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Kings 112, Wizards 109


Borrowing a line of thinking that Flip Saunders likes to use after difficult losses, it would be easy to look at the Wizards' sixth consecutive close loss and focus on how they came up short in the end. But in reality, Gilbert Arenas may not have had to worry about having Tyreke Evans pick his pocket in the closing seconds if the Wizards hadn't again lost their focus at a critical juncture in the game.

This game was really lost during a nearly 11-minute span in the second half, when the Sacramento Kings outscored the Wizards 27-12 after Washington had taken a 76-73 lead on a Brendan Haywood layup with about five minutes left in the third period.

Teams make runs in the NBA. That's a given, and it usually can't be avoided. But the Wizards are guaranteed to have some costly -- and lengthy -- lapse that usually makes it especially hard to close out games. They spend so much time chasing they have no energy to actually capture what they are going after.

One sequence late in the third quarter really stood out for me. The game was tied at 76 when Arenas chased down Kings reserve Beno Udrih and forced him into missing a fastbreak layup. Arenas hustled to grab the rebound, then fired a pass the length of the court to Caron Butler, who was open in the right corner. Butler drove and missed a point-blank layup, then Antawn Jamison grabbed the rebound and missed another easy layup. Think the Wizards regret missing out on those points?

The Kings got the rebound, then found Andres Nocioni for a three-pointer that put his team ahead 79-76. The Kings closed out the period on 13-4 run and never trailed again. They took a 100-88 lead when Nocioni made a three-pointer with 6:18 remaining. I'm not sure if fans at Arco Arena were buzzing from excitement or the $1 beers, but the cheers after that shot had me reflecting on the cowbell days when former Wizard Chris Webber (I know, Wizards fans, I know) and Vlade Divac had this town rocking.

It would've been easy for the Wizards to fold at that point, but they didn't, as Arenas summoned some of his old self and brought his team back into the game. He just wasn't able to bring back all of his old self. Arenas scored a game-high 33 points, with 13 coming in the fourth quarter. But the Wizards haven't had much success with Arenas going for 30 lately. They've lost the past three games that he's topped 30, including the game that started this losing streak against Toronto.

"It's frustrating, especially for me because I live for moments like this," said Arenas, who blamed himself for four of six losses in this slide. "The team has been behind me since we started and I feel like I'm letting them down right now -- especially when they're so used to the glory days. At the end of the day, you've got to take your bumps and your bruises. I can't hit every game winner. It all evens out. One day, I'm going to start hitting them again."

Right now, it doesn't matter who hits the shot, so long as somebody does. And, the Wizards have yet to find anyone -- other than Earl Boykins -- to play fourth quarter closer/hero. And, that's really a shame.

Even worse, the Kings had been complaining about how being such a young team contributed to them struggling to win games down the stretch. You could definitely see how young the Kings were as they blew that 12-point fourth quarter lead by wildly launching three-pointer after three-pointer (they missed seven in the final six minutes).

But that same unit, which featured two rookies in Tyreke Evans and Omri Casspi, and a second-year forward in Jason Thompson, was still able to make the critical plays down the stretch against a veteran Wizards team that all of sudden hasn't figured out how to win games. Saunders has called his team "immature competitiors" and this season is showing that age ain't nothing but a number. Despite their experience, the Wizards consistently get outclassed in the clutch. Confusing. Really confusing.

"A couple of years ago, we won those games," Antawn Jamison said after scoring 30 points. "It's tough."

The frustration was evident as players quietly moved through the locker room after the game. As reporters approached Brendan Haywood, he stopped them in their tracks, "I don't have anything good to say. Leave me alone."

That's how it is when a team loses six in a row, with every loss playing out to the same "build me up, just to let me down" conclusion. There really isn't anything good to say.

By Michael Lee  |  December 17, 2009; 3:34 AM ET
 
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Comments

Just got home from work an hour ago and fired up the DVR.

What can I say? I'm speechless.

The team is in shambles and Arenas has gone from being the best closer in the league to the worst - the man can't even get a shot off anymore, he just turns it over.

What happened?

Posted by: Wittan | December 17, 2009 4:20 AM | Report abuse

Arenas said , "The team has been behind me since we started and I feel like I'm letting them down right now"

Then quit being a ball hog and pass it. Everybody knows that you are going to try dribble the ball for 5 seconds and than either drive to the basket or shoot it?

I don't know who first wrote it on here but they are right this team has no basketball IQ.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | December 17, 2009 5:49 AM | Report abuse

Mike - How long is McGee going to be in Flips dog house? We are the only NBA team not-playing their first round draft pick, this is absurd.

Posted by: closg | December 17, 2009 5:57 AM | Report abuse

closg

It's because all of Ernie's draft picks suck.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | December 17, 2009 6:14 AM | Report abuse

I'm sorry I forgot this is Washington DC where people are compensated very well for being inadequate (Marion Barry, George W. Bush, Congresspersons, Senators, and didn’t the tax payers just bail out a bunch of CEO’s).

Give Ernie a raise?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | December 17, 2009 6:19 AM | Report abuse

I wonder how well the Wizard players would do on the Wonderlic test?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | December 17, 2009 6:21 AM | Report abuse

bulletsfan, I agree that we dont have the smartest team in the league but your comment isnt true. Gil hasnt hogged the ball hardly any this year and as far as the late game goes, what more would you rather have than Gil being guarded by a 6'6 guy one on one? You say that people know he's going to shoot it. If he doesnt get doubled then he's supposed to shoot it, like all super stars do. He just is rusty and either loses the handle alot or gets stripped but he had the best matchup for that situation. Evans is great but he should be too big to stay with Floyd

Posted by: dlts20 | December 17, 2009 6:31 AM | Report abuse

also, I love Gil saying that because it shows me that he's maturing. Gil is famous for blaming everyone else but he's saying that its his fault. Thats big. He's getting close and you can tell he's feeling more confident. As long as he plays like that then the rest will fall into place and eventually we will win at a high level but he has to play like this

Posted by: dlts20 | December 17, 2009 6:33 AM | Report abuse

Time to Start Over
With the exception of Haywood, presently we dont have/utilize complete player (offense/defense) for other positions. Arenas is a slashing SG in a PG body and unfortunately we have not found the right complement that is a PG with ability to defend SG position. Trade of #5 did not brought us the right mix of personnel needed. Miller is a pure SG does not match well with Arenas. Foye is similar in ability to Arenas with less ability as offensive player.
Suggest RE-START. Trading Butler, he is a all star in right system and should have substantial value. Start Blatch as PF and Jamison coming off the bench. Foye, Miller or Young all have value but not a right mix for Arenas. James, Crit and Sephan has no value and are fill ins. If u can move Arenas move him - most probably not possible and we are stuck in building a team around him. Anyway lots work needs to be done. Not that difficult to figure it out, hopefully the new ownership team will enable the GM to do what is necessary to fix the team - no sacred cows and need innovative thinking. Just one suggestion - go young (McGee, Blatche, Young?) and no more investing in so called big 3. Opportunity is gone.

Posted by: PointCenter | December 17, 2009 6:35 AM | Report abuse

How does a veteran team lose to a bunch of rookies, backups and no-names, to yet another team missing its best player? To show what a joke the Wiz have become, they were actually the 3 point underdog going into the game.

Another game where they got almost nothing from the bench. The top three options off the bench, AB, EB, and NY were a combined minus 23. Again the starters hold their own and when the bench is called on there's nothing there.

Maybe EJ's system did a better job of masking the weakness of the bench than FS's system (whatever that is) is doing. If that's the case then it's ironic that EG got rid of Jordan, since now all can see what a poor job EG has done of putting this squad together.

What's the deal with Foye? Only 5 minutes last night from a guy who was supposed to be a major contributor. Didn't he average 16 points last season? Is he in FS's doghouse; is he more badly injured than has been disclosed; are they keeping him out because they're trying to trade him; or has he just suddenly lost all effectiveness? Any idea Mike? As someone else pointed out, if you get nothing out of Foye then the 5th pick was given away for injury-prone Mike Miller. Pathetic.

Posted by: shovetheplanet | December 17, 2009 6:46 AM | Report abuse

I notice how, in last few accompanying videos in the Insider, Mr. Lee seems to have an increasingly agitated expression on the still shot with each loss. Well, I'm right there with him.

We've passed the quarter pole and all the new faces should've had time to jell by now. And I thought this was going to be a relatively easy month. Now with games (make that blown W's) against the likes of the Pacers, Clippers and now the Kings...well, I'm like BTH - I've got nothing good to say right now.

Posted by: BMoreChil | December 17, 2009 7:00 AM | Report abuse

What makes this worse is they didn't have their best player. The problem is when one of the fake 3 don't get a shot after coming down the court 3 or 4 times even if the team is winning it's automatic that the one that didnt't get a shot will take the ball and shoot it. They suck. Flipper let the young guys play.

Posted by: rnbrown4 | December 17, 2009 7:00 AM | Report abuse

Well it is what it is. We have a bad team. I still believe this is the deepest Wizards team I have seen in quite a while. I just think that most of the players are score first jump shooters. Poor Brendan players drive past the big 3 so quick on a regular basis and then he is forced to foul early. The big 3 can't check any opposing player in the league.

Posted by: bonggong | December 17, 2009 7:13 AM | Report abuse

The Wiz defense looks like an escort service in the lane. Sac had their way with the Wiz, like many teams have had in this losing streak.

Posted by: bide1953 | December 17, 2009 7:17 AM | Report abuse

If you watched the game Van Gundy and Mark Jackson explained it very well.

The team refuses to go with what is working. AJ was killing them down low and after he got his 12 point Gil and Butler started throwing up shots from the outside.

They don't hustle after a missed shot; all they want to do is stay back and complain to the ref that they got fouled.

No assists once a player gets the ball it never leaves his hand.

If I watch Gil drive into the lane without a clue what he is going to do with it just hoping to get fouled I give up. That might work if he could finish.

Why is AJ ever more than 5 feet from the basket? Great arm waves on "D" when another player goes by you.

Larry,

Are you sure AJ played at NC? Don't they teach guys what taking a charge is all about?

The bench sucks because Ernie can't draft that's why he either trades the picks or sells them.

Look on the bright side one day MM will come back.

Mike,

New poll question for you.

Which roster would the fans want right now?

1) An old Wizard roster

2) A young Kings roster

I don't know who you are that wants me to name another GM but Geoff Petrie has drafted a lot better than your guy Ernie (I drafted Michael Redd years ago) Grunfeld.

I wish the new owner had the authority to over pay for Petrie.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | December 17, 2009 7:27 AM | Report abuse

I agree about the trade. CB,AB and NY have values. Get a Pf who can push AJ to the bench, get a young PG who can play at both end of the court and go for 1st round pick, sign MM and BHW ASAP.This action is not only helping the future but can turn the season for possible playoff run.I am happy with the progress of AB but he is not reacting well around the board very well.I realy do not understand how flip expect BH and AJ can do in the last minutes with out a break, AJ is 35, please leave him alone.

Posted by: gtefferra | December 17, 2009 7:32 AM | Report abuse

They stink! Not much more to say. I saw a Sac team that plays with each other well and is fluid. We are so helter skelter on offense and defense it's sickening. The first period was the season in a nutshell. Jamison is scorching hot from around the basket and instead of milking him Arenas has to get his jack then CB has to get his jack. Hey, idiots, how about throwing the ball to him and either he hits another shot or he can draw the defense and you get an easier one.

Same sh..t every game:
-Matador defense. We were much better the first few weeks of the season. Started turning right about the time AJ returned. You got two terrible defenders starting now GA and AJ.
-AJ jacking threes down the stretch for no reason.
-Boykins sucking the life out of anything resembling offense when he enters and getting utterly destroyed on defense. BENCH HIM!
-No Randy Foye?! Why? How? What happened? You think he can't play a better all-around game than Boykins Flip? Really? I've defended you for the most part, but this is the definition of insanity. Even Michael Lee calls him "the closer", which is ridiculous. Damn, two games has made this guys career here or something. He stinks if you look at EVERY game. He is not effective with Arenas or without. Get him out of there and play Foye consistently! He may not be playing great but the way you jerk him around I'm not surprised he has no rhythm right now.

Oh, having Arenas guard Evans for as long as he did was flat out brainless. Why is DS starting? To not guard an Evans on defense??? Really? Just stupid stuff. Maybe switching who they guard on defense is too much for them to think about.

Posted by: rphilli721 | December 17, 2009 7:50 AM | Report abuse

By the way, Tyreke Evans is a player!

Three years and he is an all-star and potential MVP type player. Wow, he made

Arenas look small.

And for all you EG haters, he was the player that EG wanted at number 5. When he knew he would not be there, that is when the trade was made. I take Evans over Jennings right now easily. No contest. He can do things that Jennings will never be able to do like playing great defense and rebounding.

Posted by: rphilli721 | December 17, 2009 7:58 AM | Report abuse

I hope when they watch the tape of this game they are forced to watch the ESPN feed in which Van Gundy and Jackson criticized the effort level of many Wizards on several occasions.

Flip should outright ban Jamison from taking any more 3-pointers. How he can he not realize how much better he is in the low post with his goofy flip shots than shooting 25-footers with 20 seconds left on the shot clock? Jamison's quick jumpers early in the shot clock drive me crazy.

Arenas and Jamison are also insanely bad on-the-ball defenders. Opposing players blow by them with little resistance.

Posted by: MrSkins | December 17, 2009 8:24 AM | Report abuse

This team is so aptly named.

- They have no heart.
- The show no courage.
- Oh, if they only had a brain.

Here they are ... your Washington Wizards of OZ!!!

Posted by: original2cents | December 17, 2009 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Trade: Andray Blatche and Mike James' expiring deal to Portland who need cap space next year and some post scoring.(They're giving Juwan Howard big minutes)

Portland sends Steve Blake to Orlando because Jason Williams isn't getting it done and they need an efficient setup man for all their scoring.

Orlando sends Brandon Bass, who is getting no PT to Washington. Washington also gets Martell Webster.

Then you turn either Deshawn or Randy Foye into an athletic 4, (like Anthony Randolph who is on the block or Tyrus Thomas), and go bigger.

Then you have a core of Arenas, Miller, Butler, Jamison, Haywood, Bass, McGee, McGuire, the athletic 4, Webster, Young and the Crittendon/Boykins combo.

I'm just sick of watching this team. They have no heart and no direction. That kinda falls on Flip too.

Posted by: saltine182 | December 17, 2009 1:47 AM

Posted by: saltine182 | December 17, 2009 8:29 AM | Report abuse

The Wizards lost, again, because of their poor defense. The guards don't stop initial penetration, and others don't rotate with help fast enough. And when the Kings got to the rim, too many times you saw Wizards gingerly reach out and make a faint-hearted effort to slap at the ball instead of bringing their whole body at the other player. Either they're afraid of the contact, or they're not supportive enough of their guards (because they allowed the blow-by), they're unwilling to take the hit to clean up the mess. That's about inadequate trust and commitment to each other, not X's and O's.

Posted by: kennedy_marybeth | December 17, 2009 8:31 AM | Report abuse

This team is so aptly named.

- They have no heart.
- The show no courage.
- Oh, if they only had a brain.

Here they are ... your Washington Wizards of OZ!!!

Posted by: original2cents

BOOM! I might steal that and put it on a sign when I go to the game down here against the Magic in February. Yeah, Im already thinking that far ahead, but I've been particularly disgusted with the effort this year.

Posted by: saltine182 | December 17, 2009 8:32 AM | Report abuse

@SDMDTSU

You still want to come on here and talk about the "myth" that the Wizards' defense is bad?

112 points they gave up to a team playing the 2d game of a b2b!

Posted by: artiesliver | December 17, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

The question mark is Foye. He's not contributing. We've lost these games by small margins. All we have needed is for one guy to step it up a bit.

Can we get more minutes for AB? What happened to Foye since his injury? Starting DS gives us what we got a few years ago... a huge deficit at the sg position. Nick Young seemed to be playing good defense and was scoring. Why was he benched? Is JM still on the team?

so many questions....

Posted by: original_mark | December 17, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

This team is going to get worse by trying harder with the same approach.

Heavy reliance on the Big 3 means the bench atrophies.

Then one or more of the Big 3 gets injured.

Then we are left with nothing.

In contrast, the future of the organization could be JM, AB and a premiere poing guard who can defend.

The PG would have to play alongside Arenas because no one will take his contract.

Everyone else is expendable.

Posted by: Izman | December 17, 2009 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Gilbert Arenas chokes like his fiancee on Shaq's black mamba.

Posted by: awb9h | December 17, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Original_Mark, you ask all the right questions. When I see DS in the starting lineup, I just shake my head. What is the point? Seems to me the Wizards give up at least 30 in the first quarter every game. So, it's not like he's bringing a defensive presence.

Posted by: ZardsFan1 | December 17, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

WHAT DID I TELL YA!! Flip is clueless that's why they sent him packing in Detroit and the same thing is gonna happen here they finally fired Vinny the idiot this morning so can EG be far behind I told you they would rue the day they fired EJ and that is comming to fruition they won't win a game on this trip hell they can't even beat five guy's named Moe(Sacremento) think about it EJ took this team without Gilbert to the playoffs two years in a row with a lackluster roster bereft of depth and talent but the kiniving Ernie Grunfeld fired him and brought in an overated Flip Saunders and gave him depth and talent and Flip can't win sh#t! WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND AND BABY IT'S COMMING AROUND!

Posted by: dargregmag | December 17, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

If you watched the game Van Gundy and Mark Jackson explained it very well.

The team refuses to go with what is working. AJ was killing them down low and after he got his 12 point Gil and Butler started throwing up shots from the outside.

They don't hustle after a missed shot; all they want to do is stay back and complain to the ref that they got fouled.

No assists once a player gets the ball it never leaves his hand.

@bulletsfan78,
i think you're off on this one. At the point in the game you are talkin about, Aj had scored 10 straight points. Gil drove the ball twice, going to the line both times. I don't remember CB and GA bombing away from the outside yet, but on the next trip down AJ had found himself a nice comfy spot aroung the 3point line to spot up. I'm all for feeding the hot hand, but it seemed like AJ didn't recognize what was workin either. Van Gundy said AJ was gonna get 50 and he might have if he stayed down aroun the blocks. he looked dominant in the first quarter, no one from sac could handle him in the paint. he self checked by moving out to the perimeter.

And the no Asst thing is laughable since Gil is avg almost 7 per game. AJ and Caron aint passin of course, but someone told me the other day that they're here to score not pass.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | December 17, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

BulletsFan78,

AJ jacks 3's cause he trying to score a knockout. However, his longshots hasn't had knockout power as of yet. When he misses in those knockout situations, the Wizards get sucker punched.

Flip Saunders has the players to control the paint a lot more than they are doing. However, he is not coaching to control the paint.

He should always use as the game progresses any combination of at least two of BH, AB, & JM on the floor at all times with emphasis on controlling the paint.

O&D rebounds and paint defense should become a major focus. This will help the Wizards control the game more and when Jamison does go for the knockout, we might be successful even if he misses.

Lets face it, no one on the Team is scoring a knockout punch. That is what Jamison is trying to do with those critical 3-point shots we see him missing.

Everything looks bad now. I have never liked the way Gilbert lets the clock run down and then goes to score. Even when he was successful at it, I thought it took him and the Team out of rythm.

16 secs on the clock. If you start your Offense then and in rythm, you have a much better chance of scoring period. If you miss or turnover, there may be enough time left for anything to happen.

It was just pure luck that he lost the ball early out on the court and 3.6 secs was left and we ended up with another shot.

Jamison is Carolina Blue, but nothing is working now, and Flip's system... Do you have it figured out yet BulletsFan78. I haven't and the players haven't either.

Hence' low IQ figures in. I think Flip needs to squash the system for now and go to plain ole basic basketball.

Thats what Carolina does and they do it fast.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 17, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Since a 5'1 player relegated Foye to the very end of the bench, we essentially traded a 5th pick for Miller and Boykins. Has Ernie blamed that trade on a dead man yet?

Posted by: Utilityman1 | December 17, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Oh, having Arenas guard Evans for as long as he did was flat out brainless. Why is DS starting? To not guard an Evans on defense??? Really? Just stupid stuff. Maybe switching who they guard on defense is too much for them to think about.

Posted by: rphilli721 | December 17, 2009 7:50 AM | Report abuse

spot on rphilli. you wanna go a step further and question the guy in charge of setting such matchups?fire flip

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | December 17, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

@SDMDTSU

You still want to come on here and talk about the "myth" that the Wizards' defense is bad?

112 points they gave up to a team playing the 2d game of a b2b!

Posted by: artiesliver | December 17, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

good stuff artiesliver. i wanna ask folks the same question. The wiz have scored 100 in 5 of their last 6, however, they've allowed opponents to outscore them in each game. The scores have been relatively close. One would think tightening up the D,getting a couple stops and forcing more TOs would help out more than just trying to score more.The wiz have shown they can score, they haven't demonstrated any defensive intensity or pressure all year.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | December 17, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

I don't know if it's appropriate to talk about anything else on The Day Vinny Cerrato Resigned (soon to be a public holiday, at least in DC), but that game last night sure looked a lot like other games the Wiz have lost. I don't know if you can say they should have won, but they certainly could have and didn't.

Maybe that's the most important part. They're in that purgatory of a team that's playing well enough to win or lose, and at this point, they're losing.

Field goals and 3 pointers were virtually even, and both clubs shot well from the line (nothing wrong with Gilbert's FTs last night). The Wiz had seven fewer assists but Washington was shooting well enough to compensate, except for Caron Butler. The home team wound up with 7 more FT attempts, hitting 4 more, and that was most of the margin. Not atypical for a road game.

Evans played very well, but Arenas had more points, more 3 pointers, and a better +/- in fewer minutes. You can argue their relative effectiveness, but I'd call that a wash. Evans looks terrific at times, but against better defensive clubs, I wonder if his outside shooting is exploitable. Maybe there's another rookie out there who will ultimately take the RoY prize.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 17, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Since a 5'1 player relegated Foye to the very end of the bench, we essentially traded a 5th pick for Miller and Boykins. Has Ernie blamed that trade on a dead man yet?

Posted by: Utilityman1 | December 17, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse


sad sad sad but true. I would force feed mins to randy foye to try to validate this summer's moves, right now what was supposed to be the deepest roster in the east, is looking like the laughingstock of the league. u can only imagine what folk'll be saying if we can't sign miller,foye, or haywood in the offseason.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | December 17, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

this crap is 100% on Flip. Guy is frickin bum, which I'm shocked to find myself writing given what I thought when he was hired.

Lazy, weaksauce defense is the big problem- so our most versatile/energetic defender (Dom) gets few mins and Mcgee gets ZERO.

There's no excuse for that crap. Dom checked Evans the moment he came in the game just like you KNEW he would. He's perfect to guard Evans....how does Flip not see this?

Mcgee would have swatting shots all over the 3rd quarter yet he's no where to be seen because what? He's under24 so Flip has treat him like a toddler and scold him?

Even with Gil wobbly, this roster could win some games with good-to-great ingame coaching but we lose every night.

Flip stinks.

Posted by: divi3 | December 17, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

sad sad sad but true. I would force feed mins to randy foye to try to validate this summer's moves, right now what was supposed to be the deepest roster in the east, is looking like the laughingstock of the league. u can only imagine what folk'll be saying if we can't sign miller,foye, or haywood in the offseason.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | December 17, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

We may not be able to resign any of them as most of the cap money is absorbed by the small 3 and I am not sure the new ownership would wanna commit more millions.
Plus, we are also going to need money to sign the high draft pick we are surely to get based on the team almost certain lottery status. Unless Ernie struggles with the pick again and decided to sell it.

Posted by: Utilityman1 | December 17, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Part of losing close games and momentum is the coaching....can't understand how Flip didn't use McGuire to cool off Evans. He's our best on-ball defender and a good rebounder. Continuing to rely on Arenas to go one on one at the end of game is brainless. If we have two other veteran All-Stars who can score, run the pick & roll so they also are viable options.

At least Arenas accepts some responsibility for the losses, but the other vets including Butler and Jamison haven't come through either. Don't understand why Foye is getting no PT when he is the best compliment to Arenas. Playing Boykins in the 4th is scary considering he's a defensive liability and needs to have the ball in his hands to be a weapon on offense.

This team lacks cohesion, chemistry, and coaching - the three C's need for a good team.

Posted by: wizfan89 | December 17, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

"This team is so aptly named.

- They have no heart.
- The show no courage.
- Oh, if they only had a brain.

Here they are ... your Washington Wizards of OZ!!!

Posted by: original2cents | December 17, 2009 8:28 AM"

BRAVO!!! Comment of the DECADE!!! Pay the man, Shirley.

(And pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!)

Posted by: mabkhar | December 17, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

and to rely on Boykins this much?! What a curse that guy has turned out to be, and it's mindboggling Flip continues to lean on him so much.

Posted by: divi3 | December 17, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Flip,

Try this strategy: don't put ball in Arena's hand near the end of the game and the game is on the line!

Posted by: sagaliba | December 17, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Forget the score. Did any1 else notice the Kings had 5 that's FIVE White guys on the floor at one time in the 2nd half! I can't think of another team that even has 2 or 3 white guys on it let alone FIVE. And I've never ever seen Five White guys on the floor at one time. But the Kings not only did it, they outscored the Wiz in the time they had it. Basketball is really changing. Amazing.

Posted by: dovelevine | December 17, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Note to Coach Saunders: Everybody in the gym knows that when the game on the line, in the closing seconds, the ball is will be in Gilbert's hands. This "strategy" has not worked against Boston, Indiana, nor Sacramento. Arenas is playing as hard as he can. But, he is only 75% of the Gilbert that he was before the knee surgeries. He will give you a productive 30-35 minutes and then he's out of gas in the closing minutes.

Nick Young can create his own shot. Why isn't he on the floor in the closing minutes? Even if Nick's on the floor as a decoy, it forces the opposing coach to adjust his strategy. Where's Randy Foye? Our best defensive stoper, JaVale McGee, is relaxing on the bench. JaVale practically guarantees that no one will get an easy inside basket. But, Saunders, doesn't call his number.

I don't know about everyone else, but I refuse to sit up until after midnight, night after night, to see the same agonizing results.

It's "Groundhog Day" game after game after game.

Posted by: musicmanjr | December 17, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Well everyone, sorry a_ _ Stevenson played another 20 + minutes as the shooting guard and scored 2 point. How does this continue to happen? Everybody who posted about this article can score 2 point in 20 minutes.

Posted by: ellis125 | December 17, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Folks. The season is not over yet. Chill and calm down some. Gil is going to finally "have his day". Please remember the dude has been out for almost 2 years...!!! He is getting his game back during real games.

It is the nature of the beast. You can see him getting closer and closer. The missed free throws, blown layups, slow crossovers and etc. can be contributed to not playing for so long against the best players in the world.

Gil can go down to Barry Farms and Tim Glover's gym in Chi town and play 5,000 hours of pickup ball and still won't get what he needs until he plays at game time speed with game time NBA players. The dude needs to be cut a little more slack at least until Feb. max.

As for Flip, I like his rotations for the most part except for a couple of things. First is McGee. The Wiz have their own 7 foot version of the "Birdman". The energy he brings into the game can not be taught. He is an asset that should be being used. He should at least be seeing 5 minutes min. each quarter. Use him to give Haywood his "blow" Flip.

Foye should be the first off of the bench to give NY, not Stevenson, a blow from the starting 2 spot. There is no reason why Foye should not be getting any minutes.

*** Lastly, Mike Miller will solve a lot of these closeout problems the Wiz are having right now. Miller is a series baller and he would be delivering right now. Again when he comes back and Gil finally gets his game back, the Wiz are going to be headhunting people.

Posted by: BulletsFever | December 17, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Haywood had a pretty decent game over all, but about the third time that Evans drove past our non-defenders, Haywood should have made him pay. Nothing too flagrant or harsh, just slam some of that 285lbs straight into him and knock the wind a little.

That would at least make him look to see if he was gonna get hit again.

But haywood is too soft for that.

You think Lambier, Olajuwon, Robinson, Malone (either Moses or Karl) or Ewing would have allowed a scrawny rookie to drive like that time after time.

Heck, I been watching this team for over 30 years and I can tell you that Jeff Ruland would have knocked Tyreke into the scorers table for coming like that. And Wes would have just flattened him without flinching.

Weak. And Haywood is one of our best defenders. Pathetic.

This is where a Drew Gooden helps a team like this.

Posted by: Blurred | December 17, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Two good things from this game...We are hitting our FT's again and Butler only had 2 TO's and one of them was on an out of bounds call that was clearly wrong.

Posted by: Blurred | December 17, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

lastly... I will admit that jamison can bear a lot of the blame on this one shooting that crappy missed three with about 40 seconds to go and 19 on the shot clock.

And we HAVE to start getting McGee some PT.

Posted by: Blurred | December 17, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Flip plays lame azz mind games with the younger players, that's why javale has not played 1second in the past 2 games after being on the floor for exactly .1secs in the indiana loss.

Posted by: divi3 | December 17, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

mcgee had 11 blocks (11!!)and 12 boards in 45mins of play over the last 3 games in November only to see his PT fall off a cliff to where he's only played 22mins total in Dec

that is effing RETARDED

Posted by: divi3 | December 17, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Yes. I have arrived.

They Kings were shooting 50% the last time I checked last night? So no, last night the defense wasn't good.

The Wizards transition defense is terrible. The half court defense has been much better. They gave up like 35 fast break points? That's a problem. If they can stop the damn ball and get teams in the half court they'll be okay.

The offensive rebounds they were getting in the 4th were killers...bounced right to them. And that baseline jumped Casspi hit was a killer. Played great defense...he just hit great shot.

I want Boykins to go away. I want Foye to get some damn clock. I would like Miller and Critt to get on the court soon.

I knocked out my work so I'm rocking with y'all for the rest of the day. LOL

Posted by: SDMDTSU | December 17, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

So is bad defense a "myth" relative to the Wizards or not?

Posted by: artiesliver | December 17, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Wonder how a vote on should EG had given GA the max contract (or close to it)???

Maybe 99% against!

Posted by: fearturtle44 | December 17, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Its always easy to say what he should have done 2 years later.

And if we are able to unload Arenas and he drops a 50 bomb on us in 2 year as his team is heading to the finals, all these jokers will be saying we shouldn't have ever let him leave.

Anyone remember Juwan Howard? Abe and Wes didn't sign him and then all hell broke loose among the press and fans and he got the NBA to help him out and all the Bullets fans were happy.

Until 2 years later when they all said it was the stupidest move ever.

Or when we traded Rip for Stack. You know, a somewhat unproven, skinny youngster for a perennial all-star. That was almost universally lauded by fans and press alike. But now everyone says they thought it was dumb. Yeah right.

Posted by: Blurred | December 17, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

i for one couldnt stand the rip for stack move, and still believe MJ's fondness for carolina blue was the real impetus for that one

Posted by: divi3 | December 17, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

I will say this as well and it's just my opinion.

I am NOT overly impressed with Tyreke Evans. He's a big guard and I couldn't figure out why he left Gil on him for so long. I was wondering why not put Stevenson on him until I saw the guy playing SG is 6'11. McGuire should have been in on him earlier. I meant Evans bullied his way to the basket over and over. The matchup SCREAMED for McGuire to be in the game. Evans had 26 with 8 free throws. Made that one jumper at the end of the game...so he had 16 points at the basket. Why wouldn't you put a bigger body on him?

Jamison and these 3's man. He was murdering in the post. That's what he needed to do. That 3 at the end was so dumb.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | December 17, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

I will say this as well and it's just my opinion.

I am NOT overly impressed with Tyreke Evans. He's a big guard and I couldn't figure out why he left Gil on him for so long. I was wondering why not put Stevenson on him until I saw the guy playing SG is 6'11. McGuire should have been in on him earlier. I meant Evans bullied his way to the basket over and over. The matchup SCREAMED for McGuire to be in the game. Evans had 26 with 8 free throws. Made that one jumper at the end of the game...so he had 16 points at the basket. Why wouldn't you put a bigger body on him?

Jamison and these 3's man. He was murdering in the post. That's what he needed to do. That 3 at the end was so dumb.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | December 17, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

I'd have liked to see alittle more Haywood, Jamison, Blatche line up. That means a few minutes for Mcgee spelling someone, also.

Use a Butler/Dom rotation at the duece until Miller gets back.

Won't work in every situation, but this game could have been locked up with a couple of hard fouls and a "don't bring it down here" attitude.

Posted by: Blurred | December 17, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Why is it that the 2nd game of a b2b only adversely affects the Wizzies???

Posted by: VBFan | December 17, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

I think EG would have drafted evans and hoped the Rubio hype would push tyreke to 5.

But unfortunately Rubio actually worked out for the Kings who described him as "underwhelming" and drafted evans in the no-brainer instead.

Posted by: divi3 | December 17, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

So is bad defense a "myth" relative to the Wizards or not?

They didn't play good defense last night. Overall the half court defense has been solid. Which is what I have always said. Where I said if they were more efficient on offense and didnt give up so many fast break opportunities. They would be better.

They are terrible in transition. They 7th in defensive FG%...but unless they stop the ball it goes out the window.

I wouldn't have even minded seeing Oberto...geeez someone throw your body in there. That Rondo dunk Blatche gave up still pisses me off. Oberto would've at least got in the damn way.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | December 17, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

"Overall the half court defense has been solid."

must have been half a dozen layups in the 2nd half as kings built a 9pt leadd

Posted by: divi3 | December 17, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

SDM - you and i are thinking alike. this team needs to punish folks that drive the lane. Especially PG and SG's

Posted by: Blurred | December 17, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

AB has been playing soft and unmotivated at the 5 recently for whatever reason, Flip needs to see that and play Javale. Or Oberto if it's been deemed Javale doesnt shave properly or whatever the eff criteria Flip uses to banish young players.

Posted by: divi3 | December 17, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

divi3 - WORD!

Posted by: Blurred | December 17, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Won't work in every situation, but this game could have been locked up with a couple of hard fouls and a "don't bring it down here" attitude.

I agree. I don't know why he wouldn't have Butler and McGuire in together sooner.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | December 17, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Is it time to press the panic button??? As some people mentioned there is no "must win" at this early part of the season. Against a non play-off team, I beg to disagree.

Posted by: Dave381 | December 17, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

"Or when we traded Rip for Stack. You know, a somewhat unproven, skinny youngster for a perennial all-star. That was almost universally lauded by fans and press alike."

I loved that trade . . . as a Pistons fan.

"this crap is 100% on Flip. "

It's a group effort, win or lose. Flip's not the one missing consecutive layups and tossing up 3 pointers with half the shot clock left. Players are making critical mistakes on the floor in close games and it's costing them.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 17, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Tyreke Evans looked pretty impressive, more so than Jennings. He reminded me of a quicker, more athletic Chauncy Billups. Big, strong, able to get anywhere he wanted on the floor. He's going to be very good.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 17, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

"SDM - you and i are thinking alike. this team needs to punish folks that drive the lane. Especially PG and SG's"

But that's not in their personality. Some guys are tough and nasty, some guys aren't. And players can tell when a guy who's not is trying to fake like he is.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 17, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Flip's the guy leaning on Boykins and refusing to play Mcgee while the opposition is making layups. He's the guy who puts Deshawn on Dunleavy. He's the guy who plays Dom sparingly when defensive effort is needed on the floor.

all these games have been very close and at no point has Flip done anything but play starters big minutes (which has been effective) and then completely flounder on the other rotations.

i'm finding it tough to point to positives the coach is bringing. Where has he shown to be an upgrade over EJ and even Tap? Given his resume, I was certainly expecting more

Posted by: divi3 | December 17, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

I think EG would have drafted evans and hoped the Rubio hype would push tyreke to 5.
But unfortunately Rubio actually worked out for the Kings who described him as "underwhelming" and drafted evans in the no-brainer instead.

Please ! Ernie decided to get rid of 5th pick as soon as they didnt get the 1st pick....which they were going to trade away, as I was crying on here for Tyreke after the Blake sweepstakes was done. Nobody agreed that Tyreke was the next best player in draft as I screamed for them to trade up for him. So before there was a Rubio hype trade was in works.

Posted by: bossclifnpooh2 | December 17, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

"Nobody agreed that Tyreke was the next best player in draft as I screamed for them to trade up for him. So before there was a Rubio hype trade was in works."

i was calling for evans from day1, thought it was pretty obvious how good he was going to be.

Rubio hype was on well before the lotto as i recall...

Posted by: divi3 | December 17, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

divi3 , I think you & I are on pretty much same page,I guess I'm sooooo PO'D my brain is little clouded. But I like you was trying to get the the one's that obviously knows more than me to at very least , take serious look at this guy.... Tyreke !

Posted by: bossclifnpooh2 | December 17, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

i'm finding it tough to point to positives the coach is bringing. Where has he shown to be an upgrade over EJ and even Tap? Given his resume, I was certainly expecting more

Could you imagine what the outcry would be if Tapscott were still the head coach with the team losing like it has? Nearly everyone would be caling for his head. I'm not impressed with Flip to this point.


Posted by: tgif11 | December 17, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

"Please ! Ernie decided to get rid of 5th pick as soon as they didnt get the 1st pick...."

The way that draft was stacking up, no surprise. The surprise was that anybody in the NBA was willing to give up Foye and Miller for that pick.

Evans was considered talented but raw. Same with Brandon Jennings. I think most people had doubts about both except, of course, for the all-seeing types on this blog (just kidding, guys). Evans now looks better than Jennings, who a few weeks back looked as if he was reserving a berth on the decade's all-star team. Things change. What do the coaches say? "Rookies will kill you." We'll have to wait and see.

No question Evans and Jennings make the Kings and the Bucks better.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 17, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

"i'm finding it tough to point to positives the coach is bringing. Where has he shown to be an upgrade over EJ and even Tap? Given his resume, I was certainly expecting more"

You must have thought the problem with this team was the coaching. Looks like you were wrong.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 17, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

"You must have thought the problem with this team was the coaching. Looks like you were wrong."

i'm not ready to concede that, Flip stinks so far.

Posted by: divi3 | December 17, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

"Could you imagine what the outcry would be if Tapscott were still the head coach with the team losing like it has? Nearly everyone would be caling for his head."

Or, conversely, the fact that this team is showing the same frustrating tendencies under Saunders as they did under Tapscott and Jordan could simply be taken as a sign that the fundamental problem is with the players not the coaches.

I mean, at some pint the players have to be responsible for their own performance.

Right?

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 17, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

AB has been playing soft and unmotivated at the 5 recently for whatever reason, Flip needs to see that and play Javale. Or Oberto if it's been deemed Javale doesnt shave properly or whatever the eff criteria Flip uses to banish young players.

Posted by: divi3 | December 17, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

AB definitely looks blow out there when he hits the court. i think it's directly related to his decreased role since AJ's return. AB looked like he was making strides to becoming one of our better players. He avg'd like 16 and 8 while AJ was out. Now i'm not saying you bench AJ for him, but don't be surprised that he's disgusted to be relegated to being the designated rebounder while AJ chucks'em.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | December 17, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

"Now i'm not saying you bench AJ for him, but don't be surprised that he's disgusted to be relegated to being the designated rebounder while AJ chucks'em."

In other words, despite all the preseason smoke-blowing and happy talk about turning over a new leaf, being more dedicated and focused, and acting like aprofessional, don't be surprised that he reverts to being the same ol' pouting immature half-stepping loafer he's been for the past 4 years, the first time things don't go his way.

We're not.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 17, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Or, conversely, the fact that this team is showing the same frustrating tendencies under Saunders as they did under Tapscott and Jordan could simply be taken as a sign that the fundamental problem is with the players not the coaches. I mean, at some pint the players have to be responsible for their own performance. Right?

Yes, but not solely responsible. Flip and the players absolutely share the blame and/or the credit for losing/winning.

Posted by: tgif11 | December 17, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

i said don't be surprised that he's disgusted. i point to the decreased minutes and overall role in the game plan for the decreased numbers. I still think he's playing harder and better than he has in years past. i just think he's frustrated at finally being able to make and impact on the team only to have those opportunities taken a way from him. AB has played consistently well when given consistent mins. He's in the same funk as all the rest of the under 26 players on the team.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | December 17, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

"Yes, but not solely responsible."

Since you clearly missed it the first time:

"It's a group effort, win or lose."
Posted by: kalo_rama | December 17, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: kalo_rama | December 17, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Since you clearly missed it the first time:

"It's a group effort, win or lose."
Posted by: kalo_rama | December 17, 2009 12:54 PM

Nice try.

Never said you said anything to the contrary. I'm in agreement with you about the coach and players owning it.

Posted by: tgif11 | December 17, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

You know what's amazing about the Wizards is that when they score they get excited like the game ends there. No one plays DEFENSE!!! NO ONE!

I don't understand how these guys are so called professionals who make millions of dollars and can't play DEFENSE. And no one wants to work on there DEFENSE. It is just sad.

When yo go to work you want to be the best employee that you can. You want to be the best in your field or skill. Where everyone looks to you and tries to perfect there craft from you. Here these guys just want to be average! Go figure!!!

No one wants to step up and be the best player on the team or even try to be the best player in the league on offense or defense! It's like no one cares!!!!

A side note Gilbert got schooled by a rookie! Gil career is over!

Posted by: paulelucas2 | December 17, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Flip yelled at a fan that was heckling how's detriot doing without him. Man I wished Detroit had kept him. Maybe we can trade Ernie and Flip for a 3rd pick and $1. Ernie traded the 5th pick in the draft and a early 2nd round pick for a stiff and cash. We need a new owner.

Posted by: rnbrown4 | December 17, 2009 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Mike, you look constipated in the video.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | December 17, 2009 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Physically we all know that gil is 100% but mentially he is not ready,he is second guessing himself ever time he has the ball in his hands, and the team suffers when that happends, it looks like we have another bust as a coach any time you start stevenson "the brick" over young or foye something is definally wrong. watching the big "3" is so lifeless, the only way McGee is going to get any better he has to play we are loosing any way, look we lost "7" straight game with the big 3 o ya dont for get brenda. its time for a change. ITS RIDICULOUS TO SEE BRENDS,GILL, CARON,STEVENSON,JAMISON SITTING ON THE BENCH LAUGHTING WHEN THE TEAM IS IN SUCH DISARAY.. MANUP IF THE FANS WHERE TO STOP BUYING TICKET WHO WOULD BE LAUGHING THEN... TIME ARE HARD.. AS FANS WE CHOOSE TO ATTEND THE GOOD AND THE BAD IT JUST BEEN BAD FOR TOO LONG... A NEW YEAR IS COMMING.. NEW OWNERSHIP WHO WILL BE LAUGHING THEN.... BIG 3

Posted by: bajunchild | December 18, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

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