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Wizards reunite with Jordan


Miss me? (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)


The locker room callouts about "egos" and "hidden agendas" and the recent spat involving Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler have overshadowed what the dominant theme of this game was expected to be: the reunion of Eddie Jordan and the Washington Wizards -- on the anniversary of his firing.

How rich is that?

"I didn't know it was the anniversary," Antawn Jamison said after practice on Monday. "That's strange, but it's just one of those things."

It will be interesting to see what kind of reception Jordan gets, especially with the Wizards only slightly better than they were last season, when Jordan was fired after a 1-10 start. When talking to reporters in Philadelphia on Monday, Jordan said he remembers Ernie Grunfeld being "very sincere" when he decided to replace him with Ed Tapscott last Nov. 24.

''Not apologetic, but he had to do what he had to do,'' Jordan said. ''I said, 'Ernie, I understand. It's the right thing to do, and it worked out -- for me anyway.''

Jamison said that, at the time, he was surprised to see Jordan get fired so early in the season. "I thought it wasn't going to happen. You had some key guys injured, and we were still 12 games into the season so you still had a long way to go. But I remember getting that call, the day I found out, and how he appreciated the things that I've done and the experiences I had with him," he said.

"I learned so much from Coach Jordan and the rest of those guys. That's part of the business. Things like that happen, and sometimes I think we take it for granted that we do have the power to influence that, and it happens," Jamison said. "I been through six, seven coaches in my career, but he's definitely been a guy I've learned a lot from and became a leader and had a lot of success with, and I definitely appreciate what he's done for me."

Arenas has made several negative comments about Jordan's systems since the firing. But other than say that "athletes don't work" in the Princeton offense, he didn't place any special importance on this game. "For the team, I don't know that we're really excited about it because it was our old coach. It's more for the fans. They thought they lost a good man, and we all felt we lost a good man. But he got a job, and unfortunately it's on the East coast."

Jordan said that he was surprised that the Wizards are off to a sluggish start because "the big three are together" and the team added Mike Miller and Randy Foye. ''They've got a ton of talent, and a ton of experience,'' he said. "That's a formidable team, and they should be very good. I don't know what their problem is."

He added that he expects the Wizards to figure it out soon enough. "I know they can be a very good team," he said. "I know that. We've been around long enough to know this is a game we want to play well in. I know their personnel; they have a good team. They've got scorers, they've got veterans and they've played together for a while. I know it's a new system they're trying to learn, but they know each other."

By Michael Lee  |  November 24, 2009; 12:15 PM ET
 
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Comments

i Liked Eddie Jordan

Posted by: ttn703 | November 24, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Does Flip understand the Haywood and Blatche will be motivated to bring their best game tonight?

Hopefully, he acts accordingly (and rests Butler).

Posted by: Izman | November 24, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Shouldn't they be motivated to bring their best every night?

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 24, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Wow, I hope this can be the fresh start... I expect Haywood to have a HUGE game.

Posted by: Gooddad | November 24, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Shouldn't they be motivated to bring their best every night?

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 24, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Of course, they should. But there's no doubt that everyone gets an extra edge now and then from something, in this case, for BTH and AB from the perception of having been slighted by EJ when he was coach.

But you already knew that, Kalo. So why feign obtuseness? Izman's point is a very good one and I hope Flip is aware of it. We need a win.

Posted by: 7snider7 | November 24, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

We need a win.

Posted by: 7snider7 | November 24, 2009 1:18 PM

so u think we should bench Caron? Kalo's point is a better one, guy. So why retort bombast?

Posted by: prescrunk | November 24, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Unless his point was that we have keys guys on a team that's 3-9 and spiraling downward who need extra motivation to get a win, his point really wasn't much of a point at all. The team needs a win regardless of who the opposing team and coach is tonight. If they need some kind of bulls*#t personal revenge motive to get them going, then they need a serious priority check.

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 24, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

As Kal said in his last posting, this is a game the Wiz simply need to win regardless of any revenge angle or motivation for certain players. Bottom line is that the Wiz need to be able to consistently beat teams like Milwaukee, Philly, Indiana, and Toronto before they are even discussed as being in the mix of the Eastern's elite. So far, it looks like Boston, Cleveland, Orland, and Atlanta have established themselves as teams that will be in the hunt. Miami could be as well, but probably need another piece or two.

As far as the injuries go, I don't think the Wiz can use Miller's injury as an excuse for not winning. They still have a lot of depth at that position and its up to the Big 3 (or Big 4 including BTH) to show the way. Hopefully, NY will look at this opportunity as a last chance to establish himself as an NBA player or plan on heading elsewhere via trade.

Posted by: wizfan89 | November 24, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

"More than seven percent of GMs picked the Wizards to finish ahead of defending Eastern Conference champ Orlando in the Southeast Division." -Ken Berger CBSSports
That would be 2.1 GM's who clearly have less sense than a fence post. All you EG denigraters out there, count your blessings.

They've got a ton of talent, and a ton of experience," he said. "That's a formidable team, and they should be very good. I don't know what their problem is." -EJ
A ton of injuries, obviously.

Posted by: midlevex | November 24, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

A ton of injuries, obviously.

Posted by: midlevex | November 24, 2009 1:53 PM

Obviously not.

Posted by: prescrunk | November 24, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Uh, just win this one OK?

Posted by: khrabb | November 24, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

I could care less about the Eddie Jordan angle, I just want this team to get going in the right direction. I am getting worried that this team may just not have " IT" but I understand there is a lot more season left.

Posted by: millineumman | November 24, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

"Obviously not." -prescrunk

I agree that part of the pro game is injuries but the Wizards have had key personnel out for the last few years, and when we say out it's been for a season at a time for some.
Currently we've got Crit, James, Miller and possilby Butler out.
Successful teams can lose a player and slot in a backup and keep on going, sometimes. Didn't work so well for Boston last year.

The Wizards just don't have a core group that have played together under a long familiar system, (EJ's Princeton gone, Flip's playbook is in) that they can move players in and out and still win.

They can't even win with their core group because they haven't played together for a couple of years (injuries) and then it was under EJ.
You may want to complain about bad trades and egos etc. but I think it's obvious that injuries past and present are the key to what's happening now.

Posted by: midlevex | November 24, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

After watching Gilbert's interview and smirk when asked not once, but twice, about Caron's role in righting the ship, it seems that there is definitely some divisiveness in the locker room. When your best player (Arenas) doesn't trust one of its other top players (Butler), you've got chemistry issues. I always felt that CB3 deferred too much to Arenas in the past, but there was a reason in that Gilbert could score at will.

Arenas is not currently a 3-point threat and teams want him to drive since they know he's looking to draw fouls or will lose control of the ball. There's a reason why he's leading the league in turnovers. It's up to Arenas to involve all of the team's players like Billups did with Detroit to makee the offensive work.

Posted by: wizfan89 | November 24, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

I expect Haywood to be as average as he usually is, but with an above-average grimace on his face.

Posted by: StetSportsBlog | November 24, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

we are in desperation mode. badly badly need a win.

Posted by: m1ke3i6 | November 24, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

So Eddie Jordan doesn't like big men who can rebound, block shots, defend the rim? Really? Then why was he always on Blatche for not doing any of those things? As for Haywood, he never had any problem doing any of those things in Jordan's system when he actually focused and committed himself. The only thing Jordan's system actively discouraged him from doing was shooting the ball. Which is a good thing because, as his current FG% suggests, Haywood shooting the ball is not necessarily in the team's best interest.

Posted by: kalo_rama
------------------------------------------

No one says EJ doesn't like big men who can rebound, block shots, defend the rim. But EJ values his center being a passer away from the basket more than rebound and block shots. That is why Songaila, someone who can't rebound or block shot, was used so often as the center.

Look at Dalembert, can he rebound, block shots and defend the rim? Yes, but obviously that is not the highest priorities EJ looks for his center.

Posted by: sagaliba | November 24, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

What exactly is a huge game for Brenda?

11 points?
13 rebounds?
3 blocks?

He should have been doing that 6 years ago.

Posted by: elfreako | November 24, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Boring. Just play hard and win. screw all the rest of this. The talent is there. the teamwork is not.

Quit sniping and play ball.

Posted by: Blurred | November 24, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Unless his point was that we have keys guys on a team that's 3-9 and spiraling downward who need extra motivation to get a win, his point really wasn't much of a point at all. The team needs a win regardless of who the opposing team and coach is tonight. If they need some kind of bulls*#t personal revenge motive to get them going, then they need a serious priority check.

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 24, 2009 1:33 PM

Hey, you make a good point and I'm persuaded. (One doesn't see that on the Internet everyday, does one?)

Posted by: 7snider7 | November 24, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Didn't we already get this article the last time the Wiz played Philly?

Posted by: Samson151 | November 24, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

It doesn't matter that it's the 76ers or the Lakers or the Nets -- the Wizzies need to bring their "A" game.
We need a WIN & get a streak going.

Posted by: VBFan | November 24, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

wow. Abe Pollin just passed away.....

We have lost a great great man, who did so much for this city.

Posted by: m1ke3i6 | November 24, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Abe Pollin has passed away. Perhaps his spoiled, ungrateful cry-baby millionaires can but away their petty differences for the night and try to win a game for him.

Posted by: mstov | November 24, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

For those with a short memory, EJ went with Mike Ruffin over Haywood and Blatche in the clutch. And not just once.

If that doesn't provide some extra juice, then the person on the receiving end is brain-dead, as are those who don't recognize the connection.

Posted by: Izman | November 24, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Yea kalo_rama they should, and they do. But if you don't understand why they might have an ounce more motivation/agression tonight against Eddie... then you have no clue

Posted by: jabels24 | November 24, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Ruffin hasn't been a member of the Wizards in almost 3 years. If they're still smarting over that then, like I said, they need a priority check.

"But if you don't understand why they might have an ounce more motivation/agression tonight against Eddie... then you have no clue"

If you mean no clue why you waste everyone's time with your drivel . . . guilty as charged.

As for Haywood and Blatche, that kind of "motivation/aggression" is of the selfishly motivated variety, the kind where a guy goes out more focused on looking to prove something or fulfill a personal goal instead of focusing on the team goal of winning. Given recent events/comments, that's exactly the kind of "motivation/aggression" they don't need.

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 24, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse


Haywood is competent and gets the job done most nights. The best thing he brings each night is defense. About the only guy who does.

Posted by: noups | November 24, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

And on the subject of having no clue . . .

Where did I say I didn't understand how facing Jordan might get Blatche or Haywood fired up? Oh, that's right . . . I didn't. I understand it just fine. I also understand that players who are really focused on winning won't allow themselves to succumb to such "me-first" kind of impulses.

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 24, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

I'm not surprised that it seems like reporters jumped the gun when they assumed BTH was talking about Gilbert's ego. Reports now say that the comments by BOTH Gilbert and BTH were aimed at CB3.

Most of us, who watch the Wizard's games objectively, realized that Caron has recently forgotten what a pass is. I saw a number of plays this past week where he would catch the ball as far as 35ft from the rim and never give it up.

Caron and Gil both need to acclimate themselves to the new offense. And I want Foye and Miller (when healthy) to just play their game and not try so hard to blend in or be liked. Flip's system is about getting 6 or 7 guys in double figures every night and having different leading scorers.

Posted by: SportzWiz | November 24, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Eddie Jordan's return and the childish internal bickering are now just a footnote in the wake of the death of Abe Pollin, who bought the team before any of them were even born. People forget that in the 1970s, led by Wes Unseld and Elvin Hayes, this was one of the elite teams in the league. That championship in 1978 was one of the high points in D.C. sports history. RIP!

Posted by: randysbailin | November 24, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Well, that was a typical mediocre first half by both teams.

More gripes with FS.

-Oberto is useless against athletic teams like Philly and when the team has no offensive flow.
-AB should be getting more mins.
-McGee actually playing better than Haywood, but got yanked for one missed assignment. Starting to get old. Haywood is the reason Dalembert is going off.
-Playing Arenas, Foye, and Boykins together is flat out stupid!!!
-Boykins is either lost in the FS offensive playbook abyss or is coming back to earth hard after a good game 1.

Posted by: rphilli721 | November 24, 2009 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Well, better second half thus far.

-NY shooting the rock! Nice, finally.
-Why did FS take out McGee to start the 4th? He owned the paint. Haywood has been a step behind all night and just gave up a layup. Bad sub!!!

Posted by: rphilli721 | November 24, 2009 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Here is where the wheels come off

Lineup:

Boykins
Foye
Arenas
Jamison
Haywood

C'mon Flip. You really that stupid. I soon as I say that lineup I was waiting for the lead to disappear!

Posted by: rphilli721 | November 24, 2009 9:10 PM | Report abuse

I am so pissed off right now with the crap coaching in the 4th I want to scream or throw something. Idiotic lineups! If we lose, this game is 100% on FS!

Posted by: rphilli721 | November 24, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

What the hell kind of turnover was that??? Arenas?

We lose this game - worse loss of the season.

Posted by: rphilli721 | November 24, 2009 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Wow, that was a ridiculously close win. As pathetic as a win can be. The 4th quarter coaching was the primary reason. Hey, Flip, I can a great idea for you. Why don't you ice the the two hottest shooters on the team NY and AJ until about 6 mins remain in the 4th quarter? How about you play some truly awful lineups (see above)? Did you expect to keep the lead with that on the floor at the same time? Why did you yank McGee when he outplayed Haywood this game and owned the paint? Huh? Haywood came in and immediately gave up a layup and shortly thereafter an offensive rebound and three point play to Dalembert. Did you not see Flip that Dalembert owned Haywood this game????

Posted by: rphilli721 | November 24, 2009 9:30 PM | Report abuse

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