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Wizards 109, Bucks 97 [UPDATED]


The Wizards know adversity all too well, but too often this season, they haven't shown the mental fortitude to overcome the obstacles placed in front of them. That wasn't the case on Wednesday night, as the Wizards watched the game start slipping away and then Gilbert Arenas suffering a hard fall with 7 minutes, 12 seconds remaining.

Fortunately for the Wizards, Arenas's fall wasn't nearly as bad as it looked (although Arenas will have to make a trip to the dentist on Christmas Eve after losing a tooth when he crashed to the ground). And, they had enough left to close out the game on a 23-11 run to record their second win in a row and second win against the Milwaukee Bucks.

To understand how control the Wizards were without Arenas, all you had to do was look at Arenas, who sat on the bench clipping his finger nails as Earl Boykins, Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler closed out the game. And get this, after the win, the Wizards are just one game out of the eighth spot, and two games out of the sixth spot, in the Eastern Conference. Gotta love that East.

And they owe a debt of gratitude to Boykins, who said he doesn't have anything personal against his former teams but he delivered yet another clutch fourth quarter performance the Bucks, scoring 12 of his 15 points in the final period. He had 11 points, including the game-clinching free throws, when the Wizards defeated the Bucks 104-102 on Dec. 2.

"I just wanted to calm us down," said Boykins, whose three-pointer tied the game at 84 after the Wizards let the Bucks open the fourth quarter on a 9-0 run.

Charlie Bell gave the Bucks an 86-84 lead, and Arenas tried to respond by attacking the basket, but he paid the price for his over-aggression. The Wizards didn't fret, and Coach Flip Saunders said he went to "one of our quick-hitter plays" with Randy Foye whipping a pass along the baseline to Caron Butler. Antawn Jamison set a screen to free Butler and Butler drilled the 20-footer but Jamison paid the price as Luc Mbah a Moute plowed through the screen and flattened him. Jamison rose up and hit the free throw to put the Wizards ahead 87-86 and never looked back.

Now, there was some confusion on the official boxscore because it credited Jamison with Butler's jumper, but Butler actually finished with 25 points and Jamison had 23 as the Wizards won back-to-back games for the first time since they beat Toronto and, uhem, Milwaukee to start this month. They also have won three of their past four games.

Jamison was pleased with how the Wizards have responded since returning from the West Coast and explained what happened the night before against Philadelphia, when he was visibly frustrated when Saunders benched the starters in the third quarter.

"As long as I win it doesn't matter," Jamison said. "I think last night was a case of the ball not coming my way, and you're going to have times where you don't see the ball. Tonight I had to work for it, and I was able to get some free throws down. But Gil got it going early, Caron got it going middle of the game and myself and Earl were able to finish it off at the end. There are going to be times when you struggle, but the thing about it is your teammates have to carry the load and when you do struggle you've got to bring something else to the table. But it was nice to get things going a little bit."

Butler was especially fired up on Wednesday, with more than 70 family members and about 800 more kids in town from nearby Racine, Wisc. "I told everybody I love you and got back to my routine because it's easy to get distracted and put your guard down and 48 minutes later you say, 'Dang I messed up my rhythm and everything,' " said Butler, who scored nine points in the third period, when only he and Nick Young were able to convert field goals. "I stayed in my rhythm. It was a great night."

Randy Foye was also feeling good after scoring 12 points in his second start and knocking down a huge three-pointer to give the Wizards an eight-point lead with about three minutes remaining. "Yesterday I didn't feel as comfortable as I felt today," Foye said. "The biggest thing is we got the win, my comfort level is getting higher and higher as we play these games."

Saunders is letting his players spend Christmas Eve with their families and he will be doing the same. Immediately after the game, he and his son, Ryan, took a five-hour drive to Minnesota to be with their family. The holidays will feel a little better for the Wizards after a few wins. Arenas might even feel the same, even though he'll definitely be a little sore as he celebrates his daughter Izela's fourth birthday and asks for another tooth for Christmas.


By Michael Lee  |  December 24, 2009; 12:13 AM ET
 
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Next: Arenas getting probed for gun possession [UPDATED]

Comments

First!

Posted by: MeviousMan | December 24, 2009 1:21 AM | Report abuse

Merry Christmas, Michael. Thanks for the hard work all year. Oh, and nice sweater.

Posted by: IrenePollin | December 24, 2009 1:29 AM | Report abuse

Saunders is driving to Minnesota?

Either the Wiz aren't paying him enough, or flights to MN are cancelled.

Posted by: iamse7en | December 24, 2009 3:22 AM | Report abuse

What is up with this schedule full of losing teams that Les BouleS are playing?

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | December 23, 2009 9:36 PM | Report abuse

It's called the NBA where 18 of 31 teams have a losing record.

Posted by: ptp23 | December 23, 2009 11:34 PM | Report abuse

hmmm, last time I checked, there were still 30 teams. anyway, your point is clear.

Happy holidays to everyone!

Posted by: Goelez | December 24, 2009 4:35 AM | Report abuse

The Wizards actually won the second game of back-to-back games...on the road!

Mr. hustle, Earl Boykins, would not let the team go into its usual 3rd quarter hibernation. Boykins work ethic was amazing. The man hustled from the time he stepped onto the court until Saunders took him out.

Earl played like he really wanted to stick it to his former team. I hope he feels, and plays the same way, when the Wiz play against his eight former teams.

Posted by: musicmanjr | December 24, 2009 5:58 AM | Report abuse

Nice game. 2 guys with double doubles and Gil would have had a triple double had he finished the game. Unfortunately, that would have included 10 TOs.

I really only have one thing to say, though: I hope we can unload that waste of air Jamison for a second round pick.

Posted by: Blurred | December 24, 2009 6:56 AM | Report abuse

Seriously, though. They played a good game. Boykins made some great plays in the fourth. But then got wrapped up on an outside shot.

Butler is becoming Mr. Consistency. I know it is only 2 wins over under .500 teams, but I like what I am seeing and will take what I can get at this point.

My Christmas wish is for the Wiz to close out the year with 3 more wins and be 13-17 with some momentum going into the new year!

Posted by: Blurred | December 24, 2009 7:01 AM | Report abuse

Mike:

Why won't Flip play McGee?

If the Wiz are not going to play him, why don't they send him to the D-League?

Posted by: closg | December 24, 2009 7:57 AM | Report abuse

I really only have one thing to say, though: I hope we can unload that waste of air Jamison for a second round pick.

Posted by: Blurred | December 24, 2009 6:56 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps now that Aj had a good game, and here is hoping this continues, it will generate more interest and demand for his services.
Perhaps enough to embellish packages to yes even exceed a 2nd round pick.
Of course we do not know. Thus your handle " blurred' is more than appropriate ???

Posted by: mricklen | December 24, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

"I know it is only 2 wins over under .500 teams, but I like what I am seeing and will take what I can get at this point."
Posted by: Blurred | December 24, 2009 7:01 AM | Report abuse
========================================

I am so happy that the Wizards play in a Conference where 10 out of the 15 teams are under .500 then! Like Mike Lee says "the Wizards are just one game out of the eighth spot, and two games out of the sixth spot, in the Eastern Conference. Gotta love that East."

Posted by: JohnWWW | December 24, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

TRADE CARON,TRADE CARON!!!! Yeah that's all i read on this blog as if the guy was playing terrible never considering that he was trying to make himself comfortable in Flip's new offense and reacclamating himself to Agent Zero again(AJ too)he was huge last night despite the fact that Flip coached poorly,Earl,AJ,and Caron saved em last night,now back to Flip why does this man keep taking Gil out when he starts out on fire in the first qtr. you would think he has never coached basketball wake up Flip let Gil play through the second and rest him with about five to go before the half,anyway they play the Wolves saturday let's see if Flip can get three in a row.

Posted by: dargregmag | December 24, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Nothing really to add except, Love the backdrop on the video! Kareem and Oscar (right?) with the mutton chops!

Posted by: ts35 | December 24, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Mike:

Why won't Flip play McGee?

If the Wiz are not going to play him, why don't they send him to the D-League?

Posted by: closg | December 24, 2009 7:57 AM

Hey Mike, people are asking why won't Flip play McGee? And when/if you do finally ask Flip please hit him with a follow-up question after he gives you the standard BS about earning playing time say it's clear Oberto is not doing anything to earn his PT. Brand killed him on Tuesday and Kurt Thomas made him look useless last night. On offensive I think my father said it best. He treats the ball like a hot potato, he can't get rid of the ball fast enough. Aggg!

Posted by: 33dgriffin | December 24, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

This is a game they might have lost not too long ago. They seem to be continuing to gradually improve as the season goes on, which might have been given a boost by the mass benching in the previuos game.

Posted by: cannontl | December 24, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

I believe it was reported not too long ago that McGee isn't getting playing time because of some bad body language after being taken out of a game.

I assume he could get back in the coach's good graces by having good practices, but this does not seem to happening either.

It would be good to get some more information in this from Michael as others have already mentioned.

Posted by: cannontl | December 24, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Hey Gil, go toothless, it's working for Ovie!

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | December 24, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

great post michael lee! this has made christams eve in the office a little more bearable.

Posted by: burnsrb | December 24, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

R!P George Michael,

You were my remembrance of a SportsCaster!!!

You'll be m!ssed

Posted by: Lipty | December 24, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

injury report please! i'm starting to worry about eminem, given that he hasn't played in a month and we haven't been given a new timetable for return.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | December 24, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Mike were you standing on a chair for your video?
I agree you gotta ask Flip about Javele. WTF happened?
If he benches Deshawn for lousy play why keep Javale on the bench when he hustles and contributes. Yeah, he makes mistakes but he ain't gonna learn nothing sitting except a bad attitude. And we got enuff of that.
Another good win over a bad team.

Posted by: VBFan | December 24, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

I assume he could get back in the coach's good graces by having good practices, but this does not seem to happening either.

I wish that was all it took. I remember reading about how hard NY was working and he still gets yanked in and out, too. I think some coaches just don't like playing young guys over vets. There's no other reason to play DS over NY ...EVER !!

Posted by: original_mark | December 24, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Merry Christmas Mike. I came on here today to ask you to ask Flip why is McGee not seeing "ANY" minutes at all??????? Oberto is a joke!!!! Are you telling me Oberto backing up Haywood is better then the option of McGee.

Now if that was Songalia Flip was using, I might not still agree because I hate "smallball", I could see how he would go with Songalia because the dude has a nice game.

Anyway, I am real cool with Flip's rotations other then his decision not to play McGee. The Bucks were rebounding and shooting at will when he was in the game.

Mike please do all of us diehard Wiz fans a favor and ask Flip why is McGee in the doghouse????

FREE McGEE!!!!!!! FREE McGEE!!!!

Posted by: BulletsFever | December 24, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone else think that Arenas going down was the best thing to happen to the Wiz last night. After he came into the game in the 4th, the Wiz looked as though they were about to give the game away. And Arenas was the major reason. I don't think they win if he's in there at the end.
When is Saunders going to realize his starting five isn't the best group to have on the floor?

Posted by: dovelevine | December 24, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

gil's been pretty money lately, and he's just starting to regain form, screwing with his mins would be a big mistake. It's not just that he plays poorly sometimes because he's bad, he's still recovering, kinda like Mike Redd last night or Wade a season or so back. The starting 5 may not always be the best group but Gil is their best player.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | December 24, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

All I hope is that Gil is ok and I dont just mean him playing. I dont want him out there if he’s going to look like that ghost we saw from that long stretch during the year. I dont want him playing if he’s not going to be moving much or going full out. Now he has the 3 knee surgeries and thigh bruise on the same leg. Hopefully he can shoot it up or something. I was worried because he didnt come back in but he didnt sound too worried and sounded like he only did that because Earl and the 2nd unit were playing so well. I was 100% sure we would beat the Wolves but if Gil cant go or is limited then that could change things

Posted by: dlts20 | December 24, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

I confess that usually after the first couple lines I'm pretty sure I already know what you're going to say. So I skip the rest. I mean, if I already know what you're going to say -- because you've said it a hundred times -- why read it?
That's probably true for a lot of us here.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 20, 2009 7:18 PM | Report abuse

I knew you were going to say that.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 21, 2009 7:24 PM | Report abuse

My Christmas present to all of you is to have Samson151 make my posts for me (since he knows me so well) for the next week while I hang out in Cabo for the holidays and I will have a few Bacardi 151’s just for you.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday.

Peace,

bulletsfan78

PS you didn’t see that one coming did you?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | December 24, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse


Saw it coming from so far away that I thought you would've posted it yesterday.

Posted by: artiesliver | December 24, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Hollywood-

Eminim(mike miller) should be back around New years day, I am thinking he will suit up for the Spurs game on Jan 2nd.

When he comes back, it will really hurt Nick Young. I think Foye should continue to start for a few games while bringing MM off the bench until he gets back into the swing of things, then make the switch.

Nick is going to have a hard time getting on the court now. Stevenson is going to be riding the pine the rest of the way unless we get an injury.

Guard rotation will be: Gil, Foye, Miller, Boykins

I could see Nick Young getting some PT if the move Miller to the 3 to give Caron a break, but Flip has really struggled with his sub packages this year, which has cost us a lot of games.

Hopefully bringing MM back into the mix does not ruin the nice starting lineup we have now with Foye starting at 2. Our 1st quarters have been great the past few games (except Phoenix, that was embarassing).


injury report please! i'm starting to worry about eminem, given that he hasn't played in a month and we haven't been given a new timetable for return.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | December 24, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: m1ke3i6 | December 24, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

'preciate ya! Merry Xmas

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | December 24, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

in fact merry xmas to all yall especailly my homies Kal,SD,Div3 and my main man Samson.but fareal all yall have safe holidays.go wiz!i'm out!

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | December 24, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Trade Idea
Assuming Brand (Sixers PF) is healthy and sound, how about Trading Butler for Brandt.
Brandt will be our PF, Jamison our 6th man offense off the bench, ...
U can throw James, Stephenson, Critt, to make the numbers work. The only consideration is to be sure that we are still are able to sign Haywood. He is not spectacular but solid C.

Posted by: PointCenter | December 24, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

TRUST ME ALTHOUGH EARL HAS PLAYED GOOD IN A COUPLE OF GAMES, HE HAS PLAYED REAL BACK IN A COUPLE, AND PPL THINK JUST BECASUE HES 5'5 WHEN HE HITS A SHOT OR SOMETHING ITS THE GREATEST THING EVER..BUT MOVING FORWARD, SINCE THE WIZARDS ARE GOING TO BE A PLAYOFF TEAM, RANDY FOYE IS YOUR BEST OPTION AND BACK UP POINT GUARD, AND A LOT OF MINS AT THE 2 GUARD..NICK YOUNG AND MIKE MILLER SHOULS SPLIT TIME, AND PLAY WHOEVER IS HOT DOWN THE STRETCH, MCGUIRE SHOULD GET CARONS LEFT OVER MINS, AND IF CARON IS OFF AND YOU NEED DEFENSIVE MCGUIRE SHULD PLAY OVER CARON..IT IS NO WAY THAT WE SHOULD UNDER ACHIEVE..WE HAVE TOO MUCH TALENT TO BE IN THIS POSITION..AND I ALWAYS SAY, ON CLOSE GAMES IT COMES DOWN TO COACHING...AND THE ONLY TEAMS TO BLOW THE WIZARDS OUT ARE THE SUNS AND BOBCATS, SO ALL THE OTHER GAMES WERE COACHING ISSUES..GET IT TOGETHER FLIP ITS NOT HARD, YOU DONT NEED TO MAKE DRASTIC CHANGES LIKE STARTING MIKE JAMES THE SECOND HALF VS INDIANA OR TAKING OUT THE WHOLE STARTING 5, JUST MAKE THE RIGHT CHANGES..EVEN THE GAME HE TOOK OUT THE 5..WE LOST A 3 PT HALFTIME LEAD AND WERE DOWN BY 4..BUT THE SECOND TEAM PUT US DOWN BY 11 ANE EVENTUALLY 9, SO THEY LOST GROUND ALSO..ALSO GIL HAS HAD A BIG 1ST QUARTER OVER 75% OF THE GAMES THIS YEAR, THE FACT THAT YOU EITHER SIT HIM DOWN MOST OF THE 2ND OR PLAY HIM WITH EARL MOST OF THE 2ND..GETS HIM OUT OF RYTHYM, AND WHEN HE GETS BACK IN HES STIFF AND COLD..LET HIM PLAY UNTIL HE COOLS OFF..THE ONLY GAME HE ALLOWED HIM TO PLAY WAS THE GOLDEN STATE GAME..AND HE HAD 45 AN 13

Posted by: swish300400 | December 24, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

TOTALLY AGREE ARGH THE WORDS ARE COMING OUT TOO LOUD KEEP GOING THE STARTING FIVE STARTED OUT OKAY BUT THEN THE SUBSTITUTIONS 2 4 6 HUT NOT TOO COMPLICATED BUT JUST THE SAME AT HALFTIME NECESSARY ADJUSTMENTS TOLEDO AKRON OF TOMORROW JUST KEEP PLOWING AHEAD PARAGRAPH MARKS ARE FOR SISSIES FORTHATMATTERSPACESBETWEENWORDSAREOVERRATEDANDANOTHERTHINGASFORATRADEIDEAWHATABOUT

Aahhh, head exploded. Feel better now.

Posted by: farstriker | December 24, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

FREE McGEE!!!! FREE McGEE!!!!

FREE McGEE!!!! FREE McGEE!!!!

FREE McGEE!!!! FREE McGEE!!!

Mike Lee - Please ask Flip "what the problem is" on giving JM any burn....????

Posted by: BulletsFever | December 24, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

@farstriker, best post of 2009! May be the best post I've ever read, funny and smart.

Posted by: zxhoya | December 24, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

thx, zx

nice to laugh on the Wiz blog every now and again.

Posted by: farstriker | December 24, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse

DM need to play lot of minutes for washington to be better in defense.He can come in to defend SGs,SFs and sometime to PF for better work at the bord when both AJ and AB are not doing good on the board.When MM is back AJ's offense might not be as important as defending some of the PFs in NBA, both AB and DM are needed depending up on the match up.

Posted by: gtefferra | December 24, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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