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Posted at 1:11 PM ET, 02/ 1/2011

Yi Jianlian has season-best outing in Dallas

By Michael Lee

Andray Blatche had a hard time making shots, Trevor Booker had a harder time staying on the floor, and JaVale McGee had the hardest time regaining his rhythm after missing five days of action with a bad case of the flu. But on a night when Dirk Nowitzki hardly missed and Tyson Chandler dunked so hard his feet touched the bottom of the backboard, Yi Jianlian made sure that the Dallas Mavericks had a hard time taking out the Wizards.


I have to be ready, go hard. (Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images)

Yi came off the bench to provide some quality production for the second time in three games on this road trip, as he scored a season-high 14 points, matched his season-high with 11 rebounds and had a career-high four steals. Yi was active on both ends, as he battled on defense to deflect passes or knock the ball out in the post, and he attacked the rim for dunks and stepped back to make jumpers.

"Yi was great, what he gave us, rebounding-wise, scoring-wise," Coach Flip Saunders said.

Yi scored eight points in the second period, when the Wizards were struggling to get much going offensively and the Mavericks turned a 12-point deficit into a one-point lead at halftime. The Wizards needed at least one front-court player, other than Rashard Lewis, to help keep the Mavericks honest. And, Yi was the man, as the 7-footer again flourished in a role as a backup center.

"On the bench, you don't know when you're going to get in the game," Yi said. "When I sit on the bench, I tell myself, 'Be ready, be focused, every minute. Just be ready, play hard, go hard.' "

Blatche had missed a few easy baskets, forced a few more, and missed 9 of his first 10 shots. McGee returned after missing the past two games and came off the bench, with Saunders electing to keep Booker in the starting lineup to defend Nowitzki. Booker had averaged 16.5 points and 12 rebounds against Oklahoma City and Memphis, but he was unable to have any influence against Dallas as he was saddled with fouls. Booker didn't score and had three rebounds and four fouls. Few of Booker's fouls were of the cheap variety, as he got called for setting a few vicious screens and slammed Chandler to the ground in another exchange.

Aside from catching an alley-oop pass from Wall, McGee also appeared to be limited as he had just two points and three rebounds in 13 minutes.

But as he did in Oklahoma City, where he had nine points and 11 rebounds, Yi made the most of his opportunity to contribute. "If you think about it, all the guys that have come off the bench have been great for us," Blatche said. "From Book, to start now, and Yi came off and he helped us tremendously. Even with JaVale coming out there and helping us, he blocked a big three. Everybody is chipping in around here. We're starting to find our identity, and we're starting to come as one and that's going to be huge for us."

With the Chinese New Year approaching on Thursday, Yi is getting the celebration started early with his play. "Yeah, but we still lose. I was hoping to have a win," Yi said after the Wizards lost 102-92 to Dallas. "Two tough loss. One in Oklahoma and [in Dallas]. We had a lot of tough loss on road games. But we've got to keep working hard, keep playing hard, playing together. It's a tough situation, but the same things happen. We've got to focused on that, keep working."

By Michael Lee  | February 1, 2011; 1:11 PM ET
Categories:  Yi Jianlian  
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Next: John Wall wins Eastern Conference rookie of the month

Comments

To Mike Lee:

May I take the opportunity to say what a great job you've been doing with your reporting, especially lately. This has probably been the toughest year in Wiz history to find anything at all to say, game after game, especially anything positive. Yet you've managed to keep it interesting--and stayed objective. Quoting bloggers may not please anybody (particularly those who are feuding with the ones you've quoted), but you've used them to raise some important issues. And haven't shied away from anything Wizards management would prefer left unsaid. Well done--and please keep this going.

Posted by: KTV1 | February 1, 2011 1:38 PM | Report abuse

I still think Yi as the potential to be a more athletic version of Okur. That's a pretty good ceiling. I want to see him back next season. Maybe longer if McGee and/or Seraphin can play PF.

Posted by: djnnnou | February 1, 2011 1:39 PM | Report abuse

I think we should let Yi walk. We have 3 jumpshooting Bigs Blatche, Lewis, and Yi. Lewis has more range than blatche but blatche can create his own shot. We need to get tougher with a 7ft 260+ fundamentally sound defensive center with maturity, temperament and a High Basketball IQ. Yi you have been a true professional but I personally think you are here because Ernie took advantage of the Lebron sweepstakes clearance sale. I wish you well on another team

Posted by: jefferu | February 1, 2011 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Hakeem would be a perfect coach or trainer for JaVale McGee because they both have similar body types, as Hakeem was never the strongest guy in the post but was always the smoothest. There is a thick line between McGee becoming the best center in the league and it will take some time, as he needs to add some weight and grow smarter with his decisions.

It would be best to start early...

Posted by: suliman215 | February 1, 2011 2:31 PM | Report abuse

We need to get tougher with a 7ft 260+ fundamentally sound defensive center with maturity, temperament and a High Basketball IQ.

That's not an option. Rebuilding through the draft, remember? Yi, Blatche and Lewis are not identical, Blatche shouldn't be here next season, and Lewis won't be here the season after that. The bigs that the Wizards are committed to long term are McGee and Seraphin, and I guess Booker will be considered a big if he doesn't develop a jump shot. There's room for Yi.

Posted by: djnnnou | February 1, 2011 2:37 PM | Report abuse

There's room for Yi.

Assuming the team isn't concerned with defense, interior play, and toughness and would like to replace Blatche with another 7ft'er who lives on 18ft Js....then yes indeed, there is room for Yi.

Posted by: divi3 | February 1, 2011 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Assuming the team isn't concerned with defense, interior play, and toughness and would like to replace Blatche with another 7ft'er who lives on 18ft Js....then yes indeed, there is room for Yi. Posted by: divi3

Considering how much you were crowing just a few months ago about how fantastic Blatche was, and how you knew all along how great he was going to be, maybe we shouldn't pay much attention to your opinions on bigs.

Posted by: djnnnou | February 1, 2011 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Considering how much you were crowing just a few months ago about how fantastic Blatche was, and how you knew all along how great he was going to be, maybe we shouldn't pay much attention to your opinions on bigs.

Considering how much you whine about defense and claim others pay too much attention to offense, maybe you should apply the same standards to Yi.

Posted by: divi3 | February 1, 2011 3:00 PM | Report abuse

maybe you should apply the same standards to Yi

I do, and I see improvement. And one comment isn't whining. No need to be a d-bag.

Posted by: djnnnou | February 1, 2011 3:07 PM | Report abuse

It's odd how this article is about Yi having season-high and career-high stats, with solid defensive plays, and a couple commenters are suggesting they let go of Yi. Yeah, makes a whole lot of sense. That was sarcasm by the way. What I see in Yi is someone who is getting better, even though he gets less minutes of playing time versus others.

Posted by: carbon916 | February 1, 2011 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Lakers GM contemplates making a deal

"With an NBA-high, $91 million payroll, the Lakers would struggle to make a trade. But it's still an option Kupchak would consider to make things right for the franchise" Posted by Fox Sports.

I wonder if we have any players that the Lakers may need for there playoff run.

Posted by: zack9633 | February 1, 2011 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Lakers GM contemplates making a deal

"With an NBA-high, $91 million payroll, the Lakers would struggle to make a trade. But it's still an option Kupchak would consider to make things right for the franchise" Posted by Fox Sports.

I wonder if we have any players that the Lakers may need for there playoff run.

Posted by: zack9633 | February 1, 2011 3:22 PM | Report abuse

No need to be a d-bag.

My bad...I took your comment as d-baggish and responded in kind, sorry for the childishness.

At any rate, if Yi plays like he did last night as his new norm, I'd agree about keeping him.

Posted by: divi3 | February 1, 2011 3:25 PM | Report abuse

To Mike Lee:

May I take the opportunity to say what a great job you've been doing with your reporting, especial lately. . . Posted by: KTV1

And the "butt kisser of the month" Award goes to. . .

I disagree, some of is postings have been a waste (NY 360 degree lay-up) and not worth reading. Lilhollywood has already gained blog celeb status and it didn't come from telling ML that he had a nice smile or that he really looked nice in jeans.

Just stick to your opinions about this team because it's not about Mike Lee. He is doing what it takes to earn a pay check.

Thank you!

Posted by: zack9633 | February 1, 2011 3:33 PM | Report abuse

This from Javale

Anybody have any dunk ideas... Real ones... For the contest?... Hit my email via Twitter
If you ever wanted to give the Slam Dunk competition your personal pedigree, this is your chance. NBA Jam can suck it, kiddies. Javale McGee is asking for your help, Obi-wan. Geek out. And that's not all.
Who ever Ben g is... Might have a good idea... Keep that between me n u bro... Ima try it and if I can do it two tickets n ur name
Safe to say airfare not included, but oh, what fun. Since this showed up on Twitter, assume Javale is keeping practice and dunk practice separate. For my own idea, continue below the jump. Send your suggestions to JM34FANMAIL@YAHOO.COM [sic]

Posted by: suliman215 | February 1, 2011 3:34 PM | Report abuse

"Quoting bloggers may not please anybody (particularly those who are feuding with the ones you've quoted), but you've used them to raise some important issues. And haven't shied away from anything Wizards management would prefer left unsaid. Well done--and please keep this going.Posted by: KTV1"

LOL and if I actually were Mike Prada of Bullets Forever, I'm sure I'd agree with you. As is, sounds like you're looking for a job...

Posted by: Samson151 | February 1, 2011 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Yi looks potentially like a poor man's Nowitzki -- a jump shooter who can rebound. Problem is he's never shown he can shoot quite well enough. Some of those shots that Dirk puts up are nothing short of amazing.

Posted by: Samson151 | February 1, 2011 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Wiz will break the slump tonight and win by 7 or better behind good games from Ab,Kirk and JW

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | February 1, 2011 3:43 PM | Report abuse

obviously the lakers won't trade their core of Kobe, Pau, Bynum, Odom and Fisher. Other than that they have assets like Shannon Brown, Ebanks, Caracter they might put on the table. I doubt they would trade with the wizards though after we gave them Kwame and you know the rest of the story.

Posted by: jefferu | February 1, 2011 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Wiz will break the slump tonight and win by 7 or better behind good games from Ab,Kirk and JW

Posted by: lilhollywood10


I don't know. I think I'll wait on the road game in Cleveland as the best chance.

Posted by: zack9633 | February 1, 2011 3:56 PM | Report abuse

I took your comment as d-baggish and responded in kind

I thought I was just matching your tone, but yeah I can see that.

At any rate, if Yi plays like he did last night as his new norm, I'd agree about keeping him. Posted by: divi3

I think it's worth a qualifying offer to find out. This is his first year playing C, and it looks to me that's where he plays best. If 82games.com didn't automatically put him down as a PF it would be easier to evaluate.

Posted by: djnnnou | February 1, 2011 3:58 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: djnnnou | February 1, 2011 3:58 PM | Report abuse

I thought Yi would be better than he's been for us. He' s been coming on since he got healthy and I'd really be encouraged by him stringing together a coupla good games, but I'm reluctant to pencil him in as a center. I think he's more 4 than 5 and is considerably more comfortable facing the basket than with his back to the basket.That doesn't mean he isn't a 5, I just don't think he fits well at the C.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | February 1, 2011 4:08 PM | Report abuse

And the "butt kisser of the month" Award goes to. . .

I disagree, some of is postings have been a waste (NY 360 degree lay-up) and not worth reading. Lilhollywood has already gained blog celeb status and it didn't come from telling ML that he had a nice smile or that he really looked nice in jeans.

Just stick to your opinions about this team because it's not about Mike Lee. He is doing what it takes to earn a pay check.

Thank you!

Posted by: zack9633"

"LOL and if I actually were Mike Prada of Bullets Forever, I'm sure I'd agree with you. As is, sounds like you're looking for a job...

Posted by: Samson151"

You two morons act like there's a door prize for commenting here. There isn't. Lee gets paid for covering the Wizards; running this blog is probably just a chore for him heaped on top of it. He's been doing it particularly well lately and deserves to be told so. You both deserve what you'll end up getting: ignored by anyone who knows anything about basketball in general and this team in particular.

As for you, Samson: get a life. You're here 24/7.

Posted by: KTV1 | February 1, 2011 4:11 PM | Report abuse

"You two morons act like there's a door prize for commenting here. There isn't.... As for you, Samson: get a life. You're here 24/7.Posted by: KTV1"

LOL. I guess that's supposed to hurt my feelings?

I just consider the source...

Posted by: Samson151 | February 1, 2011 4:30 PM | Report abuse

"To Mike Lee:
May I take the opportunity to say what a great job you've been doing with your reporting, especially lately. This has probably been the toughest year in Wiz history to find anything at all to say, game after game, especially anything positive. Yet you've managed to keep it interesting--and stayed objective. Quoting bloggers may not please anybody (particularly those who are feuding with the ones you've quoted), but you've used them to raise some important issues. And haven't shied away from anything Wizards management would prefer left unsaid. Well done--and please keep this going.Posted by: KTV1"

To KTV1,
May I take this opportunity to say what a great job you've been doing with your comments, especially the one where you called Zack and me morons. This has probably been the toughest year in Wiz history to find anything at all for people like Zach and me to agree on, but you've managed to do it. That is, of course, that you yourself are an officious twit.

The job of being an officious twit is not one to be taken lightly. The responsibility is great, the pay miserable, and at the end of the day, you must still confront the twit in the mirror.

Well, somebody has to do it, and I'm just glad it's you.
Samson151

Posted by: Samson151 | February 1, 2011 4:45 PM | Report abuse

I really hope the only reason the wiz keep giving dray so many chances is that someone will bite on a trade. He might have salvagable career coming off the bench, where his hunger to prove himself will out way his self destructive behaviors. he is just not mentally geered to handle success. Or maybe he can only be succesfull when he is the only scoring option like last year. either way it is not an entitlement program. find kwame somewhere and yuk it up with your guarenteed contracts and cry on how bad you have it making millions of dollars while average people struggle loose there homes etc.. i personally would like a little more out of my reality break. Ok back to reality. and i dont care if I mispelled or mis grammered anything

Posted by: Rvf0509 | February 1, 2011 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Blatche has played so consistently poor this season that he has almost no trade value. Anyone who knows anything about basketball and watches the Wizards games can see that he is a weak link defensively on this team. Yes he can hustle and get rebounds because of his size but that's about the limits of his contributions. Part of the issue with this team is they have too many players who play the same positions but no one stands out and Blatche is certainly in that mix.

Posted by: dandyhuffman | February 1, 2011 4:51 PM | Report abuse

@KTV1
Call the Post and leave ML a voice message but use your "deepest" voice so that he doesn't take it the wrong way. Look, I'm just in disagreement to the colums you think are so superb, outstanding and well written. As some of his posting are ok, other really lack substance. I think sampson151 said "The job of being an officious twit is not one to be taken lightly" and "Well, somebody has to do it, and I'm just glad it's you"
Samson151
And in you own words, I think you agree with him
"Well done--and please keep this going" Posted by: KTV1"

Thank You!

Posted by: zack9633 | February 1, 2011 5:41 PM | Report abuse

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