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Wizards (7-16) at Warriors (7-18)

Wizards starters: Gilbert Arenas, DeShawn Stevenson, Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison, Brendan Haywood

Warriors: Stephen Curry, Monta Ellis, Chris Hunter, Corey Maggette, C.J. Watson

Line: Warriors by 3

Coach Flip Saunders is still a believer that the Washington Wizards are close to making a turnaround despite their current struggles -- and he has told his players that they are still capable of winning at least 45 games this season.

"You look at the six games we had, where we're at, if we win six of those games and all of a sudden, everybody is saying, 'Geez, they are unbelievable, they've turned the corner. They've won eight of the last 10 games.' " Saunders said. "I think right now, we're playing a lot better than we did four weeks ago, as a team. We're still coming up dry, we're still not making the key play but I think those are going to come in time. When you're not playing good and you're losing games, a team comes in and says, 'Oh, we got those guys coming in.' I don't think anyone is saying, 'We want Washington tonight.' I think because of that, we're not that far away. You're never as good as you are when you're winning and you're never as bad as you are when you're losing."

Dominic McGuire has seen his minutes and production decrease significantly from last season, when he started 57 games, which was third-most behind Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler. He has played sparingly in 19 games, while receiving four DNP-Coach's Decisions, with the latest coming on Dec. 10. But he has gradually seen his playing increase the past three games as he got 13 minutes in Sacramento, where he was assigned to guard Tyreke Evans in crunch-time.

"I try to get the most out of whatever minutes I get right now," McGuire said. "I haven't been playing as much as last year, so whenever I get in, I'm just trying to prove myself and play hard. It's been real difficult, but at the same time, it would easier if we were winning. I'm sitting here like, 'I know I can help this team win.' When I get in, I try to do whatever I can to show that I belong out there."

McGuire said it was good to be on the floor with the game on the line against the Kings. He hadn't shared the floor with Brendan Haywood, Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison and Gilbert Arenas since April 2, when he was the starting shooting guard in a win against Cleveland.

"I felt real comfortable out there with them," he said. "When I'm in there, my role is the defensive stopper. That's why I wanted to take Tyreke at the end of the game and let Gil go on offense."

McGuire has scored just two points in each of the past two games against the Los Angeles Clippers and Sacramento, but both came in the form of dunks that ended stretches of long jumpers by the Wizards.

"Just trying to bring the efficient shots," said McGuire, who added three rebounds and one assist. "I think we shoot a lot of jumpers, so I think it's important for us to get something going to the basket. It does bring a lot of momentum to our team, gives us those energy plays that we need to get people going. Try to get us extra possessions and do some of that stuff."

Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld joined the team in Oakland for the final two games of this road. He spoke briefly with Saunders before the game.

By Michael Lee  |  December 18, 2009; 10:27 PM ET
 
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Next: Wizards 118, Warriors 109

Comments

I expect us to win tonight. Gil & AJ never lose to GS and they usually play there best ball. Even when Gil was a bad PG with NO PG skills, he always looked like half Magic Johnson & half MJ against GS. He always lights them up.

If we wouldve won last game at the end, I would be 100% sure that Gil would put up his best numbers of the season so far tonight. Like he would go for 40 or 33 & 13 or something but since Gil lost it at the end, Im scared that he will go in the tank again like he's done after some of our other losses where he's choked.

However, I became more confident after reading Gil's comments as he sounds like he really believes he is getting his game back and is about to go off. I would love to see him & AJ go off tonight like they normaly do against GS and then see Gil go off again on the Suns like he normaly does. Then I think he would be good to go the rest of the year.

Posted by: dlts20 | December 18, 2009 11:05 PM | Report abuse

flip better not sit Gil a long time tonight. Only a minute or 2 each half

Posted by: dlts20 | December 18, 2009 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Leads just magically disappear when Boykins comes in the game.

Posted by: t-train | December 18, 2009 11:18 PM | Report abuse

Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld joined the team in Oakland for the final two games of this road. He spoke briefly with Saunders before the game.


Hey Ernie see that guy name Curry that you could have drafted, but no we got MM (where is he) and Foye. HA HA HA HA HA

Give Ernie a raise?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | December 18, 2009 11:32 PM | Report abuse

Damn, Gil looks tired halfway through the 1st and looked completely ran down by the end of the 1st quarter. It sucks because he's playing great but now it looks like he may just fade on out. I hope he can get some pep back at the half

Posted by: dlts20 | December 18, 2009 11:45 PM | Report abuse

The guys have to help him out though. He wouldve had probably 15ast if they wouldve made those open jumpers he gave them

Posted by: dlts20 | December 18, 2009 11:46 PM | Report abuse

Thats why he then lost the ball a couple of times and missed those other shots short.

Posted by: dlts20 | December 18, 2009 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Amazing! Everytime earl gets in the game....we lose the lead....Time for that experiment to end...this is getting old.

Posted by: rf2litenva | December 18, 2009 11:54 PM | Report abuse

This sure seems like a good game to get McGee some minutes.

Posted by: bozomoeman | December 19, 2009 12:33 AM | Report abuse

Looks like the Wizards are going to win this game...

see I told you they would be back beating one of the better teams in the NBA...

The Wizards can't be stopped 59-0

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | December 19, 2009 12:37 AM | Report abuse

So I'm just waking up...and I wake up to a bad 3 from Jamison.

Geez.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | December 19, 2009 1:01 AM | Report abuse

45 and 13...

nice.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | December 19, 2009 1:13 AM | Report abuse

Wiz won despite Jamison tonight. His shot selection was flat-out awful!
Fortunately Gil and Butler showed up, but Flip has to somehow convince Jamison that every shot he sees is not a good shot.

Posted by: and_1 | December 19, 2009 1:17 AM | Report abuse

I want to apologize to the Wizards organization, their fans, the coach, GM, and the players for ever doubting them. The way they beat one of the best “D” teams (since the Piston Bad Boys) in the NBA, I have to admit Ernie is the best GM ever and Gil makes Kobe, Wade, and LeBron look like AAU players.

The Wizards are back….can you say championship. Where and when is the parade?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | December 19, 2009 1:22 AM | Report abuse

and_1

quit complaining it's not that often that we get a win sit back and enjoy it. Be a real fan and believe in Gil, Flip and Ernie they know what they are doing.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | December 19, 2009 1:24 AM | Report abuse

Nice fast paced game with almost no commitment on the defensive end by either team.

If only the Wizards could match-up against GSW every night they would be almost unstoppable.

Great performance by Arenas. Should be a boost for his confidence. Hopefully some of the energy will carry over tomorrow night.

Posted by: JPRS | December 19, 2009 1:24 AM | Report abuse

Told you he's always like half MJ half Magic Johnson against GS and he's not too far from that against the Suns either so he might go off again if he's not too tired

Posted by: dlts20 | December 19, 2009 1:24 AM | Report abuse

Jamison was 1-6 from 3-pt land and it's obvious Flip hasn't said boo to him about all these bad threes he takes.
The ESPN announcers were all over the Wiz for not giving the Warriors a steady dose of inside scoring.
Baby steps...

Posted by: and_1 | December 19, 2009 1:25 AM | Report abuse

The streak is over! Play-offs here we come!

Posted by: ptp23 | December 19, 2009 1:30 AM | Report abuse

When is Miller going to be back. Man, I hope he let's Foye at least play the point when Miller is back. Jamison needs to be benched. He kept firing 3's in the 4th quarter trying to throw the game. Put him on the bench..please.

Posted by: ptp23 | December 19, 2009 1:34 AM | Report abuse

would love to see a stat on # of wizards' 4th quarter 3-pt attempts and 4th quarter 3-pt % this year. seems like way to many quick threes in the final period, particularly from AJ and NY (when he's in there).

Posted by: thickman22 | December 19, 2009 1:35 AM | Report abuse

Gil plays so well at GS do you think Ernie could find a way so Gil could play 41 games there?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | December 19, 2009 1:48 AM | Report abuse

Only saw second half. But a big win to stop the bleeding. Gil has finally come to the conclusion that he has to adjust his game. He has learned to expect to finish in a crowd, rather than dunk or get a call. He is using his mid-range game. He is still not 100% what he was. May never be that again. But what he can do is lead this team. My biggest concern is that his handle has not come back yet. But it will come.

We won because we found a team that plays worst interior defense than we do. That seems to be the essence of the story here.

Stevenson is HORRIBLE. Not a defensive stopper and can't hit a jumper. What does Flip see there?

AJ was certainly hurt but needed to get in the post and stop jacking up 3's. That was pathetic. Pass the ball to Caron who was sizzling.

Haywood looked solid as usual but Blatche looked asleep. Too much west coast night life maybe? Hope not.

If we can win one in Phoenix we can come back with a smile: 2-2 on the trip. Not bad at all!

I liked what I saw in the article with Flip's comments. He sees the problem. He is the coach. What will he do? the ones taking the bad shots are the big 3. So can he coach them? I am not sure.

BmoreRev

Posted by: stanlong23 | December 19, 2009 1:53 AM | Report abuse

A win is a win, but this game was a L against any other team. I would say great game by Arenas, but he had 5 turnovers and could have had 20 it seems liked. His handle was all over the place.

Boykins strikes again! Don't know what Foye has done, but him running the second unit can't be any worse that Boykins. No way!

Posted by: rphilli721 | December 19, 2009 1:57 AM | Report abuse

DC_MANN and I want to know if there is room on the gil bandwagon. I know it will fill up soon and we want to make sure we get our seats for the parade done PA Ave.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | December 19, 2009 2:08 AM | Report abuse

Question:

Mark Jackson and Van Gundy referred to an article in the Post about a big trade coming. As I don't live in DC anymore, I don't have the paper and don't see said article on the Website. Anyone see that article or know what they are talking about?

I've been saying for a couple of weeks that EG is going to make a move involving most likely CB or maybe Jamison.

Posted by: rphilli721 | December 19, 2009 2:13 AM | Report abuse

Arenas had a great game. Scored, moved the ball (13 assists), got to the line, attacked the rim. Basically all the stuff he hasn't been doing. Looked like he was doing more playing and less thinking.

The scapegoating of Boykins continues. Did he have a good game? No. But then, that's probably why he played a total of only 5 minutes. I seriously doubt Boykins' 1 shot (which he made) and 1 turnover did more damage to the team than Nick Young's wild blind flings at the basket and his revolving door (without the glass) defense on Monta Ellis. The simple truth is that no one off the bench had a good game. I'm sure some will complain yet again about the starters playing too many minutes, but if they hadn't they had no chance to win this game. None.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 19, 2009 3:49 AM | Report abuse

rphilli, are you referring to the article from the W.Times:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/dec/18/trade-rumors-swirl-around-woebegone-wizards/

Posted by: washwiz | December 19, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

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