2009.

#1:

A- GILBERT ARENAS---- 27 in January 2009.
B- MIKE JAMES-------- 34 in June 2009.
C- JAVARIS CRITTENTON 21 in December 2008.

Posted by: glawrence007 | November 1, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

My biggest fear (if you want to call it that) for this team is that we lose Brendan after the season. I see him and Gil as the ONLY irreplaceable pieces to this team. We really need to make sure he is taken care of when his time comes. He has proven his value. He, like Oberto, does so many things that do not show up in the boxscore.

Posted by: bpybay | November 1, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

"I have no doubt that plenty of teams would like to have Lopez starting for them.

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 1, 2009 12:29 AM | Report abuse "

Not over BTH.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | November 1, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Not over BTH.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | November 1, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Yes teams would take Lopez over Brendan Haywood. Do you even watch basketball?

Posted by: SDMDTSU | November 1, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

"Yes teams would take Lopez over Brendan Haywood. Do you even watch basketball?

Posted by: SDMDTSU | November 1, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse "

No, teams would not take Lopez over BTH. Do you even watch basketball?

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | November 1, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

On Brook Lopez vs Haywood: physically, they're almost the same player. Within an inch in height, wingspan, and reach, and about the same weight. Haywood is stronger, Lopez a better jumper. Brendan is now making a contribution on offense, after years in the league, while Lopez has turned out to be a better defender than people expected. Lopez is many years younger, of course.

Actually, one of the teams that might start Brook ahead of Brendan is the Wiz. Depends on the matchup. What Brook brings to the table -- interior scoring beyond his years -- is something Washington has badly needed in the past. You might even put them on the court at the same time against a team like Cleveland.

But that's just fantasy. Brendan has shown how important he is to the team, and Brook is in the process of doing the same thing in NJ.

Posted by: Samson151 | November 1, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Okay, so good teams at home are supposed to dominate bad teams. That's exactly what the Wiz did. The Nets were missing Devin Harris, but Skip was good enough to start for finalist Orlando last year, so they weren't really that shorthanded. Also, remember that it was Blatche who came off the bench and really destroyed them, going 15-18 on mostly high-degree-of-difficulty jumpers and spin moves. That's real progress.

Posted by: pjkiger1 | November 1, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

If anyone don't think Devin is key to NJ and an allstar then they do not know basketball. We drafted him and should have kept him. I've always felt Blatche would be very good just like McGee will be. They need coaches that are willing to develop young talent. That's something the Wiz are not use to doing. It would be a big mistake to get rid of Nick and McGuire needs be developed too.

Posted by: rnbrown4 | November 1, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

"One more comment, because I can't resist: Under what rock are all the EG haters hiding now?"

Can't speak for the others, but I, for one, am not under a rock but in front of my flat screen watching the replay of the game on Comcast. It's still way too early to evaluate this team - or Grunfeld's stewardship of it - but that game was a thing of beauty. Andray is suddenly... an all-star, Gil is an all-star all over again and Miller, Foye and Oberto do appear to be the glue & depth we've lacked throughout the Arenas Epoch. While Andray and Arenas were the obvious story, I was especially pleased with the ball movement (no more perimeter-based dull-as-bones isolation Princeton, but straight-to-the-bucket up yoursness), team cohesion and effort at both ends. I also loved the play of Mcghee, who prowled the paint like Tyson in the ring. His hard fouling was the most menace the Wizards have shown on D since Butler guarded the entire Celtics team by himself in that comeback victory at Boston in 2007. The frontcourt has always been this team's Achilles, and if Dre & Mcghee can keep this work up, we might stand a chance against the Lakers, Orlandos and Clevelands of the league... now. It's been a 30-year wait, but this team looks like the real thing, with the right balance of youth and experience. I'm grilling my words up on my Foreman's in anticipation of eating them.

Posted by: SammyT1 | November 1, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

I have to admit to all of you who said that Blatche was due for a break-out. You were right. Not that I opposed that point of view, I just didn't see it happening. You called it, probably by seeing something I missed.

The boy is tearing it up. Good for him, and good for the wizards. Let's hope he keeps it going!

Posted by: mabkhar | November 2, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

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