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Posted at 7:52 PM ET, 11/25/2010

Open thread: Wizards (5-8) at Hawks (8-7)

By Michael Lee

With John Wall back from his left foot injury and Al Thornton expected to miss a few games with a sprained left ankle, Coach Flip Saunders will finally go with a starting lineup featuring three point guards in Wall, Gilbert Arenas and Kirk Hinrich, JaVale McGee and Andray Blatche against the Atlanta Hawks. Saunders utilized that unit to open the preseason and the Wizards went 2-1 in the preseason with Wall, Arenas and Hinrich before Arenas sat out the next game with a contrived knee injury. Arenas later hurt his groin and his ankle and the team was never able to utilize that lineup. Saunders wanted to keep Nick Young coming off the bench, with him averaging 16.4 points in his past five games. The Wizards have lost 10 consecutive games to the Hawks. Chat about the game in the comments below, or join the conversation on Twitter with Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee). See your tweets here by using #wizards.

Tipoff: 8 p.m.; TV: TNT; Radio: 106.7 FM.


By Michael Lee  | November 25, 2010; 7:52 PM ET
 
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Comments

well lets see how small ball goes. I guess he wants to keep NY in that bench scorer role and he wasnt as confident in the other guys starting

Posted by: dlts2041 | November 25, 2010 8:08 PM | Report abuse

I just dont like the chemistry of that 3 guard offense. Its just too many ball handlers on the floor. We always seem stagnant. I didnt think Flip would do that tonight but oh well

Posted by: dlts2041 | November 25, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Flip's an idiot. The #1 worry everyone had in the Offseason was how would Gil & Wall coexist because there might not be enough balls to go around. So what does Flip do? He adds another 6'4 ball handler in the mix to start? It makes no sense. Then everyone knows that our regular starting lineup will be with Howard at the 3. The backup is Al and then you have NY. So why is Kirk even considered? Its stupid.

Not only that but you take out Wall & bring in NY but we still stay in the zone defense even though Atlanta went small by taking out Williams for Evans. Man those guys up now since we arent super small anymore. Then on top of that you play a 3-2 zone where our 2 bigs are spread way out on the perimiter and the middle is wide open. Its dumb. He puts us in a whole every single game. The funny thing is that the 2 guys it hurts the most are seemingly the 2 guys we need the most in Wall & Gil. Kirk is the one who always ends up looking the best in the screwed up lineups

Posted by: dlts2041 | November 25, 2010 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Flip says his guys are sluggish because his guys had too much turkey. I guess Atlanta didn't have turkey or they had a nutritionist that told them no on the turkey.

Whatever Flip.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | November 25, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Why is it that most call for a starting lineup of Wall, Arenas, Young, Blatche, and McGee, but Flip will not use that lineup atall as it appears?

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | November 25, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

oh, what is this? We use a normal lineup and then make a run. This shouldve been the starting lineup except with dray starting for Booker

Posted by: dlts2041 | November 25, 2010 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Flip is as dumb as a bag of hammers.
Starting Hinrich does nothing more than spot the other teams points while simultaneously giving them confidence.

Posted by: bobabuie | November 25, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Yup dlts2041, must be something why basketball has a Center, 2 F's, and 2 G's as a traditional lineup, huh!

Nick can swing as a SF, but Hinrich cannot.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | November 25, 2010 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Picture this, I've played the game of BBall. A team that runs the floor like the Hawks would love to have a short guy checking them. Hinrich cannot and never will guard adequately a running SF that is 6'6 or better that is agile and mobile that is running the floor.

Nick Young is agile and mobile and 6'7. What is Flips problem. Yawl know Flip never played pro-ball. Should not make a difference that he never played pro-ball, but maybe in Flip's case it does.

I'm just sayin.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | November 25, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse

I don't get to see many games but if this is like the others it is clear to see Ernie doesn't know how to put together a good basketball team.

Flip doesn't know how to coach team basketball, what is he telling these guys...dribble down pass once and then shoot the ball?

The 3 guard offense belongs in college not the pros but then again so does Flip.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | November 25, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse


The 3 guard offense belongs in college not the pros but then again so does Flip.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | November 25, 2010 9:28 PM

Word!

Posted by: bobabuie | November 25, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Some time ago I went back and checked Flips quote "illustrious career". He never earned the head coach slot like most NBA coaches. His college buddy got him the job at Minny and he lucked in too KG. The NBA made him and not the other way around.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | November 25, 2010 9:37 PM | Report abuse

I say hire ex Hawks coach Mike Woodson i think he and his staff would be perfect for this team Woodson is no nonsense and every year he was here in the A-T-L the Hawks improved in the won lost column.

Posted by: dargregmag | November 25, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse

I say hire ex Hawks coach Mike Woodson i think he and his staff would be perfect for this team Woodson is no nonsense and every year he was here in the A-T-L the Hawks improved in the won lost column.

Posted by: dargregmag | November 25, 2010 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Josh Smith PF, 6'9, Marvin Williams SF, 6'9, both agile and mobile. Kirk Hinrich, 6'4, average PG. Why would a coach have him playing the three against these guys?

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | November 25, 2010 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Makes no sense to start three guards against a great rebounding team. Hawks were jumping all over Hinrich for board and scores in the paint tonight.

HE'S NOT THAT F'ING GOOD, Flip!

Posted by: bobabuie | November 25, 2010 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Al Horford is schooling McGee and Arenas and Wall are a combined 7/25 this a blowout and again it's the level of competition that determines how well the Wizards play.

Posted by: dargregmag | November 25, 2010 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Is it just me or does anyone else believe the reason the Wizards don't get out to guard the 3 point shot is because they are surprised to see someone actually pass the ball to an open man once he drives to the basket?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | November 25, 2010 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Level of competition dargregmag. Valid observation. Recognizing what you are up against is crucial to combating the quote "level of competition."

I don't think Flip gave his guys a chance at competing against this level of competition by going with three guards.

One might argue for Flip that if he started Nick Young that Nick is a guard as well. True, Nick is a guard, but he can play SF and has the size length and mobility to do it. KH does not.

Level of competition may well be in the Hawks favor, but for sure we cannot shortchange our lineup from the outset.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | November 25, 2010 10:24 PM | Report abuse

And most importantly dargregmag, the fact that Flip started Kirk, tells me that there was no game strategy to combat the Hawks interior dominance.

The difference is when you start Kirk as the third guard you truly are running a three guards a center and one forward.

On the other hand, if you start Nick Young with Wall and Arenas you can run a traditional offense and thereby give yourself a chance to better match the Hawks, simply because Nick can play as true SF.

So your point about level of competition is spot on, but it appears that Flip is....whatever.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | November 25, 2010 10:34 PM | Report abuse


The only thing I can think of is that Flip started that dumb 3-guard lineup PRAYING that they would get off to a hot start and force the Hawks to go small.

Flip has looked like a bum more often than not this year. I am so NOT impressed with his offensive and defensive philosophies.

Posted by: bobabuie | November 25, 2010 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Wall, Gil, & Kirk


Flip has to bench Kirk. Why not? He can still get minutes off the bench. If Howard comes back then he's the starting 3 anyways. Even then we have Al as a backup and we have NY in the mix. Why does he have to start Kirk. I honestly dont think Wall is worried about playing with Gil. I think Wall is worried about how to play with both Gil & Kirk. I honestly dont think Gil is worried about playing with Wall. I think Gil is worried about how to play with both Wall & Kirk. Its just 1 guy too many.

Even if youre not a Gil fan, you have to start him just so he can get his stats up and be traded. We are 14 games in and still have yet to start Gil & Wall by themselves. You wont find out anything until they get out there together without Kirk. Then you can decide it doesnt work, or one guy cant play with the other, or whatever but you will never know until you start those 2 without Kirk. It just doesnt work with all 3. Its stupid. Again, you cant say to bench Gil and start Kirk because they Gil will have no trade value. Youre just going to have a 80mil max guy on the bench for Kirk and knowing that the team still wont be good? NO!

We only have 1 chance to be good and thats with Gil & Wall with Kirk as the backup PG. Stop messing around and run it already. If it doesnt work then we will know but you cant judge anything until then. You cant even judge them individually because they arent going to play right until then. Its just a bad mix and it hurts the whole team & Offense. Not to mention we cant stop anyone and when we do, they still get the Offensive rebound

Posted by: dlts2041 | November 25, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Why does he have to start Kirk.

Posted by: dlts2041 | November 25, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

dlts2041

Because Ernie traded for Kirk and since nobody other then Ernie was willing to hire Flip he owes Ernie.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | November 25, 2010 11:09 PM | Report abuse

I think I have seen enough. Flip Saunders needs to be fired. This is the worse I have ever seen a team played defense. It was the same defensive breakdown time and time again not by just one player but by at least 3 or 4 guys. Everybody was either watching the ball or over playing the ball handler while a simple pass to the guy moving to the basket ending up beating the whole defense. Nobody seemed to know who they were guarding or where there man was on the floor. Some of this stuff is just basic defensive principles.

Posted by: spades72 | November 25, 2010 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Is it just me or does anyone else believe the reason the Wizards don't get out to guard the 3 point shot is because they are surprised to see someone actually pass the ball to an open man once he drives to the basket?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | November 25, 2010 10:19 PM

This switching thing in the NBA is a cop out. It's pass the buck on real defense. Most coaches like what they call help defense.

Help defense to me means that your defense needs help.

Whatever happened to playing man to man. Make those blokes responsible for their man all the way to the basket and forget about this help D' crap.

That is the only way to build real defense first and once you do that then the help part will take care of itself.

You see the way we taught good defense is when we said man to man, that meant that your man could not go unchecked. If he did, someone would hollow who's man is that and that fellow had to D' his man or get off the court.

Stay with your man whereever he went. If he jucked you and drove to the basket, you had to be on his butt and when he went up for a shot you was on it like a cat.

In the pros now like the Wizards, once they are faked, they just let the guy go looking for a switch. That is sorry piss poor D.

For some reason shallowing your man to the basket from the side or even from behind is a lost art.

Coaches are trying to teach what they think is good defense, when defense is all about guts, hustle, and luck.

The Wizards love the swithching game and no one is playing D and the guy who comes to try and stop the score gets blamed for the score and it is not even his man.

Surely, switching and help and the zone has it's place in the NBA game, but you gotta know how to play man up first and foremost.

And the funny thing about it is, you don't have to be a great defender like most wrongly think, the key is to stay with your man, whereever he goes. Don't let him move around the court freely with or without the ball.

When every defender is busting his butt to stay with/on his man, then ironically when the time is needed to help it becomes easier to do it.

There wasn't anything on the court that would cause my teammate to get cursed out in a heartbeat, but when we were in a man to man busting our butts and his man was running free, or standing by himself wide open for a shot.

Just would not be tolerated. That player was quickly gone. The fact that you see it so much with the Wizards is nothing but downright bad defensive play resulting from poor defensive scheme.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | November 25, 2010 11:20 PM | Report abuse

There was some encouraging signs. Kevin Seraphin looks like he will be a good player. Love his foot work especially on defense. Seemed to be very competitive and is very strong. Zaza Pachulia was bouncing off of him like a pin pong ball.

Posted by: spades72 | November 25, 2010 11:31 PM | Report abuse

@Larry

Your post above talking about how defense should be played was excellent. That's the best post I have seen you posted.

Posted by: spades72 | November 25, 2010 11:43 PM | Report abuse

There was some encouraging signs. Kevin Seraphin looks like he will be a good player. Love his foot work especially on defense. Seemed to be very competitive and is very strong. Zaza Pachulia was bouncing off of him like a pin pong ball.

Posted by: spades72 | November 25, 2010 11:31 PM | Report abuse

My source inside the Wizards told me Ernie has sent your post to Ted...

Dear Ted,

This came from a fan...

There was some encouraging signs. Kevin Seraphin looks like he will be a good player. Love his foot work especially on defense. Seemed to be very competitive and is very strong. Zaza Pachulia was bouncing off of him like a pin pong ball.

That's what I've been telling you since the day I drafted him. Just give me 4 years to let this team develop and if it doesn't work I'll trade them for nothing and we can start all over again.

Sincerely,

Ernie

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | November 25, 2010 11:44 PM | Report abuse

Wow, look out bulletsfan78. You might get someone's dander up with that one.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | November 26, 2010 12:07 AM | Report abuse

Looks like there is a consensus regarding this three-guard offense thing. We definitely need to scrap it in favor of a more conventional lineup. I DON'T want to start Nick, though, because of his effectiveness coming off the bench. We need his scoring with the second unit. Actually, I am in favor of starting TB at the three for now, especially since he is an integral part of the future of this team.

As to Larry's post regarding defensive schemes, the problem in today's NBA is that players pick and double pick you into oblivion. It is really hard to play man-to-man and to stick with your man. Before the advent of the three-point line, there was no reason for a player to take 25-foot jumpshots, so you generally didn't have to worry about a player shooting from that distance, so you could "pack it in." However, today you absolutely have to know how (and when) to switch, and even then switches almost always result in mismatches, which professional coaches know how to exploit, whether inside or out. It's why MANY NBA teams are currently experimenting with zone defense. We just don't play it very well.

I, for one, don't see how the zone can work in the NBA because of the mass of great shooters who can shoot over top of it. If you're going to play it, you have GOT to extend it out to the three-point line, and that leaves too much space for players to maneuver between the top of the zone and the basket, which runs counter to the reason for playing the zone in the first place. The NBA three-point line, IMO, completely nullifies any effectiveness the zone would otherwise have.

Some coaches (EJ being one of the worst) simply don't know how to coach/teach defense. I'm not all that enamored with Flip's defensive schemes either. Not that I know how to solve the problem, but what we're doing certainly isn't working. Whether it's the schemes themselves, or that the players aren't properly running them, I don't know, but something has to give. The coaches need to be as flexible as they demand the players to be. If something isn't working, change it.

Posted by: bpybay | November 26, 2010 12:33 AM | Report abuse

True there are picks and double picks, but mostly the wide open shooter is coming from switching and rotation and not from mostly picks by the offense.

However, if you are after you man fiercely enough picks are minimized and there is a reason why big guys set picks.

If you are tenacious enough in your zeal to d' your man then only the solid big man picks will keep you off of him.

At the first fake or juck or attempted pick, defenders mostly just stop because they know that the switch/rotation D' is in effect and the moment it starts guys are free all over the court.

Now with the 3-point line and way guys can shoot it is even more imperative to try like hell to stay with your man as long as possible.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | November 26, 2010 1:14 AM | Report abuse

With the the Wiz and the individual makeup, which means too many weak defensive players, there is not a perfect defensive scheme. Too much covering up is necessary.
But it is essential that JMc remain in the post defensively. to me the most efefctive way to accomplish this is to just be switching in the lane and base line, s JMc can be a constant deterrent. But he is still going to need help, and it is beyond obvious that AB is not a consistent 4 defensive help, against the other 4 or helping JMc on the weak side.
So it all gets back to the most complimentary lineup.
Which gets back to my original premise of weeks ago, that the front line should be when available and healthy...JMc, Yi and AB, with GA and JW in the backcourt.
If GA continues at this unreliable inconsistent pace, move NY or JH to the 2.
KH is your back up point guard and nothing else.
Certain situations and matchups will allow for NY, and JH and AT at the 3.
It is just abdurd for the fall back D, and playing off your man, as has been noted above due to the excess of accurate 3 point gunners.

Posted by: mricklen | November 26, 2010 2:01 AM | Report abuse

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