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Miller gives No. 6 to Arenas; Wizards give away game

Hawks 105, Wizards 99


After the Wizards lost their fifth game in a row to the Atlanta Hawks, the question that had to be asked had nothing to do with the performances of Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee, or how they were going to stay energized playing three games in three consecutive nights. No, Mike Miller had to explain his thoughts now that Gilbert Arenas desires to abandon No. 0 - and all of the Agent Zeroisms that came with it - to switch the No. 6 currently in Miller's possession. As expected, Miller had no problem with it.

"He gave me a call, asked me about it. I gave him the go-ahead," Miller said. "If he wants No. 6, he can have it."

When asked what number he'll wear if he and Arenas are teammates in Washington next season, Miller said he would probably go with his familiar No. 33, which became available when the Wizards traded Brendan Haywood to Dallas last month. Miller will be a free agent next season, so he added that he'll make the switch "if I have the opportunity. We just got to play it out and see how it happens."

As for the game, the Wizards were finally get some offensive generated, scoring 99 points despite committing 21 turnovers, which led to 32 points for the Hawks. That truly was the difference in the game, with the Wizards beating the Hawks in rebounds 42-29 and with points in the paint (48-36).

"When the other team scores 32 points off turnovers, you don't really give yourself much of a chance to come back," Coach Flip Saunders said. "Basically, turnovers are what killed us."

Blatche had game highs with 30 points and 10 rebounds but he again led the team with seven turnovers. Blatche had some more bad turnovers, including one pass from out of a double team that Miller was forced to recover on the other end of the floor near the Hawks' basket. In his past nine games, Blatche has 41 turnovers, including a season-high eight against the Knicks. But if there was one encouraging sign, he only had one turnover in the second half.

"I'm not used to getting double-teamed, Blatche said. "That's going to be an issue until...I gotta learn by playing, and it's going to get better. They double-teamed, they rotated, and I'm trying to make plays, and it's just new."

McGee had a career-high with 20 points, getting 16 of them in the form of eight highlight-worthy dunks. McGee likes to salute the crowd after each dunk, something that he started when President Obama watched the Wizards play season. But you can tell that while the JaValevator knows how to get up, he wasn't used to getting up as many times as he did against the Hawks.

After the past few dunks, McGee could barely find the strength to tap his forehead before running down the end of the floor. After all, he played a career-high 38 minutes.

Although McGee was extremely active, he also committed five fouls, with the Hawks pounding the ball inside with the likes of Al Horford and Zaza Pachulia. Saunders said McGee would have to learn to hit first before taking hits.

McGee said he's starting to figure that out. "I feel like I still need to leave my feet sometimes because that is what has people scared to come in the hole half of the time. I just have to stay strong and stable. When they start to back me down I need to start to push them."

Miller said the raw talent and athleticism is obvious with McGee. "When he figures it out, a lot of people are going to be happy to see it."

By Michael Lee  |  March 11, 2010; 11:48 PM ET
 
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Next: Agent Zero retires, Josh Howard speaks and Wizards lose

Comments

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Posted by: Vicc | March 11, 2010 11:56 PM | Report abuse

Blatche definitely has the right mind-set. It's good to see that he made an adjustment in the second half too.

With respect to Miller, it's hard to see how he doesn't walk in free agency. If I was in his shoes, I'd probably do the same. It would probably be a different story if the Wiz were positioned to make a serious run over the next couple years. But the Wiz will be lucky just to be in the running for the 8th playoff seed next year.

The Wiz may be losing right now, but at least tonight they kept things interesting until the end. Livingston also looked pretty good. In almost every game he's played in he's been one of the few players with a positive +/- ratio. The early returns look like he could be a serviceable back-up. So far he hasn't shown the ability to run the fast break, but in the half court sets he's done a very good job. His court vision appears to be very good too. His defensive play has been so-so based on the early returns.

Posted by: JPRS | March 12, 2010 1:29 AM | Report abuse

Looking at the box score, three point shooting really stands out for this game. I think the wiz should look to get a stud three point shooter like Mike Miller...oh he is on the team, nevermind.

Posted by: binpa | March 12, 2010 2:03 AM | Report abuse

Finally! Like a lot of us have been saying for 2 years, FS is giving JM lots of playing time in order to develop - and all it took was for all of the Wizards big men to get injured or traded.

Posted by: charley42 | March 12, 2010 4:06 AM | Report abuse

Put me squarely on the ride Mike Miller out of town bandwagon. It irks me to watch him play. He constantly makes high-risk passes, can't hold on to the ball in critical situations, and has become a turnover machine. Add that to his limited offensive output and porous defense and you get a clear understanding of why he is a journeyman player, at best, at this stage of his career.

Posted by: bazookajoe1 | March 12, 2010 4:41 AM | Report abuse

"He constantly makes high-risk passes, can't hold on to the ball in critical situations, and has become a turnover machine."

Its funny because this was the mike miller everyone wanted. He was more aggressive shooting the ball last night. It shouldn't surprise people that he had 3 turnovers because his stats show years back when he was in memphis averaging 18.3 ppg he averaged 2.6 turnovers. Don't worry about it hes gonna walk after this season.

Posted by: jefferu | March 12, 2010 6:59 AM | Report abuse

SEE U LATER MIKE MILLER IT SEEMS TO ME YOU JUST DONT FIT ON THIS TEAM.NO OFFENSE U ARE AN OK PLAYER,PROBABLY NEED A MORE VETERAN TEAM TO BE MOST EFFECTIVE.U AREN'T AGGRESSIVE ENOUGH TO SHOOT UNLESS U ARE WIIIIIIDE OPEN,WHEN ITS OBVIOUS TO ME THEY NEED U TO SCORE FOR THIS OFFENSE TO BE MOST EFFECTIVE,SO NICE HAVING U THIS YEAR MIKE AND BEST WISHES WITH YOUR NEW TEAM NEXT YEAR!!!! GO WHIZ!!!!

Posted by: BRUBOI | March 12, 2010 7:35 AM | Report abuse

"GO WHIZ!!!!Posted by: BRUBOI"

LOL go whiz yourself.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 12, 2010 7:41 AM | Report abuse

Because Miller is, ironically, now not perceived as a threat to score (unless he has a wide open look at a three), the defenses are correctly sagging and looking to disrupt him when he invariably tries to pass out of a drive to nowhere. If Miller wants to be seen as this master distributor he, first, needs to score and that will set up his passes. I'm flipping on this one; I'm back to prefering NY at the #2 because at least he understands the point is to put the ball in the hole.

Posted by: jweber1 | March 12, 2010 7:42 AM | Report abuse

"because his stats show years back when he was in memphis averaging 18.3 ppg he averaged 2.6 turnovers"

I think the TO issue is overblown. Miller is handling the ball a lot and making lots of passes to encourage ball movement (something the Wiz have lacked in the recent past). Plus he's really a point forward, not a SG.

I think you're right, he'll be leaving next year. If he finally gets on a good veteran team, he'll probably struggle like Jamison, Butler, Haywood... oh wait, they're doing pretty well, aren't they?

Posted by: Samson151 | March 12, 2010 7:46 AM | Report abuse

OH YEAH AND BY THE WAY MIKE,U DONT GET OUT ON A BREAK AWAY AND TRY A LAYUP WITH THE LEAGUE'S 3RD LEADING SHOT BLOCKER AND NOT EXPECT HIM TO THROW IT INTO THE CHEAP SEATS MIKE.U ARE 6'9" THROW IT DOWN AS HARD AS YOU CAN MAKE THE FREE THROW AND THATS THAT!i.e.,not aggressive enough.GO WHIZZ!!!!

Posted by: BRUBOI | March 12, 2010 7:50 AM | Report abuse

have to say I'm proud of the way the team is playing...especially Andre Blatche's maturity... Keep it up! We'll have some more pieces next year and we'll see what happens then.

Posted by: cedric_lockhart | March 12, 2010 7:53 AM | Report abuse

the only difference for JM in this game (offensively) was Foye actually looking for him. He cuts to the rim several times every game and the lob never comes. He also runs the floor (at times) and is rarely the "rewarded" big man style. So he's left wandering around on offense looking as glaringly clueless as he obviously is.

He still got abused defensively at times (some bs fouls though) but hopefully the light has gone off in Flip/Foye that he can abuse others if we just look to him a bit more.

And dont forget that 15ft J to go along with the 8 dunks!

Posted by: divi3 | March 12, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

At this point Miller's leaving will be mutually agreeable, though I bet having Arenas back next season would lift his play

Posted by: divi3 | March 12, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Flip's postgame comments he basically mentioned ABs turnovers as the reason for the loss, didnt say anything positive about the rest of Blatche's game. Probably is a sign the org expects AB to be The Man and Flip will ride him appropriately. Not saying Saunder's comments were bad, just that a very high standard is now being set for AB...which is a good thing.

On the subject of JM...."All he needs is experience"

Posted by: divi3 | March 12, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Would any of you keep Miller if he doesn't handle the ball and served as only a fifth option catch in shoot instead of the second option. He would flourish if he was playing off of three other guys who could dribble penetrate, drive, and dishout.

Posted by: jefferu | March 12, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Miller would seem to be kind of irrelevant to the team, if he is willing to take small money then he's worth keeping but if not- who cares if he leaves?

Big priority should be extending Mcgee now just like EG did with Blatche after the hooker incident. That turned out to be a brilliant move and to get a few more years of JM on the cheap would be a coup.

Posted by: divi3 | March 12, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Starting Lineup

It's not spectacular, but it is playoff caliber and if someone like Joe Johnson was signed...

Livingston
Arenas
Howard (Sign him for approximately 2 years 14 million, 7.5 million third year option)
AB
JM

Bench
FA point guard (perhaps Foye), Boykins, Thornton, Singleton, Rookie draft picks, Ideally a Dejuan Blair like bruiser (perhaps Ben Wallace), Backup center like Amir Johnson

Posted by: audacitea | March 12, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

and Nick Young off the bench too

Posted by: audacitea | March 12, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Miller would probably be a very effective third or fourth option on a team with scorers like, for instance, oh, Arenas, Jamison and Butler.

Obviously what the Wizards had in mind when they traded for him and Foye; the problem, they were able to start that lineup maybe three times this year. Coupled with Arenas' rusty return from a long injury absence and quick, troubled deliverance unto legal limbo and eventual suspension, the team envisioned by EG was never more than a mirage, with no chance to prove their competitiveness.

On a team with some scoring options Miller would be a good fit, dropping three point daggers and dishing but he is not a primary or secondary scoring threat and his effectiveness diminishes when he is asked to deliver in that role. The Wizards are no longer constructed to optimize Miller's talents and probably won't be for awhile unless they make some impressive off-season acquisitions and drafts.

Posted by: midlevex_ | March 12, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Audacitea: That might work pretty well, if Livingston continues to make progress on his comeback (and Gil doesn't go to prison). Livingston is a great passer who can see over defenses at 6'7". He doesn't really have an outside shot (reminds me of Rod Strickland in that regard), but with Howard, Blatche and Arenas, he won't need to take many shots outside of the paint anyway.

Foye has been kind of disappointing to me. I know he's playing an unfamiliar role, but he's just not that consistent of a shooter and he really has trouble getting to the rim. Even after Gil's injury, he is way more explosive than Foye, which is a bad sign.

Posted by: pjkiger1 | March 12, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

There is no reason to sign MM in washington.he is not a real treat from behind the arch. his release is so slow and allow for regrouping of the defense, it also expose to fastbreak.a real 3 point shooter should have an instant try.
the only reason to keep him is if he sign for cheap,less than MLE. since he desderve at least a MLE washington should not gamble on that, i would consider to sign JH for MLE one year contract and reevaluate his knee,he will probably start to play december,2010.he is a defensive minded SG who could play more minute as a SF.

Posted by: gtefferra | March 12, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

I would definitely take Rod Strickland in his prime for this team.

Posted by: audacitea | March 12, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

I also was turned off by Flip's postgame comments regarding Blatche's turnovers causing the Wizards to lose the game. Blatche put up 30 points and 10 rebounds against a very athletic Atlanta Hawk basketball team. Andray is now the #1 scoring option. That is new for him and he is trying too hard to live up to the expectations. Why not praise Blatche on the postgame TV interview, and pull him aside later in the locker room and critique his turnovers? That's called coaching.

By the way, the Wizards didn't "give" the game away. The Hawks (specifically Jamal Crawford) took the game. I'm impressed that the Wiz represented as well as they did, going against the most athletic team in the Eastern Conference. The turnovers were costly, but we controlled the boards.

All in all, a very enjoyable game to watch.

Posted by: musicmanjr | March 12, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

If Miller walks, EG will be looking for a compliment to GA - a good defender, good 3 pt shooter, and good passer. Seems weird to let miller go just to sign someone else just like him.

Posted by: cballer | March 12, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Wiz should have gotten Crawford, he is Miller and Foye rolled into one. In fact last night he scored more than the two combined.

Posted by: sagaliba | March 12, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Not to burst anyone's (everyone's?) bubble, but why exactly would Joe Johnson be signing here?

Atlanta is a .600 team still on the rise. They don't have anyone else waiting in the wings to replace him. And theoretically they can offer him more money than other teams.

Posted by: ts35 | March 12, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

I also was turned off by Flip's postgame comments regarding Blatche's turnovers causing the Wizards to lose the game. Blatche put up 30 points and 10 rebounds against a very athletic Atlanta Hawk basketball team. Andray is now the #1 scoring option. That is new for him and he is trying too hard to live up to the expectations. Why not praise Blatche on the postgame TV interview, and pull him aside later in the locker room and critique his turnovers? That's called coaching.

By the way, the Wizards didn't "give" the game away. The Hawks (specifically Jamal Crawford) took the game. I'm impressed that the Wiz represented as well as they did, going against the most athletic team in the Eastern Conference. The turnovers were costly, but we controlled the boards.

All in all, a very enjoyable game to watch.

Posted by: musicmanjr | March 12, 2010 10:45 AM

My views exactly. I don't understand Flip's always emphasizing and pointing out the negatives.

And I was even more perplexed how giving the game away was a valid point for Mr. Lee.

I see Flip coaching from the negatives and not from the positives too much.

When Crawford made a layup at the end of the 3rd Q against Livingston, Livingston was benched and did not return.

Livingston played well, but I would not be surprised if the benching stands out in his mind more than any of the good things he did.

Even though Foye played okay, I would much rather have seen Livingston playing that 4th Q'.

LarryInClintonMD.


Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | March 12, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: audacitea | March 12, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

why do people keep including howard in next year's fantasy projected lineup? even if he's re-signed, he will not be playng basketball for anyone til after next years all star break at the earliest.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | March 12, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

If Miller walks, EG will be looking for a compliment to GA - a good defender, good 3 pt shooter, and good passer. Seems weird to let miller go just to sign someone else just like him.

Posted by: cballer | March 12, 2010 10:47 AM

The only thing weird is that Miller isn't doing those things well.

If Miller was competent at doing those things that we all think he should be doing, then yeah it would be weird to not resign him, but since he isn't doing those things it won't be weird at all.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | March 12, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Beep Beep!

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | March 12, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

All of the Miller bashing is just silly. He's a role player whose role--in the wake of the team's dismantling--no longer exists. He's a guy who's good at complementing primary players with his shooting and all-around game but, as he's proven in multiple stops over his career, he's not a primary scorer or playmaker himself.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 12, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

All of the Miller bashing is just silly. He's a role player whose role--in the wake of the team's dismantling--no longer exists. He's a guy who's good at complementing primary players with his shooting and all-around game but, as he's proven in multiple stops over his career, he's not a primary scorer or playmaker himself.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 12, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

he's a starter and he's expected to pull his weight. I don't remember anyone coming out and saying MM is only coming here to be a complimentary player. If you start in the NBA you gotta bring it. And this whimper to stop the miller bashing, no one is bashing him. If you can't bring yourself to say that he hasn't played well for us/hasn't panned out for us, that's fine. you also question whether or not JM and AB are getting any better, so i'm not trippin off how u evaluate players. But if there's a player on the wizards, who does less in the same amt of time let him be named and we can bash him. Don't worry AT is almost on the radar, here's a guy who didn't start and can't handle the starter's workload, probably better off the bench.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | March 12, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

I really wish we hadn't suffered through tapscott refusing to use javale and eddie refusing to play ab, both great coaching decisions, how are those two legends doing?

Posted by: bford1kb | March 12, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Glad to see Flipper give more minutes to Nick Young. He needs to stick with him and give less minutes to Mike Miller since he's giving up his #. I doubt if he plans to be here next year. Nick has JamalCrawford potential.

Posted by: Stevie-J | March 12, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

"I don't remember anyone coming out and saying MM is only coming here to be a complimentary player."

It shouldn't be necessary to state the boldly obvious. What did you think he was coming here for? To be their leading scorer and number one option? He's never been a primary offensive threat on any team in his career, so acting shocked and dismayed at his ineffectiveness in just such a role on a slapped together team of 2nd and 3rd rank role players simply demonstrates an abundant lack of perspective.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 12, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

"But if there's a player on the wizards, who does less in the same amt of time let him be named and we can bash him. "
Posted by: lilhollywood10

Really? 11pts, 5rbs, 7asts and a steal sounds like he's doing something out there. You could easily argue NY did less. He scored 17 but failed to get a rebound and only got one assist. Or obviously pick on Foye.

But the truth of it is that they are young and just not as talented as the better teams, and they will always struggle when they turn the ball over that much. I don't agree with Flip calling AB out like that, but I can understand his frustration with it. I don't think you can criticize Blatche too much for turnovers coming out of a double-team, since it certainly hadn't happened to him much in his career before the trade. So maybe you praise his overall play and mention that he needs to cut down on the silly turnovers. I'm sure AB would agree with that.

But we knew when they finally traded 2/3rds of the "Big 3" that it was going to be rough. They surprised us and whetted our appetites with their inspired play right after the trades, but now they are right about where we thought they were going to be. If Howard had stayed healthy, it might be different, but he didn't, so we might as well all just sit back and enjoy the positives that come out of it -- like the young'uns finally getting to play -- without harping too much on the negatives.

Posted by: ts35 | March 12, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

so acting shocked and dismayed at his ineffectiveness in just such a role on a slapped together team of 2nd and 3rd rank role players simply demonstrates an abundant lack of perspective.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 12, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse
no one said they were shocked, but dismayed, sure. he isn't playing well, and since he was traded here for our no 5 pick and 4 other players (with foye) i expect him to be better than he's been. i don't see how anyone's bashing mm. no one is talikn bout his haircut,personal life, or his intelligence. All we're talikin bout is his performance during games, he's played avg, and at times below avg baketball this year.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | March 12, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

@ts35
I ain't saying MM is losing us games or anything. I completely understand the rebuilding process and I'm not trippin off the Ws and Ls. That's why i focus on game performance. Who do we want back next year? who's giving us something to bnuild on for next year? Some say the MM is only capable of complimenting star players on a contending team. If that's the case then we can't use him cuz we ain't contending right now and we dont have stars for him to compliment. Right now is like 2:55 at school and MM is sittin by the window, waitin to get the F outta there.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | March 12, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

All of the Miller bashing is just silly. He's a role player whose role--in the wake of the team's dismantling--no longer exists. He's a guy who's good at complementing primary players with his shooting and all-around game but, as he's proven in multiple stops over his career, he's not a primary scorer or playmaker himself.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 12, 2010 11:34 AM

Agree 100%

Posted by: zxhoya | March 12, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

All of the Miller bashing is just silly. He's a role player whose role--in the wake of the team's dismantling--no longer exists. He's a guy who's good at complementing primary players with his shooting and all-around game but, as he's proven in multiple stops over his career, he's not a primary scorer or playmaker himself.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 12, 2010 11:34 AM

Disagree 100%!

So let me get this straight... It is silly to expect a 10 year NBA veteran to provide some measure of stability and leadership on a team of young and unproven players... It is silly to expect that this same NBA veteran would contribute little more than turnovers and timid offense... It is silly to expect the highest paid active player on your roster to earn his pay... should I go on?

By your logic, one might conclude that little should be expected of Mike Miller since his role has changed from what may have been originally intended for him. I, for one, find that logic to be extremely flawed.

Posted by: bazookajoe1 | March 12, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse

KABOOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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