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Posted at 6:30 PM ET, 01/ 5/2011

Open thread: Wizards (8-24) at 76ers (13-21)

By Gene Wang

Will tonight finally be time for the Wizards to get their first road win? "We'll find out in about three hours," Coach Flip Saunders said. Working in Washington's favor is a roster that's been healthier than at any other time this season. All 14 players practiced yesterday, including guard Kirk Hinrich (left thigh contusion) and swingman Josh Howard (sore left knee). A 15th player, Lester Hudson, practiced yesterday but was waived today. The Wizards also have gotten some big games against the Sixers from John Wall, who had 54 points and 19 assists in two victories over Philadelphia this season. This will be the third matchup this season between Wall and Evan Turner, who was the No. 2 overall pick. Turner has averaged 14 points per game over his past three after averaging 3.4 in his previous 15.

Let the conversation begin in the thread below. You can also join the conversation on Twitter with Gene Wang (@gene_wang). See your tweets here by using #wizards.

Tipoff: 7 p.m.; TV: CSN; Radio: 106.7 FM.

Check out a live box score from tonight's game here.





By Gene Wang  | January 5, 2011; 6:30 PM ET
Categories:  John Wall  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: JaVale McGee is officially in dunk contest; Lester Hudson waived
Next: John Wall continues to excel against 76ers

Comments

Damn, IDK why but for some reason I was thinking this game was at home. Oh welll, we’re still relatively healthy and due for a good road win. Wall usually bounces back with big games & low turnovers after a couple of bad ones. He should have the rust off now and was flying around at practice so I expect good things but Holliday is pretty good also. Philly is looking alot better of late so it should be interesting. I think the key guy could be Lewis. He’s due for a hot night and he could cause matchup problems if he ever gets on track. I say the few days of practice helps and he shoots very well.

As for the dunk contest, I actually thought McGee may be in it. The funny thing is that no one in the NBA ever wants to participate but NY has volunteered every year and never gets a call, probably because he isnt good enough. Now though he’s starting and putting up big numbers. Just invite 5 guys and let NY get in.

I will say this though, this is by far the best group theyve had in years. We all know what Javale & Blake can do but for those who dont know, Jennings gets up for a lil dude and Ibaka has springs in his legs. Should be good comp

Posted by: dlts2041 | January 5, 2011 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Nice to have a healthy team!

Like what I'm seeing so far. Like the starting 5, like Hinrich & Howard off the bench. Good to see Seraphin get some run.

REgardless what happens this game, if this is what we can get going with some consistancy we will start winning some games.

Posted by: Darnell1 | January 5, 2011 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Let's all get excited and giddy over McGee being in the dunk contest just like many on here got so excited when Seraphin and Booker played 7 good minutes against the Lakers and labeled phenomenal draft picks based on those very same 7 minutes!
Ernie isn't that bad after all if one Wizard is participating in the all star events.

Posted by: Utilityman1 | January 5, 2011 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Also gotta wonder if Hudson was waived because about to make a trade & need the roster spot for a 1 for 2 or 2 for 3 deal?

Posted by: Darnell1 | January 5, 2011 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Also gotta wonder if Hudson was waived because about to make a trade & need the roster spot for a 1 for 2 or 2 for 3 deal?

Posted by: Darnell1 | January 5, 2011 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Thornton & Booker in... team looking good, come back to take the lead! Good 1st half, keep it up!

Posted by: Darnell1 | January 5, 2011 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Can't help but be frustrated. Love Blatche's abilities but he just can't seem to keep his basketball head straight. Why does it seem that at 7' he is always shooting around the 3 and 6'-8" guys left around the rim to watch other teams bigs grab rebounds. He will finish with 18-20 points but just never seem to play consistant. Won't challenge other teams aggresive bigs. Like I said, love his skills but his head will never let him lead this team.

Posted by: okelley2nd | January 5, 2011 8:19 PM | Report abuse

So far I haven't seen the guards turn the ball over once...

Posted by: Samson151 | January 5, 2011 8:29 PM | Report abuse

"Why does it seem that at 7' [Blatche] is always shooting around the 3 and 6'-8" guys left around the rim to watch other teams bigs grab rebounds."

Because Elton Brand is in there...

Posted by: Samson151 | January 5, 2011 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Let's go Wizards! Come on finish strong and get this one!!

Posted by: Darnell1 | January 5, 2011 8:50 PM | Report abuse

I just wish that coach Flip will sit
Blatche down and demand that Blatche plays in the low post. Blatche is not consistent with the outside shot. I think he will be a more consistent scorer in the low post. Game after game we are seeing the same trend

Posted by: breebree | January 5, 2011 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Correction to Samson151.....
Blatche does this no matter who is gaurding him.
Same old situation with him over and over. Would someone sit him down and tell him that his jumper is not "wet"

Posted by: chilly79 | January 5, 2011 9:02 PM | Report abuse

I called this Josh Howard crap all offseason. I was the #1 guy for resigning him and then times that by 10 when I heard the price. I thought he could be the perfect fit and the guy to put us over the hump. Everything was going smoothly and then I hear that same Gilbert Arenas crap.

"Josh Howard is a million years ahead of schedule". I immediatly said that they are rushing him too fast and I wouldnt be shocked if his knee doesnt heal properly. All last year they said he wont be ready until almost the new year but sure enough you start getting word about how hard he's working, how great he looks, how he looks like he can play right now, and how he looks like he may start in the seson opener.

Then like typical Wizards clockwork, you start to hear how now they will still keep him out until almost the new year and how they are pulling him back. I said I bet its too late. It was so clear when the reports came out before camp that he had done too much too soon and then later they try to put the breaks on.

That crap doesnt work. He looked like Arenas out there tonight. Like dead weight. Couldnt move at all. On top of that he's been hurting lately, missed one practice, then only did a little something yesterday and they bring him back tonight. If you just read the stuff, you could tell that he shouldnt have played tonight. I hate our medical staff.

Hopefully its just normal wear & tear and he'll be ok but I seriously dont trust it. I wouldnt be shocked to soon hear about him getting another MRI and that he has another slight tear and is out for the year. Thats our Wiz. If that happens then Ted should fire that whole staff immediatly

Posted by: dlts2041 | January 5, 2011 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Yet another loss........bye bye Flip. We need a change at the coaching level.

Posted by: breebree | January 5, 2011 9:15 PM | Report abuse

dlts2041 yeah I thought the same exactly. Dudn't look like we're gettin this.

Posted by: Darnell1 | January 5, 2011 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Wiz are going to lose to a bad team that doesn't even have one of their best players...how awful this team is.

Posted by: chilly79 | January 5, 2011 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Kirk was terrible on both ends in the 4th. I still dont get benching McGee for him. Is this going to be the case every game from Flip? Thats the part I hate

Posted by: dlts2041 | January 5, 2011 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Notice the same pattern. They hang until late 4th qtr while 4 guard offense is on the floor. No Howard, a better defender then KH but we have our 3 guard set in the game.

Posted by: zack9633 | January 5, 2011 9:19 PM | Report abuse

correction-3 guard offense

Posted by: zack9633 | January 5, 2011 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Again, don't play Mcgee and lose the game.

Posted by: bobilly1 | January 5, 2011 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Ted should go with Flip as well. Anybody owner who can say on one hand that a player would not be traded and then within a few days that player is traded does not get my vote for being trustworthy and not one reporter has asked the owner about this flip flop. This is why the Wizards would never get better no trustworthiness by the decision makers.

Posted by: breebree | January 5, 2011 9:23 PM | Report abuse

I'll still take this game as a step in the right direction. I do agree though, need more mcgee & less Hinrich.

Posted by: Darnell1 | January 5, 2011 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Yep, for the first time this season the team is at full strength....

If what I saw was FULL STRENGTH...then bring on the injuries...

McGee needs to concentrate on his game over the All Star weekend and forget about dunking...and nice to see Blatche regressing with the haircut...aaaahhhh maturity must be wonderful....

Posted by: pentagon40 | January 5, 2011 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Flip is not the best coach for this team. Why is McGee on the bench? When he is out there is no potential to block shots. So what if he gets another PF let him use his six PFs.

Posted by: breebree | January 5, 2011 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Look at the FT line numbers. Even with Wall penetrating like crazy, we still dont get nothing from anyone else but jumpers. 33% is players, 66% is the system. Then our 1 guy who may could do something about it besides Wall is Howard and he will probably be gimpy the rest of the year. If I see numbers at the FT line like I do tonight, I usually say we were jobbed by the refs but the truth is that all we do is shoot J's. The Pistons fans said the exact same thing about Flip's system. Its just a jump shooting system and thats why he sucks in the playoffs.

With that being said, guys like NY & Dray have way too much skill to never get to the FT line. Thats just playing soft. Even when NY is playing great, he still settles too much. He's one of the most athletic guys in the leauge and has the complete package Offensively. There is no way in hell that he shouldnt get to the line alot. With that being said, I do thnk Flip's system does hold him back some. Its predicated alot on catch & shoot. When NY drove some last week, Flip got mad and said that "when he was playing great, he did more of catch & shoot but now he wants to handle & drive". Whats wrong with that?

Then when guys do drive, its like the whole defense can see it coming so we get charges or still have to pull up for the J or just swing it again. Then you have a guy like Dray with very good post skills but is never on the low block. Which is it more of? Is it more of Dray coasting on the perimiter or is he right about how most of the plays have him setting screens outside so he cant get on the block. Probably both are right which means we lose either way. Im tired of that same crap

Posted by: dlts2041 | January 5, 2011 9:29 PM | Report abuse

FTA margin of 20 -- not as bad as some we've seen, but the Sixers hit 29 of 'em. But if you're going to let them hit 56% of the field goal attempts, that's about the only problem you need to have.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 5, 2011 9:41 PM | Report abuse

How funny is it that its a week into the new year and we still havent gotten a road win this season while at the same time we have also lost 13 of 15 with our only 2 wins coming once when Flip didnt coach and the other against a coach who was just fired in Larry Brown. Laughing stock

Posted by: dlts2041 | January 5, 2011 9:53 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure how anyone watching this game could say that the Wiz needed more McGee and less Hinrich. Are you kidding? McGee and Blatche are responsible for patrolling the paint. How many points did Philly score in the paint? 40 some. How many rebounds did McGee have? McGee gets a couple great blocks a game, but how many does he fail to be in the right place at the right time.

Posted by: ZardsFan1 | January 5, 2011 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Kirk played great for about 3 and 3/4 quarters but got shakey late in the 3rd and was horrible in the 4th. No doubt our interior D is bad but if you watch these games then you will see that all paint points arent because of bigs defending. The fact is that both Wall & Kirk get roasted alot more then people want to admit. Lou & Jhrue killed them tonight

Posted by: dlts2041 | January 5, 2011 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Down 5, philly has the ball and out of the timeout Flip calls for a zone D. Lou Williams hits a wide open 3. Down 8, game over. Nice call, Flip.

Posted by: ZardsFan1 | January 5, 2011 9:58 PM | Report abuse

People complain that I make comments without being able to watch the game...

All anyone has to do is come on here and read the comments people who have watched the game.

That's why I am on here...

Thanks,

ZardsFan1
dlts2041
breebree
pentagon40
Darnell1
bobilly1
zack9633
chilly79

for keeping it real and letting the fans who don't live in the DC area and/or fans who didn't watch the game know whats going on.

If it weren't for you I might even believe what Samson151 and kal (and whatever other pan names they make up) post to cover for the Wizards organization.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 5, 2011 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Seraphin didn't improve the D, but at least he got some PT. The Wizards bigs just suck right now. I think Jrue Holiday will end up being the best PG from last year's draft. Don't know why he doesn't get more press. Wall vs. Holiday should be a must-see in another year.

Posted by: djnnnou | January 5, 2011 10:31 PM | Report abuse

They got Jeff Green

Posted by: SDMDTSU | January 5, 2011 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Lets play...

Six degrees of Ernie...

Jeff Green was drafted by Boston and traded to Seattle along with Delonte West and Wally Szczerbiak for Ray Allen and the 35th pick...

In 2003 Ernie traded Ray Allen, Kevin Ollie, Ronald Murray and a conditional 1st round pick (Luke Ridnour)for Gary Payton and Desmond Mason?

Great trade Ernie...Ray Allen's carrer was almost over and you got rid of a draft pick for an over the hill guard who played for Mil for 1 year and then left...

Hostory repeats itself people...

This is the GM some people want to lead the Wizards into the future?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 5, 2011 10:47 PM | Report abuse

I think Jrue Holiday will end up being the best PG from last year's draft. Don't know why he doesn't get more press. Wall vs. Holiday should be a must-see in another year.

Posted by: djnnnou | January 5, 2011 10:31 PM | Report abuse

a guy the Wizards could have picked up with their 5th pick?

I'm sorry I forgot...

David Stern told Ernie that if he kept the pick they had to draft Ricky Rubio?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 5, 2011 10:51 PM | Report abuse

I've been pretty clear that I think Ernie is a below average GM

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 5, 2011 5:15 PM | Report abuse

And like I always tell you...give me some GMs to compare him against.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | January 5, 2011 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Are you kidding?

Rick Sund Atlanta
Danny Ainge Boston
John Paxson Chicago
Donnie Nelson Dallas
Mitch Kupchack Lakers
Donnie Walsh NY
Sam Presti OKC
RC Buford SA
Kevin O'Conner Utah
Chris Wallace Memphis
Pat Riley Miami

I didn't inclued a lot of other GM's s(who have only been there for under 2 years) since they haven't had the time to turn their teams around yet

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 5, 2011 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Well, it's easy to see why Les BouleS lost tonight...they shot 20 fewer FT's, but had 10 more PF's. All that means settling for too many J's and breakdowns with the D.

http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/boxscore?gameId=310105020

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | January 5, 2011 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Lets play...

Six degrees of Ernie...

Jeff Green was drafted by Boston and traded to Seattle along with Delonte West and Wally Szczerbiak for Ray Allen and the 35th pick...

In 2003 Ernie traded Ray Allen, Kevin Ollie, Ronald Murray and a conditional 1st round pick (Luke Ridnour)for Gary Payton and Desmond Mason?

Great trade Ernie...Ray Allen's carrer was almost over and you got rid of a draft pick for an over the hill guard who played for Mil for 1 year and then left...

Hostory repeats itself people...

This is the GM some people want to lead the Wizards into the future?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 5, 2011 10:47 PM | Report abuse

This is why I disregard you. I give you somethign concrete to discuss...and you disregard it to play some damn 6 degrees of separation game show to bash Ernie. He made a bad trade 7 years ago. It's ranked as his worse deal.

But then what 4 years later he flipped Kwame Brown into Caron Butler and got us to the playoffs. Who cares...IT'S 2011 NOW.

That's like me giving him credit for building the Knicks team that went to the Finals.

Shut up.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | January 5, 2011 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Did not see the game, but did Flip suck again.

I heard one guy call in on Glenn's show and he observed that Flip is garbage and he is running the wrong offense for John Wall.

He says that Wall is a fast break point guard and Flip's offense has no one running the break with him. He continually runs the break by himself. No one fills the lane with Wall on the break. He attributes that to bad coaching by Flip.

Can't say I disagree with the fella.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 5, 2011 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Is it me or is KH only looking for his own shot? Whats up with the 4th quarter lineup? Why didn't Trevor Booker play? 1st round pick?

Posted by: Gooddad | January 5, 2011 11:33 PM | Report abuse

"Well, it's easy to see why Les BouleS lost tonight...they shot 20 fewer FT's, but had 10 more PF's. posted by DC_MAN88"

You realize those two phenomena go together, right?

Just checking...

Posted by: Samson151 | January 5, 2011 11:35 PM | Report abuse

"This is why I disregard you. I give you somethign concrete to discuss...and you disregard it to play some damn 6 degrees of separation game show to bash Ernie. posted by SDMDTSU"

I suspect BF78 just posts that stuff to see if he can get a rise out of somebody. You can't take it seriously, because he doesn't.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 5, 2011 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Who cares...IT'S 2011 NOW.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | January 5, 2011 11:23 PM | Report abuse

and after 7 years of being the teams GM the Wizards are one of the worst teams in the NBA?

Based on his track record Ernie would give himself a contract extension!

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 5, 2011 11:39 PM | Report abuse

"I heard one guy call in on Glenn's show and he observed that Flip is garbage and he is running the wrong offense for John Wall. posted by LarryInClintonMD"

There you go -- 'one guy' has spoken, and Larry agreed with him. The issue is resolved.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 5, 2011 11:42 PM | Report abuse

"and after 7 years of being the teams GM the Wizards are one of the worst teams in the NBA?Based on his track record Ernie would give himself a contract extension!Posted by: bulletsfan78"

See? BF can keep this up until he passes out.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 5, 2011 11:44 PM | Report abuse

I don't think ANYONE can keep up with Wall on the break. Offense or defense.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | January 5, 2011 11:50 PM | Report abuse

There you go -- 'one guy' has spoken, and Larry agreed with him. The issue is resolved.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 5, 2011 11:42 PM

Actually, there was more than one guy. There was a litany of calls. Glen even had to comment that it was Flip's night.

The very next caller said that Flip had no clue about in-game situations. He said he constantly subs the wrong players, has the wrong combination of players together and just manages the game without any realization for what is happening on the court.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 6, 2011 12:06 AM | Report abuse

I don't think ANYONE can keep up with Wall on the break. Offense or defense.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | January 5, 2011 11:50 PM

Yeah you could. I've played ball. I know you can put together a gameplan that takes advantage of Wall's speed and put people in the lane when he fastsbreaks. Flip doesn't coach a fast break offense.

He coaches his traditional jump shooting offense. He doesn't know nothing about Shake and Bake, Swoop to the Hoop, Lets go Back, Trash Talkin Kind of Ball.

For if he did, you would see one of the best fast breaking teams in the NBA with the talents of Wall and he would have cried to keep Gilbert to hone his shooting skills in that type of game.

But Flip ain't got game. I been tryin to tell yawls folks up here in dee's part that Flip ain't got game but nooo' yawl keep thinkin he's a good coach. Not so.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 6, 2011 12:22 AM | Report abuse

lmao....some funny comments in here as always. This is my brother Darrell and my other brother Darrell. Yeah, FS is totally against the fast break and tells his players to not fill lanes for easy baskets when one presents itself. Are you guys for real? Are you on this planet? To have a successful fast break team, you need to be a very solid defensive team along with a solid rebounding team. Now, since I think we can all agree that the Wiz are neither well...you can see where this goes. It's a rebuilding season people. Is a bullhorn necessary. Pull your hair out if you like or don't go to games, but complaining about game strategy on a team that has obvious flaws and has stated publicly is rebuilding with youth is just insane. It could be worse. The Wiz could suck and be the oldest team in the league like the Redskins and have nobody worth watching. And, lie to the fan base year after year.

Posted by: rphilli721 | January 6, 2011 2:37 AM | Report abuse

A couple personal observations from tonight's game:

1. If Flip Saunders is actually trying to win games, he certainly is a master of disguise. As the game came down to crunch time and the Sixers tightened up their defense, he (as to be expected) did little to adjust. Flip let the Sixers defense off the hook by not running the Wiz mid/late 4th quarter offense through Nick, who had started to heat up.

2. Jrue Holiday is a budding star. If possible, I would consider a straight-up swap of John Wall for him.

3. Andray Blatche had a decent game in spite of some careless turnovers. He did seem to more aggressively drive the ball than in recent games. Also, except for a couple lapses, his defense was pretty good.

4. Full Disclosure: I am no fan of Kirk Heinrich. He hit some tough shots early, but seemed to be showcasing himself on several offensive possessions (imminent trade perhaps). At least he harnessed his inclination to pound the air out of the ball to some degree. He was downright dreadful in the 4th quarter.

Posted by: bazookajoe1 | January 6, 2011 4:58 AM | Report abuse

The truth is I go to the games and sit in the cheap seats (usually) and I hear the comments. In the old days it was Juwan Howard and the fans would boo him cause we paid him so much and he didn't deliver. Later it was Kwame. I can still remember laughing like crazy as one guy yelled over and over that they better trade Kwame before everyone figured out how bad he was. Pretty funny stuff.

But most of what I hear now is about the coaching, or lack thereof. I don't know why we have 3 players standing around the lane as we give up the paint. I mean, no one closes the lane. I get the impression that they lack focus which really speaks to coaching.

I also went to a couple of practices and the lack of focus is even worse there. I can see where injuries could hamper you there but as Wynton said, " You gotta practice it like you're going to play it. You aren't going to just be able to magically do it when you perform if you can't do it when you practice."

So many problems you can't blame one thing but taking Blatche out before he fouls a shooter in 3 point land with 35 seconds left would be a good place to start.

Posted by: DriveDaLane | January 6, 2011 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Larry....I played basketball and I coach it.

Not at the NBA level so it doesn't really matter.

Wall is so fast with the ball...he's faster than people without it. That gets him in trouble sometimes because it's 1 on 3. The secondary break is kinda nice...finding the shooters.

Why am I even trying talking to you...I'm an idiot.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | January 6, 2011 10:52 AM | Report abuse

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