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Morning brew

Earl Boykins came up big for the Wizards last night in their 104-102 win over the Milwaukee Bucks. Here are Michael Lee's game story and his postgame wrap-up.

Mike Jones at the Washington Times also focused on "M-V-P" Boykins. (Let's send some positive thoughts to our friends at the Times. Huge staff cutbacks announced yesterday could mean the end of local sports coverage at the paper.)

In his Briefing, Bullets Forever's JakeTheSnake calls Boykins The World's Most Interesting Man.

Truth About It offers a video (from the Toronto game) in which Gilbert Arenas says he feels profiled by the referees.

ESPN.com's John Hollinger writes that the disappointing Wizards might/should look to make moves before the trade deadline, with Caron Butler and Gilbert Arenas struggling.

NBA.com's Art Garcia focuses on the floundering Wizards and their difficult adjustment process. But as John Mitchell writes for NBA.com, the Wizards won for the fourth time in five games on Wednesday with their three all-stars serving as decoys for the Earl Boykins show.

Here's a recap of the win over Milwaukee.

Another look at Caron Butler's wicked dribble and behind-the-back pass to Brendan Haywood for a dunk.

Around the League ...

The New Jersey Nets had already moved into the same neighborhood as the 1988-89 Miami Heat and the 1998-99 Los Angeles Clippers. But last night, the Nets kicked both of those teams out of the house. They stand alone with the worst start in NBA history at 0-18 after losing 117-101 on Wednesday night Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski writes that the Nets earned this mark of futility because of the ineptness of owner Bruce Ratner.

Allen Iverson is about to have "a humble homecoming," according to Phil Jasner of the Philadelphia Daily News. Iverson accepted a non-guaranteed contract for the veteran's minimum. His former 76ers teammate and currently unemployed former Wizard Jerry Stackhouse says that Philadelphia is the best place for him.

Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Phil Sheridan says the move is a step backward for the franchise, but Philly is abuzz and tickets are selling with Iverson coming back to wear the No. 3 again.


Ben Gordon made his return to Chicago after bolting for big dollars from Detroit and the reaction was exactly what he expected -- boos. The Bulls also beat Detroit, 92-85.

The Houston Rockets and Tracy McGrady continue to be at odds over his possible return.

Ron Artest told the Sporting News that he drank Hennessy during halftime when he played for the Bulls.


By Alexa Steele  |  December 3, 2009; 10:35 AM ET
 
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Next: Blatche quietly contributes to last two wins

Comments

1st

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | December 3, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

good article on truthaboutit.net on gil and the lack of foul calls going to the basket. i posted about it a coupla days back sayin the refs weren't gonna just let gil jum into folks and get calls like he used to, at least not until he reestablishes himself as a superstar in the league. In the article gil expresses a similar sentiment in that he's used to getting 11 fts a game and now he's not getting calls because refs are saying he's jumping into the defensive player. the no-calls end up as turnovers or just wild shots by gil, but the inconsistency is really crazy. just last night gil got called for some dribbling violation, i think palming but the gil had his back to the tv angle and the move was quick. anyway they calle carry on gil, only to allow jennings to turn the ball completely over, put it in his hip pocket, then blow by gil for an and 1 on a tick tack foul from lil earl. i don't know what to say, i always feel like my wiz get hosed by the refs.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | December 3, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse


I'd rather see the team look a little shaky and get the W as opposed to firing on all cylinders and lose.
Boykins haters, like it or not he made enough good decisions at the end of the game to save Flip's bacon. I'm not sure we'd have the same result if Gil had been running the show down the stretch.
Turnovers and missed FTs are a troubling trend with this team though.

Posted by: ArmChairQB | December 3, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

like someone said, i really like gil looking for those midrange Js just inside the key or thereabouts. Great to see how easily he can get completely free for those shots, and maybe that's where he can start building back his range and confidence. He doesnt have to get all the way to the rack right now, baby steps Gilbert, kill'em with the soft Js.

This is the first I've seen of Monta Ellis, er I mean, Jennings and I'm not upset we didnt draft him.

Posted by: divi3 | December 3, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

I remember numerous on court temper tantrums thrown by Scott Skiles as a Bullet. It was funny to see he still looses it at the drop of a hat.

Posted by: millineumman | December 3, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Gil's gotta Hibachi a forty-spot before he starts getting the calls again

Posted by: divi3 | December 3, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

"Boykins haters, like it or not he made enough good decisions at the end of the game to save Flip's bacon"

that's exactly what troubles me, that earl boykins has to save Mr50wins' bacon.

can still chalk it up to lurnin and such, but i do hope to see some wins come through good coaching too rather than little big man heroics

Posted by: divi3 | December 3, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

exactly, let him have a strong month or so of vintage Agent Zero like performances and stern'll put in the call to pay some extra attention to him going to the basket.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | December 3, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

People are forgetting that the Wizards are "Gelling" with their best all around player (Mike Miller) this year still on the bench. Once Miller comes back healthy and Young continues to develop, this team will really be dangerous.

Posted by: JohnWWW | December 3, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

hard to watch Gil sometimes right now....luke ridnour checking him much the game?? good lord, he would have dropped 70 on that back in the day. Last night he actually needed screens to shake him on several occasions.

it'll return though, just give the man some time

Posted by: divi3 | December 3, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

"This is the first I've seen of Monta Ellis, er I mean, Jennings and I'm not upset we didnt draft him."

Considering Jennings graduated from high school a year ago, I'm not ready to concede that his upside is only as high as Ellis. I think he's going to be much better.

Posted by: ArmChairQB | December 3, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

"that's exactly what troubles me, that earl boykins has to save Mr50wins' bacon. can still chalk it up to lurnin and such, but i do hope to see some wins come through good coaching too rather than little big man heroics"


It definitely looked a little helter skelter offensively down the stretch.

Posted by: ArmChairQB | December 3, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

helter skelter doesn't describe it it was more like flip looked clueless, lil earl just went out and made something happen. no plays called during the last 3 mins or so of the game after AJ's no look hook shot in the lane it was all earl.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | December 3, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Did you not read the part where Flip said they were running the pick and roll at the top of the key with Haywood bc the Bucks couldn't stop it? Helter skelter? Which is it, Boykins is the great closer that runs the offense better than Arenas or things are just as helter skelter??? Reading these posts makes my head spin sometimes.

End of December! That is what I believe and that is what Hubie Brown, the greatest analyst in bball, said. By then, we will be pretty much the same or making real strides. I, for one, won't watch many more games at that point if they are still playing like this. Too frustrating! Obviously, GA being 60% the player he was is not helping, but our problems could just be a bunch of nice pieces with no chemistry that might not change - I hope not. But, the two best natural passers on the team are Miller and Blatche so.... I would not be shocked if Caron is traded at the trading deadline either if this continues bc he just doesn't seem to fit anymore.

Posted by: rphilli721 | December 3, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Jennings actually reminds me of Michael Redd only in a PG's body. Their shooting strokes are so similar it's scary!

Posted by: rphilli721 | December 3, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Gil's gotta Hibachi a forty-spot before he starts getting the calls again

Posted by: divi3 | December 3, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Didn't I say this 10 days ago? back before our .800 run got started? Let him at it at the calls will come. When the calls start coming, he will get a couple extra inches from the defenders and he can score at will again.

Posted by: Blurred | December 3, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

@divi,

Yeah, I noticed him having a hard time shaking Ridnour too. I think the elephant in the room is that GA could possibly never be the same player he was before or even close (I got him at about 60% right now). It's early and I've said as much before, but it still has to be concerning to both him and the team. Frustration with refs etc could just be a symptom.

Posted by: rphilli721 | December 3, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

People need to accept that Arenas simply is not the same player he was pre-injury. I'm guessing he's about 75% in terms of quickness and leaping ability. His frustration seems to boil over when he doesn't get calls, but too many times he's barely off the floor and his shot is being blocked. Before the injury, defenders generally fouled him up high when he was finishing at the rim so he got the calls.

It's been very telling that Flip doesn't think that Arenas can even get his shot on a defender like Ridenour in the last couple of minutes. The same thing happened in the wins over Philly and Toronto. Arenas also has lost his accuracy on his 3-point shot, even when he gets a good look. Maybe it will take him the entire season to get his legs back, but right now it looks like the Wiz will need to rely more on Boykins in the 4th quarter.

I was a little disappointed that Foye didn't get a little more PT even after the two offensive fouls, but he seems to have fallen out of the rotation with NY playing well as the starter. One of those two look to be trade bait come the All-Star break.

Posted by: wizfan89 | December 3, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

"Which is it, Boykins is the great closer that runs the offense better than Arenas or things are just as helter skelter???"

He runs the offense better than Arenas in my opinion and I think that is why he's the primary ballhandler in the 4th quarter with Gil off the ball. Things are far from smooth but they are better with Boykins and they have been winning of late with him running the show in crunch time.

Posted by: ArmChairQB | December 3, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

If the Bucks couldn't stop the high- pick-and-roll with Haywood and Boykins, then Skiles needs to have a talk with his guys about how to defend that play. Haywood is zero threat to shoot the ball in that position (okay, he'll shoot it, but he won't make it), so the smart play is to jam up on the ballhandler, force him to give the ball up the the big and see what he can do with it 15-18 feet from the basket. In Haywood's case, that's not much. And I'll say it again: It's one thing to lob the ball to Haywood right at the rim, or outside the paint when he's got a wide open lane to the basket, but why do they keep giving him the ball in traffice or when he's trying to post up with both feet outside the paint? Good things rarely come from that. It was bad enough when it was just Miller, but now Arenas, Foye, and Boykins are doing it to.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 3, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

"I think the elephant in the room is that GA could possibly never be the same player he was before or even close (I got him at about 60% right now)"

i've mentioned before the story over the summer about how he went to Grover and couldnt even push "X" amount with his leg, and then a few weeks later he was all superman on it supposedly.

That's a cute story, but if your leg is all cripped up in July there is no way it's going to be 100% explosive now. Maybe once or twice a week, but not through the nba grind.

Gil looks good enough at times to where I still think it's realistic to think (hope) his knee/leg are eventually at 90-95% of Agent Zero level- which should be plenty given his game was never dunking, but drawing contact.

if his shot and ball handling weren't rusty, he wouldnt look nearly as limited now and we know those 2 things can come all the way back...

Posted by: divi3 | December 3, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately for the Bucks Haywood was not dumb enough to shoot 18 ft away from the basket. The one time they jammed Boykins he rolled into the basket for an easy dunk.

Posted by: Dave381 | December 3, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

"Unfortunately for the Bucks Haywood was not dumb enough to shoot 18 ft away from the basket. "

He launched at least one of those (although it may not have been off pick and roll). The point is, that's the way to defend the play with an offensively limited big setting the pick.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 3, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

And my point is, Haywood played it perferctly in which he rolled in the basket and be available for a pass. That my friend is how you beat a trap. A nice play by Brendan and Boykins!

Posted by: Dave381 | December 3, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

"He launched at least one of those (although it may not have been off pick and roll)."

Not sure, huh. Funny.

Posted by: Dave381 | December 3, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

And my point is, Haywood played it perferctly in which he rolled in the basket and be available for a pass. That my friend is how you beat a trap. A nice play by Brendan and Boykins!

Posted by: Dave381 | December 3, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse
Earl literally dribbled 22 second off the shot clock and tried to run that same pick and roll 2 times, with haywood coming out twice to set screens. it was the 2nd time he came out there that he rolled to the basket where he got the dunk. i think if earl didn't dribble the air out of the ball, the bucks defense mighta rotated over,not to mention i think it was ridnour who went to sleeop on the screen and bogut was left to choose b/w BTH and lil Earl, there was no trapping situation. it was like a 2 on 1 break in the middle of halfcourt offense.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | December 3, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

@lillywood10

First of it was Jennings and not Ridnour and 2nd it they teamed up on Boykins that causes Brendan to be free (look it up again in the highlights). The pick and rolls was a design play from Flip that is why they keep on doing it. The bucks were having problems stopping it the whole 4th quarter.

Posted by: Dave381 | December 3, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

the pick and roll is a play my 2 yr old and i can execute on the fly after dribblin the ball for 22 str8 seconds it isn't a difficult basketball philosophy so let's not give flip credti for designing the play. if u watch the replay you will see BTH come out and set a pick, i guess he didn't get what he wanted b/c he had to call for a second pick to get the lane to the basket to set up BTH. i just watched the replay and Jennings gets hung up in BTH's pick, Bogut drops off back to the free throw line where he allows lil earl the angle to the basket, while he tries to recover and jennings trails the play haywood slips to the basket for a dunk. nowhere does either defensive player "jam the ballhandler" like my man Kal (lol) said earlier.

btw lilywood that's just rude.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | December 3, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

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