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Wizards 105, 76ers 98


Dominic McGuire didn't know what was going on until Flip Saunders walked down the bench and pointed at McGuire, Earl Boykins, Nick Young, Andray Blatche and Fabricio Oberto telling them all to get in and replace his lethargic starting five, which was trailing by four points at the time. Saunders sent the message that has patience had run out for lackluster efforts and made an example of the group that wasn't getting it done.

"I was surprised and shocked," McGuire said of Saunders' move, which lead to a loud applause from the fans at Verizon Center.

It wasn't received well by his players, as Antawn Jamison kicked the ad banner near the Wizards bench and grabbed a seat at the end of the bench. Asked about the benching after the game, Jamison said, "I have no comment on that."

Nothing really needed to be said. That was the exactly the emotion that Saunders was looking for. He wanted to see that his players cared, that the sense of urgency was as high as it needed to be with the team sputtering through the first 25 games. The group that Saunders put on the floor didn't exactly change the Wizards' fortunes -- Philadelphia actually extended its lead from four to seven.

"You have to have enough confidence when things aren't going right that you can put guys in and give you energy, get it turned around and get things going," Saunders said. "That's what a team is."

Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler got the message, and they carried the Wizards to the victory. Butler missed six of his first seven shots from the floor, but he came alive in the fourth quarter as he scored 10 of his 14 points in the period. He broke an 88-all tie with a pull-up jumper jumper. And after Arenas gave the Wizards a 92-90 lead with a jump hook in the lane, Butler drove baseline, dipped to the other side of the basket and slid on his back after making a layup. He then caught a pass from Arenas and dunked over three 76ers to put the Wizards ahead 96-90 with 4:24 left in the game, forcing former Wizards coach Eddie Jordan to call a timeout.

Asked about how he stayed with it despite his earlier struggles, Butler said, "It's frustrating at times, but you got to remain positive and stay with it. you've got to be mentally tough in this game. things are not always going to go your way. You're not going to get the calls. You're not going to get a lot of things that you want, but you got to stay with it and somehow, someway grind it out and eventually it will turn."

It appears that things have begun to turn for Arenas, who scored at least 30 points for the third time in four games. Arenas finished with 31 points and is averaging 32.8 over the past four, with the Wizards winning two. More importantly, he appeared to overcome his fear of playing at the Verizon Center, where he had considerable misfortune in the Wizards' past three losses in the building.

"I just kept the confidence that I had coming from the west coast," Arenas said.

Arenas and Butler combined to score 22 points in the fourth quarter, but the Wizards were perhaps rescued by earlier efforts off the bench, which contributed 43 points. Boykins had 18, Young had 13 and Blatche 10. The bench scored 20 of the Wizards' 25 points in the third quarter.

"Coach saw the energy drop and decided we needed to get a new group in the game that could bring up the energy and it worked," said Randy Foye, who scored eight points in his third start this season but was the only starter not to play in the fourth quarter. " It was much needed and showed during the fourth. This is something we have to learn from and prevent in the future."

After the game, Young sounded as if he was a bit fired up about Saunders's decision not to give him back the starting shooting guard job.

"We had to step up," Young said about Saunders's third quarter move. "I just got to bring it every game. I can't be considered as a streaky player. The young guys went out there to prove a point. We are somebody on this team and we can step up at any time. It shows a lot of confidence in the coaching staff to take out all the main guys and put in the young guys. It showed that we're a team and we got a lot of weapons."

Jamison had a rough night all around, as he shot just 1 for 6 and finished with seven points. He also appeared to start dragging at one point in the fourth quarter when he got caught fighting for a rebound with Brendan Haywood. In his contract year, Haywood is going hard after just about every ball he's near -- not that there is anythign wrong with that. The more rebounds, the merrier. But on this night -- or is that every night? -- he appeared to hit Jamison in the wrong spot on his shoulder.

"I'm used to it by now. We've played 30 games. Out of 30 games, he's found a way to tweak my shoulder in 25 of them," Jamison said, half-jokingly. "It's just him being aggressive, going for the rebound. He said he didn't know it was me, but it's a good excuse. It's him being aggressive. I like it. He was going for the rebound but I'm going to have to find a way to counteract it, find a way to prevent that from happening again."

The time apart hasn't been good for the Wizards and Jordan as they entered the game with two of the three worst records in the Eastern Conference. The Wizards defeated the 76ers, 108-107, in their last meeting as they used the emotion of losing owner Abe Pollin earlier in the day.

Philadelphia guard Louis Williams missed a potential game-winning jumper as time expired in that game and it was later revealed that he had broken in jaw in a collision with Jamsion that Jamison didn't remember. Williams came off the bench in just his second game since returning from the injury. He had 12 points but wasn't the backup who did the most damage to the Wizards. Reluctant reserve Elton Brand led the 76ers with 18 points and 12 rebounds

But the 76ers lost, with Jordan making a refrain afterward that was common during his time in Washington. "We had a horrible defensive fourth quarter. Horrible, horrible," Jordan said after the Wizards scored 35 points in the final period. "Horrible fourth quarter defense."

By Michael Lee  |  December 23, 2009; 12:25 AM ET
 
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Next: Wizards' morning brew: benching the starters

Comments

Wow. I heard attendance was sparse this evening and maybe Michael Lee skipped as well as we have no post game video. And after a win at that.

Nice move by Flip tonight, if he has to do it twice though we are all done.

Absolute favorite recent post was 1 liner from Larry in Clinton comparing the appearance of Flip Saunders to that of a confused pulp era detective.

Posted by: The_Shadow_Knows | December 23, 2009 1:44 AM | Report abuse

on benching the starters:
It wasn't received well by his players, as Antawn Jamison kicked the ad banner near the Wizards bench and grabbed a seat at the end of the bench. Asked about the benching after the game, Jamison said, "I have no comment on that."

memo to flip: IT'S ABOUT TIME!! who cares about overpaid underachieving former "all stars" feelings/emotions. hey flip caring about the feelings of "lethargic" ballers WILL GET YOU FIRED!!! these guys need a fire lit under their butts! what they don't need is a "players" coach. in the real world if you are not performing on the job you are replaced PERMANENTLY! but because they commit so much money to these prima donnas they cannot afford to cut their losses!! the players know this...but there is another option...TRADE THEIR "LETHARGIC" RUMPS!!! IF YOU LOSE YOU MOVE!!! i say to AJ stop catchin feelings and get in the chest of your teammates and see who will man up or punk down! TRADE THE PUNK-DOWNERS!!! it's overdue twan...flip here is my starting five (call me and let me know what you think man):

PG- GIL
SG- MILLER/FOYE
SF- ANTWAN
PF- ANDRE
C- BRENDAN
SIXTH MAN- CARON

i know it's a controversial line-up coach but i guarantee a better effort than what you are getting right know...hey "mikey" try it, you'll like it!!

p.s.
sometimes i think that "LETHARGIC" is just a $5 dollar word for sorry or lazy.

Posted by: ronniecope106 | December 23, 2009 2:20 AM | Report abuse

I really thought that AJ was more mature than this coverage portrays him... I have always expected better.

Maybe he is trying to get himself traded to the Cavs!

Posted by: khrabb | December 23, 2009 5:51 AM | Report abuse

For all you Eddie Jordan fans: Nice guy, but same ol' Eddie(as a coach)......"Brand, by the way, was replaced by Jrue Holiday, a rookie from UCLA, as Coach Eddie Jordan opted for a smaller lineup. . . .". He has put Brand on the bench, instead of starting him. Eddie has never, ever been a fan of big men(NJ, Wash, Phil), and that is why none has thrived under his leadership, though he has constantly complained he most coveted a big, low post scorer in the Elton Brand mode. Duh!! Wonder why the 76's are 7-21?

Posted by: garrybrown | December 23, 2009 6:06 AM | Report abuse

I said this in on the previous thread, the "big 3" suffer from a condition called Allstar Egoitis.
The symptoms are:
expectation of guaranteed starting role;
guaranteed max. minutes;
lethargic play; non effort defensively;
and general disregard for team oriented play.

The cure: Public embarrassment by mass benching!
Excellent diagnosis Dr. Flip!

The "stars" on this team do not believe that hustling is their responsibility until they are on the court with opponents they perceive as their equals.

This team plays harder against CLE and BOS but can't sustain it because hustling is not something they do night in and night out.

One final thought on EJ v. Flip. Eddie would never have pulled those 3 like that. Flip took the starting 5 out, but he was really sitting the "big 3"

Posted by: bozomoeman | December 23, 2009 6:10 AM | Report abuse

C'mon Tawn...you're better than that.

As for Eddie, he's the gift that keeps on giving. Doubt he'll be harvesting too many nuts this season. How many more times do we get to play the Sixers, anyway?

Posted by: BMoreChil | December 23, 2009 6:41 AM | Report abuse

As long as Agent Zero plays like Agent Zero, we'll be fine.
Abe didnt pay $111 for Gil to pass the ball. He paid for Zero.

Posted by: original_mark | December 23, 2009 7:36 AM | Report abuse

As long as Agent Zero plays like Agent Zero, we'll be fine.
Abe didnt pay $111 for Gil to pass the ball. He paid for Zero.

Posted by: original_mark

Exactly!

But some morons around here are obsessively praying for Gil to do bad. I really wonder whether they are Wizard fans at all or just perpetual haters.

Posted by: G-Man11 | December 23, 2009 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Here's a welcome sight:

GILBERT ARENAS
31 points, 54.1% shooting percentage, 3 of 6 from the arc, 8 rebounds.

Of course he only shot 2 from the line, but you can't have everything.

Seems to me the argument about whether Gil should play the point is pretty irrelevant. He's proven he can pass the ball. But the team plays better IMO when the assists are more evenly distributed. Here are last night's:

Arenas: 2 assts, 1 TO
Butler: 4 assts, 1 TO
Foye: 2 assts, 0 TO
Boykins: 1 asst, 1 TO
Jamison: 3 asst, 1 TO

Eight Wizards picked up an assist.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 23, 2009 8:05 AM | Report abuse

What about bringing brad to washington and sending AJ EJ? he is still in love with him.

Posted by: gtefferra | December 23, 2009 8:06 AM | Report abuse

I say it again, BH is the killer on this team. It is the only thing I agree with EJ about. He is dead and a killer. Yes he flashes moments of energy, but he is static, lifeless and non athletic.
When BH is in we have abolutely no inside game. He is at best a 10-15 minute reserve.

Posted by: mricklen | December 23, 2009 12:06 AM

I do not think the facts on the floor verifies this. I think you are hung up on what you think a center should be doing and what you would like the inside presence to be.

Eddie Jordan applied the same faulty criteria to Brendan instead of using what talents he has and facilitating them by giving him help in the paint.

Eddie Jordan did try to make him a 10-15 minute reserve. I think that panned out worse for the Team. Whereas, letting him play played better for team.

You make a huge mistake in evaluating players. Individual shortcomings do not always mean a players play is not an asset to the team.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 23, 2009 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Glad they picked up the win. But it's no big deal barely beating an equally bad team at home--and needing a big fourth quarter to do it.

Benching the starters was a great move. It's the only way in this league, with the contracts and salaries the players make, to get through to them. With an 80-game schedule, the NBA is all about consistency--playing hard, disciplined basketball night after night. It's a grind. But our guys, for years, have always been contented with a great game one night, an okay game the second night, and a lousy game the third night. We've all been screaming for years--bench the starters if they're packing it in.

20-20 hindsight, Flip should have come in here and said no one's starter-status is guaranteed and then enforce it every night. He needs to continue that policy for the remainder of the year. There's been way too much nostalgia about recapturing a 25-game stretch from three years ago.

Posted by: jweber1 | December 23, 2009 8:19 AM | Report abuse

I do not think the facts on the floor verifies this. I think you are hung up on what you think a center should be doing and what you would like the inside presence to be.

Eddie Jordan applied the same faulty criteria to Brendan instead of using what talents he has and facilitating them by giving him help in the paint.

Eddie Jordan did try to make him a 10-15 minute reserve. I think that panned out worse for the Team. Whereas, letting him play played better for team.

You make a huge mistake in evaluating players. Individual shortcomings do not always mean a players play is not an asset to the team.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 23, 2009 8:16 AM | Report abuse


Larry, unlike many on this blog, I respect others opinions including yours.
Yes I continue to have the perspective that a center should be able to catch, move and jump. I am old fashioned.
I think BH is basically a good guy and also one of the f...ing lucky club.
The offense is totally stagnant with him,Oberto and DS on the floor.
Is it too much to ask of a multimillionaire that he hustle all the time. That he work on his "skills". Granted he is very limited and that is the rub.
Take a look around...big men are leaner faster athletic and skilled. BH is the throwback whose time has passed.
He is a tease occasionally as he is not coincidentally in his contract year. Let's see how much interest there actually is this off season?
But of he is projected ad more than a reserve 10-15 minute guy, I would br greatly surprised!!!

Posted by: mricklen | December 23, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

I also believe that Aj will be gone shortly hopefully for a 2nd round draft choice and other considerations.
AB is ready and with a decent weight program/ coach which this entire team sorely needs, he could be a tremndous asset in the Odom mold.
And of course BH as reserve or exit stage right.

Posted by: mricklen | December 23, 2009 8:56 AM | Report abuse

McGee should be getting 5-10 minutes per game, resting BH.

This team just does not have it at this point. They should be blowing out some teams but when they get a lead of 10, instead of building on that, they slack off and bring it back to a tie game. They make it so much harder on themselves.

Posted by: fearturtle44 | December 23, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse

At one point we thought that the slow return to form by Gilbert was our biggest problem.

As things are unfolding Gilbert is coming along, but I think it is becoming evident that we may have other bigger problems.

I was one that thought our big man game would be one of the creditables ones in the League.

At this point I do not see that happening. Whatever happended to playing two of our big men together to make it easier to control the paint?

Why is Flip continually going with playing them by themselves when clearly we are better with two of them together. I could see if the one shut down the middle but he isn't.

BH plays the best by himself, but the paint play would be so much better if Blatche or McGee played for stretches with him.

A lot of you dream and sleep defense, I am a RunAndGunGuy, but it is mind boggling to me that if you have the talent by playing two big men together to make weak paint play strong paint play and a asset for your Team, why Flip will not do it.

McGee isn't getting any playing time, however if you play him with Haywood for stretches no one would be driving or rebounding in the paint with much success.

Just think if we make our paint play a non-issue by playing two of our bigs together it will have positive implications for our overall team rotation, especially since it appears that the return to form of Gilbert is fast becoming also, a non-issue.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 23, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

"memo to flip: IT'S ABOUT TIME!!"

Yeah, I agree with this.

Here's the thing though, it's probably not the last time this is going to happen which makes you wonder about anyone giving any effort.

We'll see.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | December 23, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

I hate to be diplomatic--but BOTH LarryinClinton and mricklen are right about BH. He is by far the best center the Wizards have had over the last several years, and the team can play well with him in the game. He's the least of the team's problems and on many nights he plays good D, hits a few shots, grabs his share of rebounhds, and is a "glue guy." But, yes, he is rather mechanical, a bit slow, not a strong passer, and not that gifted offensively. However, his notoriously bad hands have seemed to haved gotten better, and he has improved his foul shooting. In any event, there aren't that many highly skilled 7-foot centers in this league. For what he's being paid now, he's a relatively good deal. But, he wants more and will probably get it, and then it becomes a problem.

Posted by: jweber1 | December 23, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Amazing, that AJ would say that Brendan's in a contract year and that's why he's going after every rebound WHAT? you mean that if this wasn't a contract year it would be the same old Brendan(fumble fingers, erstwhile blogger,king of the meltdown in the 4th qtr.)wonder if Philly would be willing to trade Elton for Caron don't get me wrong i love Caron but getting Brand would be huge.

Posted by: dargregmag | December 23, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

It's all mental Gil just keep your head up,yeah i know some of us torched you last week(missed game winning ft will do that)stay focused and keep shooting and by the way when you're at the ft line just shoot it two dribs and shoot none of that loopy around the body with the ball krap just shoot the free throws.

Posted by: dargregmag | December 23, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

McGee should be getting 5-10 minutes per game, resting BH.

This team just does not have it at this point. They should be blowing out some teams but when they get a lead of 10, instead of building on that, they slack off and bring it back to a tie game. They make it so much harder on themselves.

Posted by: fearturtle44 | December 23, 2009 9:01 AM |

Yes, is why I am harping on solidifying our big man game. When you grab a lead it is easier to lose it when your interior defense is weak.

If your interior defense is weak no lead is safe. That is why Flip must play two of our bigs together. One of our bigs playing by himself will not get the job done consistently.

At the beginning of the season I said that we would have one of the best frontcourts in the League. However, then I was convinced that we would be using two of our bigs together mostly in games.

It is a mistake to think that anyone of our bigs BH,AB,JM, playing big minutes by themselves will take us anywhere.

You see we keep making the easy excuse about why Haywood dosen't get it done instead of making decisions for our Team that will make our interior play better as a team.

It is not about the individual, it is a Team game and on this Team we must play two of our bigs together.

The Carolina Tarheels knew that Brendan lacked all that you wanted in a paint player and for that reason he played forward on any number of occasions so they had two bigs in the game.

This Team, the Wizards needs two bigs playing together to make them a much stronger Team.

This is not some new strategy. San Antonio has won many Champioships playing two centers.

OK!

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 23, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

1. Anything short of making the playoffs means this was a blown season. Flip, shake it up however you want in order to avoid a LOST season, including benching anyone.
2. Fans, get off AJ's back. He was having a frustrating night (what, 1-6?). Also, I think it's clear he keeps tweaking that shoulder. I bet the man's in pain and it's affecting his performance. Hell, I strained my back shoveling snow and I've been short with everybody, so I'm not getting on AJ one bit.
3. Larry's point about putting McGee out there with BH is well worth a try.

Hey, how 'bout we take at least 4 of the next 5? Then call 2010 a new year and really turn this season around?

Posted by: 7snider7 | December 23, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

"What about bringing brad to washington and sending AJ EJ? he is still in love with him.Posted by: gtefferra"

If it wasn't contract hell, I'd do that trade. Brand's injury history vs Jamison's age. We'd lose some scoring in the exchange, but pick up a lot in low post play.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 23, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

This is not some new strategy. San Antonio has won many Champioships playing two centers.

Playing David Robinson with Tim Duncan is much different than any combination we have here.

You might as well add a 3 to Deshawn's number and say give it to 23 and let him dominate. Many championships were won in Chicago with that strategy.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | December 23, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

This is not some new strategy. San Antonio has won many Champioships playing two centers.

Playing David Robinson with Tim Duncan is much different than any combination we have here.

You might as well add a 3 to Deshawn's number and say give it to 23 and let him dominate. Many championships were won in Chicago with that strategy.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | December 23, 2009 9:52 AM |

No, playing Robinson and Duncan together is not different than anything we have hear.

I keep saying it is not the individual my good fellow. Stop looking at the individual.

It is the strategy of playing two bigs together to solidify the paint play. If we can stop looking at the individual and look at a Team strategy that works for your Team we might get somewhere.

What you insinuate with the DSteve crap is beyond me. DSteve missed that sleigh ride to Minnesota.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 23, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

2. Fans, get off AJ's back. He was having a frustrating night (what, 1-6?). Also, I think it's clear he keeps tweaking that shoulder. I bet the man's in pain and it's affecting his performance. Hell, I strained my back shoveling snow and I've been short with everybody, so I'm not getting on AJ one bit.
Posted by: 7snider7
===============================
At least admit its a double standard that all the guys don't get that bebefit of the doubt when trying to answer questions that have been asked of them. If Gil said any of those things this whole blog would be a Gil Bash.

Posted by: millineumman | December 23, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

What a hypocrite!!!
Jamison's the first guy to talk about doing what it takes to win, guys accepting their roles, minutes, etc., but as soon as "doing what it takes to win" means pulling him out of the game he's kicking stuff and sitting on the end of the bench pouting like a two-year old. Even after the game's over and they've WON, the best he can do is "No comment".
Get his whiny, low-basketball IQ, fast-fading, me-first butt out of here or force him to come off the bench and earn his minutes like the young fellas. That would send a message to everyone and would bring accountability back to that locker room.
Whatever it takes, right, Antawn???

Posted by: artiesliver | December 23, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

"The young guys went out there to prove a point."

One young player didn't get any action last night was McGee. Oberto was in instead.

Posted by: sagaliba | December 23, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

The shot selection was outstanding in the 4th quarter. That was the difference. Gil was getting to the rim and finding his mid range game. And Caron wasn't forcing it off the dribble. But most importantly, I think they did a good job of moving the ball around before taking a shot. This, aside from the lack of energy, is why the first team was pulled in the 3rd. It was clear that the new 5, almost to a fault, made a conscious effort to share the ball.

As for Jamison, he seems to lack any self reflection. He was not getting it done, AGAIN. So if he thinks he can continue to hoist up shots early in the shot clock while he's ice cold, he needs to understand the Flip ain't having it.

Posted by: ZardsFan1 | December 23, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

"No, playing Robinson and Duncan together is not different than anything we have hear. "

If you start with David Robinson and Tim Duncan, almost anything works better.

Playing Blatche alongside Haywood may work in some matchups. But there will be many where it doesn't work at all.

I can't think of any situations offhand where McGee and Haywood is a good combination.

A good two-big combo would be IMO Ilgauskas (or Shaq) with Varejao. Playing those together could increase the team's options on offense and defense.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 23, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Which made me remember Sampson and Olajuwon. Now that's a difficult combo to defend.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 23, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Which made me remember Sampson and Olajuwon. Now that's a difficult combo to defend.

Sampson and Olajuwon aint go nothin on Brendan and JaVale...

Posted by: SDMDTSU | December 23, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

We have seen some evidence that our bigs play well together. We are not trying to duplicate the success of other tandems.

The strategy of playing two bigs for this team is to make our paint play stronger and better. That is it.

Playing two of our bigs together should make the Wizards a stronger frontcourt and that is what matters. Not how they compare with Robinson & Duncan or any other tandem.

We keep comparing success to others instead of just making our own better.

We must start with our own players first and not playing two of our bigs together because their talents don't align with other NBA players is silly.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 23, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

I do not think playing McGee with Heywood would yield what you are looking for as Brendan is too slow to guard most fours and McGee has not yet learned how to play his position properly. Great talent and I would love to see him more, but not with Heywood. I would like to see Dom get more minutes at the four. Blatche is still lazy on defense 2 out of four plays and Dom brings intensity every moment.

I liked the idea of Young playing a bit of 3 which we had for a few minutes to get Boykins in the game. I think Earl cursed himself when he criticized 4th quarter intensity and focus, immediately had off nights, but found his form again tonight. Foye looked good early and as bad as the third was, the first quarter looked like we had a decent starting 5 with him on the floor. Life is on the up for Wizards fans.

Posted by: yankeevicar | December 23, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

The fact that we need to get JaVale McGee in the mix with Blatche and/or Haywood is obvious. JaVale has gotten minimal minutes and the Wiz have lost a league-record amount of games by 4 points or less. That's more than a coincidence.

Also, who cares if the starting five [read Antawn Jamison] had bruised feelings because of their 3rd quarter benching? What about my bruised feelings watching their nightly lackadaisical effort? I enjoyed the hustle of Nick Young, Dominic McGuire and Earl Boykins. I'm not saying that you want to give Young, McGuire and Boykins 30 minutes a game. But, they held their own against Philly's starting five and sent a serious message to our Big Three: Play well or grab a seat.

It also makes me want to continue watching the Wizards. I almost knocked over my drink when Nick Young dived onto the floor to grab that loose ball. Did you all see the effort that Boykins put out? What more could you want from a reserve guard?

Kudos to Flip Saunders for showing some REAL coaching skills. No way that Eddie Jordan would have taken out all of his starters to send a message.

No doubt, this team still has a lot of problems. But last nights game could be a turning point for this team.

Posted by: musicmanjr | December 23, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

"We must start with our own players first and not playing two of our bigs together because their talents don't align with other NBA players is silly. LarryInClintonMD"

Good thing that wasn't what I suggested. My point: that Blatche and Haywood aren't necessarily a good matchup with other clubs in the league. It's not a good matchup against what the Lakers or the Celts can put on the floor, for example.

McGee and Haywood -- that combo I don't see at all. Unless McGee starts hitting his shot more consistently.

Blatche and Haywood are both big but not especially quick or active. Seems to me if you put them against quick, active big men, they'd have real problems.

Both are skilled players, but I don't see them as a good combo against maybe 75% of the clubs in the league.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 23, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

McGuire is a key energy guy on both the boards and defensive end. That has been missing with the 2nd unit who don't have a strong defender or rebounder. With Stevenson back on the bench where he belongs, we can only hope that Flip used McGuire more to defend the toughest offensive player at the 2 or 3 positions. He did a very nice job of keeping Igoudala under control in the 3rd.

As for Jamison, it appears his shoulder is affecting him more than he lets on. He seems to shy away from contact with that arm and its impacted his rebounding. Flip did the right thing by taking out the starting five and Arenas agreed with him. Playing time should be earned based on effort and performance, not prior All-Star appearances. This should have been done long ago when the Big 3 were loafing through another 3rd quarter.

Posted by: wizfan89 | December 23, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Aptly put wizfan89.

Beep. Beep.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 23, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

great show of character put on by our "vetran leadership". Gosh Flip if you hadn't pulled jamison and the starters we woulda won..........oh wait a...

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | December 23, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Well put LarryinClintonMD. I wanna see Blatche w/Haywood in there at the same time with McGee/Oberto spelling them. Bring AJ or even Caron off the bench. Time to shake it up for real. Our interior defense is atrocious. Anytime Chris Kaman and Baron Davis are getting layups, that should be a BIG warning sign. I just keep getting flashbacks to that game I watched in person in LA.

Posted by: Levelheadedskinsfan19 | December 23, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

That's absurd to suggest bringing Antawn off the bench behind Blatche.

What are you watching to suggest this? Antawn is 20 & 10 . Blatche is who know's what & who know's what.

Antawn is by far the best player on this team. He is the most consistent player the Bullets have on their roster.

Wake up and smell the coffee...

Posted by: kevenjones | December 23, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

BTW,

Philadelphia SUCKS...Golden State SUCKS...

I'm not at all impressed with this teams,and in particular Arenas 30+ points and 2 assists night. Let's see what happens @ the Bucks tongiht.

Hopefully, if Gil is starting at PG he will try and be a PG and get everyone involved instead of taking the rhythm from the team by shooting everytime down. A good PG get's his team going then finds his rhythm. Otherwise you end up with lopsided scoring, no assists, and against even an average team a LOSS.

Posted by: kevenjones | December 23, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: kevenjones | December 23, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

I think AB was gettin 17 and 8 while AJ was out. Plus he was playing way better and his shot looked a lot better when he was in earlier versus coming in in the 2nd quarter.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | December 23, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Blatche averaged 7pts & 4 rebounds in 20 minutes per game for the entire month of November.

He may have gotten 17 & 8 occassionally, but he is just not yet consistent.

To even suggest he is on the same level as Antawn is silly..

Posted by: kevenjones | December 23, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

i didn't make any such silly suggestion.
however AB only recorde single digi scoring in 25% of the games when he played over 20 mins. in fact most of the games he's played this season, in which he played 20+ mins he had double digi pts. I dunno if AJ need to be benched for good, but AB could stand to get a few more mins earl in the game. He really had it going earlier in the season, much more consistent and focused than he's been in the past.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | December 23, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

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