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Wizards finally come through in fourth quarter

After the Wizards beat the New Jersey Nets on Sunday - winning for the second time in the past three games - Coach Flip Saunders kept the victory in perspective.

"A lot in this league is who you play," Saunders said after his team won 109-99 and handed the Nets their league-leading 66th loss this season.

But considering that the Nets have won seven games since the all-star break and the Wizards just got their sixth, Washington isn't really in a position to overlook any opponent or any victory at this point.

The Wizards should feel somewhat encouraged after winning for the second time in three games, with the roster growing more depleted with each game. Quinton Ross (lower back bruise) joined Al Thornton (strained right hip flexor) on the list of active inactives, as the Wizards had just 10 healthy players available. And, Earl Boykins and newcomer Cedric Jackson played a combined 10 minutes, meaning that only eight guys actually played meaningful minutes against the Nets.

So, when the Nets chopped an 18-point deficit down to four points in the final quarter, it seemed like the Wizards were once again going to succumb to a fourth-quarter meltdown. Instead, the Wizards were making the smart plays and getting stops in with the game on the line.

Saunders said that he spoke with Shaun Livingston before the game about being a calming influence and guiding the team to the finish. Livingston didn't have any field goals after the Nets got within 90-85 with 6:10 remaining, but he did settle his team down by getting to the foul line on consecutive possessions - making all four free throws - and finding JaVale McGee for a running jump hook that pushed the lead back up to 96-86.

"We had the lead towards the end of the game so for us it was about getting stops and putting up quality shots," Livingston said, mentioning his conversation with Saunders as a key to the game. "We talked about running the show, being a little bit more vocal. He's been known to be tough on point guards. I am feeling more comfortable, more confident, just getting that opportunity to play, which I'm thankful for and just make the most of it.

Livingston finished with 16 points and eight assists. It was the third consecutive game that Livingston had double digits in scoring, which is pretty impressive considering that he was matched up against New Orleans' Chris Paul, Chicago's Derrick Rose and New Jersey's Devin Harris.

"I think he's getting healthier and he's getting his legs under him more and playing more and getting stronger," Saunders said.

McGee also came through in the final period, as he had six points in the fourth quarter, including a nice driving dunk - capped by his salute - that gave the Wizards an eight-point lead in the final two minutes. McGee finished with 14 points and six rebounds in just 16 minutes. McGee is certainly making the most of his time off the bench in recent games, scoring 51 points in his last 63 minutes played.

Cartier Martin also came through with eight of his 16 points in the final period, including a huge three-pointer that gave the Wizards a seven-point lead. "Cartier was huge and played extremely well for us, Shaun was good, and JaVale played well. He got into some foul trouble which limited his minutes but you're looking at a more balanced attack," Saunders said. "There were a lot of people that really contributed."

And, the undermanned Wizards will need contributions from all over if they want to win more games the rest of the way.

By Michael Lee  |  April 5, 2010; 12:33 AM ET
 
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Next: A Wizards win and a near triple-double

Comments

Darnell1:

Lots of questions dude.

We need seven bigs and eight others.

IN the house:

#5 - McGEE
#4 - BLATCHE
#3 - HOWARD (team option), THORNTON, ROSS (player option)
#2 - ARENAS, FOYE (80% offer), YOUNG
#1 - None

Eight players - keep seven.

I say you don't exercise HOWARD's option at any price. Too extensive a medical history for the money.

Offer FOYE. No choice with ROSS.

Offer SINGLETON and LIVINGSTON

DRAFT:

COUSINS or FAVORS (4 million) with our first
DaSEAN BUTLER or NEMANJA BJELICA (2.5 million) with CAVS first
JERMAINE JORDAN (1 million) with our second

ADD FA's with estimated payroll:

RANDOLPH MORRIS (1.5 million)
CARLOS BOOZER (13 million)
AL HARRINGTON (11 million)
DEREK FISHER (6 million)

Posted by: glawrence007 | April 5, 2010 4:42 AM | Report abuse

I'm nitpicking here but here's Flips quote:

"Cartier was huge and played extremely well for us, Shaun was good, and JaVale played well. He got into some foul trouble which limited his minutes but you're looking at a more balanced attack," Saunders said. "There were a lot of people that really contributed."

Uhhh, AB came within a rebound of a triple double. Can he get some love, Saunders? Yes he had 5 turnovers and shot poorly but he came through in other areas.

Posted by: original_mark | April 5, 2010 8:03 AM | Report abuse

I agree Mark, but AB didn't deserve any love yesterday following his behavior after not getting a triple-double.

First was AB going ballistic when Martin grabbed an air-ball rebound that came directly to him.

Second was his ridiculous attempt with 2 seconds left to dribble the length of the court to try shoot, miss and get his own rebound just to obtain a triple-double.

WHAT THE HELL!!!!!

I understand his desire for the rare achievement, but not like that. His post game disgust towards Cartier Martin was also disturbing to me.

Andre Blathce is a beast in the making in
my opinion but there is a level of immaturity that is very disconcerting to me and I know he is young but he's a veteran now and it shows a "me 1st, team 2nd" attitude.

Again, I really like Andre, but there is a huge question mark with this kid.

Posted by: zxhoya | April 5, 2010 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Agreed. I was really disappointed how his focus toward the end was so blatantly directed toward his own stats. Throwing himself around, pulling his jersey in frustration of not getting those stats. Focus on the win and closing the game.

Posted by: crs-1 | April 5, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Exactly!

Posted by: zxhoya | April 5, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

ADD FA's with estimated payroll:

RANDOLPH MORRIS (1.5 million)
CARLOS BOOZER (13 million)
AL HARRINGTON (11 million)
DEREK FISHER (6 million)

Posted by: glawrence007 | April 5, 2010 4:42 AM |
-------------------------------------------
Good analysis on keepers on present roster and the draft. However, these free agents don't cut it. Boozer is a "starter" and Harrington thinks he's also one at the same position, PF, at which the Wiz are most fortified with Blatche. I'd also rather offer the 6MM or so and try to land Houston's restricted PG Kyle Lowry rather than a rapidly going over-the-hill Derek Fisher.

Posted by: phil27 | April 5, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

My bad, then. I left at the 3 or 4 minute mark and missed AB's misbehavior.

Posted by: original_mark | April 5, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Although I was yelling 'TRIPLE DOUBLE' to him in the early 3rd quarter. It appeared to me that he was on track for it early on because he passed the ball a lot in the first quarter.

I'm guessing all AB needs is some maturity and maybe a couple of vets to keep him in check. A PJ Brown type (NOT PJ BROWN !!) who can teach the young guy some professionalism would help a lot.

Posted by: original_mark | April 5, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT

"I thought I did. I thought I did. My teammate robbed me, man. My own teammate robbed me. I was shocked and appalled."

-- Wizards forward Andray Blatche after falling one rebound short of his first career triple-double

Between that and the ridiculous technical foul he got for arguing with the official while standing at the line waiting to shoot FTs, it remains clear that for all his stat-filling talent that he still doesn't get it.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 5, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

I think Blatche could be a star if he continues to mature. He has a ways to go but he has matured quite a bit in the last year. How he handles success is gonna tell if he's gonna get to that level of players that make their teammates better.
So far he has surprised me.

Posted by: VBFan | April 5, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

He could possibly make an All-Star appearance or two, but I don't ever see him being a guy who can carry a good team as the #1 option. Which is not a bad thing, per se, because good teams need talented players at options 2,3,4, and 5. But in order for him to contribute the way he would need to on a good team, he'd need to understand and accept his role. His recurring outbursts of immaturity give plenty of reason to doubt his ability to do so.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 5, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

blatch is a prima-donna knuckle-head in the making. got great skills, some of the passes out of the double team were great, star quality passes. like in the "matrix" when the chick told neo to read the sign over the door....she said to him that he has the gift. i would like to see blatch grow up, but it may be too late for him to see the light. after this summer, it will be known about blatch whether he grows up and not big-headed. a summer of atta-boys won't do him any good. a summer of look at the possibilities, might help...who knows these days.

Posted by: joerutgens72 | April 5, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Triple Double -- In the post-game interview, AB said he was "disappointed" he missed it but the most important thing was getting the win and the Wiz were playing to win as many games as possible. Said everyone played hard, and it was a good team win. When asked about CM "stealing" his triple double, he was laughing; I thought it was pretty obvious that he was clowning around with his comments. Getting tee up. AB rarely get calls from the referees. He's fouled twice as many times as fouls are called. Should he have shut up? Yep, but the officiating this year is at an all-time low. Maturity? Came into play later when hammered by Humphries (no call) and did nothing. Depends on how you look at the last seconds of the game. To a bunch of us watching, it didn't appear as though he was really trying to take/make/miss the last shot.

Posted by: Fief1 | April 5, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Great game nick young it was because of you that the team won, coach flop don't have to mention your name, only at the end when the assistance coach yell, and blame you instead of the team, remember this nick young; people that are strong stand along. And you will be an ALL STAR IN THIS LEAGUE.

Posted by: maejude | April 5, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

It is an odd anomaly that the Wiz again win when NY gets over 30 min...can't remember the numbers but it is something ridiculous.

Posted by: The_Shadow_Knows | April 5, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

i think 7-2 maybe 7-3 when he plays over 30 mins.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | April 5, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

I thought Nick was gonna get pulled after he missed his first few shots.
Cartier impressed. Could be a nice find.
The Nets Williams kinda abused Livingston a couple of times. But I like Livingstons game so far. Plays smart. Hope he stays healthy.
Javale still going for the pump but played better on the O side.
But it was the NETS!

Posted by: VBFan | April 5, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Anyone link a vid to AB talking about the triple dub? I thought he was clowning, and he he definitely said getting the win was what matters.

As to the tech. GOOD WORK DRAY. Looks like he learned from the master, AJ, about giving it to the refs. No, I dont want AB getting t'd up all the time, but he MUST establish that he deserves call befitting his production. I dont mind that tech.

Some ABs passes were SUPERB last night, he's got skillz out the wazoo. Any thoughts of trading him need to be banished, there's no question we roll with him next year and see what develops.

@samson- I agree Lopez looks like a keeper and I can see where you say trade him straight up for AB if you could (not that NJ makes that move). However I cant help but point out AB does some of his best work (both ends of the floor) when matches directly against Lopez.

Blatche is player! Wiz fans should be thrilled.

Posted by: divi3 | April 5, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

anybody notice Livingston is looking more and more explosive? Confidence in the knee grows and grows I suppose, but he starting to really accelerate at the rim. Let's hope he stays healthy

Posted by: divi3 | April 5, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

TO JU72 WHAT IS A KNUCLE HEAD, BECAUSE YOU GUYS ALWAYS CALL NICK, AND ANDRE THAT,EXPLAIN PLEASE.

Posted by: maejude | April 5, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

"Anyone link a vid to AB talking about the triple dub? I thought he was clowning, and he he definitely said getting the win was what matters."

Regardless of what he may have said after the fact, it was pretty clear by his body language on court (when the foul was called and when Martin took the rebound from him) that he was extremely upset (although he appeared to be trying to play if off).

"Looks like he learned from the master, AJ, about giving it to the refs. No, I dont want AB getting t'd up all the time, but he MUST establish that he deserves call befitting his production."

Except there's no automatic correlation between "production" and getting calls. And if he thinks there is, then that's just another indication of his not getting it.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 5, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Maejude,

A knucklehead is generally someone who's goofy, immature, does things for the wrong reasons, that kind of thing.

For example, speaking of triple doubles, a few years ago when a player (Gerald Wallace maybe?) took and deliberately missed a shot at the opposing team's basket with like 3 seconds left in the game so he could get the rebound and get a triple double....that's a knuckleheaded kind of thing to do. Not saying AB or NY would do that kind of thing (didn't see that game last night, so I can't say what AB did or didn't do), but that's the general idea. Other good examples.....Wide receivers who celebrate first downs in general, but especially when they teams are down by 20 pts....that kind of stuff.

Knuckleheads (at least when I use it) generally aren't malicious with their behavior, just not focused on the right things. Gilbert's finger gun intro joke after the allegations came out....knuckleheaded move.

Does that explain it?

Posted by: ts35 | April 5, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

"For example, speaking of triple doubles, a few years ago when a player (Gerald Wallace maybe?)took and deliberately missed a shot at the opposing team's basket with like 3 seconds left in the game so he could get the rebound and get a triple double....that's a knuckleheaded kind of thing to do."

Gerald Wallace? Bite your tongue. That was Ricky Davis.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 5, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Sorry Gerald Wallace, my bad. It was Ricky Davis.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MezCclCSjNw

Posted by: ts35 | April 5, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
"I thought I did. I thought I did. My teammate robbed me, man. My own teammate robbed me. I was shocked and appalled."

-- Wizards forward Andray Blatche after falling one rebound short of his first career triple-double

Between that and the ridiculous technical foul he got for arguing with the official while standing at the line waiting to shoot FTs, it remains clear that for all his stat-filling talent that he still doesn't get it.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 5, 2010 9:49 AM

It was foolish of him to make the statement quoted and not make it absolutely clear for the obtuse among us that he was being sarcastic. That being said, even if he doesn't get it, it doesn't mean he never will. The Wizards have gotten lucky with Andray and I hope they aren't so short-sighted that they ship him off before letting him grow into his new role.

Posted by: Firuz1 | April 5, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Kal, didn't seem right when I typed it.

Posted by: ts35 | April 5, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

"It was foolish of him to make the statement quoted and not make it absolutely clear for the obtuse among us that he was being sarcastic."

No, it was foolish of him to make that statement at all, because only the most obtuse among us would willfully discount the very real and obvious upset and dismay he displayed on court in the moment he failed to achieve the triple double and accept his obvious attempt as sarcasm at face value rather than what it clearly was: an attempt to play off his over-the-top reaction on court.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 5, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

"The Wizards have gotten lucky with Andray and I hope they aren't so short-sighted that they ship him off before letting him grow into his new role."

What role is that? Best player on a dogawful team? Let's hope he doesn't get a chance to grow into that role.

But that plays right into the reason for concern over his attitude going forward. He didn't really start to click until all of the people in the pecking order ahead of him were cleared away and he became the focal point of pretty much everything the team does. Well, odds are pretty good that that won't be the case next season, either because Arenas will be back or because they'll draft a significant player or they'll sign a FA or all of the above. If/when that happens, then it'll be incumbent on Blatche to adjust to playing a team-oriented role, something he hasn't displayed much affinity for up to this point.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 5, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

I'm a little split on the AB trpl-dbl thang.

On one hand, I'm sort of willing to forgive the youthful exhuberance of it in the midst of what has been a very long and crappy season. Though the mad scramble up the court to get one more shot up is kinda of inexcusable.

On the other, it does still speak to his immaturity. Hopefully he'll watch it today and have the sense to be embarrassed by it. If not, hopefully EG and Flip, or better yet Sam Cassell will get in his ear and say that 'that's not how we act in the pros'.

I did like what Phil Chenier said at the time and hopefully someone will play it for AB and it will stick. Phil essentially said that if AB was going to act like the leader he sort of claims to be and clearly wants to be, in that moment, he would have gone to Cartier and patted him on the head or backside and said, "Don't worry about it. Nice game."

Watching the video of Cartier's interview, he called AB his 'old head'. How scary is that? That AB is viewed as one of the wise old vets on this team?

Posted by: ts35 | April 5, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

No, it was foolish of him to make that statement at all, because only the most obtuse among us would willfully discount the very real and obvious upset and dismay he displayed on court in the moment he failed to achieve the triple double and accept his obvious attempt as sarcasm at face value rather than what it clearly was: an attempt to play off his over-the-top reaction on court.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 5, 2010 12:58 PM

There's a wide gulf between "upset" and "shocked/appalled". Blatche's sarcastic comments imply that Martin intentionally prevented him from getting the triple double. I don't believe he was "appalled" by any stretch that his teammate fulfilled his primary obligation to secure the ball.

Posted by: Firuz1 | April 5, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT

"I thought I did. I thought I did. My teammate robbed me, man. My own teammate robbed me. I was shocked and appalled."

-- Wizards forward Andray Blatche after falling one rebound short of his first career triple-double

Between that and the ridiculous technical foul he got for arguing with the official while standing at the line waiting to shoot FTs, it remains clear that for all his stat-filling talent that he still doesn't get it.

Posted by: kalo_rama

--------

Sad, but inarguably true.

Posted by: fansincebullets | April 5, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Looking at the video of Dray's comments after the game (via the Truth About It link), I think he was honestly a little miffed at Cartier, but he was also joking about it. And at least he had the good sense to end his comments with the conventional 'the most important thing is that we got the win.'

All of which really shouldn't take away from the part where the kid actually played well enough to come that close to getting a triple-double. With this skill set, he likely have more chances (we play the Nets how many times a year?)

Posted by: ts35 | April 5, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

"AB didn't deserve any love yesterday following his behavior after not getting a triple-double.

First was AB going ballistic when Martin grabbed an air-ball rebound that came directly to him.

Second was his ridiculous attempt with 2 seconds left to dribble the length of the court to try shoot, miss and get his own rebound just to obtain a triple-double.

WHAT THE HELL!!!!!

I understand his desire for the rare achievement, but not like that. His post game disgust towards Cartier Martin was also disturbing to me.

Andre Blathce is a beast in the making in
my opinion but there is a level of immaturity that is very disconcerting to me and I know he is young but he's a veteran now and it shows a "me 1st, team 2nd" attitude.

Again, I really like Andre, but there is a huge question mark with this kid."

Posted by: zxhoya

------

Agreed. The combination of egotism, selfishness, and immaturity is almost frightening.

Posted by: fansincebullets | April 5, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Agreed. The combination of egotism, selfishness, and immaturity is almost frightening.

Posted by: fansincebullets

But he still has a long way to go before reaching the staggering levels of Butler, Jamison and Arenas.

Posted by: harrybalz | April 5, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

y'all need to get over the righteous indignation. AB has been in the spotlight for about 5mins now, his childish reactions last night were secondary to the fact that he made some amazing passes most PF in the league do not make. That was the knock on his game 1 week ago, and he's showing improvement in a critical area.

That's great to see if you are a wizards fan, sky is the limit for this kid and he's under contract CHEAP for 2 more seasons. Fantastic!

Posted by: divi3 | April 5, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Rather, than focus on the minutae and speculation that runs rampant in this column, the most relevant point is the maturation of Blatche as a basketball player. 13 Assists from the power forward postition is almost unheard of. Plus the kid is playing hard and seems committed to winning. 23 year olds, who are highlighted at this level, will invariably say politically incorrect or even dumb stuff periodically.

As a fan, you have to like what Blatche, McGee and even Nick Young are doing after the horrific "development program"they have been subjected to over the last two years. In a properly run organization, these kids would have been playing significant minutes last year, in a 19-63 season where Butler and Jamison were playing 40 minutes a night to pad their stats.

I am excited about the possibility of these kids, a decent draft pick, a quality FA and the additon of a focused Gilbert Arenas for next year. Continued growth in the offseason by the "Young Three" will be critical to this teams development. We every easily could do a Milwaukee type improvement to the middle of the pack in the East.

Posted by: NewManagement | April 5, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

13 Assists from the power forward postition is almost unheard of.
Posted by: NewManagement

Except that David Lee did close to the same thing Friday night (10 asts, but his last assist was in dispute). So maybe not so unheard of.

Which is not at all to say that it wasn't a great game by AB. He has a wide variety of skills that he is still learning to properly harness. The commotion over his display at the end of Sunday's game is a bit overblown, but at the same time, for a 5-year pro, no matter how much time he has or has not been getting, you'd hope he would keep it in better perspective in the moment.

Posted by: ts35 | April 5, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

My concern for Blathce is that his focus is to prove that "he" is a "great" player, not that his team can be great.

Ricky Davis showed a lot of potential but it just wasn't that important to play the right way.

I'm holding out hope for AB.

Posted by: zxhoya | April 5, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

My concern for Blathce is that his focus is to prove that "he" is a "great" player, not that his team can be great.

Ricky Davis showed a lot of potential but it just wasn't that important to play the right way.

I'm holding out hope for AB.

Posted by: zxhoya | April 5, 2010 4:17 PM

Relax. Blatche is the real deal.

Posted by: gimmedat | April 5, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Relax. Blatche is the real deal.

Posted by: gimmedat | April 5, 2010 5:00 PM

I'm not concerned about his game.

Posted by: zxhoya | April 5, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

I'm not concerned about his game.

Posted by: zxhoya | April 5, 2010 5:18 PM

And I'm not worried about his immaturity. He'll figure it out.

Posted by: gimmedat | April 5, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Some people were upset about Blatche at the end of the game last night but I dont think thats really fair. Im not into guys stat padding and going for indivdual stuff like that either but I understand it because Blatche is a young guy who is more specifically a big man and how many big men get triple doubles? Its nearly impossible to get 10 blocks in an NBA game and big men can go there whole career without getting 10 assist so when its there, I understand. Its not like he was 3 boards shy and tried to go crazy at the end. It was just 1 board and it was still relatively in the context of the game.

Lebron doesnt trip because he can come close every night but even the best big man may never ever get one. The good thing for Dray is that he's a skilled enough passer to actually do it again and I wouldnt be shocked if he got one against GS in the very next game. The funny thing is that Martin after the game apologized and said that he has to take care of his "old head". Dray an old head? That tells you how inexperinced our roster is right now, lol

Posted by: dlts2041 | April 5, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

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