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Livingston starts, gets immediate test

Shaun Livingston was thrilled to get his first start in nearly 11 months - and just his second start since his horrific knee injury more than three years ago - but it probably felt like some sort of punishment. He was matched up Monday against arguably the best point guard going right now in Deron Williams and will get another all-star point guard on Tuesday in Chauncey Billups.


This is how it's done, Shaun. (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE/Getty Images)

Although he had to adjust his mindset from coming off the bench for Randy Foye, Livingston didn't appear to be in awe of the situation early on Monday. He blocked Williams's shot twice in the first three minutes, with his first block leading to a fastbreak layup for Mike Miller. But Livingston didn't have many highlights after that, as he went without an assist for the first time in his short stint with the Wizards.

Williams, on the other hand, completely took over the game during a 16-minute span between the second quarter and third quarter, when he had 11 points and seven assists and the Jazz outscored the Wizards 48-19. "He makes their team go," Saunders said of Williams. "A guy that can push the ball offensively. Can make plays for other teammates. Has the ability to shoot threes. Has the ability to defend. Both him and Chauncey Billups are the two guys in our league that can really do that. He pushed up the tempo."

Williams finished with 17 points and 11 assists in just under 30 minutes, with the only thing slowing him down being a hard fall near the end of the third period that forced him to hobble off the court. Livingston scored just six points with three rebounds in 23 minutes and wishes he could've done more.

"It's a tough matchup," said Livingston, who had 18 points and eight assists against Orlando's Jameer Nelson on Saturday. "He's one of the toughest guards in the league, because of his size, his quickness. He was able to get guys open shots and get to the line. I don't feel like I was aggressive enough to make him work on the other end, where he could take trips off and come back on the offensive end and attack. I had some blocks early, led to some early fast breaks, but it's a 48-minute game. The best thing about this league, you've got a game tomorrow for redemption."

But Livingston has to search for redemption against Billups, who knows Saunders's offense inside and out, having run it efficiently for four seasons in Minnesota and Detroit. "We are going into stretches, tonight with [Williams] and [Tuesday], probably two of the most complete point guards in our league."

Livingston, on his second 10-day contract with the Wizards, is just getting his bearings again in this league. But he knows there is rarely a dropoff in competition from night to night. "It's tough, but that's part of the league," he said. "We're all given a job and a task and that's what I'm going to try to do and that's play better than I did tonight."

By Michael Lee  |  March 16, 2010; 2:35 AM ET
 
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Next: Another loss, Arenas speaks

Comments

I appreciate Livingston's efforts to get the team into its offense (especially to get the ball to Blatche on the block) but he has to attack off the dribble more... he's much too passive for a PG, especially on this team where the players aren't good enough to create their own shots.

Posted by: GshawnJohnson | March 16, 2010 3:00 AM | Report abuse

The only player showing signs of life and being consistent is Andray Blatche. So 7 day Dray, keep it coming! Is Mike Miller finally waking up? Perhaps he is finally getting embarrassed at his production.

Quinton Ross, Al Thornton, James Singleton are all totally useless, none of them are anything but third stringers.

It's really funny because in the past they told Dominic McGuire that they expected him to play defense and rebound, and play with energy and they really didn't want or expect him to play offense and shoot jumpers.

Now the Wiz have three McGuires.

Posted by: rickgonz | March 16, 2010 3:33 AM | Report abuse

Utah had a 30 point lead for much of the second half. So it was a worse performance than the final score indicates.

To me, it seemed like not only could Deron Williams drive the length of the court against Livingston at will, but so could Sundiata Gaines (Utah's D League guy). So I think Livingston's weaknesses are being exposed now.

For the next two 10 day contracts, my vote is for Dwayne Jones, and Will Conroy. Not that I have a vote.

Posted by: PostSubscriber | March 16, 2010 5:00 AM | Report abuse

The only player showing signs of life and being consistent is Andray Blatche. So 7 day Dray, keep it coming! Is Mike Miller finally waking up? Perhaps he is finally getting embarrassed at his production.

Quinton Ross, Al Thornton, James Singleton are all totally useless, none of them are anything but third stringers.

It's really funny because in the past they told Dominic McGuire that they expected him to play defense and rebound, and play with energy and they really didn't want or expect him to play offense and shoot jumpers.

Now the Wiz have three McGuires.

Posted by: rickgonz | March 16, 2010 3:33 AM | Report abuse
Well, i do not agree on your commnent on james singleton.He is a good defender, The only player who fight in the paint for the team.He is undersized against most centers, his offense is limited around the paint and some open shoots from out side.He has agood percentage from the charity.He will be the 7th man in this club and most contending team will give him minutes for defensive purpose.Do not count them with other two.I have no clue why flip is in love with QR, he does not deserve even to be in D-lege.JS had 9 boards, 2 blokes and 8 points last night.
It is oviously hard to compair JS with DM who has no offenssive touch as a starter for 50 games last year.

Posted by: gtefferra | March 16, 2010 7:14 AM | Report abuse

Instead of bringing in sfs on 10 day contracts, the Wizards should be bringing in big men. The sf position can be covered by Thornton, Mike Miller, Singleton, and Ross. The Wizards are getting killed in the paint. The D League doesn't have a lot of NBA sized big men, it's true. But there is John Bryant, 6-11, 300. There is Paul Davis, former Wizard, 6-11, 275. Dwayne Jones is 6-11, 250, and it is hard to believe that Flip wouldn't want to give him significant minutes right away.

Posted by: PostSubscriber | March 16, 2010 7:42 AM | Report abuse

Face it, this team is a collection of D-league players, and they do play like a D-league team against a real NBA team.

Posted by: sagaliba | March 16, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

I got my Wiz season ticket renewal letter this week.

ummmm.. no.

Posted by: original_mark | March 16, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

I gotta second that, sagaliba. We currently only have 2 players on our current roster that every team in this league would take (AB and JM) and only 1 guy that could start on every team (AB).

Adding Gil next year will be a big plus but we'll still be a D league team unless we get lucky in the draft. Thornton plays hard but is NOT a star. NY is never going to get a chance to prove what he can do on this team apparently unless every other SG gets traded or cut.

Posted by: original_mark | March 16, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Just how lucky in the draft? We're headed towards a top3 pick, even at 5 again there will be real talent on the board this year

Posted by: divi3 | March 16, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

also, we always lose in utah, and surely nothing was going to change that last night with this ragtag cast....but what's up with zero energy after the 1stQ yet again? I think Dray may have been the only player who scored in both halves last night. How the %&*$ does that happen?

Posted by: divi3 | March 16, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

With the wizards luck on injury, off court issues, and the draft... I would not count on getting john wall. Get a big man to protect the paint like cousins or favors. I seen favors play maryland twice and he pounds the boards and protects the paint. Try signing Joe Johnson and marcus camby.
This would be an interesting lineup
1. Gil & livingston
2. Joe Johnson & young
3. josh howard & thornton
4. Blache & favors
5. Camby & McGee

That is a first round playoff team

Posted by: jefferu | March 16, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

i just dont see why we'd draft Cousins/Favors, especially cousins given the questions around his work ethic and attitude.

Does AB move to Center? Or do we draft them feeling they can play C? Or do we have the 2nd pick in the draft play 10mins/night like all our picks seem to do?

If Evan Turner is available, we gotta draft him!

Posted by: divi3 | March 16, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

i just dont see why we'd draft Cousins/Favors, especially cousins given the questions around his work ethic and attitude.

Does AB move to Center? Or do we draft them feeling they can play C? Or do we have the 2nd pick in the draft play 10mins/night like all our picks seem to do?

If Evan Turner is available, we gotta draft him!

Posted by: divi3 | March 16, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse


I agree about Turner...Thornton is not the long term solution and who knows what the plans for Josh Howard are (we know how freak knee injuries go)...EG needs to look at locking up the #2 pick anyway he can via pick and trade or luck...Turner has shown to be a model citizen and can be plugged in immediately to the 1, 2, or 3 to free up Gil to score. Than use our cap space to go after Boozer or Amare

Look at a starting line up of:

Arenas
Turner
Miller
Amare (or Booz)
Blatche

With JM and Josh Howard off the bench

Posted by: FlintCityTropics | March 16, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Wow that was ugly, in so many ways.

They were clearly outclassed by a smarter, more fundamental Jazz team. I don't feel that bad that we had no answer for Deron Williams, because most teams don't either.

It didn't help that the Wiz couldn't hit water falling out of a boat last night. Some of that was D, some of it was just one of those nights.

And good grief was the officiating bad. As a long time Wizards fan, I'm used to getting the short end of the stick from the officials, but the touch fouls they were calling against the Wiz were out of control last night.

Nice to see Miller be a little more aggressive last night. I know he mentioned wanting to 'pick his spots'. Hopefully he's figured out that every night from here on out pretty much has to be one of those spots.

After discussing ad nauseam the reasons Young doesn't deserve more playing time, I can't find a way to justify not giving him more minutes in a blowout. And I'm not sure why Flip didn't take the chance to rest Blatche and Miller more. Both have played a lot of minutes lately.

Gee's game is a little incomplete, but he does provide athleticism and aggressiveness that this team lacks otherwise. Thornton and Singleton are the only other two I see who provide that attitude.

I'm trying to think of a good comparison for Blatche's offensive game. The one that keeps coming to mind is Olajuwon. Now before everyone flips out, he's nowhere near in Olajuwon's class. But between the jumper, the fakes, the spin moves, and the flips off the glass, that's who I keep thinking of. There's got to be a better comparison though. And if only Blatche would emulate The Dream on both ends of the floor.

Posted by: ts35 | March 16, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

IMO, McGee is farther away than I originally thought. Teams are beginning to figure him out a bit. He'll still be able to contribute because of his size and leaping ability, but he has a long, long ways to go. His lateral movement sucks. He frequently gets beaten down the floor by other big men. I don't know if that's just hustle, or if he's slow. He shouldn't be slow.... Not only is his footwork non-existent, he seems uncoordinated. I knew he didn't have a great BB IQ, but his offensive game is far more rudimentary than I thought. He'll score better than Haywood did because he's more athletic, but his actual game and moves are the same or worse as Haywoods. And that's saying something. At least he's a better dunker. For someone who's parents both played basketball at a high level, he is remarkably unskilled.

If he's a relentless worker, he'll be able to pick up those things quickly. But since he hasn't picked them up in his years of playing bball so far, I'm going to guess he's not a relentless worker when it comes to developing his game. Which calls into question what his true ceiling or upside really is. Because the benefit of all upside is predicated on the player wanting to get better, and being willing to work at it. He's also essentially going to have his manhood tested over the remainder of the season. We'll have to see if he stands up or folds. He folded against Boozer.

Posted by: ts35 | March 16, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

With the wizards luck on injury, off court issues, and the draft... I would not count on getting john wall. Get a big man to protect the paint like cousins or favors. I seen favors play maryland twice and he pounds the boards and protects the paint. Try signing Joe Johnson and marcus camby.
This would be an interesting lineup
1. Gil & livingston
2. Joe Johnson & young
3. josh howard & thornton
4. Blache & favors
5. Camby & McGee

That is a first round playoff team

Posted by: jefferu | March 16, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse
It sounds good but it is a pure fantasy.
Mc is going to sign for a contending team, he will be in need of a ring at his age.Most contending teams like, cavs, Boston ,heat and even dallas will do every thing to have him,i will be surprised if he play here.
JJ he is not the answer for our offense.He can not play with a shoot 1st PG, he is at his prime and very expenssive, It is better to look for Mason or larry hughes for cheap and get better in the front. we all are expecting a lot from JM, his fandamental is just like most college freshman players, his speed and energy by itself does not make him a starting center.It is a good idea to wish MC to be here but we have to look from the draft.Howard is out for 60% of the 2010-11 season, do not count on him.

Posted by: gtefferra | March 16, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

IMO, McGee is farther away than I originally thought. Teams are beginning to figure him out a bit. He'll still be able to contribute because of his size and leaping ability, but he has a long, long ways to go. His lateral movement sucks. He frequently gets beaten down the floor by other big men. I don't know if that's just hustle, or if he's slow. He shouldn't be slow.... Not only is his footwork non-existent, he seems uncoordinated. I knew he didn't have a great BB IQ, but his offensive game is far more rudimentary than I thought. He'll score better than Haywood did because he's more athletic, but his actual game and moves are the same or worse as Haywoods. And that's saying something. At least he's a better dunker. For someone who's parents both played basketball at a high level, he is remarkably unskilled.

If he's a relentless worker, he'll be able to pick up those things quickly. But since he hasn't picked them up in his years of playing bball so far, I'm going to guess he's not a relentless worker when it comes to developing his game. Which calls into question what his true ceiling or upside really is. Because the benefit of all upside is predicated on the player wanting to get better, and being willing to work at it. He's also essentially going to have his manhood tested over the remainder of the season. We'll have to see if he stands up or folds. He folded against Boozer.


Posted by: ts35 | March 16, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

=========================================

Let McGhee play 40 minutes and then make that assesment.

Posted by: bobilly2 | March 16, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

I've been thinking about Flip's comments about how point guards aren't made, they drop from heaven, or words to that effect.

It must be really tough to coach in the NBA and not have an excellent pass-first point guard, at least as a backup.

I don't think Livingston should be signed for the rest of the season after his second 10 day is up. There are other pgs to be evaluated, e.g., Will Conroy, Curtis Stinson, or Mustafadden Shakur. As the song goes, better shop around.

Posted by: PostSubscriber | March 16, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

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