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Saunders: Don't be fooled by Houston's 1-5 record

By Michael Lee
Morning brew

The Wizards have had three days since their last game, enough time for Flip Saunders to question the effort of his players in practice and command a greater sense of urgency in game preparation. Saunders added another practice on Monday, and now the extra time will be put to the test against the Houston Rockets.

The Rockets opened the season with five losses before defeating Minnesota, 120-94, on Sunday. Saunders said the Wizards shouldn't be deceived by their slow start. Houston is dealing with Yao Ming's 24-minute limitations and injuries to point guards Aaron Brooks (sprained left ankle) and Kyle Lowry (back spasms). But they still have some talent in Luis Scola, who is averaging 22 points and 12 rebounds, and Kevin Martin. The Rockets are second behind the Los Angeles Lakers in scoring at 112 points per game, but they also give up 112.7 points, which is second-worst in the league.

"They are very good. They are team that the record is not an indication of how well they've played," Saunders said. "They've played some very good teams. They have size. They have scoring ability. They've been a good defensive team over the last four or five years. With Yao [Ming], he adds a whole different dimension to that team -- low block scorer that can take away a lot of things because he's so big."

With Yao going against Yi Jianlian for the first time in more than a year, the game is expected to have a big audience in China (the Wizards game against Orlando on Nov. 27 will actually be broadcast on CCTV in China, while this game is not). When asked if having so many fans checking out the game would affect him, Al Thornton said, "Not really. It's exciting to have that many people watching the game, but I'm still going to approach the game the same way."

Thornton was reminded that there could be some good marketing opportunities in China. "That's not on my mind right now. We need a [win], period."

FROM THE POST
Verizon Center fans love to shout "Yiiiii" every time Yi Jianlian touches the ball, but Yi has been struggling to reward their enthusiasm.

Meanwhile, all of the team's big men met to discuss improving their performance.

Columnist Thomas Boswell says the Wizards need to put forth a full effort to be decent this season.

On the DC Sports Bog, Dan Steinberg reports on owner Ted Leonsis doing the Dougie and repeating that Gilbert Arenas is "not going anywhere." Dan also blogged about a preview of a Sports Illustrated story on Arenas. Dan's headline? "Gilbert Arenas discusses his shoe pooping incident."

AROUND THE WEB
Bullets Forever's Mike Prada has three lingering questions about the canceled practice.

By Michael Lee  | November 10, 2010; 8:04 AM ET
Categories:  Morning brew  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Day after he stormed out of practice, Flip Saunders says, 'message delivered, message received'
Next: Trevor Booker hoping to play against cousin Jordan Hill of Houston

Comments

Crawl.
Walk.
Run.

Patience, Wizards faithful.

In Grunfeld We Trust!!

Posted by: melodious_thunk | November 10, 2010 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Melodious:

You left out a lot of falling down.

Posted by: mugsybol | November 10, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

This is what happens when a team chooses brooks over ariza. LOL.

Although, this writer thinks like melodious, that they'll pull it together. http://www.lowpostnews.com/rockets/system-analysis-rockets-failure-to-launch11102010/

Ha! I don't.

Posted by: nay99 | November 10, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

We have the worst rebounding team in the NBA and we give up a lot of points. Yet! Flips tight rotation hasn't really changed has it? When something is working like Thornton or Young are on-fire, then Flip plays the role of the Cooler.

Fans should be ready to walk-out on Flip & Ernie if Flip himself doesn't start to get it together, the players will follow.

Posted by: closg | November 10, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

tough matchup tonight on the frontcourt. Scola dominated the FIBA and is definitely in basketball shape and then some. Blatche is getting there. Yao has nice post moves and Brad Miller is too physical for McGee. Kevin Martin is a prolific scorer but we have john wall who is a tough matchup for average back courts

Posted by: jefferu | November 10, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Is that Ted with a mild endorsement of Nick Young in the steinberg piece?

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | November 10, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Where was the leadership, the captains in all of this, Wall and Hinrich, the third question asked?

Very good question. Well, were they not up to the task, because they are not the real leaders of this Team?

They are the leaders in name only, if you ask my opinion.

I have been saying all along that the leader of this Team is Gilbert Arenas. He did not step up about the practice walkout either.

It is like, duh! He won't and isn't going to, unless you annoit him and demand it from him.

Ted Leonsis, I am sure knows that Gilbert is the big elephant in the room. They must tell him that he is the leader of this team and that the only way he can truly get his true legacy and be a first rate NBA player again is to lead this team.

It isn't time now for John Wall to lead this Team. He is truly the annoited son of the King, but the King has to rule now and the King is Gilbert Arenas. Wisdom is the mother of all knowledge and this Team needs some divine intervention and Flip walking out of practice ain't it. But maybe, it might get folks to thinking; lets hope.

That I know for certain.

For Gilbert Arenas not to be named Captain and leader of this team is an acceptance of more of the same, to just fail.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | November 10, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Is that Ted with a mild endorsement of Nick Young in the steinberg piece? Posted by: lilhollywood10

I hope not. That would make him as clueless as the last owner.

Posted by: djnnnou | November 10, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

I'm still trying to work around the idea that this team was bringing in "tougher, more physical" players. Then wind up with Armstrong and Yi getting the bulk of the minutes because they are more NBA ready than the "tougher, more physical" players drafted in the first round, Booker and Seraphin.

In the meantime, The Wiz still have no one that wants to provide interior offense, nor play interior defense.

So, what exactly was the problem with James Singleton?

Ernie played along side Bernard King through college. King was the prototype for jump shooting, high scoring forwards that treated the defensive end of the floor as a rest period. Sound familiar? (Jamison, Blatche, Yi, Pecherov.)

While physical effort guys like McGuire and Singleton that aren't looking to be just scorers are moved along.

Does Grunfeld focus too much on the offensive end of the floor?

I don't want another Michael Ruffin, but I'm starting to feel nostalgic about Etan.

Scary....

Posted by: bozomoeman | November 10, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Larry.

I barely ever agree with you. This is crazy though. Gilbert was a captain LAST year. How did that work out? Did he lead? How does that make the organization look to make him a captain again after that? Was his behavior captain-worthy? Do you turn around and reward that AGAIN? You don't have Arenas represent your team this year. I'm all for Gil as much as the next man....but nah.

That's stupid.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | November 10, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

"It isn't time now for John Wall to lead this Team. He is truly the annoited son of the King, but the King has to rule now and the King is Gilbert Arenas. Wisdom is the mother of all knowledge and this Team needs some divine intervention and Flip walking out of practice ain't it. But maybe, it might get folks to thinking; lets hope." Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | November 10, 2010 10:05 AM


Jesus, Mary, and Joseph what a load of horse crap.

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 10, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

"We have the worst rebounding team in the NBA and we give up a lot of points. Yet! Flips tight rotation hasn't really changed has it? When something is working like Thornton or Young are on-fire, then Flip plays the role of the Cooler."

Posted by: closg | November 10, 2010 10:01 AM

One has nothing to do with the other. Playing Thornton or Young more isn't going to solve the team's rebounding or defensive issues.

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 10, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

"..........have been saying all along that the leader of this Team is Gilbert Arenas. He did not step up about the practice walkout either".............LARRY

I noticed when GA wanted the bench to stand up and applaud the other night, it took him three requests to get the guys up. I dunno'.

Kinda' looks like some follow GILBERT, and some are individually finding their way without him. It's early yet. and this bunch is still establishing it's identity. At least that's what I think.

Posted by: glawrence007 | November 10, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

"I don't want another Michael Ruffin, but I'm starting to feel nostalgic about Etan.
Scary...."

Besides a lot of elbow swings. Etan didn't bring much else to the game and Ruffin...I still remember the Bucks game. Classic!

Posted by: Dave381 | November 10, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

One has nothing to do with the other. Playing Thornton or Young more isn't going to solve the team's rebounding or defensive issues.
Posted by: kalo_rama |

I didn't imply that the two were related, It was more two general comment about Flip and his poor decision-making. Since we are an NBA worst rebounding team, why isn't anyone else NOT being played given an opportunity?

Posted by: closg | November 10, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

All this talk about Flip should play this or that person is almost pointless. Flip's actions without verbally saying so are basically " Ernie, you don't have legitimate NBA talent on the roster"

Too many reasons for too many years that players can't and don't contribute. The years of not darfting and ineffective drafting has held the team down. It's very hard to find a really good big man but Ernie should have been able to find a young active rebouder by now. The excuses are all but used up by now.

Posted by: gmac78 | November 10, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

I do not agree about the statment on M.Ruffin. His production per minute was much better than hilton armstrong, his deflections,screen and on ball defense were good, he might be too old know but i think he was a better team player than all the current forwards in the team.

Posted by: gtefferra | November 10, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

"I didn't imply that the two were related, It was more two general comment about Flip and his poor decision-making. Since we are an NBA worst rebounding team, why isn't anyone else NOT being played given an opportunity?"

Posted by: closg | November 10, 2010 11:45 AM

You're contradicting yourself, because that second sentence quite clearly implies a relationship between the two, one which does not, in fact, exist. To put it plainly: There is no logical through line to suggest that that Young should get more PT because the Wiz are a terrible rebounding team. Again, one has nothing to do with the other.

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 10, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

You're contradicting yourself, because that second sentence quite clearly implies a relationship between the two, one which does not, in fact, exist. To put it plainly: There is no logical through line to suggest that that Young should get more PT because the Wiz are a terrible rebounding team. Again, one has nothing to do with the other.
Posted by: kalo_rama

I clarififed my comments in a subsequent post, I'm sorry if you don't understand.

Posted by: closg | November 10, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Flip, Kirk Hinrich is a great veteran role player but you have to do better with the rotation. I like getting Gilbert in the game at the end of the last game we lost but not at the expense of Thornton who was having the best game of any Wizard that night.

I sure hope Flip is monitoring Gil's minutes bc he is coming off injury.

Regardless if he is the captain or not or even if he is not supposed to be the leader on this team, Gilbert Arenas needs the ball in his hands more and down the stretch if we want to be successful the way the Wizards are currently constructed.

Posted by: JWADE4 | November 10, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

"I clarififed my comments in a subsequent post"

That would be the same post I quoted in my subsequent post, the one in which I pointed out the inherent contradiction in your so-called "clarification."

"I'm sorry if you don't understand."

Oh I understand. You talked out of your butt and now find yourself without anything to wipe with.

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 10, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Oh I understand. You talked out of your butt and now find yourself without anything to wipe with.
Posted by: kalo_rama

You're like the nerd-kid in school who has his hand raised to tattle on someone. Your opinion of what I wrote is worthless, get a life and move along.

Posted by: closg | November 10, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Gilbert? Leading? Did somebody mention that? Is somebody kidding? "Look, when I pull my piece, you all pull your piece...and mine might be loaded..."???

And the Wiz "looking past" anybody? Never mind the record?

Did I just wake up in 1975 or something?

Posted by: poorskins | November 10, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Larry Loves Crack..

Gilbert led this team straight to the lottery and into it's current situation.

The only thing Gil needs to lead his his Bentley Convertible so that the uhaul the movers are driving don't get lost on his way to the next NBA city...

Posted by: kevenjones | November 10, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

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