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Morning brew

Plenty of coverage and reaction to the Abe Pollin memorial at Verizon Center Tuesday night. Mike Wise checks in with a thoughtful column that focused on Mr. Pollin's barber and the relationship they had. J. Freedom duLac from Tuesday's paper: Pollin's generosity lives on in housing. Michael Lee shares some memories and a few highlights of the service in a blog post. And here's a photo gallery from Tuesday's event as well as video of Wes Unseld's remarks.

Here is the Washington Times' main story on the memorial service.

On the daily beat, Michael Lee checks in with a short notebook leading with Coach Flip Saunders ruminating on the team's need to play more up-tempo.

Mike Jones at TWT writes about Saunders's new emphasis on aggression.

Around the League ...

Eight games on Tuesday, including the Cavaliers suffering a stunning overtime loss to the Grizzlies.

Dwight Howard celebrated his 24th birthday with 25 points and 11 rebounds in a win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday, and ESPN.com's J.A. Adande looks into how the Orlando Magic has won eight in a row by having some fun.

Commerical-Appeal columnist Geoff Calkins wonders if the Grizzlies' win over the Cavaliers is a sign of better things to come for the young team.

While Houston Chronicle columnist Richard Justice fawns over LeBron James, the Rockets are pleased with the development of Trevor Ariza.

Sports Illustrated's Phil Taylor wonders if the NBA is getting a free pass over this Tim Donaghy scandal. Boston's Rasheed Wallace, who long believed he was targeted for technicals, said Donaghy's claims of game manipulation could be the tip of the iceberg.

The New Jersey Nets got their second win of the season in Chicago on Tuesday, but they are dealing with a minor Twitter problem involving rookie Terrence Williams. Williams could face a fine after tweeting about what life would be like had he been drafted by Charlotte or Toronto.

George Karl has led the Denver Nuggets to the conference finals and the second-best record in the Western Conference, but he is far from secure. Karl is a free agent next summer after rejecting a one-year extension, according to Yahoo! Sports' Marc J. Spears.

Highlights from last night, via NBA.com's Daily Zap:

By Ed Guzman  |  December 9, 2009; 9:48 AM ET
Categories:  Morning brew  | Tags: Washington Wizards; NBA; Abe Pollin; Gilbert Arenas; Antawn Jamison  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Remembering Abe
Next: Vote for the best of the decade

Comments

"We want him to be aggressive with the ball, whether it's scoring or distributing, but we cannot walk the ball up the court," Saunders said. "That's something we've really been trying to work on from the beginning of training camp: If there is a miss, we shouldn't be in any sort of set play. We haven't done as good a job as we need to."

Pushing the ball isn't a new tactic by Flip. He's been emphasizing this since training camp. Why isn't Arenas attempting to play uptempo?

Posted by: tgif11 | December 9, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

If any of you watched 60 minutes this past Sunday with Tim Donaghy,yeah i pretty much believed what he was saying and the revelation that the ref's had a problem with AI was not a surprise ever since the infamous LA-Sac. playoff series a few years back, well that just about did it for me, conspiracy? damn skippy you know it, and now with LeTravel well lets just say when he's on the court i am shocked when he called for a foul or any other violation although i'm happy that the refs finally call traveling,palming,and three seconds but that interview Sunday confirmed what i've been thinking for a while.

Posted by: dargregmag | December 9, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

interesting though the article posted here debunking Donaghy's claims about specific refs and games.

in regards to bavetta, it was obvious for several seasons he was making calls on what he knew PROBABLY occurred and couldnt actually see squat. infuriating

Posted by: divi3 | December 9, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

The incessant comments about being more aggressive isn't helping.

Jamison is close in that they need to move the ball - but I would add to the open player.

When this team drives to the hoop, turnovers increase dramatically.

They need to give Foye extended minutes with Arenas, which will cut down on the turnovers and bring some confidence back to Arenas.

Posted by: Izman | December 9, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

So I guess we need to trade for a Larry Hughes type combo-guard who isn't Larry Hughes?

Or a Baron Davis point guard who isn't Baron Davis?

How is Gibert supposed to play off the ball and in attack mode with our current personel?

It is clear that he shouldn't be running the point in this system. Maybe in 2 months he'll be running the point like Chaunchey Billups and I'll be eating my words, but I don't think so...


Mr. Lenosis is going to have a fun time trying to turn this team around with Gilbert's contract. Ten years from now we might be championship contenders like the Caps, but the next 5 years we are screwed.

Posted by: MeviousMan | December 9, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Izman, I agree with you that they need to get Foye back in there for meaningful minutes. Playing Boykins all the time isn't going to help this team. He is just a gimmick player.

Posted by: MeviousMan | December 9, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

I wish everyone would get of Boykins and Leonsis's testes...neither one of them is going to do ANYTHING.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | December 9, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

you know its been about 24 hrs since I said this.

Arenas, Jamison and Butler need to get their stroke/drive/FT/dives down to the point where they are figuring out how to get 60+ pts total from them most games.

Everyone else chips in their 4-12 with an occasional 16+ game from someone and we win 65% of the games.

If that is no longer possible (I think it is), we are screwed and you can make whatever changes you want.

At this point the upside to keeping all of those players is better than the upside of what you would get in a trade for them.

If they continue to stink up the joint and it is nearing the trade deadline, let's see what is offered.

I'm not ready to "blow it up" yet, but let's see where we are in 40 games.

This is the team we have and either they perform as expected (47+ wins) or they crash. Either way, we aren't going to do much better trading away our core. maybe some tweeks could be made to the other players that results in a few more wins, but substantially, this is what we got.

Posted by: Blurred | December 9, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

I wish everyone would get of Boykins and Leonsis's testes...neither one of them is going to do ANYTHING.


If you're saying Leonsis won't be able to appreciably change their fortunes this year, I tend to agree. However, I seriously doubt that everything will remain status quo with a new owner over the long haul.

Posted by: tgif11 | December 9, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Noticed that Brandon Jennings, the sensation of the first dozen games, seems to have ceded his lead for RoY to Sacramento's Tyreke Evans, another point guard. Evans is a terrific penetrator but still not much of a shooter, so problems may ensue as defenses get used to him.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 9, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

"We want him to be aggressive with the ball, whether it's scoring or distributing, but we cannot walk the ball up the court," Saunders said. "That's something we've really been trying to work on from the beginning of training camp: If there is a miss, we shouldn't be in any sort of set play. We haven't done as good a job as we need to."

Pushing the ball isn't a new tactic by Flip. He's been emphasizing this since training camp. Why isn't Arenas attempting to play uptempo?

Posted by: tgif11 | December 9, 2009 10:01 AM

I don't see that they the Wizard players really get what pushing the ball is. You can point to Arenas as being the reason why, but it is a bigger than that.

Showtime and the old Boston Celtic fastbreak Teams were the best in the Game. Other Teams were very good at it as well like the Washington Bullets with Unseld.

You see UpTemPo fastbreak ball is really a system and it takes more than just one guy Gilbert Arenas to make it work.

I don't see other guys on the floor for the Wizards busting their butt to complete a fastbreak either.

Once the ball is rebounded it is an all out break to the basket including the guy that is the ball controller. The lanes must be filled and the first pass goes to the ball handler whilst he has already started to run down court.

This first pass is key, for the ball handler can not stand around and wait on the ball. He must be in motion with the other breakers.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 9, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

If you're saying Leonsis won't be able to appreciably change their fortunes this year, I tend to agree. However, I seriously doubt that everything will remain status quo with a new owner over the long haul.

I'm saying that because everyone thinks he can do in the NBA what he did in the NHL.

Honestly, it all came down to luck. He pulled a tank job lucked up and got one of the greatest players of all time. There are no minors (NBDL doesn't count) It's a entirely different system.

Anyone remember when the Celtics tanked and thought they were going to get Tim Duncan? How did that work out for them? It took them 11 years to get back right. And that took a miracle in itself.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | December 9, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

continuation from previous post:

And that first pass is the pass that initiates the break. The further up or down the court that pass goes is critical to the success of fast breaking.

I don't see any fastbreak passing from the Wizards rebounders. If you truly want to run a fastbreak, then that first pass must go to a player that is already running/in motion down court. If the player is standing near you he should not be the fastbreak outlet unless he is going to outlet the pass.

Once the fastbreak pass is made then the ball controller is looking to hit a layup with his teammates filling the lane.

If the break is not there, then you look to kick the ball for easy shots and to set your offense.

Flip may say he wants to UpTemPo, but I don't see any evidence that his Team really understands how to do it.

If he really wants to UpTemPo first, then he should consult with Kenny Smith. Kenny Smith was successful in the League because he truly understood what beating your man down the court meant.

And if you proved you could run with him he would shoot the three on your butt and trash talk on top of it.

Naw. Flip may say he wants UpTemPo, but his team don't know how to do it yet.

Hell, ask Wes Unseld how to fastbreak UpTemPo the ball, Flip.

He will tell it is not done by Gilbert Arenas or Boykins dribbling ball all the way up court. No matter how fast Boykin is, or how slow Gilbert is, a fast break is run by all the players and not just one.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 9, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Kenny Smith was successful in the league because he played with Hakeem Olajuwon.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 9, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

And on this Team right now, the player that bust's his butt for the open shot is most time ignored or the ball never shows up. As a consequence players off he ball do not really run for fastbreak opportunities because they already know that the ball is not coming.

The Atlanta Hawks live and die for the open shot. They take shots all over the court. I am sure they jack up as many jumpers as the Wizards do, but they believe in beating their man down the court for the open shot and they know that the ball will be there.

Flip says he wants UpTemPo, but if he is expecting the point guard to do it by himself, then he is behind the coaching curve.

When Kenny Smith ran the fastbreak for Houston, he received the ball mostly already halfway down the court or in-motion down the court.

Once he received the ball the fastbreak was already half completed.

If the Wizard rebounders would start throwing the ball to halfcourt and insisting that the ball handler get his arse in gear then you would start seeing some UpTemPo by the Wizards.

And the fastbreak means passing the ball to the open man filling the lane and not holding the ball. If you hold it you will turn it over.

When you consistently pass to the open player running the floor, it makes your offense easier and it kills your opponents.

Ask Ty Lawson. Money player. Another fella that knows about beating your man down the floor.

Does anybody believe that this Team dosen't get fastbreak buckets because it is Gilbert's fault?

You would be wrong, this Team is not getting fastbreaks IMO becuase they really don't know how to do it.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 9, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

So now we want Gil to play like....Kenny Smith?

Posted by: SDMDTSU | December 9, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Kenny Smith was successful in the league because he played with Hakeem Olajuwon.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 9, 2009 1:53 PM

Interesting point! One that I am keenly aware, but decided not to mention for brevity sake. Talent is of extreme importance, but it in no way negates that Kenny Smith knew how to run a fastbreak. And the fact that Kenny lived to push the ball down your throat and shoot the three, was what made him the player he was.

He was successful because of it and not just because he played with Hakeem.

He was, Hakeem was, the Rockets were successful because of the talents they all brought to the table.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 9, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Gil's not pushing the ball upcourt the way he did pre-injury. Maybe in part because this year he's committed many TOs in that situation, ball just flying off his hand or dribbled off his shoe.

I'm convinced he's not 100% comfortable with his handle yet, but only he would know of course

Posted by: divi3 | December 9, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

the teams with the most fastbreak points are often ones like Phoenix, Golden State, and our 'zards (a few years ago).

in other words, teams that consider defense to be waiting around for a long rebound to start the break

Posted by: divi3 | December 9, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

imho, Hakeem has legit to claim to being a top 3-4 player of all time.

lord only know how many fastbreaks started with him swatting a shot to halfcourt!

Posted by: divi3 | December 9, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

So now we want Gil to play like....Kenny Smith?

Posted by: SDMDTSU | December 9, 2009 2:22 PM

No. That is not the point at all. Kenny Smith is just an example of fastbreak/UpTemPo play when he played for Houston.

My point is that the Wizard team is not showing to me that they as a Team really know how to run a break. Neither Gilbert or any other player is showing they really want or know how to run a break.

Kenny Smith could have been any other player in the NBA that played on good fastbreak Teams.

In case you didn't know, I chose Kenny because I am partial to Dem' Dar' Tarheels.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 9, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Larry,

Ask Kenny Smith. Ask Ty Lawson. Just ask any Tarheel PG and we've got the problem licked, right?

Check out the Wizards' next game, Larry, and tell me if you see fastbreak opportunities that don't even get started because either the ball never leaves Gil's hands or he's leisurely bringing it up the floor after missed baskets. I do.
I don't know if he's concerned about TOs or if he's looking to make the pass that leads directly to an assist, but something isn't right with him.

Posted by: tgif11 | December 9, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

the teams with the most fastbreak points are often ones like Phoenix, Golden State, and our 'zards (a few years ago).

in other words, teams that consider defense to be waiting around for a long rebound to start the break

Posted by: divi3 | December 9, 2009 2:51 PM |

Just to be clear, I am not talking about fastbreak Teams. I am talking about Teams that know how to run them as a part of their overall offensive philosophy.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 9, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

I'm encouraged by the defense. The issues the Wizards have are fixable (except the low post threat) I would rather them hold opponents to 43-44% shooting instead of 49% and trying to outscore them.

If they can bring that FG% up some...it'll be a lot better.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | December 9, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Gil has definitely been plodding this season, no doubt.

But how about the 2nd unit? Daddy longlegs Mcgee runs the floor hard 90% of the time and should be on the receiving end of monstrous alley-oops with some regularity. The way to use Javale's apparent disadvantage in bulk as an advantage is to have him run the opposing center to death.

AB, as doughy as he is, can still run the floor.

So where's the uptempo when Gil's on the bench?

Posted by: divi3 | December 9, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

"If they can bring that FG% up some...it'll be a lot better."

exactly my thoughts too....however sincethere is no apparent reason for CB to be shooting so poorly, is there no reason to think he'll start shooting much better?

Posted by: divi3 | December 9, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

"Interesting point! One that I am keenly aware, but decided not to mention for brevity sake."

HAHAHAHAHA!

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 9, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

"Kenny Smith could have been any other player in the NBA that played on good fastbreak Teams. "

You've got that backward. Any other player in the NBA could have been Kenny Smith if he played on that Rockets team with Hakeem.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 9, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Dom is also an uber-athlete, with NY and Foye surely not slouches. There are plenty of legs on this team to push and run as hard as Flip could want....so coach them to do it Flip, it's on you

Posted by: divi3 | December 9, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Honestly, I can understand what Gil is dealing with mentally. He's said as much this year and in his blog. He doesn't KNOW what a PG is. He has an ability to score but just like on this board everybody "thinks" a pure pg is a distributor that doesn't turn the ball over.

It's basically asking him to do the opposite of what he's been doing his whole life. He's trying to fit into that "pure pg" mold instead of just playing ball.

It's not that easy as "just be a PG"

With that said...he needs to find a medium QUICKLY.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | December 9, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Larry,

Ask Kenny Smith. Ask Ty Lawson. Just ask any Tarheel PG and we've got the problem licked, right?

Check out the Wizards' next game, Larry, and tell me if you see fastbreak opportunities that don't even get started because either the ball never leaves Gil's hands or he's leisurely bringing it up the floor after missed baskets. I do.
I don't know if he's concerned about TOs or if he's looking to make the pass that leads directly to an assist, but something isn't right with him.

Posted by: tgif11 | December 9, 2009 2:59 PM

If you ask dem' Tarheels, you might get the answer but that dosen't mean you will lick the problem, I will admit.

But about Gilbert, for the reason you cite is why I don't think the Team really understands fastbreak ball.

For, when Gilbert gets the ball he is really the 2nd leg of the fastbreak and if the Team knows that he is not running then the 1st leg the rebounder should not pass the ball to him if the intent is to UpTemPo.

The rebounder as I said above, the first pass is critical to the fastbreak. You cannot pass the ball to a motionless player or one who has no intent on outleting the ball.

As a Team, if Gilbert is not running, then you must exclude him from the fastbreak and he comes into play if the fastbreak is not there.

Fastbreak is a Team concept and the ball must get up the floor quicker than quick.

If Gilbert at this time is not affecting that process then the Team must exclude him if Flip truly want to UpTemPo the ball first.

Simply skip Gilbert in the pass process up the floor when you want to fastbreak/UpTemPo.

Whatever is wrong with him will get better quickly. We can't wait. The Team must get it first.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 9, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Gil has definitely been plodding this season, no doubt.

But how about the 2nd unit? Daddy longlegs Mcgee runs the floor hard 90% of the time and should be on the receiving end of monstrous alley-oops with some regularity. The way to use Javale's apparent disadvantage in bulk as an advantage is to have him run the opposing center to death.

AB, as doughy as he is, can still run the floor.

So where's the uptempo when Gil's on the bench?

Posted by: divi3 | December 9, 2009 3:16 PM

That goes to my point exactly.

I do not see evidence on the floor that the Team knows how to fastbreak.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 9, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

I think Gil's big problem right now is he cant "take over" a game by any means. He cant avg 27pts a night no matter how hard he tries. That's left him clueless as to whom he should be on the floor, and we see the results in his game.

and i say specifically his game, because arenas' struggles are no excuse for anyone else on the team

Posted by: divi3 | December 9, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

I think Gil's big problem right now is he cant "take over" a game by any means. He cant avg 27pts a night no matter how hard he tries. That's left him clueless as to whom he should be on the floor, and we see the results in his game.

I agree. It's been games where in the 4th he would shoot in the past, but if f he's missed like 2 or 3 in a row...he's looking for someone to give the ball to and just watch. He can't do it yet, he doesn't even have the confidence to shoot out of it. He doesn't wanna be a gunner either.

He's thinking too much.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | December 9, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

I do not see evidence on the floor that the Team knows how to fastbreak.

Have they forgotten how to fastbreak or do you think they didn't fastbreak under Eddie Jordan and therefore never learned how to? Or is Flip just talking junk??

Posted by: tgif11 | December 9, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

with the season circling the crapper, i'd be fine with him shooting 25+ a night to see what's what- even if we lose some games because of it.

it's not like we're winning under the current format.

i'd rather catch the 8th seed (or miss postseason) but being playing like a 3rd-4th seed by season's end than half-arse our way into the 7th seed and be playing like a 7th seed at the time.

Posted by: divi3 | December 9, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

with the season circling the crapper, i'd be fine with him shooting 25+ a night to see what's what- even if we lose some games because of it.

I'd rather see those shots go to Jamison IF they're near the basket. Jamison is the only one who can give us a legitimate inside presence if he's willing to mix it up in the paint and I don't care how ugly the shots look. With Brendan getting offensive rebounds the way he has, some of those inside misses might turn into putbacks for Haywood, as opposed to those "fastbreak starters" from Jamison launching threes.

Posted by: tgif11 | December 9, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

I've seen FS exhorting GA to pick up the pace and he simply doesn't. I don't get it. GA used to love to run! Remember the Hughes era? It's a simple task that he should be able to do regardless of whether he is a "pure" PG or not. Getting sick of hearing about that. Billups and Starbury weren't "pure" PG's either and flourished under FS system.

Posted by: rphilli721 | December 9, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

I do not see evidence on the floor that the Team knows how to fastbreak.

Have they forgotten how to fastbreak or do you think they didn't fastbreak under Eddie Jordan and therefore never learned how to? Or is Flip just talking junk??

Posted by: tgif11 | December 9, 2009 3:47 P

Sometimes the knowing get lost in the translation of how to get it done. Right now they are stuck on a certain way of how it should be done, instead of just doing it.

If Gilberts on the floor somehow they are expecting him to do it, or Boykin. But in reality they should just do it as a Team. Rebound, look for the first pass to half court, fill the lanes and voila fastbreak.

Don't put a name on it. Just make sound passing decisions to players in the proper position. Only pass to players that are in fastbreak mode, but at the same time make the proper pass.

They make be thinking UpTemPo, but they are not doing it. I think so, because they are looking for Gilbert to do it rather than themselves doing it as a Team.

LarryInClintonMD.

If they look at Majic Johnson running the break he always released to receive the ball from the rebounder whilst on the way down the court.

If Gilbert isn't releasing down the floor then he simply dosen't get the ball if your intent is to UpTemPo. It is a Team concept.

Saying it and doing it is of course two different things and the Team isn't doing it, so I cannot entirely put the blame on Gilbert. It's the Team.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 9, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

"He doesn't wanna be a gunner either.

He's thinking too much."

I think that's the bigger problem. it's not so much what he can or can't do as it is knowing what to do and when to do it. I think he wants to do the right thing, but with ll the changes in status quo, he hasn't figured out what that is.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 9, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

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