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Posted at 9:28 AM ET, 12/28/2010

Wizards have another fourth-quarter breakdown

By Michael Lee
Morning brew

After yet another game in which the Wizards managed to turn an all-but-certain victory into an agonizing defeat, John Wall said, "We're working hard, playing hard. Now, we've got to figure out how to finish out games."

The Wizards certainly need to find a way to close out games, since they have blown several games in the fourth quarter this season, especially in the past few weeks, against Miami and Houston. But there is something to be said about not closing out games because you have already taken care of business before needing to rely on heroics in the final minutes.

Although they failed to score in the final three minutes, the Wizards actually lost the game early in the fourth period, when they wasted a 10-point lead in just 3 minutes, 22 seconds. Nick Young hit a three-pointer from the left corner to give the Wizards an 82-72 lead, but Andray Blatche said his teammates didn't get overzealous. "This is the NBA, You can't celebrate when you're up 10. Ten is nothing in this league. That's a couple of possessions."

And for the Rockets, they only needed seven possessions to score 15 points and regain the lead. Aaron Brooks scored six points and added three assists that amounted to another seven points during the run. Brooks drew fouls on Josh Howard, and also Kirk Hinrich, with Brooks coercing Hinrich to foul him on a three-pointer. "He got to the foul line. Got easy layups," Wall said. "As a shooter, all you got to do is see the ball go in. you see it go in, he found a rhythm and made a couple of shots."

And when Brooks found Shane Battier for a three-pointer that made the score 87-86, the Rockets had already overcome the hard part and could simply rely on their superior experience and familiarity with each other to finish the game. The Wizards (7-22) were left smarting their 12th loss by nine points or fewer this season. "This is the seventh, eighth game out of the whole season, that we lost the game down the stretch," Wall said.

FROM THE POST
The Wizards dropped their 16th consecutive road game, dating back to last season. Here's the game story on the postgame wrap-up, in which Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee attempt to distance themselves their fight last week.

Kirk Hinrich is adjusting to many roles with the Wizards.

AROUND THE WEB
Former Wizard Gilbert Arenas sat down with ESPN.com's Michael Wallace to discuss his "newfound freedom" in Orlando.

Arenas also spoke with NBA.com's David Aldridge about no longer being the "pink elephant, purple elephant" in the Wizards' locker room.

Nick Young is having a solid season, but Kyle Weidie at TruthAboutIt.net wants to know why he can't get more assists.

LeBron James wants people to calm down. When he said last week that it would be "cool" if the NBA went back to the 1980s and eliminated a few teams, he wasn't really talking about contraction. Either way, his talk doesn't add up, especially when the Miami Heat is only in existence because of expansion.

By Michael Lee  | December 28, 2010; 9:28 AM ET
Categories:  Morning brew  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee move on, while Wizards remain stuck on road losing skid
Next: Cartier Martin "being patient" with more reduced role

Comments

Players looked quite comfortable watching the game slip away last night, I suspect an opponent will have to hand them a road win as they're certainly not going to "get one for coach!"

Posted by: divi3 | December 28, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

sure woulda been nice if Kirk coulda set up one of his teammates during that scoreless stretch at the end of the game. For all the good Kirk does ( i think he does a lot of good fareal) he and AB are guilty of over dribbling the most. I wanna see Kirk dump 19+ pts as much as the next man, but come on son, NO DIMES? Unacceptable. As much grief as Ab gets I think he's close to his predecessor's "double double" avg. For all his softness, he's giving you the same game everynight. I mentioned Kirk looking off the cutters last week. Shooters like NY; who are supposedly streaky, need to get the ball in a rhythm same for Lewis and even howard to a degree. Once you start taking those players out of plays their focus on making the shot changes to focusing on just getting the ball, then you know they're gonna let it fly. NY is more guilty of this that Howard or Lewis (so far) but you can see a lil bit of that old NY body lingo when he comes off a curl clean and kirk reverses the ball away from him.

On another note, i think the officiating this season has been the worst i've seen in some time when it comes to the Wiz. I know we've rarely gotten that luv since the playoff well ran dry. But some of the no calls are ridiculous. I'd like to see the players of the coaches challenge the refs a lil more on this typa thing. We all know the refs are emboldened by the new rules about "demonstations' or whatever, but they are out there missing calls and making up calls like it's nobody's business. Cuban used to tape the games and send film of bad calls to league offices. I think it's worth a try Ted.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | December 28, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

worse than losing this team, Flip never "had" this team. I know Ted is probably waiting until all the labor stuff is done with the NBA, but this coach is not helping the young guys develop. Same mistakes over and over and over. Eventually you gotta wonder if they are coached poorly, or just uncoachable.

Posted by: Eckertae | December 28, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

worse than losing this team, Flip never "had" this team.

Surely I'm making too much out of the one practice I got to watch....but that's what it looked like to me. Personally I dont think Flip wants to be here at all and doesnt like being associated with such a bad team. Almost all of his comments distance himself from the outcome of these games, as if he is watching subpar players lose games that he has no control over.

Posted by: divi3 | December 28, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

"Scorch the earth and start over. Again. Why not?"Posted by: lgm6986

Didn't we do that last season? And just trade the final piece to Orlando?

And the result is what we're watching right now.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 28, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

No Ted didn't he left Ernie and Flip in charge and Yes the two of them are getting the same results...so what's the one common denominator?

I give you a clue since I realize you and kal are PR men and don't know the first thing about basketball...

Ernie and Flip

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | December 28, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

*****A NEW WASHINGTON WIZARDS RECORD***** CONGRATULATIONS GRUNFELD! 16 in a ROW!!!
Let's see how the Washington PR boys (sock puppets) try to spin this by us here in comments, it should be funny.

Posted by: getjiggly2 | December 28, 2010 6:24 AM | Report abuse

getjiggly2

Here's your answers...

"Scorch the earth and start over. Again. Why not?"Posted by: lgm6986

Didn't we do that last season? And just trade the final piece to Orlando?

And the result is what we're watching right now.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 28, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

That's the thing Nick Young struggles with. The challenge being to keep your focus.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 28, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

flip is a horrible coach, especially with rotations. and he always blames the losses on the players, he makes no adjustments. he always throws his players under the bus saying they made mistakes, oh we dont have enough talent, blah blah blah, its never his fault.Posted by: skinsfan09"

LOL you realize that with this club, the losses usually aren't his fault?

Posted by: Samson151 | December 28, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

I didn't see the game, but I wonder if it wasn't something other than assists.

And yet supposedly the team played well enough to win.

Must have been an odd game to watch.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 28, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

How can you comment on how Kirk played or what his rold was if you didn't watch the game?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | December 28, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I thought we would see a lineup of McGee, Blatche, Lewis, Hinrich, and Wall for a stretch, but that didn't happen. That might of been because Blatche showed some enthusiasm at playing the C for the first time in over a year.

Fatigue is a common factor in these close losses. Leaning on the starters isn't working, so expanding the rotations in order to keep guys fresh should be the next move.

Posted by: djnnnou | December 28, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

This team is not 7-22 bad on paper: A rookie of the year candidate, two budding big men, two former marginal all stars on the tail end of their primes, a solid veteran point guard, an explosive shooting guard. Add to that Thornton, Booker and Yi and you have a reasonably deep team. In the East, that should be a 35 win caliber team. Stop with the excuses Flip! Against Miami, Hinrich played 48 minutes--of course they collapsed at the end. They should have worked on finding a way to get Young and Howard to get the ball up the court together that night for at least a few minutes.Last night, after playing the night before, 4 starters played 37 or more minutes and wall played 7 minutes more than intended. Again, it makes sense that the offense stagnated and Aaron Brooks took over. It's a 48 minute game and an 82 game season--using and developing depth is key.

Posted by: audacitea | December 28, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

nobody takes issue with your starting PG logging 38 mins taking 15 shots to get 19 pts and dropping not one dime? I "ride" Kirk about as much as your avg poster (maybe a tad more) but i like some of the things he does and feel like he can be really effective in stretches, but come on. he took more shots than the shooting guard and didn't get a single asst. We looked lost down the stretch last night and really could've used a floor general to initiate some offense. Clearly that player wasn't available last night in the clutch.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | December 28, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

nobody takes issue with your starting PG logging 38 mins taking 15 shots to get 19 pts and dropping not one dime?

But do you know what role Flip asked him to play last night??????

seriously though, Flip has to get Cartier in there at SG so that KH can be fresh(er) in the 4thQ. If Flip insists on making Kirk the franchise player, he should at least give him a chance to succeed. Somewhere around 30mins, Hinrich loses all his steam....I really dont see why he cant get more of a breather given all the 2s we have.

Posted by: divi3 | December 28, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

the Wizards actually lost the game early in the fourth period, when they wasted a 10-point lead in just 3 minutes, 22 seconds.

A good coach would have known which unit was playing the best together after 45 mins and a good coach would of had that unit on the floor...

I guess Flip wasn't watching the game either...maybe he was thinking about who and how to blame this loss on?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | December 28, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

In regard to ARENAS' "newfound freedom," good riddence to bad trash. Thank goodness he's somewhere else.

Posted by: glawrence007 | December 28, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

WALL's a rookie trying to play hurt,and LESTER HUDSON doesn't have the goods to be an NBA player. We need a solid back-up pg to WALL, and right now KH is all there is. Hell, until last game, WALL wasn't even on the court.

Posted by: glawrence007 | December 28, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

I'm more concerned with Lewis' minutes. He showed in Seattle that he can put up good stats on a bad team. He shouldn't be playing 40+ minutes if Booker is healthy.

Posted by: djnnnou | December 28, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

nobody takes issue with your starting PG logging 38 mins taking 15 shots to get 19 pts and dropping not one dime? I "ride" Kirk about as much as your avg poster (maybe a tad more) but i like some of the things he does and feel like he can be really effective in stretches, but come on. he took more shots than the shooting guard and didn't get a single asst. We looked lost down the stretch last night and really could've used a floor general to initiate some offense. Clearly that player wasn't available last night in the clutch.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | December 28, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Lil - did you watch any of the game? While I agree that Kirk should have somehow figured out how to get at least a couple assists, he didn't play 38 minutes as PG. He played about 15 as PG. Wall played the rest of it. Young didn't get a single assist either in the same amount of playing time.

Funny thing is, I actually found Nick making some good passes to set up other players. Same with Kirk. But when the guys you are setting up are missing 60% of their shots, it can make it harder to get an assist.

For about 2 minutes, we played McGee and Booker together. I liked the way they played together. Booker brought some toughness and McGee had more than enough ranginess to make up for Bookers lack of height. I can't remember if it was Lewis, Howard or Thornton playing SF. But I liked the way the line up played D and kept Houston off balance.

My big question through the fourth was why McGee was on the bench. He completely disrupted Houstons game. blocked a 3 pter, grabbed rebounds and made guys change their shots all over the place. And he actually set 2 good picks.

For this he gets rewarded by having blatche Blatche who managed to pull 14 boards, but 1/3 of those were off his own misses, take his spot at center. Plus he had nearly half of our turnovers. Charge, Charge, bad pass, dribble off his foot, get stripped.

All I can guess is that EG wants to showcase Blatche to other teams the way they did Arenas. Unfortunately, it could make Blatche less marketable instead of more so.

Posted by: Blurred | December 28, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

My big question through the fourth was why McGee was on the bench. He completely disrupted Houstons game. blocked a 3 pter, grabbed rebounds and made guys change their shots all over the place. And he actually set 2 good picks.

IMO, Flip lost the game right there. And, also IMO, the reason he did it was so that 12yrvet/$22mill RLewis could get enough PT without cutting back Blatche's minutes. Rumor is they are trying to trade Blatche, but in the meantime he's being treated like a "made" man and has definitely moved into "vet" status as far as Flip is concerned.

Personally I think we will see Mcgee and Booker shorted as long as both Lewis and AB are on the team.

Posted by: divi3 | December 28, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

WALL's a rookie trying to play hurt,and LESTER HUDSON doesn't have the goods to be an NBA player. We need a solid back-up pg to WALL, and right now KH is all there is. Hell, until last game, WALL wasn't even on the court.

Posted by: glawrence007 | December 28, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

I'm more concerned with Lewis' minutes. He showed in Seattle that he can put up good stats on a bad team. He shouldn't be playing 40+ minutes if Booker is healthy.

Posted by: djnnnou | December 28, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Agree with both of you. Except Kirk is a very good combo guard. Don't let his lack of assists last night fool you. here are his assists the past 5 games: 7; 9; 11; 12; 6. Even including the goose egg last night, that is 7.5 apg. He has 5.1 apg for the season, in which he has not been asked to play pg as much as SG. That is a pretty good apg.

hudson on the other hand...

Posted by: Blurred | December 28, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

I don't mind Lewis, as he actually plays D. I was a big detractor of Blatche for years and gave him the benefit of the doubt for about 6 months (May - Nov), but IMO, he learned too many of the bad traits of haywood (petulance, arguing w/ teamates, lack of responsibility for the team's success) as well as AJ (soft, shoot shoot shoot, lip service to playing D).

I want to see more of that Mcgee Booker tandem. I like this lineup, at least for 10 minutes a game:

Mcgee
Booker
Howard or Lewis
Young or Kirk
Wall

In some situations, I would prefer Kirk over Young, simply because he has better handles and better court sense, but in others I like that young just pops them. With the limited range of booker and Mcgee, the other 3 guys have to be able to score.

Generally, I prefer Howard to Lewis, but don't really have enough experience with either of their games to make a strong commitment to either of them.

Posted by: Blurred | December 28, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Personally I think we will see Mcgee and Booker shorted as long as both Lewis and AB are on the team. Posted by: divi3

After the "autographed" blocked ball, I'm pretty much done with McGee for a while. Last night he was getting abused by Jordan Hill, and Flip should of benched him for good after the second goaltending call. PT may be the only way to reach him. Back when he was a rookie, I think Ivan Carter mentioned that the wrong people had his ear. That still seems to be the case.

Posted by: djnnnou | December 28, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

"My big question through the fourth was why McGee was on the bench. He completely disrupted Houstons game. blocked a 3 pter, grabbed rebounds and made guys change their shots all over the place. And he actually set 2 good picks."

The fewer minutes McGee plays the better. He's a mental midget. He doesn't box out (got thrown around by Jordan Hill!), but does a heck of a job clearing a path for the layup line. Oh, and for every blocked shot, he's out of position on defense at least 5 times. The guy's a circus act, not a quality center.

The game was lost when Flip went with Wall and Hinrich in the backcourt and sat Howard for last few minutes. He could have and should have sat Blatche's shuffling, geezer arse on the bench, too.

Posted by: ZardsFan1 | December 28, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

"How can you comment on how Kirk played or what his rold was if you didn't watch the game?Posted by: bulletsfan78"

LOL how do you manage it?

If you notice, I was just asking questions. You have to admit they were legit: how do your two starting guards each play 38 minutes yet manage to finish with 0 assists and only one TO between them? And yet shoot a collective 46.4% and lead the team in scoring? Kirk also collected 5 boards, ordinarily not his specialty.

Then you look further and discover that three forwards, Lewis, Howard, and Blatche, accounted for 60% of the team's assist total.

That doesn't make you curious as to what the plan was? OK, maybe it doesn't... but it makes me curious.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 28, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

"Rumor is they are trying to trade Blatche..."

I've heard that too, on other sites. Don't know how true it might be. I wouldn't expect Blatche to bring much unless 1) the trade partner was trying to get rid of somebody, or 2) had a big hole at PF created by injury, etc. I'm not coming up with a lot of other teams that meet those criteria.

Looks like the extension was a bad idea, at least as far as the rest of this season is concerned.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 28, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

"nobody takes issue with your starting PG logging 38 mins taking 15 shots to get 19 pts and dropping not one dime?"

An odd comment, considering Hinrich connected on 46.7% of those shots plus 5 of 6 from the line. Nick Young was at 46.2% of 13 shots, plus 4 of 4 from the line and 2 of 2 on threes. Those aren't bad numbers.

You realize Wall finished 2 for 7 in 27 minutes, right? He was apparently great, but his points were coming at the FT line.

Overall that's not bad production from your guards. Should have been enough to win that particular game...

Posted by: Samson151 | December 28, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Flip needs to be flipped. He has shown me nothing last year or this year that he has the ability to lead these guys (frankly, not sure what the options are anyway.) The team has decent talent to be at least close to .500. They are not even close under Flip. They continue to flop in the 4th Q. The 3 guard lineup is a terrible idea. From time to time, it works. But at the end of the game, you need solid D and rebounding, if you are not making the shots, and that is where they seem to be falling flat. Last night's game is a prefect case in point.

Posted by: la_terp | December 28, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Flip should of benched him for good after the second goaltending call.

Not a coincidence the Rockets immediately took over the game as soon as Flip benched him, large part of our then 10pt lead was due to Mcgee disrupting the Rockets offense for a good stretch there.

Posted by: divi3 | December 28, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

"Then you look further and discover that three forwards, Lewis, Howard, and Blatche, accounted for 60% of the team's assist total.

That doesn't make you curious as to what the plan was? OK, maybe it doesn't... but it makes me curious. "

Posted by: Samson151 | December 28, 2010 1:44 PM

I think that's most likely a reflection of the opponent more than anything else. Without Yao (and with Miller playing only 6 minutes) the Rockets are a small team and their main bigs, Scola and Hayes, aren't esp. quick or agile, and Howard has a ballhandling/quickness advantage on Battier. It seemed to just being a case of taking advantage of what the defense gives you.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 28, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

nobody takes issue with your starting PG logging 38 mins taking 15 shots to get 19 pts and dropping not one dime? I "ride" Kirk about as much as your avg poster (maybe a tad more) but i like some of the things he does and feel like he can be really effective in stretches, but come on. he took more shots than the shooting guard and didn't get a single asst. We looked lost down the stretch last night and really could've used a floor general to initiate some offense. Clearly that player wasn't available last night in the clutch.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | December 28, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Lil - did you watch any of the game? While I agree that Kirk should have somehow figured out how to get at least a couple assists, he didn't play 38 minutes as PG. He played about 15 as PG. Wall played the rest of it. Young didn't get a single assist either in the same amount of playing time.

Funny thing is, I actually found Nick making some good passes to set up other players. Same with Kirk. But when the guys you are setting up are missing 60% of their shots, it can make it harder to get an assist.

@Blurred ".....a gun in your face and that's all you could come up with" -Jay-Z


Kirk was only 5 assts off his season and career avgs. i wanna know what gives. NY was right at his career avg of less than 1 asst per game. NY isn't a great paser (or doesn't care to pass idk which one) but if Kirk is your starting point he's your distributor, he's supposed to get the offense set. If he'da got 1 dime, it prolly wouldn't have changed the games out come, but 5 assts or 10+ pts (however you slice it) could have helped us out last night, and that's only if I'm talking bout him having an avg game asst wise as opposed to an above avg shooting night. Kirk shot more than anybody but Lewis ( who played 5 more mins than kirk) and AB (tied). I just woulda liked to see more of the Kirk we're used to. I'm sure if NY, a guy known for scoring the ball, woulda tossed up a donut there would be no shortage of comments about it.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | December 28, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

BTW, recently I've been accused by some of working for the Wizards (far as I know, I haven't been accused of being Ernie Grunfeld, but no doubt that will come). I just want to reassure all that I'm not now nor have I ever been associated with Wizards organization, or any of its owners or management team, in any way. I receive no reward of any kind for anything I say or write.

Nope, I'm doing this pro bono. It's a volunteer project on behalf of an organization known as the LAS -- the League Against Stupidity.

And looks like it may continue for quite a while.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 28, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

"I've heard that too, on other sites. Don't know how true it might be. I wouldn't expect Blatche to bring much unless 1) the trade partner was trying to get rid of somebody, or 2) had a big hole at PF created by injury, etc. I'm not coming up with a lot of other teams that meet those criteria.

Looks like the extension was a bad idea, at least as far as the rest of this season is concerned."

Posted by: Samson151 | December 28, 2010 1:50 PM

I really think Blatche has reached a point where he just needs to be somewhere else, for his sake and the Wizards. Some people fall into a pattern and need some kind of big change or major event to jolt them out of it. It's not just a bball player thing, it's true of life in general. It's tough to see him changing his ways as long as he stays here because who he's become is largely a result of his being here.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 28, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

No, this teram does NOT have the talent to be .500. This team has the talent to be what it is, 7-22. All of the starters would be coming off the bench on just about any team in the league. Flip may not be great, but it sure is understandable why he'd get aggravated: he's got a team of scrubs. Including Wall, so far.
This team will have to struggle to win 20 games this year.

Posted by: nyskinsdiehard | December 28, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

It's a volunteer project on behalf of an organization known as the LAS -- the League Against Stupidity.

And looks like it may continue for quite a while.

Have you considered volunteering less? Maybe if you used some of that free time to actually watch the games you'd come off like you knew what you were talking about.

Posted by: divi3 | December 28, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

"All of the starters would be coming off the bench on just about any team in the league. "

At least any good team. But that's not a shock, for a team in year one of rebuilding. Much of the carping and pissing that goes on here can be traced directly back to the carpers' and pissers' unrealistic expectations coming into the season. The John Wall euphoria had everyone drinking Kool-Aid like it was going off the market on a sunny day. The weird thing is, it wasn't being served by the Wizards' organization, so I'm not sure who was supplying the pitcher.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 28, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

"After the "autographed" blocked ball, I'm pretty much done with McGee for a while."

Posted by: djnnnou | December 28, 2010 1:42 PM

I actually thought that was kind of funny. Didn't make it any less childish and self-indulgent, but at least it was funny.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 28, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Not a coincidence the Rockets immediately took over the game as soon as Flip benched him

Sure it is. McGee doesn't have that kind of influence on a game. His absence doesn't cause a 10pt swing in one quarter. If it did folks would be shouting M-V-P.

Posted by: djnnnou | December 28, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Flip should of benched him for good after the second goaltending call.

Not a coincidence the Rockets immediately took over the game as soon as Flip benched him, large part of our then 10pt lead was due to Mcgee disrupting the Rockets offense for a good stretch there.

Posted by: divi3 | December 28, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Word. That wa my point originally. I kept thinking, as our lead dwindled, that we would pull it out once Mcgee got his wind and came back in. But he never saw the floor as the Rockets drove at will.

Posted by: Blurred | December 28, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Still not sold on Lewis as a SF. He had a favorable defensive matchup against Houston as Battier isn't a quick, off the dribble guy, and even though he started at SF, he actually p[layed a large portion of his minutes at PF with Blatche at C. Hopefully he'll get an extended look in the starting PF slot at some point (preferably with Howard at SF).

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 28, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

In this game it was more than a coincidence. the Rockets had no one that was capapble of pushing Mcgee around (probably only time this season that will be said), so he was free to get in his spots and jump out at shooters.

K-Mart was thrown off by Mcgee and when Mcgee was not there, he began hitting his shots wherever.

We had other issues, too, like our shots were missing the mark in the third, but the answer to that is drive more or throw it down low to the guy that can flush it.

Look, I know McGee still has a ways to go, but this really was one of the few times all season he could be the dominant guy in the middle.

Mcgee in the game = we were winning
McGee out of the game = we lost

In general, McGee isn't going to be "the" difference maker, but last night, it was true.

Posted by: Blurred | December 28, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Sure it is. McGee doesn't have that kind of influence on a game.

Javale has the best defensive rating on the team, as well as the highest defensive win shares score, and the highest Win Shares per48 score. None of that means he's an MVP, but it is strong evidence in favor of the observation the team is significantly better when he's on the floor.

The WoW stuff indicates that Kirk, Nick, and Javale have been the team's best players. I think pretty much everybody would agree with KH and Nick and the stats confirm it. So perhaps Javale does more than he gets credit for...

Posted by: divi3 | December 28, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

"No Ted didn't he left Ernie and Flip in charge and Yes the two of them are getting the same results...so what's the one common denominator?"

100% Agreed. They both need to go, but while Ted being so "hands-off" is a good thing it can also be bad at times and this is one of them.

And I know Hinrich is playing pretty good right now but if Wall is 100% healthy he should really be starting and NOT coming off of the bench.

"The Wizards have reportedly considered trading Andray Blatche even before his Christmas Eve scuffle at a nightclub.

Source: Marc Stein"

That's all I got on the Blatche trade rumors.....

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | December 28, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Kalo - agree with almost every word you've posted today.

Lil- you still seem to operating under the mistaken eassumption that Kirk actually played 38 minutes at PG. He didn't. It was like 15.

Nonetheless, perhaps he could have passed more.

Or, more effectively, passed more to guys who made the shot after he passed to them. the only way that was going to happen last night was if he passed to the Rockets. but he let Blatche take care of that for him.

Also, his 5.1 apg for the season is thrown a bit high by the past 5 games, in which he played like 42 mpg and almost every one of them at PG. When he was playing "free guard" or whatever Flip called him in the 3G line up, he was closer to 4 apg.

Still, that puts him 4 below his non-PG average, but factor in his 12 assist game, and his 0 assist game is exactly how you determine an average.

nonetheless, I think he passed less last night and when he did pass, it was to guys like Lewis and Blatche who either missed their shot or drove and so the pass did not lead directly to a basket, thus, no assist.

Does that clarify it for you? I'd rather him shoot more, if he is going to hit 46% of his shots, then pass to Blatche who hits 36% of his and has 6 TOs.

Posted by: Blurred | December 28, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

When they got the ten point lead(82-72) a "good coach" would have had Kirk try to set up players for easy baskets i.e. pick/roll,princeton offense,screens for short high percentage jumpers, etc. The over riding factor is Flip can't coach period!

Posted by: dargregmag | December 28, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

"Have you considered volunteering less? Maybe if you used some of that free time to actually watch the games you'd come off like you knew what you were talking about.Posted by: divi3"

LOL Thanks for illustrating the great need for our services. We've even created a separate division: LASSO (League Against Stupidity in Sports Organizations).

Keep up the good work.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 28, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Alonzo Gee gets picked up by the Cavs.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=5962639


I sense a 10 game winning streak on the horizon.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 28, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

"And I know Hinrich is playing pretty good right now but if Wall is 100% healthy he should really be starting and NOT coming off of the bench."

I think that's the plan... break him in slowly -- maybe avoid injury, let him acclimate himself to life without Gilbert.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 28, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

There's no question that Wall will eventually end up back in the starting lineup. The question is whether Young or Hinrich will be there with him.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 28, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Lil- you still seem to operating under the mistaken eassumption that Kirk actually played 38 minutes at PG. He didn't. It was like 15.

Posted by: Blurred | December 28, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

You're still operating under the cloud of ShullBit (wait for it) that would allow one to believe that A)Kirk couldn't have amassed 1 asst in his 15 mins(questionable) at the PG spot and B)Kirk is incapable of amassing 1 asst in the remaining 23 mins of court time.

We've been down this rd talkin bout NY and how he doesn't pass the ball. If it is fair to evaluate NY a SG/SF(in college) in this manner even though he's never been a pg; then why not comment on other players who are natural pgs not getting assists.
Last night was prolly the only game this yr Kirk will go without an assist. For him to play as one dimensionally as he did last night either points to a failure on his part in getting his teamates buckets, or an error on the coach's part for asking our number one assist guy (I don't count Wall off the bench) to focus on his scoring. As i noted, Kirk had no problem getting his shot off last night (2nd most fgas on the team). It woulda been nice (dumbing it down for the Kirk apologists) if he coulda founda a way to get one team mate an easy bucket; who knows, if he'da hit his avg of 5 dimes a game we mighta won.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | December 28, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

The indicators are that the plan is to rebuild this team around Wall. That's pretty much what Arenas was telling us, and certainly nothing Ernie or Flip has said contradicts it. That makes everybody else a supporting player. Careers in Washington could depend on how well a given player fits into the John Wall era. The other players we root for -- be it Javale or Andray, Nick or Kirk, Howard or Thornton, or assorted rookies and young vets -- are something of a sidebar in the larger scheme of things.

When you start with scorched earth, things don't grow back very quickly. What we should really be hoping for is that Wall stays healthy and continues to grow. He clearly needs an off-season of conditioning plus plenty of work on his outside shooting. But from what we've seen so far, this is an amazing talent who could take the Wiz a long way in the future.

Just let him stay healthy...

Posted by: Samson151 | December 28, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

"Last night was prolly the only game this yr Kirk will go without an assist. For him to play as one dimensionally as he did last night either points to a failure on his part in getting his teamates buckets, or an error on the coach's part for asking our number one assist guy (I don't count Wall off the bench) to focus on his scoring."

Amidst all this pointing, could it possibly, just maybe, point to the fact that when he did get teammates the ball in scoring position, they failed to make shots? (Thus the 40% shooting.) Or the fact that, seeing that some of his teammates were struggling to convert he took it upon himself to assume more of the scoring burden?

No, of course not. The only possible explanation is that either Hinrich or Saunders screwed up. Because, of course, what else could it be?

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 28, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Just to be clear, a month or two ago when Kirk was having games like 10pts, 9assts, people said Kirk wasn't doing enough. Now he scores 19, but gets 0 assists and many of the same people say he's not doing enough. Note to KH: average 19pts and 9 assists and those folks might be satisfied.

Larry, the 3 guard lineup was in the game because pretty much everyone else he tried first were not hitting shots when it counted. They didn't lose because of the 3 guard lineup. They lost because they took the wrong shots and also didn't hit them. The Rockets matched us playing small ball, but AB and Lewis both (predictably) hung on the perimeter shooting jumpers. AB had one nice reverse. But I'm not sure why he wasn't trying to take Jordan Hill down low. He has regressed to the extent that he is less inclined to work the low box than he was at the end of last year.

But it was a team loss, coach included. The Rockets turned up the energy in the 4th and the Wiz were unable to match. Turnovers, bad shots, bad rebounding, missed FTs, mistakes on D, take your pick.

As others have brought up, I did also wonder why McGee wasn't in there at the end of the 4th. They were struggling offensively which led Flip to try Lewis and AB. But clearly AB didn't have it in the 4th. With the small lineup the Rockets had in, I would have had McGee in for rebounds, tips, and energy. Don't know if it would have made a difference, but I didn't like the energy of the lineup Flip had in to close the game.

Posted by: ts35 | December 28, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

"The indicators are that the plan is to rebuild this team around Wall. That's pretty much what Arenas was telling us, and certainly nothing Ernie or Flip has said contradicts it. That makes everybody else a supporting player. Careers in Washington could depend on how well a given player fits into the John Wall era. The other players we root for -- be it Javale or Andray, Nick or Kirk, Howard or Thornton, or assorted rookies and young vets -- are something of a sidebar in the larger scheme of things."

Posted by: Samson151 | December 28, 2010 3:52 PM

Which makes the Blatce extension even more puzzling. Putting aside all of the reasons related to Blatche's history for letting things play out, they made a long-term commitment to him without even bothering to see how well he fit in next to the team's new centerpiece.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 28, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

"You're still operating under the cloud of ShullBit (wait for it) that would allow one to believe that A)Kirk couldn't have amassed 1 asst in his 15 mins(questionable) at the PG spot and B)Kirk is incapable of amassing 1 asst in the remaining 23 mins of court time."

Guys, seriously, what difference did it make? You could make the same argument for a bunch of different players. Wall could have shot better than 28.5%. Rashard could have hit a couple of those threes he launched, or managed better than 6 of 16 from the field. Andray could have avoided some of those 6 turnovers. Javale could have connected on more than one of his 5 FG attempts, or maybe visited the free throw line at least once. Nick might actually have collected a rebound or two.

Any and all of it would have made a difference. So would a couple assists for Kirk.

It didn't happen.

Meanwhile, looks from the box like Houston went to the line and connected on 10 FTs to the Wiz' one in the final 9 minutes. And a couple Rockets' players hit big, really big shots from outside the arc, just when they were most needed.

That counts, too.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 28, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

No, of course not. The only possible explanation is that either Hinrich or Saunders screwed up. Because, of course, what else could it be?

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 28, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

him deciding on his own not to pass anymore to his teammates could be looked at as a mistake, yes. i recall Kobe often being reviled for not trusting his team mates and getting tunnel vision on offensive sets. Not at all comparing Kirk to Kobe, but come on. Going back the last coupla seasons, we've seen some terrible wizards shooting nights. i dunno how many other than last night ended with the starting PG not logging 1 assist. I've never heard these arguments to support any other player (like NY) not getting assists. Of course the teammate has to complete the play, but to point to the 40% shooting and imply that Kirk was passing, guys just weren't finishing is laughable. Once again NY has never gotten that "pass" no pun intended so why should Kirk. I already said that last night was prolly more of an anomally than anything else, but it shouldn't be so difficult for some of you all to say that Kirk could've helped the team more by getting guys easy buckets. John Wall stepped off the bench and dropped 6 dimes, josh howard even gave us 2 off the bench. Kirk could've been better last night IMHO.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | December 28, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: ts35 | December 28, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

I dunno if the complaint was about what Kirk brings to the table as much as it was about the minutes. If you play 35+ mins and only manage to amass 9 pts and 5 assts, i think there's room to question whether the individual needs to play that much. Maybe he can get the same numbers in 25 mins and we can give the 10 extra mins to a Young and hungry player. But it's definitely a double edged sword, having to balance the responsibilities as a distributor on a team that is just thrown together. It's much easier when the ball's in your hands to just go with it. That's where all of the veteran leadership and savvy Kirk has comes into play. but I'll definitely settle for the 19 and 9.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | December 28, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Just to be clear, a month or two ago when Kirk was having games like 10pts, 9assts, people said Kirk wasn't doing enough.

I was saying back then he was getting 25mins of production in 38mins of court time. That's pretty much continued to be the norm and last night was no different. 15pts in the 1st half, 4pts on 4FGAs in the 2nd half. That type of lopsided production is very typical, and imo it's obvious that fatigue is a large factor. Questionable coaching on Flip's part to make KH the focal point of the team, but then not allow him enough rest to perform late in the game. Why such short rotations for a lousy team that can't win a game anyway?

Worst case imo, soon Flip will have KH, RLewis, and JHoward all at 34mins/night and our supposed youth movement will be stuck in the mud.

Posted by: divi3 | December 28, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

"John Wall stepped off the bench and dropped 6 dimes, josh howard even gave us 2 off the bench."

And between the two of them they shot 7-20 and had 4 turnovers. Don't suppose that had anything to do with the outcome of the game, huh? (And I wonder how many of those assists were to Hinrich?)

"Kirk could've been better last night IMHO."

Everyone could have been better, which makes this absurd obsession with Hinrich, well . . . absurd. There are any number of things any number of players could or couldn't have done that would have improved the chances of a win, chief among them actually making shots. Which would, of course, have taken care of at least a couple of Hinrich's assist "issues."

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 28, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

...but this coach is not helping the young guys develop. Same mistakes over and over and over. Eventually you gotta wonder if they are coached poorly, or just uncoachable. Posted by: Eckertae

...Personally I dont think Flip wants to be here at all and doesnt like being associated with such a bad team. Almost all of his comments distance himself from the outcome of these games, as if he is watching subpar players lose games that he has no control over. Posted by: divi3

From my perspective, Flip seems less than emotionally invested in the performance of this team. Unlike, say, Avery Johnson of the NJ Nets, he appears to be just going through the motions. I understand they have very different personalities, but I see very little emotive force in his coaching style that would inspire a young team to transcend their obvious limitations.

Posted by: bazookajoe1 | December 28, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

"but I see very little emotive force in his coaching style that would inspire a young team to transcend their obvious limitations."

Posted by: bazookajoe1 | December 28, 2010 4:26 PM

The Nets are 9 and 20 (two games better than Washington), with a recent All-Star at PG and one of the best up and coming young C's in the game. I don't see a whole lot of "transcending" going on out in Newark.

I think AJ is a good coach but, as a general rule, the quality of what someone has to say can't be measured by how loudly he says it.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 28, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

No one has ever brought up the possibility that in NY's past stints of playing time, maybe he passed players the ball but the missed their shots, thus accounting for his meager assist avgs over the years. But when a reputed set up man, veteran true point guard fails to tally an assist it's everybody else missing shots. Check the stats, Kirk was only looking for Kirk last night. The only guy who shot more than Kirk last night was Lewis annd he played 5 more mins than Hinrich. It's laughable to watch as some of you twist and turn and spin facts. OUR STARTING PG FINISHED THE GAME WITH NO ASSTS. UNACCEPTABLE. 19 pts on 15 shots and no assts and you want me to look elswhere. Only 1 starter (McGee) didn't score in double digits. In fact only 3 people who played didn't get in doubles (Cowboy Al and Books). Guys seemed like they could put the ball in the basket, just maybe not as efficiently as folks woulda liked. If that's why Kirk stopped looking for guys then that's on him.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | December 28, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

LeBron comments are ignorant with respect to expansion franchises like Miami. But even more absurdly he seems oblivious about hard-fought labor concession for things like unrestricted FREE AGENCY. LeBron would have played out his career in Cleveland for a lot less money if LeBron 1980s version had been around to undermine the CBA negotiations in 1988 as he seems to be doing now.

Does he really think that pushing management's talking points STRENGTHENS the bargaining position of players? I guess he's got his, but man what a wanker.

Posted by: JPRS | December 28, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: JPRS | December 28, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

or he feels the game is watered down like all the superstars from................(wait for it).............the 80's complained about years ago. In fact contraction may be a better way of quality control than age limits or dress codes ever could be.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | December 28, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

I was saying back then he was getting 25mins of production in 38mins of court time.
Posted by: divi3

See Kirk? Just average 19 and 9 and they'll get off your back (probably).

Posted by: ts35 | December 28, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

"No one has ever brought up the possibility that in NY's past stints of playing time, maybe he passed players the ball but the missed their shots, thus accounting for his meager assist avgs over the years."

Because anyone who actually watched him play knew that wasn't the case. He never got assists because he never passed the ball.

"But when a reputed set up man, veteran true point guard fails to tally an assist it's everybody else missing shots."

He's not a true PG and never really has been. He's always been a combo guard, a fact borne out last night by the fact that he played the majority of his minutes at SG not PG. And when a team shoots 40% from the field, that's usually a sign that everyone is missing shots. Which they were.

"Check the stats . . ."

I prefer to actually watch the games. (Although god only knows why. The stats are often just as entertaining to look at.)

". . . Kirk was only looking for Kirk last night."

Okay, just for you, I checked the stats. Oddly enough, ESPN, NBA. com, and SI.com all seemed to leave out the "looking only for himself" stats.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 28, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

No one has ever brought up the possibility that in NY's past stints of playing time, maybe he passed players the ball but the missed their shots, thus accounting for his meager assist avgs over the years. But when a reputed set up man, veteran true point guard fails to tally an assist it's everybody else missing shots.
Posted by: lilhollywood10

Yes, because those two things are equal....a career long trend of low-to-no-assists compared to a one-game statistical anomaly (I mean it's not like KH was averaging 9 assists a game since Gil was traded or anything....).

It is funny that you mentioned that though. Since earlier in the season when Nick's last of assists was a big discussion topic, I always watch when he passes to someone for a shot. If they miss it, I actually do think about them costing Nick a dime.

Kirk obviously didn't have his best game setting up players, it happens. The team shooting 40% doesn't help, but it is odd that he didn't get one dime. But to focus on that issue just seems silly when a) it wasn't a problem when they were building their lead and b) they were so many other things that went wrong down the stretch.

Posted by: ts35 | December 28, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

"If that's why Kirk stopped looking for guys then that's on him."

Sure it is. But, you do realize of course, that simply saying that does not in any way actually support the argument that his lack of assists was the only or even primary reason they lost the game, right?

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 28, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: ts35 | December 28, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse
the only reason this "issue" has become a focal point is because folks wanna deny it's significance in a winnable game that resulted in a franchise record setting losing streak being established. NO, Kirk was not the reason, but when a guy is avging 9 assts per game against teams like the Lakers and Heat it kinda sticks out that he didn't log one dime against houston. i guess we can talk about the team shooting 40%, but a bad shooting night across the board?With the exception of Lewis and McGee, all the starters were close to 50%. Maybe a lil more effort by the pg to get the ball to guys mighta changed their fortunes.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | December 28, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

"If that's why Kirk stopped looking for guys then that's on him."

Sure it is. But, you do realize of course, that simply saying that does not in any way actually support the argument that his lack of assists was the only or even primary reason they lost the game, right?

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 28, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

who said that it was the primary reason for the loss?????????????I'll wait.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | December 28, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

The Nets are 9 and 20 (two games better than Washington), with a recent All-Star at PG and one of the best up and coming young C's in the game. I don't see a whole lot of "transcending" going on out in Newark.

I think AJ is a good coach but, as a general rule, the quality of what someone has to say can't be measured by how loudly he says it. Posted by: kalo_rama

Agreed on all points -- except -- I used the example of Avery Johnson simply because he is in a similar position as Flip, yet appears very engaged with his team to help maximize their efforts. IMO, that type of engagement is woefully lacking in Flip Saunders. Flip Saunders inaction during critical junctures of close games, which seems to go unnoticed by some, is an example of this point (Exhibit A: Wiz/Heat game). I think a more engaged coach, AJ for example, is likely to be more alert to such possible game-changing, in-game adjustments than Flip has shown.

Posted by: bazookajoe1 | December 28, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

"who said that it was the primary reason for the loss?????????????I'll wait."

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | December 28, 2010 5:02 PM

The fact that you've devoted so much time and emotional energy to deriding his performance says that. If that's not what you think, then what possible impetus is there for your obvious insane rage over his lack of assists? If you really thought he was no more responsible than anyone else, then you'd at least acknowledge that other people had a hand in the loss, instead off obsessing over Hinrich.

I wait expectantly for the inevitable tap dancing.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 28, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

"Agreed on all points -- except -- I used the example of Avery Johnson simply because he is in a similar position as Flip, yet appears very engaged with his team to help maximize their efforts."

Posted by: bazookajoe1 | December 28, 2010 5:03 PM

Appearances are just that. Appearances. Just because Johnson looks like he's doing more doesn't mean he actually is. (To quote John Wooden by way of Bill Walton "Never mistake activity for accomplishment.") AJ's not getting any better results than Saunders, so there's really no basis for saying that his style is any more effective. Regardless of how "engaged" he may look.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 28, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Everyone could have been better, which makes this absurd obsession with Hinrich, well . . . absurd.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 28, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

So why are you, Samson151, Blurred, Ernie, and Flip obsessed with an average combo guard?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | December 28, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

"Maybe a lil more effort by the pg to get the ball to guys mighta changed their fortunes."

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | December 28, 2010 5:01 PM

Oh no. That's not blaming Hinrich for the loss at all. Nosireebob. Can't imaggine where that notion came from.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 28, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

The WoW stuff indicates that Kirk, Nick, and Javale have been the team's best players. I think pretty much everybody would agree with KH and Nick and the stats confirm it. So perhaps Javale does more than he gets credit for... Posted by: divi3

Why are you looking at stats that say the Wizards best players are two borderline starters? That's just depressing. And using that to argue that the Wizards' are losing games because Javale is on the bench? Seems to be a bit of a disconnect there.

Posted by: djnnnou | December 28, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

"From my perspective, Flip seems less than emotionally invested in the performance of this team. Unlike, say, Avery Johnson of the NJ Nets, he appears to be just going through the motions"

Well, Avery Johnson is noted for his fiery temperament. You could have picked others who aren't -- like Phil Jackson. Same thing in the college ranks -- choleric Bobby Knight vs phlegmatic Coach K. Ironic that Flip gets called out here for being too hard on his players (or rather, just a couple of his players who have their own fan base). Flip's also been criticized (in his previous stops, for instance) for failing to crack the whip.

I think the difference in the Nets this season (just IMO) is twofold.

First, they're better --healthier, more experienced, more talented, better coached -- than last season.

Second, they had underachieved so badly last season -- going from 34 wins all the way down to 12, in the wake of the Vince Carter/ Ryan Anderson trade -- that this season's improvement is magnified.

Maybe something similar will happen to the Wiz.

Meanwhile, the Nets just lost to Orlando at home, 104-88. Dwight Howard has declared that the Arenas and Richardson trades are a smashing success and that finally the Magic have 'players who want to win.'

Posted by: Samson151 | December 28, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

"No one has ever brought up the possibility that in NY's past stints of playing time, maybe he passed players the ball but the missed their shots, thus accounting for his meager assist avgs over the years." Posted by: lilhollywood10"

Well, you just did. I suppose we could all go back and see whether Nick was actually making great passes but his teammates couldn't hit the broad side of the Old Post Office Bldg. But are you mainly worried about Nick being disrespected, or the Wiz being able to pull out the occasional close game?

Things that would have helped the Wiz last night -- some options:
1. Played better defense on those long 3 pointers in the fourth.
2. Played better defense on Aaron Brooks, per John Wall.
2. Contrived not to send the Rockets to the line all those times late in the game.
3. Hit a couple of threes themselves in the final minutes (instead of 2's)
4. Gone to the line more at game's end and hit the FTs.
5. Kirk Hinrich could have come up with 8 assists to go with his team-leading 19 points and his 5 boards.

Of course, then people would have to criticize him for not doing that every game...

Posted by: Samson151 | December 28, 2010 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Oops, that was 6 things...

Posted by: Samson151 | December 28, 2010 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Appearances are just that. Appearances. Just because Johnson looks like he's doing more doesn't mean he actually is. (To quote John Wooden by way of Bill Walton "Never mistake activity for accomplishment.") AJ's not getting any better results than Saunders, so there's really no basis for saying that his style is any more effective. Regardless of how "engaged" he may look.
Posted by: kalo_rama

Agreed again -- except -- In this instance, overall record is not a defining or overarching consideration (I'll explore that point in greater depth in a follow up post, possibly). Talent and other factors are also significant. In many respects both AJ and Flip are "playing the hand" they've been dealt -- I conclude that Flip is currently playing his "hand" miserably. I suggest that his lack of engagement, among other things, is a critical factor in that regard.

Consider instead HOW each team may have arrived at their poor record. For purposes of comparative evaluation, that may be a more useful exercise to better contrast coaching (in)effectiveness and style -- but, that is not my point. I contend that the Wizards have had several late game collapses, and subsequent losses, that possibly could have been avoided with more effective coaching strategy. A more engaged coach, I believe, could very well have been the difference between victory and defeat in those close losses.

Posted by: bazookajoe1 | December 28, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Thank God that my appreciation and satisfaction as a fan during a tough rebuilding period does not hinge on me ragging incessantly on the veteran leadership players, nor on the developing young players, nor on the coach, nor on the GM. For that matter, thank God that my view of the game is similar to Chenier's: matter of factly recognize the shortcomings, appreciate the bright spots, don't try to prove to anyone that I am the most negative, nor the most enlightened, human being on the face of the earth.

Posted by: ragtop4spd | December 28, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

"...both AJ and Flip are "playing the hand" they've been dealt -- I conclude that Flip is currently playing his "hand" miserably. I suggest that his lack of engagement, among other things, is a critical factor in that regard." posted by bazookajoe

LOL you can suggest it all you want, but I don't know how you'd go about proving it. Are you planning to try?

Couldn't we as easily 'suggest' that a more patient, undemonstrative coach than Flip 'could very well have been the difference between victory and defeat in those close losses'?

Sure we could. Since we haven't proved either, we could just pick an explanation.

By the way, the Nets took one on the chin against Orlando at home. Does that mean that Avery fell down on the job?

Posted by: Samson151 | December 28, 2010 7:49 PM | Report abuse

"..Personally I dont think Flip wants to be here at all and doesnt like being associated with such a bad team. Almost all of his comments distance himself from the outcome of these games, as if he is watching subpar players lose games that he has no control over. Posted by: divi3"

Surely Flip knew what was going to happen when the season started. He'd been at practice and preseason. He had to know he didn't have the talent to compete for a playoff spot. He had to know Gilbert wanted out, bad. He knew Blatche was struggling through rehab and Howard was a long ways from ready. He knew the team was soft inside -- heck, Ernie had been telling us that since before the draft, had we but listened.

Instead, many fans were busy dreaming of playoff spots. So it goes in the world of pro sports.

All in all, I'm sure Flip, Sam Cassell, Gene Banks, et al, would rather have been in Dallas, Boston, or LA, struggling to find minutes for all that talent. Just like Kirk probably wished he was still in Chicago playing alonside Derrick Rose. And Rashard and Josh no doubt wish from time to time they could be back with the Magic or Mavs.

Not to be.

So I'm hoping our young team takes advantage of its few veterans to develop the good habit of playing defense and playing together, and I don't mind if we don't win too many close games because it might just shove us farther back in the lottery. And there aren't that many good players waiting as is.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 28, 2010 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Because our few mature vets may not be with us next year, right?

Posted by: Samson151 | December 28, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

the only reason this "issue" has become a focal point is because folks wanna deny it's significance in a winnable game that resulted in a franchise record setting losing streak being established. NO, Kirk was not the reason, but when a guy is avging 9 assts per game against teams like the Lakers and Heat it kinda sticks out that he didn't log one dime against houston. i guess we can talk about the team shooting 40%, but a bad shooting night across the board?With the exception of Lewis and McGee, all the starters were close to 50%. Maybe a lil more effort by the pg to get the ball to guys mighta changed their fortunes.

Posted by: lilhollywood10

Perhaps. Perhaps not having our two bigs shooting 15+ ft jumpers instead of working closer to the hoop might have changed their fortunes too. Perhaps making their FTs in the 4th, perhaps playing better D, especially on non-scorers like Battier and Hill, perhaps not having more TOs than baskets late in the 4th, perhaps if KH doesn't foul Brooks on the 3ptr, yada yada yada.

So, somehow the Wiz are able to build a lead through 3 quarters without KH having an assist, but it's suddenly a compelling factor in them losing the game in the 4th (when he wasn't handling the ball as much as Wall). I think you're looking at a result and trying too hard to infer a cause.

By the way, I love the 'Aside from 2/5ths of the starters who woulnd't have hit water if they fell out of boat last night, the rest of the starters were *close* to 50%'. As in, no one shot the ball well. No one on the Wizards shot 50% for the game. No one.

Posted by: ts35 | December 28, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

LOL you can suggest it all you want, but I don't know how you'd go about proving it. Are you planning to try... Posted by: Samson151

Did my use of the term "engaged" confuse you? Was there not sufficient context? Here's a working definition for you - Engaged: to be actively involved; awareness resulting in responsive action. To clarify even further for you, I'll use it in a paragraph:

After Chris Bosh made 3 free throws to narrow the Wizards lead to one with seconds remaining, a less than engaged Flip Saunders left it up to Blatche to inbound the ball under the Heat basket. Blatche forced a pass to Young that Young wasn't expecting and fumbled.

HTH

Posted by: bazookajoe1 | December 28, 2010 9:59 PM | Report abuse

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