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Posted at 9:58 PM ET, 01/17/2011

On odd afternoon, Wizards get first quality win

By Michael Lee

How am I doing, Deron? (AP Photo By Alex Brandon)


Wait, was that really JaVale McGee working a give-and-go with Andray Blatche and collecting an assist? Was that really Blatche chasing down Raja Bell to slap a layup off the glass? And was that Nick Young shrugging off the defense of Bell and Andrei Kirilenko to score 22 points in the second half?

It was a strange afternoon at Verizon Center, where the Washington Wizards beat the Utah Jazz 108-101 and recorded their first win over a team with a winning record this season. But the biggest surprise isn't just the final result over a team that arrived in Washington tied with Oklahoma City for the third-best record in the Western Conference. Check this out: The Wizards led the game for all but 72 seconds.

"Very rarely are you able to play a Utah team and control from beginning to end and I thought we pretty much did that," Coach Flip Saunders said.

Considering how the past two games turned out, the Jazz would probably prefer that the NBA schedule it elsewhere on the Martin Luther King holiday. The last time Utah was here, Gilbert Arenas scored 51 points and made the game-winning three-pointer, turning around and lifting his arms before the ball hit the next. This time around, John Wall was a composed, calming influence in the second half, as he finally held up his end of the bargain in a matchup against an elite point guard in Deron Williams.

Derrick Rose, Steve Nash and Chris Paul had all gotten the best of him, statistically and in the win column. But while Williams had 28 points and 11 assists, Wall had 19 points and a career-high 15 assists, maturely refusing to get too caught up in a duel. "To me, he is the best point guard in the league that can shoot it, find his teammates and he never really gets rattled," Wall said of Williams. "He stays in his own comfort zone and does what he wants to do. I tried to not get in a one-on-one battle, but just do the best to help my team and I thought I did a great job of that."

Williams hugged Wall after the game and told him to get healthy and keep getting better. He then praised Wall in the locker room. "I've been impressed with the kid since he was there in Kentucky. He's playing great this year. He's definitely one of the best point guards of the game already," Williams said. "He played well, picked us apart with his passing, scored what he needed to and hit free throws down the stretch. He's one of the fastest, quickest guys. He's a smart point guard, he knows how to get others involved, and he's going to be in his league for a long time and be one of the tough point guards for a long time."

Unlike the past two games, when Wall was reluctant to take jumpers or shot them as if he was hoping that they'd fall, the No. 1 overall pick got his feet a little higher off the ground on his jumpers. Wall had problems with turnovers in the first half, as he often wildly tried to drive through double-and-triple teams and lost the ball six times. But in the second half, Wall settled down to help the Wizards take a big lead and later close out the Jazz.

"I think it shows a little bit more maturity with our point guard, especially with John being a rookie, that he controlled the pace of the game," Rashard Lewis said. "He's learning how to change speeds and not go one speed at a time. You've got to have more than one gear and he did a good job of that."


What? You're really just going to dunk on me like that, JaVale? (Photo by Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

Blatche is the only Wizard on the roster for Arenas's heroics in 2007 and offered a suggestion after what is easily the best win of the season, considering the quality of the opponent and how the team responded to a late run. "I wish the rest of them were 1 o'clock games," Blatche said after scoring 21 points with 11 rebounds and four blocked shots.

The early start time appeared to work in their favor of the Wizards against the Jazz, since the game was 11 a.m. in Salt Lake City. But the Wizards had to feel pretty good about their changes early, when McGee fed Blatche for an early layup in the first quarter.

McGee entered the game with just 15 assists, and Saunders has often complained about how his 7-foot center looks to shoot every time he touches the ball, no matter where he gets it. I still find a play last week in Minnesota as the most amusing example of McGee playing with blinders. Wall got trapped and threw the ball to McGee above the three-point line. Wall clapped and called for the ball two times as McGee swooped down the lane for a layup. Wall shrugged afterward and said to himself, "Okay."

McGee had one assist in his past 11 games, but he matched his season-high with two, which meant that he finished with five times his season average. It was the first time all season that McGee had more assists than blocked shots (one).

But McGee's most memorable play wasn't a pass but rather a dunk, as he and Wall connected for a ridiculous alley-oop in the third quarter. Wall just threw the ball toward the basket and McGee went and got it. "That was insane," Wall said.

Rashard Lewis continues to quietly provide a boost for this young team, as he took one shot in the first half, and scored 13 points in the third period, after Saunders ripped his players at halftime for not looking for him. "Rashard's been huge for us," Saunders said. "When he gets going, it opens things up for everybody else."

He certainly opened things up for Young, who was held to just three points in the first half, but took advantage of a favorable matchup against the shorter Ronnie Price and got into a groove where the physical play of Bell couldn't ruffle him.

Young has scored at least 20 points in seven of his eight home starts, and is becoming a more reliable go-to-guy, as he hit a clutch three-pointer with 40.9 seconds remaining. He is averaging 20.3 points in 15 games since Arenas was traded. The Wizards are 6-9 in those games; 6-3 at home.

"With Nick, it's been a two-year process," Saunders said. "He's gone through times where he struggled, because he couldn't keep his concentration level. But he had a great summer. He worked hard. When the season ended, he made a conscious effort to hit the weights and get stronger. When we had Gilbert here, at the time, I thought he was playing better than Gilbert."

When asked if this win could be called the best of the season, Young smiled and said, "You can. We got a lot more to go," "We're playing with confidence, playing with chemistry. We got to continue to stay on this run. Hopefully, we can continue this winning streak and get more wins."

By Michael Lee  | January 17, 2011; 9:58 PM ET
Categories:  Andray Blatche, Flip Saunders, JaVale McGee, John Wall, Nick Young, Rashard Lewis  
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Next: Wizards focused on snapping road losing streak (again)

Comments

after Saunders ripped his players at halftime for not looking for him. "Rashard's been huge for us," Saunders said. "When he gets going, it opens things up for everybody else."

typical Saunders...Wizards up by 3 at halftime and won by 7...they scored 1 more point after Lewis opened things up for everybody else?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 17, 2011 10:23 PM | Report abuse

"Howard &/or insert name here ________ missed the first 24 games &/or 1st half of season/entire season/career ending/select 1 insert here: _________ (never)recovering from knee surgery to repair a torn left anterior cruciate ligament &/or click on drop down box for listing of additional ailments insert here ______________."

insert name here _________ was pulled over on Wisconsin Ave. last night regarding a DUI/DWI/Carrying multiple (un-licensed) hand guns &/or click on drop down box for listing of WMD's insert here ___________.

In other news The Wiz will select 7th in this years NBA Draft Lottery when their ping pong ball mysteriously, click on drop down box for choice of dissapeared/exploded/was assaulted by the Sacramento Kings ping pong ball/pulled a Hammy prior to being sucked up the intake pipeline; insert here _____________. Finally did we mention The Lakers & Kobe Bryant are coming to town! Kobe has Flu like symptoms though and will not play against the Wizards / Le boulez' but Allen Iverson who recently signed a 3 day contract with LA is expected to torch The Wiz for 61 pts. 11 boards & 10 assists arriving at the Phone Booth 1 hour after landing on his flight in town from Turkey. Iverson, who had a bad piece of fish on the flight overseas & himself has stomach flu like symptoms will attend a postgame practice ("Practice?! are we talkin bout Practice?!") to sign vintage Gtown Hoya jersey's and Memphis Grizzly collectables...

This 'sound-bite' should be painted on the lecturn below any new player joining 'The Wiz / Le Boulez' via a trade & being introduced to the media day 1.


Posted by: Zipfutbol | January 17, 2011 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Saunders said...When we had Gilbert here, at the time, I thought Nick was playing better than Gilbert.

But Flip played Gil 35 mpg versus NY 22 mpg?

Flip must have thought nick was playing better than Kirk since Kirk started ahead of Nick for the first 24 games?

Maybe one of the Flip's apologist can explain why?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 17, 2011 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Even on the day the team earns a quality win and shows that it's clearly improving, bf78 has to hate.

By the way bf78, the wizards dropped 42 pts in the first half, 66 in the second half. Maybe, just maybe, your criticism of Saunders regarding his halftime message of Rashard Lewis' impact is unfounded. Just maybe.

Posted by: psps23 | January 17, 2011 11:29 PM | Report abuse

I think with the current roster and the way Flip coaches the rotations it hampers the effectiveness of the backcourt.

For instance Flip still likes to get by on rotating his centers off the floor thereby going small.

What I would do is look at McGee and Armstrong and Serephin, getting all the center minutes. Let Blatche, Yi, and even Booker play the four. Let Lewis play the three along with Thornton.

Let Hinrich back up Wall only. Try Martin behind Young.

This lineup would put less emphases on the guard play and more emphases on a big game.

I swear, when I see Yi or Blatche playing center and Lewis at he four, I go WTF.

Flip has got to start to let the centers anchor this team for better or worse. McGee has got to have more consistent minutes and then bring in Armstrong/Serephin to replace him, not Yi or Blatche. Let Yi play behing Blatche for crying out loud.

Lewis at the three mostly gives us an advantage at that position with mostly anyone.

We see what Young is doing at the two. Let Martin see if he can play behind Young.

Reduce Hinrich's role to backing up Wall only. Making things simple and defined and constant/regular may be all the spice you need.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 17, 2011 11:43 AM

I posted the above this morning. When I saw the Wizs with a 10 point lead and McGee sent to the bench and being replaced by Hinrich, I went WTF.

Then when Utah seemingly was going to give us that same nightmare we have been enduring down the stretch, Flip must have finally woke his arse up out of that nightmarish dream and that pitiful coaching he has been doing and put McGee back in the game.

What does it take for this guy? Jeez Louise!

Can you Flip supporters really understand how weak this Team is when Flip goes with that no account small ball strategy. McGee making mistakes along with the positives that he brings to the floor is much further along than Flip's small ball strategy. How can Flip not see this?

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 17, 2011 11:32 PM | Report abuse

1st half: Rashard 0 points; Wiz 42 points

2nd half: Rashard 13 points; Wiz 66 points.

Posted by: rbelleisle | January 17, 2011 11:38 PM | Report abuse

I like McGee, especially as a developing talent, but he's a young, asthmatic big who plays better when he's not playing heavy minutes for a center.

I don't particularly like Armstrong, but I would love to see more Seraphin action.

Saunders certainly isn't perfect, but there's a method to his madness. A lot of it has to do with the limits of this roster.

Posted by: psps23 | January 17, 2011 11:39 PM | Report abuse

Even on the day the team earns a quality win and shows that it's clearly improving, bf78 has to hate.

By the way bf78, the wizards dropped 42 pts in the first half, 66 in the second half. Maybe, just maybe, your criticism of Saunders regarding his halftime message of Rashard Lewis' impact is unfounded. Just maybe.

Posted by: psps23 | January 17, 2011 11:29 PM | Report abuse

psps23

the Jazz dropped 39 pts in the first half, 62 in the second half. Maybe, just maybe, my criticism of Saunders regarding his halftime message of Rashard Lewis' impact is founded.

Maybe the fact that neither team plays a lot of games at that starting time it took both team a little while to get into the grove. Just maybe?

Even on the day the team earns a quality win and shows that it's clearly improving, Flip has to hate towards rookies (see the Nick comments).

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 17, 2011 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Is that two wins in a row? And a win against a worthy opponant? Are the baby WIZARDS stepping up? Stay tuned for three in a row?

Posted by: glawrence007 | January 17, 2011 11:46 PM | Report abuse

bulletsfan78:

Hate on bro.

Posted by: glawrence007 | January 17, 2011 11:49 PM | Report abuse

"Saunders certainly isn't perfect, but there's a method to his madness. A lot of it has to do with the limits of this roster.
Posted by: psps23"

That's a fair statement.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 17, 2011 11:49 PM | Report abuse

"Even on the day the team earns a quality win and shows that it's clearly improving, Flip has to hate towards rookies (see the Nick comments).Posted by: bulletsfan78"

Even on the day the team earns a quality win and shows that it's clearly improving, bf78 has to hate towards Flip (see pretty much everything he posts).

Posted by: Samson151 | January 17, 2011 11:52 PM | Report abuse

I was listening to 106 The Fan around noonish today and I hear these two blokes talking about the Wizards and how Wall is the only untouchable on the Team and we can trade out everyoneelse.

Lord, for the life of me, what do folks not know or understand about building a team. If you trade out everybody...didn't we sorta just do that...did we really get anything in return except for Lewis and we traded out the franchise for him.

One guy was going on that now since Young is playing his best we should trade him quick for whatever we can get.

I be doggone, them guys is getting paid and most bloggers here got more sense than them. It'd be nice to get someone to pay us.

Can we work on that somehow? I think this blog site does a better job than some of them talk shows on the radio.

Samson151, how did you finagle your check?

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 17, 2011 11:54 PM | Report abuse

not to nitpick but this is the 2nd team that we beat that has a winning record portland is 21-20 and had brandon roy when we beat them, bf78 is an idiot who probably wasnt born in 78

Posted by: billy12 | January 17, 2011 11:56 PM | Report abuse

"I was listening to 106 The Fan around noonish today..." posted by LarryInClintonMD

Stop right there. Next time you get the impulse to listen to talk radio, smack yourself twice in the face. At least the pain will be short-lived.

Much of what graces this blog is unadulterated partisan horse-puckey, but it's still above what you get on a radio call-in show.

OK, maybe not bf78.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 17, 2011 11:58 PM | Report abuse

Even on the day the team earns a quality win and shows that it's clearly improving, Flip has to hate towards rookies (see the Nick comments).
Posted by: bulletsfan78

"With Nick, it's been a two-year process," Saunders said. "He's gone through times where he struggled, because he couldn't keep his concentration level. But he had a great summer. He worked hard. When the season ended, he made a conscious effort to hit the weights and get stronger. When we had Gilbert here, at the time, I thought he was playing better than Gilbert."

where's the hate? looks to me like only praise.

Posted by: MinuMang | January 18, 2011 12:12 AM | Report abuse

bf78 is an idiot who probably wasnt born in 78

Posted by: billy12 | January 17, 2011 11:56 PM | Report abuse

billy12

Who said I was born in 78?

The reason I chose bf78 is because I am a Bullets fan (they will always be the Bullets to me) and 78 is because I have suffered being a fan of this team since then.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 18, 2011 12:23 AM | Report abuse

When we had Gilbert here, at the time, I thought he was playing better than Gilbert."

where's the hate? looks to me like only praise.

Posted by: MinuMang | January 18, 2011 12:12 AM | Report abuse

Actions speak louded them words...

Gil 35 mpg versus NY 22 mpg

sounds like Flip is cover his backside...

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 18, 2011 12:28 AM | Report abuse

NICK will be playing in front of his oldest brother, grand mothers, uncles, aunts,nieces, and cousins, so you no Milwaukee in trouble, they all live there.

Posted by: maejude | January 18, 2011 12:36 AM | Report abuse

You guys can believe my posts are based on hate which is fine because you are going to think whatever you want...

I make my post on what I believe is true.

Last year I wrote is was a mistake to trade the 5th pick and not draft Blair because I knew the Wizards could never win with Gil, DS, BTH, AJ and CB...guess what I was right...

Did anyone other then LarryInClintonMD admit I was right after Ernie traded away the team and started to rebuild?

NO!

Now because I believe Flip and Ernie aren't the right guys to take the team in the right direction the same people say I am wrong again?

If Wall, NY, AB, JM and a SF take the team beyond the 1st round I will be the first to admit I was wrong...3 years from now if Ernie is trading away his guys again because they didn't get beyond the 1st round will anyone admit I was right?

No! Instead you will make up an excuse.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 18, 2011 12:38 AM | Report abuse

"Actions speak louded them words...

Gil 35 mpg versus NY 22 mpg

sounds like Flip is cover his backside..."

Because it isn't at all conceivable that Saunders was playing Arenas in an effort to show that he might be worth acquiring by a contending team or anything.

You're right actions DO speak louder than words. Gil was dealt, Young's still here and since Rashard Lewis has been here, everybody in the organization has done nothing but praise the guy.

Sit down, man.

Posted by: NotoriousREG | January 18, 2011 1:55 AM | Report abuse

Blatche played a good game, we won. We have a longer taller lineup, we win. Makes you wonder where we would be if Blatche had put in some effort in the other games and Saunders had stayed away from the 3 guard lineups. Now will Wall be given time to heal up, he was quoted yesterday as saying twice, my hand is hurting. He also was observed as not being able to elevate on a shot the game before. Are we killing this kid, or is he OK now. His competitive spirit just may be making him play when he is not healthy. Coach should not let a rookie make that decision. We just got lost Howard, playing him before he is ready. Good game all around, just pointing to obvious issues.

Posted by: 1bmffwb | January 18, 2011 2:11 AM | Report abuse

Because it isn't at all conceivable that Saunders was playing Arenas in an effort to show that he might be worth acquiring by a contending team or anything.

Posted by: NotoriousREG | January 18, 2011 1:55 AM | Report abuse

Then why didn't Young get Kirk's mins?

Flip started Kirk 22 out of the first 24 games?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 18, 2011 2:14 AM | Report abuse

Flip has to hate towards rookies (see the Nick comments).
Posted by: bulletsfan78

Is Nick a rookie?

Posted by: ts35 | January 18, 2011 2:29 AM | Report abuse

@Larry,

For reference, it's equally painful when the boys on 980 (John Thompson excluded) talk about hoops. It's a Skins town. Discussion on any other team (when they bother) is usually pretty painful.

Posted by: ts35 | January 18, 2011 2:34 AM | Report abuse

Then why didn't Young get Kirk's mins?

Flip started Kirk 22 out of the first 24 games?

Posted by: bulletsfan78

Hasn't Nick started every game since Gil was traded?

Why are we still talking about this?

Posted by: ts35 | January 18, 2011 2:52 AM | Report abuse

"not to nitpick but this is the 2nd team that we beat that has a winning record portland is 21-20 and had brandon roy when we beat them, bf78 is an idiot who probably wasnt born in 78"

Posted by: billy12 | January 17, 2011 11:56 PM

They didn't have a winning record at the time the Wizards beat them. (They were 8-10 at the time, I believe.) That's the "winning record" Lee is talking about.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 18, 2011 3:04 AM | Report abuse

BTW, the fact that the Blazers are over .500 and still in the playoff hunt w/o Roy is something of a surprise. The Jazz must be regretting letting Wesley Matthews go.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 18, 2011 3:07 AM | Report abuse

For instance Flip still likes to get by on rotating his centers off the floor thereby going small.

What I would do is look at McGee and Armstrong and Serephin, getting all the center minutes. Let Blatche, Yi, and even Booker play the four. Let Lewis play the three along with Thornton.

Let Hinrich back up Wall only. Try Martin behind Young.
Posted by: LarryInClintonMD

I can at least stomach this more than when you used to advocate for AB to play the 3.

I understand, but generally don't like, when Flip goes with the Lewis and AB as the 4/5 combo to close out games. It has to do with offensive execution and guys who can hit shots, but I would generally rather have McGee out there to close out games. Even with his offensive limitations, I think he provides enough other benefits to compensate.

So I'll agree to that extent. As for the rest of it, I'll agree to disagree. I see no need for Armstrong to get minutes, unless they think he's part of the team's future. I don't sense that he is.

Depending on matchups, I don't have problems with AB, Yi or KS getting time at the 5.

At the 4, clearly AB is going to get @ 35 mins a game, meaning that Yi and Booker would have to split 13 mins a game, which doesn't make sense to me. On some level, I'd rather see Booker get those minutes, because I sort of feel like we've seen what we need to see of Yi. But if they still want to see him play, getting Yi time at the 5, or some of AB's time at the 5, makes sense.

With the guards, I'm pretty much ok with their current rotation. Given that Wall is also likely to play 35+ mins a game for the rest of the season (if healthy), limiting Hinrich to strictly backup PG duty limits him to @ 13 mins a game, which is a waste. If they decided that's all he would play, they should trade him.

Martin's a nice kid, decent game, but I don't feel any strong need to get him minutes except for matchup reasons.

Posted by: ts35 | January 18, 2011 3:23 AM | Report abuse

BTW, the fact that the Blazers are over .500 and still in the playoff hunt w/o Roy is something of a surprise. The Jazz must be regretting letting Wesley Matthews go.
Posted by: kalo_rama

As I recall, they knew what they were letting go, but knew their own finances and decided they would be better served spending their money elsewhere.

Having a PG like Williams, an interior presence, and a consistent system makes it much easier to fill in the other pieces. And imo, designated scorer types at SG are among the easiest to find.

Portland is probably feeling pretty fortunate though about signing Matthews to what looked like an unnecessary contract at the time.

Posted by: ts35 | January 18, 2011 3:36 AM | Report abuse

"NICK will be playing in front of his oldest brother, grand mothers, uncles, aunts,nieces, and cousins, so you no Milwaukee in trouble, they all live there.
Posted by: maejude"

If Nick were to play as well on the road as at home, the Wiz would probably already have a couple road wins. Let's hope that happens.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 18, 2011 4:46 AM | Report abuse

One of the CSN TV producers needs to drill it into the heads of Steve Buckhantz and Phil Chenier that when the Wizards play at 1 p.m., it's not nighttime outside. All throughout yesterday's game, the senile Buckhantz kept referring to "tonight" this, "tonight" that, when delivering stats or talking about the game against the Jazz. Chenier and Chris Miller also continuously referred to "tonight's" game. They sound like idiots.

Also, someone tell Buckhantz to stop using the word "collectively" when describing how the Wizards are doing as a team. All you need to say, for example, is "the Wizards are shooting 80% from the FT line." Collectively is freakin' redundant.

Okay, we now return to discussing Wiz issues that really matter.

Posted by: HonestBroker1 | January 18, 2011 5:39 AM | Report abuse

You guys can believe my posts are based on hate which is fine because you are going to think whatever you want...

I make my post on what I believe is true.

Posted by: bulletsfan78


I can't speak for anyone else but I don't believe your posts are based on hate.

I do believe that they are based on (1) ignorance of the team's play on the floor and (2) desire to rile as many other posters as possible while gaining the maximum attention possible.

Like you, "I make my post on what I believe is true."

And now I've finished feeding the troll.

Posted by: nmik | January 18, 2011 8:27 AM | Report abuse

I just wish the "WaPo" editors would do their jobs and stop relying on software or the writers or whatever non-working method they currently are using.
Back in the day this article--and many, many others in recent memory--wouldn't have been accepted until re-written. Just sayin'. You can't do a token re-read? Dang.
And I also wish the Wizahtch would just turn the corner already. This region desperately needs a non-Washington NFL Franchise championship about which to boast. (You hear me, Caps? Just win it already.)

Posted by: WaPoPimp | January 18, 2011 9:19 AM | Report abuse

You guys can believe my posts are based on hate which is fine because you are going to think whatever you want...

I make my post on what I believe is true.

Posted by: bulletsfan78

Bulletsfan 78, I find your posts to be as valid as the staunch defenders of Flip Saunders and Ernie Grunfeld who post as volumnuously as you do. The reality is that the Wizards "braintrust" (Grunfeld and Saunders) to use a Buckhantz moniker have been collectively bad. The emergence of the young players i.e. Blatche last year and Nick Young this year (who is clearly the best player on the team) was more through happenstance rather than some grand player development scheme. As a game coach (who has lost several winnable games in the last minute) and in his handling of players, Saunders has been terrible. Hell he damn near lost the game yesterday with his substitution patterns with McGee.

Going forward, this team needs a new fresh direction if there is to be a rebuilding process that results in a consistent winner.

Posted by: NewManagement | January 18, 2011 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Having a PG like Williams, an interior presence, and a consistent system makes it much easier to fill in the other pieces. And imo, designated scorer types at SG are among the easiest to find."

Posted by: ts35 | January 18, 2011 3:36 AM

And yet, Utah doesn't have one (their current starting SG, Raja Bell, is averaging half as many points as Matthews in basically the same amount of PT).

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 18, 2011 9:53 AM | Report abuse

"I just wish the "WaPo" editors would do their jobs and stop relying on software or the writers or whatever non-working method they currently are using.
Back in the day this article--and many, many others in recent memory--wouldn't have been accepted until re-written. Just sayin'. You can't do a token re-read? Dang.
And I also wish the Wizahtch would just turn the corner already. This region desperately needs a non-Washington NFL Franchise championship about which to boast. (You hear me, Caps? Just win it already.)Posted by: WaPoPimp"

Is it me or does that second paragraph need a rewrite for clarity?

Posted by: Samson151 | January 18, 2011 9:59 AM | Report abuse

So...when AB and Nick get better...it's by pure luck and happenstance.

It couldn't be the coach that everyone hates so much has had Nick, JaVale and AB playing better than ever in his two seasons...because that would mean players would have to...GET BETTER THEMSELVES!

Players couldn't decide in the offseason to focus better, study, eat better, hit the weights and dedicate themselves and maybe change their number and call themselves Seven Day Dray...and COME BACK BETTER?

Nick EARNED his minutes. He's playing better now than ever. He gets to the free throw line, makes good passes and plays defense. This was not always the case. He could always score....some people saw his tools and wanted more from him.

When Boozer got hurt and Milsap balled out...was it because Jerry Sloan was an idiot and got lucky? No.

So pick your poison...either players are improving under Flip...or players got better all by themselves....enjoy that corner you all are backing yourselves into.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | January 18, 2011 10:09 AM | Report abuse

The team had no plans for Nick this season, tried to trade him in July. That;s a FACT. He bulked up because they allotted the SG minutes to KH the moment he was signed. It was written constantly he was an afterthought who would have to scrap for PT against natural 3s in Howard and Thornton.

Now he's the best player on the team. After many fans claimed to see the necessary improvement LAST season. That doesnt mean Flip's coaching didnt help to improve him...but it does mean Flip and EG had no idea how good a player they had. If they did, it wouldnt have taken injuries to get Nick enough PT.

RudyF is a bum, to think they wanted that guy in here while also preaching to fans about defense....pretty absurd.

But it's water under the bridge, let's hope the "new" Nick is the real Nick.

Posted by: divi3 | January 18, 2011 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Because a rumor mill says the Wizards tried to trade him doesn't mean anything like Larry saying we never offered Livingston a contract means nothing.

Improvement...last season under what coach though?

And this Nick...is not like last season. I'm sure his rebounding, free throw attempt and assist career highs are from this season...without even looking.

So if the minutes were all allocated for Kirk and Nick EARNED them? What is the problem? Isn't that what you want players to do? I said that before...make it so the coach CAN'T keep you out of the game.

I still think if Gil would've been healthy...he would have been starting at SG. Besides, I think we all knew what Nick COULD do...but he wasn't doing it like this.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | January 18, 2011 10:33 AM | Report abuse

"The emergence of the young players i.e. Blatche last year and Nick Young this year (who is clearly the best player on the team) was more through happenstance rather than some grand player development scheme."

I don't disagree, but Ernie has to get some credit for drafting them (and McGee), especially since they were later picks.

Posted by: doogiex | January 18, 2011 12:18 PM | Report abuse

"The emergence of the young players i.e. Blatche last year and Nick Young this year (who is clearly the best player on the team) was more through happenstance rather than some grand player development scheme."

and you "know" this how?

(and proclaiming young "clearly the best player on the team"? really? "clearly"? based on what?)

Posted by: MinuMang | January 18, 2011 4:06 PM | Report abuse

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