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Pacers 102, Wizards 86


Simple question: What happened out there?

Andray Blatche buttoned his shirt, pondered his answer, but the words couldn't come out. He threw on his black bubble-vest coat, still struggling to explain the most troubling loss of the season for a Washington Wizards team that entered this season with high expectations.

"I don't know. I swear I don't know what to say after that one," Blatche said. "Tough one. This whole game, I'm just speechless. I can't say nothing about this game."

Blatche was probably spooked by the Wrath of Tawn. Antawn Jamison isn't expected to be back in uniform for another week or so because of his sprained right shoulder, but that doesn't mean that he isn't passionate about the direction of his team. So, after watching his teammates lose their third in a row -- an embarrassing blowout to a struggling team that entered the game with just one win -- he couldn't sit back and let them leave Indianapolis without giving them a piece of his mind.

Trust me, the audio could never be replayed in front of children.

In a loud, profanity-laced tirade, Jamison lit into his teammates, cursing them for what he considered a lethargic effort. No one was spared, and when reporters were allowed to enter the locker room, it was obvious that nothing, not even the fruit tray, was spared. It had been tossed into a corner, shattered to pieces, with fruit and candy scattered everywhere.

The Wizards gave a truly pathetic performance on Friday night and never seemed like they wanted to compete. Brendan Haywood was active, grabbing a career-high 19 rebounds. Caron Butler was also aggressive, though not especially effective, as he had 24 points and 12 rebounds. Randy Foye had some moments, providing 16 points off the bench. But the entire effort of the team was disjointed and left everyone, from players to coaches, frustrated and upset.

"I'm disappointed," Coach Flip Saunders said. "I thought our effort was poor. You have to play hard and play with intelligence. I didn't think those guys did those two things."

Arenas was extremely passive against the Pacers, never taking time to try and have an influence on the outcome. He scored just two points in the second half, taking four shots. It would be one thing if Arenas was in play-making mode, trying to set up his teammates and collecting assists. But he only finished with four assists. In the Wizards two wins, he's averaging eight assists.

And, as evidence of his lack of aggression, Arenas attempted just four free throws. I know former Georgetown center Roy Hibbert had five blocked shots, but that has never kept Arenas from attacking the hole before. After the game, he explained that he was trying to get his teammates more involved after taking 27 shots two nights before against Miami. Arenas is still struggling to find that middle crowd. It often seems to be extremes with him.

He credited the Pacers, who definitely played as a team, even if they didn't always play well. They shot just 40 percent from the floor and had just four more rebounds, but they hustled for more loose balls and were the more aggressive team from start to finish.

"They just outworked us today," Arenas said. "We're not getting five guys to play hard out there. You got the whole team playing hard, they can beat anybody no matter what kind of talent they have on that team. We just couldn't get it together."

Blatche was speechless after the game, but he didn't say much with his play on the court, either. Blatche shot 0-for-5 and had one point with three rebounds against Indiana. With Jamison out, the Wizards need Blatche to play at a high level, but hasn't been able to provide that boost since scoring a career-high 30 points against New Jersey on Saturday. In the past three games, he's scored just 18 points combined. The Wizards are 2-0 when he scores at least 20 this year, but it's not fair to expect that sort of production from him. But the Wizards need something.

Before the game, Saunders described the Pacers as so disorganized that they are organized, in how they get up a lot of shots and catch teams off guard with their free-wheeling offense. The Pacers aren't exactly noted for their defense, but the Wizards shot just 39.3 percent from the floor. It was the second consecutive game that they shot below 40 percent after shooting 37.8 percent against Miami.

"It was a tough one to swallow," Foye said. "I feel as though we should've beaten that team. I feel as though we're the better team, but we let them come out and jump on us early. And we can't have that. We have to take pride in our defense."

The Wizards didn't play defense poorly, but they could never make a run because they spent so much of the night chasing down the Pacers, who converted their 19 turnovers into 22 points. They outscored the Wizards in fastbreak points 23-6.

Saunders kept searching for something to provide a spark and he all of his active players, with Mike James making his season debut. Ten seconds after James checked in, he delivered a pass to Dominic McGuire that McGuire fumbled out of bounds. Shortly thereafter, Butler tried to find Arenas at the top of the three-point line, but Pacers guard T.J. Ford batted the ball over Arenas's head, chased down the ball and laid it in with two hands to push the lead back up to 47-33.

Nick Young and Paul Davis were the only two players who didn't commit a turnover on Friday. It was the third consecutive game in which the Wizards had more turnovers than assists. It's easy to lose three in a row that way.

"If we keep playing like this," Arenas said, "we're going to keep getting our [butts] whipped."

By Michael Lee  |  November 7, 2009; 12:21 AM ET
 
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Comments

you think Gil was affected by the rumors about his fiance? Pretty devastating if true.

Posted by: jk1492 | November 7, 2009 12:39 AM | Report abuse

first.

Posted by: original2cents | November 7, 2009 12:40 AM | Report abuse

Nick Young sucks plain and simple. Please don't start him anymore. Just a waste of roster space.

Posted by: frediemac1 | November 7, 2009 12:56 AM | Report abuse

"In a loud, profanity-laced tirade, Jamison lit into his teammates, cursing them for what he considered a lethargic effort. No one was spared, and when reporters were allowed to enter the locker room, it was obvious that nothing, not even the fruit tray, was spared. It had been tossed into a corner, shattered to pieces, with fruit and candy scattered everywhere."


I can only imiagine what Jamison said to them.

Jamison: You think you're gonna eat @#$%#@ fruit and candy after THAT #@#$*& performance. Well, you can just eat it off the floor

Posted by: ArmChairQB | November 7, 2009 1:05 AM | Report abuse

Listless Performance

Seriously, what causes these kind of games? What makes a team give such a lackluster performance? Anyone have any ideas because I want to know.

This team has done this stuff for years. Right now there is no excuse. It’s not the middle of a long season. This isn’t a back to back or the end of a West coast road trip.. I used to think it was attributable to partying all night, but now I don’t know…

What do you guys think? I sincerely want to know what causes a bunch of millionaires to play like they would rather be doing anything else other than playing the game they love.

Posted by: MeviousMan | November 7, 2009 1:33 AM | Report abuse

I hope those rumours with Shaq and Gil's Mrs are not affecting Gilbert's game...I somehow think it is...Pretty low act on Shaq's behalf.

Posted by: Mase1 | November 7, 2009 2:09 AM | Report abuse

The Wizards should watch the last to see how bad they play. Maybe the Wizards should try super glue on their hands so they can hold on to the ball and practice free throws. Turnovers and missed free throws are killing them.
Extended NY's contract too soon.
Gee, in just 1 game we learn how much we miss Mark Miller. We need more Millers. The guy is willing to play with heart and 1 arm.

Posted by: NewbillJT | November 7, 2009 5:27 AM | Report abuse

Not much to say about that game, huh? Except that Roy Hibbert has to be the slowest man in the NBA. Talk about making the most of your ability...

But there were some other interesting games to watch. Philly victory over the Nets notable only because 6-foot, 170lb guard Louis Williams leads the Sixers in points, assists, and rebounds... exactly how does that happen? Watched about fifteen minutes of the Boston loss and it looked to me like the Suns exposed a weakness: the Celts outshot them from the field but looked way slow and wound up playing slap-at-the-ball defense that kept putting Phoenix on the line, even in Boston. Looked also as if Mario Chalmers outplayed Billups and Lawson in Miami, and Jermaine O'Neal had a big game against Nene. One of those rare Heat wins where Wade wasn't necessarily the key.

"We need more Millers. The guy is willing to play with heart and 1 arm."

We need guys who are willing to play with heart and two arms.

Posted by: Samson151 | November 7, 2009 6:49 AM | Report abuse

It is hard to figure out why the team is not in one unit.Is it a reaction for something that we do not know?
coache need to ground some of the effortless players, manager need to look for trade.There should be a talk to find out before they loos by more than 30 against the sun on sunday.I hope i will not see that game.I turned off my TV and went out when i saw back to back turn overs in the 1st half.
We need change ,i do not think we should tolerate this team any more.

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

It's not the level of effort. It's the level of talent. When the talent isn't there, the confidence dwindles and the effort goes flat.

You can't expect the offense to run effectively with only 3 NBA ready players on the floor.

MJ, DM, DS, FO, DM, JM and PD are not ready for prime time. (Some of these guys can be spot contributors when AJ and MM return, and Javale shows potential).

But with AJ and MM out, that leaves GA, RF, CB, AB and BH as the only solid players on the squad.

Therefore, to gain some level of proficiency, the five solid players should start and play 36-38 minutes.

Also, Flip ought to ditch the 1-4 set with Gil running the show, and let Foye and Gilbert share the ball.

The starters need to outscore their counterparts by 10 to win the game.

Posted by: Izman | November 7, 2009 7:47 AM | Report abuse

"We need change ,i do not think we should tolerate this team any more."

There, in one sentence, is why it's almost impossible to run a sports franchise anymore.

Posted by: Samson151 | November 7, 2009 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Ahhhhhh...Blatche.

I know it is hard to expect more from a 49th pick, but this is what he is. I guy that can light it up one night and suck the center out of the game another.

He is improving, but for all of you "let's replace Jamison with Blatche folks out there," do you get it now? He is a fine backup, and might be able to fill in for a game or two here and there, but he is not a consistant 20 min+ player on a team trying to get deep in the playoffs.

Posted by: Blurred | November 7, 2009 7:52 AM | Report abuse

Izman has it exactly right (except you typed DM twice and left out NY:)). Guys can't make the plays so it looks like the effort isn't there. Most of the backups on this team would not be on the roster of any decent NBA franchise, IMO. And the jury's still out on AB, too, he does seem to be getting into "disappearing act" mode. So you're left with only 6 reliable ballers--Gil, Caron, BH, AJ, MM, and Foye--of whom 2 are down right now. Not good.

Posted by: shovetheplanet | November 7, 2009 7:58 AM | Report abuse

I agree about NY, it's time to throw in the towel. I can't stand how he shuffles down the court and the way he moves when he's away from the ball. He reminds me of Fred Jones, who was at Oregon while I was there. Tons of athleticism but no heart.

When I see effort like that, I have to think it is the result of poor leadership, on the floor and in the locker room. Gil's response to the Heat game was to completely passive. It was as if his passiveness was to spite those people who would say that he was too selfish. So instead of remaining aggressive but more selective in his shots and more distributive of the ball. He said, "here you guys try. we'll see how that works." Last night he made no effort to break down the D to create for his teammates or himself.

Foye played great. I'm not worried about Blatche. it never seemed like he had the opportunities last night that he has had over the last few games.

Posted by: ZardsFan1 | November 7, 2009 8:25 AM | Report abuse

whoa, that was some poor english. sorry, too early. I can translate if you have any questions.

Posted by: ZardsFan1 | November 7, 2009 8:26 AM | Report abuse

This is a poorly run and coached team. Ernie chopped Eddie off at the knees in preseason last year with bringing in Flip to coach D. Eddie knew it and the players knew it. Butler, Jamison, Haywood are backups on other teams. When the east was down they couldn't get past the 1st round. Gil is frustrated but what he going to do. Flip has Ernie's ear.

Jamison should have yelled at his coach for starting Oberto all these games. Blatche has been playing his butt off but he plays behind a stiff. Young can't get off the bench but Stevenson sees major minutes and the first time McGee or Young make a mistake they get exiled to never never land. I forgot McGuire was on the team. Remember so called allstars Jamison and Butler only won 19gms last year.

Posted by: rnbrown4 | November 7, 2009 8:29 AM | Report abuse

I was watching Caron through several defensive sequences. He plays like he assumes the guy he's checking is going to blow by him. What happened to his "defensive commitment"? And he also used to have a very nifty back-to-the-basket game and he would post people up. Now, all he does is head fakes and jump shots from 20 feet. The other thing is hurting us is lack of offensive threat from our bigs, which allows the other team to really pressure our shooters.

Posted by: jweber1 | November 7, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

What is the rumor about Shac and Gilbert's lady?

Posted by: ellis125 | November 7, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Pathetic performance last night. I am glad Antawn went off on them

Gilbert being a mute since the start of the season is fine off court but on the court he needs to open his mouth and take charge

http://www.wizardsextreme.com

Posted by: WizardsExtreme | November 7, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Nick Young sucks plain and simple. Please don't start him anymore. Just a waste of roster space.

Posted by: frediemac1 | November 7, 2009 12:56 AM | Report abuse

__________________________________________
This isn't about starting, the guy needs to be waived. Just swallow his salary and get rid of him.

Posted by: Utilityman1 | November 7, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Damn. a ton of Nick hate for no reason. The dude misses 1 shot and gets snatched!?! Same with Mcgee. I place the blame on 2 people, Flip and Gil. Flip for starting Oberto (he's a 3rd string center and yet he starts as a pf???) and Gil for doing this shut up and play role. I'm not downing him, but to me its coming off as another Gil gimmick. Kinda like he wants the attention even when he's pretending to divert it. He's not being himself. People can make changes to their games but he's stuck in this, "I'll show you" mode. He takes 10 shots all game??? For what? Just because Caron said something about finding his own rhythm??? Stupid. I'm sure the shaq and his fiance stuff was on his mind as well but still, he needs to be the Gil that wanted to be a superstar again. The new Gil isn't working.

Posted by: CBell29 | November 7, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

I hope those rumours with Shaq and Gil's Mrs are not affecting Gilbert's game...I somehow think it is...Pretty low act on Shaq's behalf.

Posted by: Mase1 | November 7, 2009 2:09 AM | Report abuse

Pretty low act on Shaq's part? How about pretty low on the fiance's part? C'mon let's not act like women aren't responsible for their actions in today's society.

Posted by: Marine4Life51 | November 7, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Good on AJ. Exactly what needed to be done and what I've seen precious little of from this team in the past. They started out the season playing like they wanted to win games and turn this thing around. Then they faced a little adversity and wilted. It's as if they have a collective fragile psyche. I have a feeling the effort will be there for the Phoenix game.

New season. New players. Some injuries. New system. It's early. Relax. Talk of trades and waivers blah blah blah is so premature it's ridiculous. Once again, guys are playing roles for which they are not intended due to injury, but the effort level has to be there every game especially now.

As far as NY and McGee are concerned, they don't deserve major mins until they prove otherwise. NY has proven zero thus far (to compound things his body language and demeanor on the court is lousy like he is pouting) and McGee has showed very little (the usual two three nice plays and energy mixed with boneheaded plays and not knowing where to be on the court).

Posted by: rphilli721 | November 7, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

"Not much to say about that game, huh? Except that Roy Hibbert has to be the slowest man in the NBA. Talk about making the most of your ability..."

Slow and steady wins the race.

I was really hoping the Wiz would have a shot at drafting him last year. He's big space eating C with legit low post scoring moves and solid fundamentals (including a nice passing touch). Just what the Wiz need in the middle.

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 7, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

It's obvious that Gilbert's game is being affected by whatever's going on in his private life.
HOWEVER, that does not excuse the rest of the team.

Posted by: rickgonz | November 7, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

If even true, it would not excuse Gilbert from his obligation to play hard and to try and lead this team to wins. He is paid extremely well to do so.

Posted by: The_Shadow_Knows | November 7, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

"I was really hoping the Wiz would have a shot at drafting him last year."posted by: kalo_rama

I think I read that Ernie wanted Hibbert over McGee, but just missed.

Posted by: Samson151 | November 7, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

I don't doubt that had Hibbert been on the board when the Wiz came up, they'd have taken him.

In the immortal words of Maxwell Smart: "Missed it by that much."

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 7, 2009 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Statistically Hibbert and McGee had nearly identical years 2008-09. Only six games in but this year Hibbert is starting and averaging a double double, while McGee is drifting back towards DNP territory.

Posted by: midlevex | November 7, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Lee ... Someone has hacked your twitter account. FYI.

Posted by: Levelheadedskinsfan19 | November 7, 2009 11:15 PM | Report abuse

It's amazing how many people don't know anything about basketball but have a lot to say. McGee and Young get get no confidence from this bum of a coach. I'm ging to put McGuire in this category also. Flip has already lost the potential future of this team. He did the same thing in his last 2 stops. As for Gil and ball hogging. If you watch the Miami game Flip was the one telling Gil to keep shooting. He was the one saying go by him Gil. What real coach would have his center play out past the 3pt line only. Centers belong in the post. McGee would get a ton of offensive rebounds if the only play Flip wants him to run is pick and roll. This is Flips mess.

Posted by: rnbrown4 | November 8, 2009 6:45 AM | Report abuse

rnbrown, McGee looks clueless on defense and displays very little offensive ability. Take away his alley-oop dunk and he isn't much of a threat to score. The guy can't even get good minutes with Haywood as the starting center. That says a lot. Until he shows some game why should Flip play him much? You folks out there who suck up to McGee do so only because he is good for a couple of YouTube highlights every few weeks. But overall he has been pretty useless.

Posted by: NKemp3 | November 8, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

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