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Wizards (7-11) at Pistons (7-12)

Wizards starters: Gilbert Arenas, Mike Miller, Caron Butler, Andray Blatche, Brendan Haywood

Pistons: Rodney Stuckey, Chucky Atkins, Jonas Jerebko, Jason Maxiell, Ben Wallace

Line: Pistons by 3

Flip Saunders kept with a similar routine with the Wizards in Auburn Hills, Mich., where Saunders guided the Pistons to three consecutive trips to the Eastern Conference Finals. Saunders drove to the Palace of Auburn Hills in a rental car, and said he planned on heading home to Cleveland afterward to visit with his 89-year-old parents, Walter and Kay. It will be a bit of a homecoming for Saunders since the Wizards' remaining schedule this month otherwise made it impossible to visit his relatives in Ohio before the end of the end.

Saunders said the majority of the drive to the game was spent thinking about how to win the game, but it also served as somewhat of reflective period. "I have a lot of great memories back here. Unfortunately, we didn't win a championship, but we had a lot of regular season success. Had some success in the playoffs, as far as getting to the [conference] finals," he said. "It's always good to come back."

Saunders, who went 176-93 with the Pistons, was asked what kind of reception he expected in his return. He isn't planning to receive a standing ovation from the fans. "I'm sure the people will be upset because we didn't win a championship, so I'm not expecting a great reaction, but that's all a part of it," he said.

"I've always said, when you're in this league, there are 29 teams that are not very happy and one team that's happy," Saunders said. "So if you win a championship, you're happy and if you're not you feel like you haven't accomplished what you set out to do in the first day of training camp. we had some good entertaining basketball, we won a lot of games in this building. I think people enjoyed how we played."

The Wizards have lost three consecutive games in Detroit.

Caron Butler scored three points in the Wizards' overtime loss to the Toronto Raptors on Fridy, but he failed to attempt a field goal in the fourth quarter for the second game in a row. Asked about his inactivity in the final period, Butler said, "That was the way the game was flowing. In order to be a good basketball team, you're going to have a guy out there getting it rolling, which on this particular night it was Gilbert, and other guys will have to be accustomed to doing all the little things, whether it's getting good block, taking hard fouls, or locking in on the other end, or all the other intangibles. That's what you've got to do. You're not going to have everybody shooting the ball 17, 20 times."

By Michael Lee  |  December 6, 2009; 5:57 PM ET
 
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Next: Pistons 98, Wizards 94

Comments

did NY get benched for DeBrick? i missed the beginning of the game, butthe great post by mike lee has Eminem as the starter and i see neither him nor NY. somebody fill me in, i just turned the game on.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | December 6, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Flip sure loves him some DeShawn Stevenson. First guard off the bench despite Detroit having a small backcourt.

Posted by: tgif11 | December 6, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse

I just wish every Wiz game was on ESPN so I wouldn't be forced to listen to our pathetic announcers. Latest Bucky comment: " the Wizards playing a Detroit team with one of the best records in the East". Really???

Posted by: Utilityman1 | December 6, 2009 7:05 PM | Report abuse

I'm beginning to think that somewhere; a long time ago, a guy that looks like Nick Young must have stolen Flip's girlfriend.

DeShawn must be strong arming coaches to get his minutes.

Posted by: bozomoeman | December 6, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

It is painful to watch Jamison attempting to defend anyone..

Posted by: bozomoeman | December 6, 2009 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Behind the back dribble by Butler at the three-point line...turnover.

Posted by: tgif11 | December 6, 2009 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Boykins was an emergency signing because of injuries, he wasn't meant to be the main player!
If your main option is 5'3, don't be surprised when you stink it up.

Posted by: Utilityman1 | December 6, 2009 8:27 PM | Report abuse

I really do like Jamison, but when his shot is off, he is a huge liability on the floor.

Our forwards are getting killed in the paint.
No one's boxing out or challenging the dribble penetration except of Haywood.

Posted by: bozomoeman | December 6, 2009 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Another one bites the dust...

Posted by: bozomoeman | December 6, 2009 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Did you guys notice Blatche and NY cracking it up on the bench?
Way to go guys, way to show that you care that your team is one of the worst teams in the league.

Posted by: Utilityman1 | December 6, 2009 8:35 PM | Report abuse

I can live with this one because the better team won. The Wiz just don't score enough in the paint to win consistently.
Detroit got inside scoring from pentration and finishing or finding cutters. The Wizards have some more growing to do.

Posted by: tgif11 | December 6, 2009 8:57 PM | Report abuse

"Did you guys notice Blatche and NY cracking it up on the bench?
Way to go guys, way to show that you care that your team is one of the worst teams in the league.

Posted by: Utilityman1 | December 6, 2009 8:35 PM | Report abuse "

I also saw Gilby and MeTawn laughing it up also.

The whole team doesn't care anymore.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | December 6, 2009 9:29 PM | Report abuse

These are the games that you look back on late in the season when you just miss the playoffs.

Pitiful all around performance.

Took too many long j's missed too many easy shots. Didn't play any D.
Just got beat.
Bummed again.

Posted by: VBFan | December 6, 2009 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Ok, Les BouleS were pretty much at "full strength" based on EG's hopes and dreams of having the small 3 healthy in the lineup along with BTH.

What happened?

They lost to a Pistons teams tonight that was sans both Tayshawn Prince and Rip Hamilton!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Their backups beat Les BouleS starters.

Even Chucky Atkins and Kwame had a hand in the defeat!

Can it get any worse than this?

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | December 6, 2009 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Can it get any worse than this?

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | December 6, 2009 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Sure....wait and see

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | December 6, 2009 9:38 PM | Report abuse

So when are some of you basketball analysis geniuses are finally going to blame Flip for this debacle?
Yes, the team isn't constructed to contend but noone expected a product this bad.
They still have Gil, who although supremely overpaid, would still be a decent player (maybe with 1/4 of his current pay).
They have Butler who, a couple of years ago was an all star and one of the best small forwards in the league. They have Jamison whom about 24 teams in the league would love to have as their power forward.
They have youngsters in Foye, Blatche, McGee... who are showing great signs and vast improvements.
It looks like they are playing with no strategy, no heart, no passion and no willingness to succeed. And that, my friends, should be blamed on the coach.
I have never been a fan of EJ but he did mountains more with even less talent and more injuries to key players.
I am not trying to start arguments but clearly, as of know, EJ was a much better coach for us than Flip is currently.

Posted by: Utilityman1 | December 6, 2009 9:38 PM | Report abuse

AB clearly made a difference when he was in the game.

Boykins is doing what he is doing.

MeTawn? Where were you?

He couldn't handle the physical play.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | December 6, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse


According to the box score, Gil was the only starter to record at least one assist tonight. That can't be right, can it?

Posted by: and_1 | December 6, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/boxscore?gameId=291206008

I think Gilby is looking to pass more because he just can't score/finish like he used to.

He has yet to show that he still has that mojo.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | December 6, 2009 9:53 PM | Report abuse

So when are some of you basketball analysis geniuses are finally going to blame Flip for this debacle?
Posted by: Utilityman1 | December 6, 2009 9:38 PM
_________________________

Why blame Flip? The Wizards have been playing games like since Eddie Jordan was coaching here.
Last season put the spot light on the two Allstars, Jamison and Butler.

Both players folded under the pressure of having to carry a team and started finger pointing.

I like AJ, but he is not a starter. He's your scoring 6th man off the bench.
Blatche has clearly out played him this year, and should now be starting.

Caron is Lost In Space!

Posted by: bozomoeman | December 6, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

CB 8-19 3-6
AJ 4-14 1-5
GA 3-9 0-4

TOT 15-42 4-15

Big 3?

Team 15 ast 17 to

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | December 6, 2009 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Why blame Flip? The Wizards have been playing games like since Eddie Jordan was coaching here.
Last season put the spot light on the two Allstars, Jamison and Butler.

Both players folded under the pressure of having to carry a team and started finger pointing.

I like AJ, but he is not a starter. He's your scoring 6th man off the bench.
Blatche has clearly out played him this year, and should now be starting.

Caron is Lost In Space!

Posted by: bozomoeman | December 6, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

I am not really defending their performance last year but Caron and AJ shared the court with MJ, McGuire and Etan, even Lebron and Kobe would have trouble winning with that.
The bottom line is EJ would have done much more (which isn't saying much) with this relatively healthy group.

Posted by: Utilityman1 | December 6, 2009 10:33 PM | Report abuse

I love. After pushing for years to run him out of town, all of a sudden the Eddie Jordan era is the good ole' days.

Jordan couldn't have gotten any more out of this rag tag bunch than Flip. It's a haphazardly constructed team built on the fly and the parts don't really fit.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 6, 2009 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Make that: "I love it."

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 6, 2009 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Is it me, or is Saunders coaching out of desperation? Why was Destink in the game early in the first quarter, or for that matter, at all? Why, after making it clear that Jamison shouldn't be heaving 3s, is he left in the game when he keeps chucking? What was seen as depth at guard, i think, is proving to be the undoing of this team. There are too many options with no clear option. This is forcing Saunders to experiment with too many guys, which inhibits development of chemistry and confidence.

Posted by: ZardsFan1 | December 6, 2009 10:37 PM | Report abuse

I love. After pushing for years to run him out of town, all of a sudden the Eddie Jordan era is the good ole' days.

Jordan couldn't have gotten any more out of this rag tag bunch than Flip. It's a haphazardly constructed team built on the fly and the parts don't really fit.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 6, 2009 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Actually, it was the golden era compared to right now. I didn't EJ was the greatest but the fact of the matter, he would have gotten more out of this group that what Flip is currently getting!

Posted by: Utilityman1 | December 6, 2009 10:39 PM | Report abuse

I love. After pushing for years to run him out of town, all of a sudden the Eddie Jordan era is the good ole' days.

Jordan couldn't have gotten any more out of this rag tag bunch than Flip. It's a haphazardly constructed team built on the fly and the parts don't really fit.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 6, 2009 10:36 PM | Report abuse

So are you saying that EG is a poor GM for building this team?

Posted by: Utilityman1 | December 6, 2009 10:41 PM | Report abuse

damn you guys are negative there are so many games left to be played. 7-12 is not great but it is not a season ending record either.

Posted by: anacostia85 | December 6, 2009 10:52 PM | Report abuse

"I didn't EJ was the greatest but the fact of the matter, he would have gotten more out of this group that what Flip is currently getting!"

Except it's not a fact. Tt's your opinion. And it's my opinion that, despite my belief that Jordan was a better coach than most here gave him credit for, he wouldn't have had any more success with this group than Flip. Jordan's time in D.C. had come to an end, Flip or no Flip. Time to move on.

"So are you saying that EG is a poor GM for building this team?"

Nice try.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 6, 2009 10:54 PM | Report abuse

"Why was Destink in the game early in the first quarter, or for that matter, at all? "

Because Young was struggling, picked up a careless foul, and was having no luck defensively keeping Stuckey in front of him.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 6, 2009 10:58 PM | Report abuse

"So are you saying that EG is a poor GM for building this team?"

Nice try.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 6, 2009 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Well seriously Kalo, you have been defending EG on this blog but now you are saying that the team is poorly constructed. Who is responsible for putting all the parts together?

Posted by: Utilityman1 | December 6, 2009 11:01 PM | Report abuse

First, I said it was "haphazardly" constructed not "poorly" constructed.

Second, as I've already said in previous posts, I think Grunfeld is a very good GM. I also think that he was hamstrung somewhat in putting this team together by the fact that Pollin frequently led with his heart not his head when it came to running the team. Which is why I said a few days ago that, even if the Wiz fall short this season, that Grunfeld may get a little more leash to fix things if Leonsis ends up owning the team.

Bottom line is that the Ernie Grunfeld you're trying to scapegoat is the same Ernie Grunfeld who quickly built the Wizards from an NBA laughing stock into a team that had 4 consecutive .500 or better seasons and made 4 straight playoff appearances (after having only hit .500 twice and made 1 playoff appearance in the previous 16 years).

The core of that team is the same as the core of this team, and the truth may just simply be that that core has gone as far as it can go. In which it needs to be rebuilt, which takes time.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 6, 2009 11:10 PM | Report abuse

In the eight minutes DeShawn was in the game Stuckey appeared to get past him whenever he wanted to and score at will. DS is no good against quick jitterbug-type guards, so the Wizards basically spotted the Pistons points by putting him in the game since he's no threat to score.

Posted by: and_1 | December 6, 2009 11:13 PM | Report abuse

We have some nice pieces on this Wizards team, but it may not be all the pieces we need. We definitely need Miller in the game. He will make everyone better, because he moves the ball.

But the key people on the court are not playing well.

I was glad to see Foye get some prime-time minutes and make some good shots. But he is not the answer. Gilbert is the answer, and he's going to have to step up.

Caron is still forcing his shots and giving up the ball. Antawn is sleepwalking at the beginning of games. Very unhappy with his defensive efforts in the past two games.

Yeah, Flip needs to kick some butt, I think.

We've got Boston on Thursday. We used to be able to handle the Celtics, because of our athleticism. But with them playing so smart, and us playing like boneheads, I'm not optimistic.

Posted by: zinger1 | December 6, 2009 11:16 PM | Report abuse

"DS is no good against quick jitterbug-type guards,"

Stuckey isn't a "quick jitterbug-type guard." That's Bynum. Stuckey is good at using picks and finding seams but he's not a really an explosive off-the-dribble guy in the half court. He's got a unique combo of size, strength, and good-but-not-overwhelming quickness. Young was unable to cope with any of those traits, despite his own quickness. My guess is that Saunders was hoping that putting a bigger body on Stuckey mught throw him off stride.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 6, 2009 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Abe's influence on EG has little to do with the draft picks that were selected and are no longer with this team or the FA's signed that are also no longer with this team.

I haven't read a report where Abe encouraged EG to give $40 mil to ET or trade for Mike James. What about Dee Brown who was supposed to be the starting guard?

I'm sure Abe felt really attached to MeShawn and AB, especially after his John episode.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | December 6, 2009 11:21 PM | Report abuse

EG blew his wad after the signing of Oberto....yet to see that FA acquisition bear any fruit.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | December 6, 2009 11:25 PM | Report abuse

It's still the players on the court who are determining whether we win or lose. Flip is working hard to get them to play together. EG will pull the trigger if he needs to. I think it's too early to panic.

Posted by: zinger1 | December 6, 2009 11:33 PM | Report abuse


The team will get better when Blatche and Miller (when healthy) are starting. Flip surely has seen enough by now to know that Jamison and Butler are specialists, best brought off the bench as 6th or 7th men.
Jamison, in particular, seems to wilt at the first sign of physical play this season. Two rebounds from a power forward logging 36+ minutes?

Posted by: 2020doc | December 6, 2009 11:38 PM | Report abuse

"Abe's influence on EG has little to do with the draft picks that were selected and are no longer with this team or the FA's signed that are also no longer with this team."

Of course it did. He owned the team. He was well known to be actively involved in its operation and had to sign off on every deal Grunfeld made. Moreover, Pollin's obvious emotional attachment in the Big 3 certainly played a part in the decision to re-sign Arenas and Jamison rather that concede that perhaps the Big 3 era had gone as far as it could and start over, going forward. And since the presence of the Big 3 is the axis around which everything else spins, that decision affected all others.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 7, 2009 12:13 AM | Report abuse

"First, I said it was "haphazardly" constructed not "poorly" constructed.

Second, as I've already said in previous posts, I think Grunfeld is a very good GM. I also think that he was hamstrung somewhat in putting this team together by the fact that Pollin frequently led with his heart not his head when it came to running the team. Which is why I said a few days ago that, even if the Wiz fall short this season, that Grunfeld may get a little more leash to fix things if Leonsis ends up owning the team.

Bottom line is that the Ernie Grunfeld you're trying to scapegoat is the same Ernie Grunfeld who quickly built the Wizards from an NBA laughing stock into a team that had 4 consecutive .500 or better seasons and made 4 straight playoff appearances (after having only hit .500 twice and made 1 playoff appearance in the previous 16 years).

The core of that team is the same as the core of this team, and the truth may just simply be that that core has gone as far as it can go. In which it needs to be rebuilt, which takes time."

Well said.

I missed this game fortunately, but it is becoming clearer to me that the big 3's time has indeed passed and that while guys like Blatche and Haywood are having career years not enough people are playing well for this team to succeed game to game or this season. Seems like AJ, CB, and GA are pretty much spent and can't be relied upon daily anymore and some of the young guns are not quite ready for prime time. Flip is caught in the middle of the storm that may soon be named rebuilding. What puzzles me is the general attitude and comments made by players after almost every defeat? Something is very screwy with this bunch and I can't put my finger on it. Maybe it's legitimate dissension. I don't know...but we lose to Boston and we are 2-3 in a month we must be over .500 to stay in it with no improvements in sight.

Posted by: rphilli721 | December 7, 2009 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Can you imagine how good we could be if you combined the play of the "big 3" a few seasons ago with how Blatche and Haywood are playing now???

Like I've said before, sometimes you need a little luck with things gelling at the right time, getting that transcendent player etc... Of course, this franchise is luckless. The supporting caste turns things around and the core is spent although the only one who should be is AJ based on age.

Posted by: rphilli721 | December 7, 2009 8:01 AM | Report abuse

"The bottom line is EJ would have done much more (which isn't saying much) with this relatively healthy group."

@Utility,

lol...you can't be serious? First, you're basing the success EJ had with the core "Big 3" when they were all in the prime of their careers. Before 3 knee surgeries for GA, before CB decided to start phoning it in and pretending to be an all-star still, and before AJ had a tone of mileage added to his odometer as the only consistently healthy one. The only thing that would have helped is a familiarity with the offense, but again that would be run by players not playing as well as before and our defense would be rock bottom still. Look at Philly! Terrible defensively and not great offensively either. I think if EJ were our coach right now we would be about the same maybe even slightly worse with no hope for the future. At least with Flip, I have a sliver of hope still.

Posted by: rphilli721 | December 7, 2009 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Oh, let's not forget that if would be very suspect as to how Blatche and Haywood would perform for EJ as they both despised the man.

Posted by: rphilli721 | December 7, 2009 8:18 AM | Report abuse

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