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New-look Wizards win again

Morning brew

The Wizards have won three of the four games since trading Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood, Antawn Jamison and others. Last night Washington beat the Chicago Bulls, 101-95. Andray Blatche continued his inspired play with 25 points and 11 rebounds.

Al Thornton told Gene Wang after the game: "I'm not used to these minutes, but I'm excited."

Meanwhile, Michael Lee reports that a league official said on Monday that the NBA does not plan to block a possible reunion of Zydrunas Ilgauskas and the Cleveland Cavaliers should the 7-foot-3 center reach a buyout agreement with the Wizards. Ilgauskas was acquired in a three-team trade that sent Jamison to Cleveland last Thursday.

Josh Howard left the game in the first quarter with what the team described as a sprained left knee. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban responded yesterday to rumors about Howard suffering from a hangover before a January game.

Joe Glorioso of Wizards Extreme says a little bit of fun has led to the Wiz kids' recent success.

In ESPN.com's Daily Dime (No. 8), Truth About It's Kyle Wydie says Wizards fans should trust that Coach Flip Saunders' A-plus beginnings to the season's second session will guide the franchise toward a better future. Elsewhere on the page (No. 1), Tim MacMahon gives former Wizard Brendan Haywood some credit for the Mavericks' recent success.

Haywood's teammate in Dallas, Caron Butler, said goodbye to Washington in a letter to the editor in yesterday's Washington Post.

Over the weekend, Hoops Addict's Rashad Mobley analyzed Nick Young's role in Washington since the big trade.

Around the League ...

There were five games last night. Highlights are below, courtesy of NBA.com's Daily Zap:

By Alexa Steele  |  February 23, 2010; 9:51 AM ET
Categories:  Morning brew  
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Next: Josh Howard is done for the season [Updated]

Comments

good for BTH, hope all 3 of our formers do well.

but in case y'all hadnt noticed, we're not missing a thing with brendon gone. Scoring and defense have both improved, so have fast break point and points in the paint.

This is just a better team than the previous version, and it's not BTH or CB or AJ specifically so much as the staleness the 3 of them were throwing out on the floor

Posted by: divi3 | February 23, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Come on divi3, you know HAYWOOD was no throw away. I'll buy the others being gone, and I absolutely agree, I really like the new look WIZ. But HAYWOOD could have made them better, IMHO of course.

Posted by: glawrence007 | February 23, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

NICK hasn't looked as good since as he did in that DENVER game. What's wrong with his game is definitely in his head though. If he can ramp up against DENVER and BILLUPS, her can do it to anybody, even LeBRON. Come on kid, "it's time to kick in, and act like men, like men" MORGAN FREEMAN - GLORY.

Posted by: glawrence007 | February 23, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Big Z SHOULD NOT be able to return to the Cavs!

Posted by: Lisa_R | February 23, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

bth is gone, so i wont get into it about his actual play here....but the biggest reason he had to go was to get a clean slate in place. Nobody is assured any minutes, and the "vet" is a 23yr old coming into his own. Was a good move to rid ourselves of CB/AJ/BTH as that team was headed nowhere

Posted by: divi3 | February 23, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

bth is gone, so i wont get into it about his actual play here....but the biggest reason he had to go was to get a clean slate in place. Nobody is assured any minutes, and the "vet" is a 23yr old coming into his own. Was a good move to rid ourselves of CB/AJ/BTH as that team was headed nowhere

Posted by: divi3 | February 23, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

That's the fact jack. But I still wish we had WOOD. I'm sure EG was counting on either GOODEN or ILGAUSKIS inside. Without any of the tree, it's makes up a bit vulnerable there.

As to ILGAUSKAS, I say IF POSSIBLE, trade him for any second we can get, protected or otherwise. Don't pay that sorry pecker a dime. Suspend him for failure to report. NO BUYOUTS. He's already gotten $600,000 for being traded. Why should IRENE have to pony up because D.C.'s not good enough for him. Just another reason to despise CLEVELAND if you ask me.

Posted by: glawrence007 | February 23, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Glawrence007,

I agree. If ILGAUSKIS does not want to play for us either don't pay him or fine him. I'm sure that if he doesn't come to play or refuses to play for us than we don't have to pay him. We're already under the Luxury Tax and he comes off the books this summer. He won't get paid if he doesn't report. Don't buy him out and let him go to Cleveland. Tell him if you want to report to Washington and play we'll find you a spot. If you don't, that's your decision but your not going to get paid. Screw him and screw the Cavs, it's not our job to give him and the Cavs what they want.

In regards to the new look Wizards. I was a big fan of CB and AJ but I criticized CB more than I did AJ. I think because I liked AJ mroe but I tell you, after watching these young kids play and seeing AJ in Cleveland it makes me feel like he was hurting this team more than helping. I know he didn't play defense but I felt that his offense made up for it at times. However, this new/young team has been a breath of fresh air. AJ and CB don't ball hog all game and we're seeing what these young kids can do. I've enjoyed watching these past 4 games MORE than I have any of our other games all season.

Posted by: DCSportsFan28 | February 23, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Much as I like watching the games, I'm thinking the test will come when the Wiz lose three or four in a row. Or when the fans start throwing them individually under the bus (you know who you are). That's the challenge.

Posted by: Samson151 | February 23, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Z will be bought out today, now that the league has indicated he can go back to the Cavs. Insider trading bs, and there's no way EG would go back on the deal he had with Ferry to buy Z out.

Posted by: divi3 | February 23, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Much as I like watching the games, I'm thinking the test will come when the Wiz lose three or four in a row. Or when the fans start throwing them individually under the bus (you know who you are). That's the challenge.

Posted by: Samson151 | February 23, 2010 10:42 AM

schedule looks like we can take 3 of the next 5, though Howard out is pretty big loss

Posted by: divi3 | February 23, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Mark - "Also not surprising is AB's emergence as the best scorer on this team. No, he hasnt gotten miraculously better in the last couple of weeks. No, his game hasnt changed. No, he hasnt just discovered consistency and decided to change his approach."

Mark, wait until Andre plays a bad game or 2 and you will surely hear the hyenas in this blog. They are already waiting (drooling) for it to happen.

Posted by: Dave381 | February 23, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Is there any word on the extent of Howard's injury? Are we sure it's just a sprain and not a tear? Mike please report on this soon.

Posted by: akaarora | February 23, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

6 of Dray's 8 made fgs were within 10ft last night. Flip needs to be in his ear drilling it home "YOU SEE HOW EZ IT CAN BE FOR YOU?"

i suspect we'll be done in by some 3-13 nights from Thornton in the near future tho

Posted by: divi3 | February 23, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Mark, wait until Andre plays a bad game or 2 and you will surely hear the hyenas in this blog. They are already waiting (drooling) for it to happen.

Posted by: Dave381

Dave, I'm about as big of a Blatche critic (not a hater, a critic) as there is. He's put together four very good games, so he's entitled to a bad game or two. I don't care if he has a bad shooting night as long as he doesn't revert to some of the boneheaded things he used to do, and as long as he continues to work on the defensive end and the glass. You started to see a little bit of it last night when he got frustrated. He started trying too hard to make his offense happen. But then he reined it back in, which I thought was a great sign going forward.

Posted by: ts35 | February 23, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

How can the Wizards pay Big Z off just so he can go back to Cleveland? He should be made to sit out the season.

Posted by: tundey | February 23, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

"Much as I like watching the games, I'm thinking the test will come when the Wiz lose three or four in a row."

That will be tested in about 6 games or so.

Look at the schedule.

Just keep playing hard guys, good things will happen.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | February 23, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Not only are Blatche and McGee showing what more playing time does for your game, but it is also showing in Dallas for Brendan what real playing time does for your game.

"New Maverick Brendan Haywood(notes) not only contributed 13 points and 20 rebounds, but he made Pacer center Roy Hibbert(notes) look like a kid out there."

Haywood played the most minutes 33:21 for Dallas, shot 50% from the floor, 7-12 from the line, and he was a +14.

Seems like to me players get better with more playing and not with less playing time as is the Wizard's methodology.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | February 23, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

good article on NY from hoopsaddict and Rashad Mobley. NY sounds like his head is in the game. remember he's a scorer first, and a streaky shooter second. He has a lot of confidence in his J, but they can't all fall. It's what he does in the other facets of the game that will really help us. That being said, he only played 12 mins since the DEN game. A lot can be attributed to his play in those mins, but 4 mins 1 game and 8 the next, c'mon son. I wonder how many mins MM got to try to play through his 8 turnover performance (i'm just sayin).

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | February 23, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

You know, to beat on a dead horse, I have been saying all season that we needed to move Jamison to the three so that Haywood, Blatche, and McGee got the most playing time at the 5 and the 4 and controlled the paint play better for us. Two bigs in the game mostly at all times.

Some of you understood that logic but apparently Flip never believed in it. I always got shot down by Kalo_rama for he felt that McGee and Blatche had not earned the right to be given such prominent roles in our gameplan. And we know how he feels about BH.

But the evidence since the trades seem to indicate that my assertions so far had some damn good merit.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | February 23, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Make Z suit up or sign Paul Davis for the rest of the season. We desperately need a bruiser if we want to stop big men in the paint.

Posted by: ParkerLewis | February 23, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Those of you demanding that Ernie make play Z play here are assuming that he did not have a handshake agreement with the Cavs. Z's as good as gone.

Posted by: gimmedat | February 23, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

How can the Wizards pay Big Z off just so he can go back to Cleveland? He should be made to sit out the season.

Posted by: tundey | February 23, 2010 11:21 AM

Correct me if I am wrong, but Big Z isn't being paid anything for the games he is missing now and for sure his buyout will only be for a value of the games left till the end of the season.

I think the Wizards should buy him out and they are doing the right thing by taking their time doing it.

I hope Ernie really low balls Z, cause apparently he is ripe for a low ball offer since he would rather not play here and he is infatuated with Cleveland.

The trade netted us cap space and we keep not mentioning the fact that we also got Al Thornton.

And Tundey, he can't just sit out the season unless he refuses to play and in that case we don't have to pay him. If we force him to sit we have to pay him.

It makes good sense to pay him to go away and for less money to boot.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | February 23, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

@ Larry - And just wait until BTH plays poorly on some games and (K)ing Scar will be all over you. A couple of genuis here still thinks he's a 3rd sting center and will be playing in the European League once his contract is over. I guess we've seen how Ethan evolved to an all-star in his new team.

Posted by: Dave381 | February 23, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

i think BTH is vastly overrated, but i really dont care if he sucks or excels with the Mavs- we gots a team to focus on!

Posted by: divi3 | February 23, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Give me a team of players that want to play as team and keep the selfish superstars away and I will give you a fun team to watch. I love the new Wizards win or lose.

Posted by: nimes1 | February 23, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

What I like about the new front line is they are more athletic, more active, faster to loose balls, better defenders, and better able to match up with the young, tall front lines of other teams. Caron and AJ tended to compete with younger, more athletic forwards by scoring from the outside and that only worked as long as their shots were dropping. I like that now we can compete athlete-to-athlete, which is why I was so bummed to see Josh Howard go down, because he fits right in with our other guys.

Posted by: jweber1 | February 23, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Z will be bought out today, now that the league has indicated he can go back to the Cavs. Insider trading bs, and there's no way EG would go back on the deal he had with Ferry to buy Z out.

Posted by: divi3 | February 23, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Z the ZEN-master says, "We'll see."

Posted by: glawrence007 | February 23, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: jweber1 | February 23, 2010 12:21 PM

agree 100%. CB/AJ/BTH....none of them are athletic nor particularly active. The difference with this new team jumps right out at you

Posted by: divi3 | February 23, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Some of you understood that logic but apparently Flip never believed in it. I always got shot down by Kalo_rama for he felt that McGee and Blatche had not earned the right to be given such prominent roles in our gameplan. And we know how he feels about BH.

But the evidence since the trades seem to indicate that my assertions so far had some damn good merit.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | February 23, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Dude, you stick to your convictions. Nobody here has the final answers on player personnel or rotations. I screamed at the t.v. more than once, "...move JAMISON to #3, and play BLATCHE at the #4."

Posted by: glawrence007 | February 23, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

i think BTH is vastly overrated, but i really dont care if he sucks or excels with the Mavs- we gots a team to focus on!

Posted by: divi3 | February 23, 2010 12:15 PM

Well I guess these stats below is a little overated for Haywood especially for ones that never cared what he brought to the table.

"The 7-foot Haywood, who had 20 rebounds against the Pacers, has more than filled Dampier's shoes, averaging 12.3 points, 12.3 rebounds and 2.8 blocks in his four starts."

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | February 23, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

LarryInClintonMD,

Z has over 5 million left for the remaining season, how much of those do you think he is wiling to forgo just to sign a minimum contract (less than 1 million for the remaining season) to return to Cleveland?

Posted by: sagaliba | February 23, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

It makes good sense to pay him to go away and for less money to boot.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | February 23, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I'd buy that for a dollar, and that's just what I would offer as a buy-out.

Posted by: glawrence007 | February 23, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Just when the team was starting to get a little swagger, Howards gets injured. Damnit!
For the next few games, I guess Nick starts at the two and Mike Miller starts at the three. I'd really like to see Young become a more integral part of Wizards 2.0 but he just hasn't shown much to date. If Nick starts looking like the light has come on, then everybody will really go nuts.

Posted by: gimmedat | February 23, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

"The 7-foot Haywood, who had 20 rebounds against the Pacers, has more than filled Dampier's shoes, averaging 12.3 points, 12.3 rebounds and 2.8 blocks in his four starts."

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD

blah, blah, blah. Surely playing alongside a league MVP has nothing to do with anything right?

Who cares how BTH is playing, it's all day Dray in these parts now!

Posted by: divi3 | February 23, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

@ Larry - And just wait until BTH plays poorly on some games and (K)ing Scar will be all over you. A couple of genuis here still thinks he's a 3rd sting center and will be playing in the European League once his contract is over. I guess we've seen how Ethan evolved to an all-star in his new team.

Posted by: Dave381 | February 23, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

i think BTH is vastly overrated, but i really dont care if he sucks or excels with the Mavs- we gots a team to focus on!

Posted by: divi3 | February 23, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

I am with Divi3. We are a better team without him, mainly because we were not a good team. Haywood is the kind of guy who can add value to a good team, but is toxic to a bad one.

And to Dave...no one said he was going to Europe...just the opposite, we said his value to other teams would drive up his price to where we shouldn't resign him. He has a history of slagging off in non-contract years and he will be 31 when next season starts. He is slow and has weak hands MOST of the time.

He has shown he can have a great game here and there, but then again, so does Kwame.

We are better without him...the Mavs seem to be better with him...and I am sure he is happier with the Mavs. sounds like win-win-win all around.

He's gone now and hopefully won't be returning.

Posted by: Blurred | February 23, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

LarryInClintonMD,

Z has over 5 million left for the remaining season, how much of those do you think he is wiling to forgo just to sign a minimum contract (less than 1 million for the remaining season) to return to Cleveland?

Posted by: sagaliba | February 23, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Who cares what he wants. what do we want?

Posted by: Blurred | February 23, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Who cares what he wants. what do we want?


Posted by: Blurred | February 23, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, blurred. BTW, how's SANDERS. Is he nicked up? His power numbers haven't been what they were earlier in the season.

Posted by: glawrence007 | February 23, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

howard done for the season, now that's Les Curse

Posted by: divi3 | February 23, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

I think Sanders has a case of the jamison flu.

He made his bread and butter on defense, but I think someone told him to play more O and he tried to develop a 3pt shot (rasheed?)

Also, he has had a couple of small disciplinary actions by the coach. i am guessing he just has his head in the clouds thinking about getting drafted.

We've seen it before: a guy should go top 15 (or top 10) but slacks off during the season and drops to 20's or 2nd round.

Glad to see the spiders are still rolling.

Hopefully Rams will win the caa tourny and get a bid.

sopme great wins, but a some stupid loses.

Posted by: Blurred | February 23, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Yes, this group of players are more athletic and they force the ball to be moved at a faster pace up the floor.

They just don't get down the floor to set up like the last group mostly did.

These guys get down the floor because they understand the advantages of scoring UpTemPo and they have the athleticism to do it.

This type of agressive play also lends itself to spontaneity and a trust by the coach that the players will make good decisions and play well with less controlled structure.

My fear and I hope Flip proves me wrong, for I like UpTemPo ball, is that the more he trys to put his system in, the less their athleticism is a factor in games.

We have to take the mistakes along with the good if we really want to get there, if you know what I mean.

Even overly aggressive defense mistakes should not be a reason to banish a player to the bench. You have to trust at the end of the day/game that the player will actually have performed well even with his mistakes.

They are gonna make mistakes, but you gotta keep that desire and freshness active.

This is not a team, even with the big three this year, to sit guys behind veteran players that were not winning.

That strategy works for teams that win because you have that luxury.

This group is ripe for a full rotation, playing together, like they appear to be capable of doing now.

LarryInClntonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | February 23, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

My final words on BH...
He is a toxic loser...yes he is shooting well with a HOF point guard penetrating and dumping off to him.
I am still waiting for his next contested rebound. Yes contested rebounds are my gauge to see if there is energy and athletic ability working together.
He has neither.
We are not close to a penetrating PG, and thus BH is happily for most of us gone.
AJ is also a non contested rebounder.
I love where we are headed and only good and better is on the horizon.
Will it be a non stop express, definitely not, but hope springs eternal!
Now for the bad news , Howard has a torn ACL, out for the season...and the beat goes on.
Bad luck but also opportunity for others. Also his apparent value has dropped considerably if signing is of interest. Truly and expensive break for him.

Posted by: mricklen | February 23, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Haywood was one of the subjects of the blog. Don't hate on me.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | February 23, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Larry, AJ and Caron were blocking Blatche getting minutes at the 4. AJ's lateral quickness was a big deterrant to having him play heavy minutes at the 3. Caron apparently just didn't want to be a guard.

Big change I see after 4 games, quickness. In some lineups Flip's putting out there the team is quicker in 4 out of 5 positions.

McGee's still got to learn not to shoot everytime he touches the ball no matter where he's at.

Still can't figure out how Ernie got Thornton in the 3 way deal, what a steal.
He may have some rough moments as he learns, but he looks like a keeper.

Nick Young's biggest problem is Nick Young, the kid's got to just play through bad calls. He gets one, he's done for the night.

Blatche has got the rest of the season to prove he's an NBA player. He's off to a good start.

Sounds like Ernie's going bring in some development type guys on 10 day contracts. A chance to find a young gem in the scrap heap.

This team is a center and a good point guard away from being a solid playoff contender.
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | February 23, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

about half the teams in the nba are a "center and a good point guard from being a solid playoff contender"

Posted by: BulletsForEva | February 23, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

the problem is that David Stern is doing that just so he can continue to kiss Labron James's you know what that's what this is all about as for opening up the investigation in the first place if itwasn't for the Lakers compalining that wouldn't have happened Stern has to show he he still kissing Kobe's you know what simply for the fact that Kobe is paying his paycheck think about that for a minute Kobe jersey is no.1 seller which is where Jerry Buss is making most of his money.

Posted by: rmnkevorkian | February 23, 2010 9:02 PM | Report abuse

the problem is that David Stern is doing that just so he can continue to kiss Labron James's you know what that's what this is all about as for opening up the investigation in the first place if itwasn't for the Lakers compalining that wouldn't have happened Stern has to show he he still kissing Kobe's you know what simply for the fact that Kobe is paying his paycheck think about that for a minute Kobe jersey is no.1 seller which is where Jerry Buss is making most of his money.

Posted by: rmnkevorkian | February 23, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

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