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Heat 90, Wizards 76 [UPDATED]

No matter what Flip Saunders might have said after the game about his team being fatigued, how a tough schedule has his players out of whack, the Washington Wizards could not have expected that they'd be 2-6 right now. They snuck a win in Dallas in the opener, beat an atrocious New Jersey Nets team at home, and haven't figured out how to score more than 90 points since then.

On Tuesday, the Miami Heat held the Wizards to a season-low 76 points. The Wizards scored just 27 in the second half. Dwyane Wade had 29 of his 41 points in the second half.

You could blame the Wizards' offensive woes on poor shot selection and a tendency to settle for one-on-one play -- and they were guilty of both in Miami. But I contend that it's really hard to score when you don't give yourself enough possessions. The Wizards committed a season-high 22 turnovers, with Gilbert Arenas being responsible for 12 of them. He had 10 in the second half. The Heat had six.

Arenas originally was scratched from the game with a strained left calf muscle, which he said he developed after the Wizards lost to Phoenix on Sunday. "I didn't feel it until the night, after the game, and it was bothering me the whole night," he said.

He didn't practice on Monday and didn't participate in shootaround. Arenas said his leg felt loose so he decided to give it a go -- about 10 minutes before the game. He thought Saunders was going to bring him off the bench since he decided to play so late, but Saunders started him since he was feeling better. "Gil has heart," DeShawn Stevenson said. "I know he's had knee problems in the past, but at the end of the day, he has heart. Gil does stuff like that. He's a warrior."

Arenas played, but what if he hadn't? In another troubling development, Randy Foye sprained his right ankle and left AmericanAirlines Arena wearing a walking boot. With Javaris Crittenton out at least another month and Mike James out five weeks, the Wizards were left to rely on Arenas and Stevenson as the only ballhandlers. We've been joking about signing Sam Cassell all season, but the Wizards might have to address the backcourt situation. Remember when they had too many guards? Not anymore.

"Randy's probably going to be out for a while with a sprained ankle. I've never been in a situation where I've lost three point guards. And the one that was hurt the most coming into the season, is the healthiest of them all," Saunders said with a laugh to keep from crying. "So we're going to have to do something there too I'm sure."

How crazy is it that the Wizards made a huge trade for Foye and Miller and both players are already hurt just eight games into the season? Welcome to the Wizards, fellas. Where Injuries Happen.

"We just keep getting hit," Arenas said. "I don't know what the hell is going on around here. I don't know if some old player put a curse on us back in the day. I have no idea."

But the situation was worse because Arenas was the primary ballhandler and he wasn't making good decisions with the ball. He had seven turnovers in the third quarter alone.

He had a bad pass, and then an offensive foul that was followed by a Wade layup. Wade stole one of Arenas's bad bounce passes to Andray Blatche and dunked, stole another pass that led to a Michael Beasley dunk. Arenas later stepped out of bounds along the left baseline and Wade made a 16-foot, turnaround jumper to tie the game at 58. An 11-point lead vanished in about four minutes. But Arenas didn't stop turning it over. He later lost control of a pass and dribbled the ball over halfcourt to get a backcourt violation. The Heat scored 11 points off of Arenas's turnovers in the period. The Wizards scored just 13.

One thing I noticed during the game was that the Wizards don't have many easy baskets. They take way too many contested jumpers, which probably explains their 40.3 percent shooting against the Heat. The Wizards had just seven fast break points. During their five-game losing streak, they have a total of 33 fast break points. The Indiana Pacers had 23 fast break points against the Wizards last Friday.

Players complained after the game that they stopped doing what was working in the first half, when they built a 49-41 lead. Even Wade noticed the difference. "In the first half, they were sharing the ball," Wade said. "Early in the game, everyone was touching the ball and that was the reason they were playing so well and they just had everyone going."

After handing out 12 assists in the first half, the Wizards had four the rest of the game. "We just, it's the same thing," Saunders said. "When things get bad, we as individuals try to do too much instead of trying to get everybody involved. Then we made some bad decisions, turned the ball over."

It's getting repetitive. Injuries. Turnovers. No ball movement. Loss. The Wizards have earned this record.

By Michael Lee  |  November 11, 2009; 12:00 AM ET
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man, i'm starting to get depressed. if nothing else, can flip find a minute or two to play javale? instead, we have a defensive "specialist" playing 40 minutes and d-wade still gets 41...

Posted by: PopeyeJones | November 11, 2009 2:06 AM | Report abuse

16 ast's 22 to's = LOSS

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | November 11, 2009 3:51 AM | Report abuse

Look on the bright side the Wizards have 53,295,219 in Gil, AJ, CB, DS, RF, AB, NY, and JM.

If they resigned BH at 8 mil a year that would put them at 61,295,219, the new salary cap is projected to be around 65 mil?

That leaves the Wizards with about 4 million to fill 6 roster spots next year.

Will Ernie make some deals before the trade deadline?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | November 11, 2009 4:14 AM | Report abuse

Well DS enablers, got nothing to say? Your boy played 40 mins., had 8 pts. 1 rebound 3 assists 1 steal. IN 40 MINS. And his defensive stopping was WHERE exactly?

Where is this 'baller' that you DS apologists keep talking about?

At this rate, they won't even be able to trade him and Young; They will both get time now that Foye is hurt and barring some Haley's Comet/LaBradford Smith once in a lifetime scoring burst, they won't combine to score 20 a game.

Time to see the writing on the wall them NOW Ernie

Posted by: kahlua87 | November 11, 2009 6:40 AM | Report abuse

Hey Posters,

Does anyone know where we can find a true point guard? A Tyrone Lue or someone else who can truly run the offense! It's apparent that running the plays are the furthest thing from Gil's mind.

Posted by: bazteal | November 11, 2009 6:58 AM | Report abuse

Look at the starter's minutes. Amazing how many minutes they log when the injury bug bites. But we've seen this before, haven't we?

Posted by: original2cents | November 11, 2009 7:18 AM | Report abuse

I myself was wrong to blame DS for his poor shooting and bad decision in the last 44 second of the previous game against heat.He is realy good and work hard to stay infront of wade.Hey who can stop wade?
Ds is not the issue for last night loss,
it was Arenas.I do not know what is going in his brain, most of the turn overs were unforced.
My tip to FS and EG are:
1/ arenas is not a material for heavy minues yet , he is so fatigued in the final quarters of the last 2 games.
2/Foye is in prison, please make him free , let him take shoots.He can not run an effective offense neither arenas this days. I think they need to find a point gard veteran who can distribute the ball atleast for 15-20 minutes a day.
3/ CB is providing everything he can but his minutes has to go down. I thbik Flip has to relax and try 10 man rotation for the 1st half of the season. He should not try to convince us that NY is not contributing.No one can play effectively if the attitude of the coaches is DNP unless there is a problem.
4/ keep encurraging AB abd BH. arenas penetration should be to find a big man, some times he should kick it out or go out with the ball to find some one.
I like heats defense.

Posted by: gtefferra | November 11, 2009 7:21 AM | Report abuse

This is what happens without Jamison, there is no serious scoring threat in the paint and opposing defenses take advantage of it. For as much as 'tawn gets maligned by some here for not having a real post game, the truth is he scores and rebounds along the blocks for a living while also mixing outside jumpers in to open things up.

imho, AB needs to get the attempts and be coached to do his work right around the bucket just as Jamison does so often.

of course, hopefully jamison will be back soon.

as to the Foye injury, this is really, really brutal. Just terrible and truly Les Curse

Posted by: divi3 | November 11, 2009 8:03 AM | Report abuse

I was really excited about this up comming year for the Wizards.I still hold out hope that they can turn things around? but it needs to happen soon.I am almost at the point where Im tired of wasting my time watching them!

Posted by: littlebilly13 | November 11, 2009 8:10 AM | Report abuse

I suppose it's better to have this run of injuries now, while there's a bunch of the season left to recover. But it's clear that the Wiz are currently involved in a war of attrition.

We're back needing the kids to step up and perform.

Posted by: Samson151 | November 11, 2009 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Maybe it's time to rebuild and let some new MF's get hurt all the time!

Posted by: millineumman | November 11, 2009 8:19 AM | Report abuse

76 points is not acceptable under any circumstances against any team. the Wiz were supposed to be a deeper team this year. Bring back Juan Dixon if they are gonna lose ugly like they have been. Then again, bring back Steve Blake if you want a true NBA PG.


btw - I lol'd when i read PopeyeJones screen name. great one.

Posted by: HughGRection | November 11, 2009 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Here's a money saving tip for the front office.

Drop the limo service. Charter a bunch of ambulances instead.

Posted by: mabkhar | November 11, 2009 8:32 AM | Report abuse

How can we get some straight up Ballers in here? The guys we have are okay, but we have been mediocre forever.

Posted by: millineumman | November 11, 2009 9:03 AM | Report abuse

I think Gil's head was not in the game but on the mess thats out there about his woman and 'The Big Adulterer'.
I have never seen Gil play so 'out of himself' like last night! The turnovers were so silly. Not like he was really forcing things. This was a game that the Wiz could have won like the last time they played the Heat.
Coach Flip needs to dig deeper in his rotation to see what he can get. He can still see what kind of chemistry he can build with guys like D-Mac who could have played D against D-Wade instead of Beasley. With the injuries on this team, he has no choice but to go to the youth now. Get McGee some real playing time! Nick Young? I do not know what to say about him.

This game was the Wizards to win! I would rather watch this team play hard like they have been at times, rather than watching my Skins

Posted by: Doobie_Sparks | November 11, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Hey Posters,

Does anyone know where we can find a true point guard? A Tyrone Lue or someone else who can truly run the offense! It's apparent that running the plays are the furthest thing from Gil's mind.

Posted by: bazteal | November 11, 2009 6:58 AM

You must be joking right? T. Lue??? Is it Gil's fault that all of his help has went down to injuries? He's the only 11 who hasn't been injured so far. That's why I don't understand why we continue to employ the CRAPPIEST TRAINING STAFF EVER!!!! Look at how Phoenix's staff is able to keep a 35 year old Nash healthy, and a 37 year old Grant Hill playing after missing 6 years of his basketball life in Orlando! When will Abe or Susan O'Malley (if she's still here) realize that they need to build a winning organization from top to bottom and not just throw crap up on the wall and hope it sticks!

Posted by: CBell29 | November 11, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Well, DS is not an offensive player, so complaint about his offense is noted.

However, regarding defense on Wade, Wade shot 14 for 29, and if you take out the dunks off Arenas' turnovers, he did not shoot very well. The two Miami players who shot well are Chalmers and Arroyo, combined shot 70% (9 for 13), but they are PGs (and you know who is guarding PGs).

Posted by: sagaliba | November 11, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Before people start jumping ship, let's keep in mind that the injuries to Jamison and Miller are short-term in nature. With both of them back in the lineup (and hopefully Foye soon), the Wiz will again have multiple options on the offensive end. Last night reminded me of a lot of games last year when Jamison and Butler would run out of gas in the 2nd half and we had no other options.

As for Gilbert, his 2nd half was a nightmare. I've never seen him so sloppy with the ball and committing so many unforced TO's. He played a great 1st half and then seemed to come unglued in the 3rd quarter. You could tell that Flip would have liked to take him out, but Foye was hurt and Mike James is also injured. He had no other options and Arenas just imploded down the stretch. Let's hope 4 days off will get us back a player or two to help the team.

Posted by: wizfan89 | November 11, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

"Does anyone know where we can find a true point guard? A Tyrone Lue or someone else who can truly run the offense! It's apparent that running the plays are the furthest thing from Gil's mind."

I concur. I see a lot of petulance in Gilbert Arenas - as if he knows better than the coach how the offense should be run. I'm almost certain that he is acting out in resistance to Flip Saunders insistence to him to run his offense.

Posted by: bazookajoe1 | November 11, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Why should any professional basketball player who earns millions of dollars be fatigued! They need to quit counting their dollars and get in condition which is what I thought pre-season was for. Saunders needs to teach the Wizards basketball is played for 4 quarters. NY looked totally lost last night and we just signed him to an extension. Some strategies Saunders should employ is pass the ball 3 times before anyone is allowed to shoot, people who shoot less than 33% from 3 point do not shot from 3 point range,practice free throws, oh god this team needs too many basics.

Posted by: NewbillJT | November 11, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Another thing that pisses me off is the lack of calls the Wiz are not getting. I mean, Wade got that crap call at the end just so he could get to 40 again! That's all that that was. The game was over and it had no bearings on the outcome. But yet Gil gets hammered EVERY TIME he goes to the hoop and 1 out of 10 times he'll get a call.

Posted by: CBell29 | November 11, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Now... anyone who knows basketball knows you can not WIN a game when you have your point guard having 12 turnovers...YET.... the same person should realize who is there to releave Gil for him to take a break and get his head back in the game and to allow him to get rid of some of the fatigue? With that built on top of frustration that he is feeling that he is not getting the same calls before he was injured you have a guy who just feels like things aren't right.
Now I think the people who called Jamison soft see his value on the court when something like this happens because with Orberto (although I really like him) the other team is only having to guard 4 people and with D. Stevenson in the game they really may only have to guard 3 players...So everybody just relax we will be able to play more uptempo with Jamison and Miller back...Both of which who can spread the floor and create driving lanes for Gil and caron.

Posted by: SkinzFan4lyfe | November 11, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

why in god's name are we playing stevenson 40 minutes, especially when we have Nick Young sitting on the bench. Stevenson gives us nothing on offense(and we seem to have trouble scoring) and while he supposedly is an excellent defensive player, he was awful against wade last night. when all our guards are healthy, we should never ever play stevenson. thank god flip has come around to starting blatche.

Posted by: sirloubalot27 | November 11, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

I don't think the problem with Gil is conditioning. He doesn't look or act fatigued. He looks like a guy who has spent a lot of time working on conditioning and not a lot of time balling. He's missing passes; he's not seeing the floor very well; he's waiting for refs to bail him out on drives. That'll all come around with play time.

Blatche has played extremely well in Jamison's absence, but we're seriously missing Jamison and Miller's consistent offense. We need buckets, son.

Stevenson played really hard last night. He even filled in pretty admirably at the point. Unfortunately, he still made the mistake of taking big shots at the end of the game when he's not the guy who should be doing that. Losing Foye really sucks.

Posted by: jon_quest | November 11, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Ohh.... and although we know its a problem scoring we held them to 90 points which means to me this team seems to be more committed on the defensive side of the ball which bodes well come later in the year when everyone is back. So with their full slate of players available who should be more ashamed? The Heat who pulled away late although we are injury depleted of us?

Rebounding took a hit as well as Miller is averaging atleast 8 a game and we know Jamison is going to find a way to rebound and do those crazy flip shots (which drive us all crazy) for second chance points.

I can actually see a big line up out there with Gil/Randy, Caron/Miller, Jamison, Blatche, and haywood. That line up still provides rebounding, defense, getting in the passing lanes, and surprise surprise offense!

Posted by: SkinzFan4lyfe | November 11, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Dwane Wade is the exploitation expert and he kept up the daggers until the wizards were dead. If there is a team on their heels he's the best at knocking them over the rest of the way.

Seems to me that between the Arenas/Wade battles (if you can even call them that) Wade wins just about every time.

Yes, Jamison being back will help if that happens.. but it's an excuse. Bottom line is until Gil can take over a game again this will repeat time and again. He's still not back to his former self - if he was they'd be winning some of these recent close games. Of course, this wasn't even close, but that's thanks to Wade.

Posted by: boblas | November 11, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Injuries. Turnovers. No ball movement. Loss.

Is there really a CURSE?

Can't do much about the injuries.
The turnovers & lack of ball movement go hand in hand.
DS played great D on Wade but when you have DS & FabO on the floor defenders know where the ball ain't gonna go and that increases the possibility of TO's and a lot of them went to Wade for dunks (no D for that).
Gil looks out of sorts. Caron is right there with him. Brendan is doing all that he can do.
I think that Gil is feeling the effects of not playing for the last couple of years. It's gonna take him a while to get back.

Maybe the injuries are all gonna happen early and we'll be strong heading into the playoffs (dreaming?).

Posted by: VBFan | November 11, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

The good news is that at least there is some hope this year...last year was utterly hopeless most of the time! Anyway, the Wizards team defense is vastly improved over last year. They really made the Heat work for a lot of their shots...I attribute a lot of that to Brendan, and also a new attitude from Flip. Offensively, they need to get a feel for the new system and the new pieces. Injuries don't help with that, but once we have everyone back, we should be fine.

Last night, when things were going well offensively, you could see they were running (and creating from) sets. Later in the game, they seemed to abandon that. Over time, that will improve.

I agree that DeShawn gets way too many minutes (he drives my wife batty), and either give Nick a chance in there or get rid of him. Taking a roster spot and no court time doesn't make sense...same with JaVale. Loving Brendan so far this year, and 'Dray is looking much better more consistently too. Patience!

Posted by: srhoops | November 11, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Let's make this clear. No one's jumping ship.

We are all alighting off the bandwagon, since the real party is on the MEATWAGON.

Posted by: mabkhar | November 11, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Arenas is not a point guard, never was, never will be. His style of play leads to heavy turnovers whether as a 1 or a 2 but with the majority of the ballhandling done as a 1, he will lead the league in turnovers and hurt this team.
What is the answer? A true point guard. Where to find one? A trade using Young and/or Stevenson to acquire one very soon. Possibly Earl Boykins will help but he is not a long term solution.

Posted by: jshavatt | November 11, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

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