Arenas Is “Back” and 2nd Unit Secures Win: Wizards 101-Pistons 98
Listening to basketball on the radio is hard … damn hard. Hard like drinking warm milk and eating boiled eggs in the hot July sun while getting bit by mosquitoes and suffering from a tequila and red wine hangover.
Ok, well maybe it’s not that bad. Wizards radio guys Glenn Consor and Dave Johnson do a helluva job keeping team faithful updated with developments.
Still, when I hear Consor officially declaring Gilbert Arenas to be “back”, indicating that he hasn’t felt this way about the guard’s preseason cameo appearances up until now, I feel pretty deprived from not being able to see the moving pictures.
But the Wizards’ second unit held on late to win 101-98, and Arenas scored 24 points in just under 28 minutes (along with 5 assists to 6 turnovers). This team is getting their ‘LA Looks’ on and starting to gel. And hey, looks like they figured out a way to play some okay defense without Brendan Haywood (Fab Oberto led the Wiz with a plus-13).
moving on …
An Appearance By Mike Miller’s Three
Miller continues to show he will be a diverse contributor (9 rebounds, 3 assists) … and he finally hit a three pointer in a Wizards uniform. Of course, this didn’t happen until about two minutes were left in the fourth quarter of the fourth preseason game.
Even Consor and Johnson were openly wondering why Miller wasn’t looking to score during their broadcast of the Pistons match-up. On one occasion, Miller drove to the hoop and passed up an opportunity so he could dish the rock to Dominic McGuire (of all people) at the three point line.
But when Miller finally connected from deep, it was timely, giving the Wizards a four pout cushion in the waning minutes. Consor raved the make as the perfect “shot ready” opportunity from Miller. Consor also related that Miller later went by the media/scorer’s table and said something to the effect of ‘See? I can hit threes.’
Good. Now just show us a little bit more.
‘Groundhog Day Dray’ Watch
Now, because I listened to the game over the radio, I can’t exactly attest to how Andray Blatche looked against Detroit … but stat heads will certainly see his team low minus-15, along with his 2 points, 3 rebounds, and 5 fouls in just under 15 minutes, and say, “Hmmm.”
Guess I have to invoke the over-used expression, “It’s the preseason.”
Flip Saunders said after the game that he is trying to help McGee “fight through that wall” by playing him extended minutes, to see if he can produce even while fatigued. Saunders was pleased to see McGee finish strong in the fourth period, when he scored eight points — all on dunks. “He’s been good,” Saunders said of McGee, who is averaging 11.8 points and shooting 73 percent from the floor. “He’s been very productive with what he’s done. I tell our guys, ‘If he’s even, he’s ahead.’ No one is going to jump with him. Just throw that thing up there and let him go get it.”
The Wizards have been in Grand Rapids since Sunday night. Saunders said that he spent the extra time in Michigan to visit his good friend, Michigan State coach Tom Izzo in East Lansing.
Saunders isn’t the only member of the Wizards with Michigan connections. Paul Davis is a native of Rochester and played for Izzo at Michigan State. JaVale McGee is a native of Flint, where his mother, Pam McGee, played high school basketball. He also played high school basketball at Detroit Country Day before moving out of state. During the first quarter, a fan yelled at Saunders, “We want to see McGee, Flip!”
From The Other Side
For the second time in four games, Ben Gordon and Rodney Stuckey both picked the same game to have miserable shooting nights. They combined for 3-for-16 shooting against Miami in the opener and were 6-for-26 Wednesday against Washington.
Gordon is streaky and known for having the occasional poor-shooting night, but Stuckey, who gets most of his points on drives or 15-foot jumpers, isn’t a guy who would be expected to have wildly up and down shooting nights. Hopefully the trend of both struggling on the same nights doesn’t continue.
The Wizards don’t have a very good defensive backcourt, but they do have really big guards in Gilbert Arenas, Nick Young, Caron Butler and Mike Miller, which perhaps caused some shooting problems for the smaller Gordon and Stuckey. The smallest guard, Will Bynum, however, continued his great preseason with 23 points. He’s leading the team in scoring this preseason at about 18 per game.