Screen Shots From Dallas and The Magical Calming Powers of Oberto | Wizards Blog Truth About

Screen Shots From Dallas and The Magical Calming Powers of Oberto

Updated: October 29, 2009

{Game Faces}

A focused pre-game Gilbert Arenas.

A plotting, thinking Flip Saunders.

Contrasting bench facial expressions.

Ernie Grunfeld, Tommy Shepphard, and …

A Typical Mavs Fan?

turtleneck, check …
jersey, check …
Corvette visor, check …
hair and beard styling product, double-check

{A Simple Big Bucket Play}

Dirk Nowitzki just hit a three to cut the Wizards’ 10 point lead to seven. Time for Flip Saunders to draw up an easy, dependable play.

Gilbert Arenas, leading and directing traffic, telling Randy Foye where to cut.

Foye’s options: Go baseline and use Oberto’s pick, or go up top using Haywood’s pick. With Jason Terry’s back to Haywood, it’s clear that Foye is about to correctly choose his own adventure.

Terry tries to go around the Haywood screen, leaving Foye with plenty of space. Gilbert makes the perfect pass in rhythm and it’s money from there.

{Old Decisions vs. New}

I particularly liked this decision-making by Gilbert Arenas. After Blatche got a steal, he pushed the ball up the court, with his head up BTW, and got the ball to Foye in the right corner. Foye, picked up by Barea on defense, assessed the situation, didn’t see anything, and pulled the ball back up top.

Enter a trailing Gilbert Arenas … Foye passed him the ball at the top of the key. Barea, although far away from Agent Zero, went to pick him up as Jason Terry continued to flounder in the paint. Time for a Hibachi Three-Pointer, right?

Nope, the old Gil takes that shot 67% of the time. This Arenas, however, seeing Foye’s feet set and the defense running at him, immediately fired a pin-point pass back to Foye who nailed the three.

{Note: Foye previously missed a three less than a minute earlier. Arenas showed confidence in the fourth year player by going right back to him.}

{Oberto Uses The Force}

It was early in the 4th quarter. Fab Oberto had just made a sweet bounce pass to a hustling Blatche cutting on the baseline.  Andray went strong to the opposite side of the rim and got mauled by Drew Gooden and Shawn Marion. No foul was called despite the act occurring in the direct line of vision of referee Ron Garretson. Blatche immediately took out his mouthpiece and swung his arm through the air. Then, all of a sudden … a slow release of frustration in a composed manner … a calming down. All thanks to the veteran magical Argentinian powers of one Fabricio Oberto.

{Best Cuts}

If you made it this far, congratulations. I present the best of what was said about Tuesday’s opener against Dallas …

The contributions came from all over, and they really had to, with Antawn Jamison sidelined with a dislocated right shoulder and out for a few weeks, and being on the road in one of the most difficult buildings in the NBA. Scoring also stands out, but the stats that really were impressive were the ones posted by Oberto, Foye and Miller, whose plus-minus ratios were off the charts.

[‘Wizards 102, Mavericks 91’ – Michael Lee, Washington Post]

The Mavericks came awfully close to evening things up in the fourth quarter, but the Wizards would not relinquish the lead. In previous seasons, somebody would’ve have noticed the shrinking gap and attempted to win the game themselves. Last night, Foye, Arenas, Caron Butler, Francisco Oberto and even Andray Blatche hit big shots down the stretch. Even better, they held the opponent to less than 100 points while scoring over 100 points. That’s good conditioning, and an awareness of how to make their bodies work hard on both ends of the floor

[‘Wizards Build Vocabulary in Win Over Mavericks’ – Jarrett Carter, Stet Sports]

I’m absolutely floored by how well we played tonight.  Never in a million years would I have thought we would play this well on opening night, without Antawn Jamison, with our rotation barely settled, on the road against a really, really good Dallas Mavericks team. I was excited before the season, but now, I can barely contain myself.  That was such a great performance.

[‘The Takeover Reloaded … Reloaded’ – Mike Prada, Bullets Forever]

The footwork, the touch, and that initial quickness … it’s all there. Now, all he needs is a few more weeks’ worth of reps to just build up that muscle memory. To be able to stick in the same place on jumpers. That comfort zone, stung quicker. To pull off his usual go-to moves with a better batch of confidence behind them. To dominate, offensively, again.

[‘Behind The Boxscore’ – Kelly Dwyer, Ball Don’t Lie]

And in the words of Flip: “The last guy was Mr. Steady, it was Caron. Caron steadied us when we had Gil out of the game. He was efficient, he was aggressive with the ball, which we ran a lot of isolation type stuff so he could stay aggressive when Gil was out of the game. And he did a nice job defensively on Marion, who killed us at our place [in the preseason]. And I thought that Marion got some buckets, but he didn’t get all of them on Caron. I thought Caron fought him and did a nice job. He really keyed us defensively.”

[‘Wizards kick off Saunders era with a win’ – Mike Jones, Washington Times]

Washington trailed in the first quarter by six, 13-7, when Brendan Haywood dunked the first of the Wizards’ next three buckets on a feed from Gilbert Arenas. Arenas followed the Haywood dunks with a pull-up jumper to make the score 15-15, and from there, Washington controlled the game. Dallas took one more lead early in the second quarter, 25-23, on J.J. Barea’s and-1, but that was it. Fabricio Oberto put Washington back in front with a U-G-L-Y three-point play of his own, and the Wiz never trailed again.

[‘Wizards’ first spell is magic’ – Craig Stouffer, Washington Examiner]

When Steve Buckhantz broke out his first “Dagger!” of the season late in the fourth quarter of yesterday’s season-opening win in Dallas, all seemed right in the world for Wizards fans. It’s like last year’s disaster never happened.

The faces at the edge may have changed, but the man at the center of it all looked the same. Gilbert Arenas is back. The doubts you had about whether his rehab would sap him? Gone.

[‘Wiz Win; Gilbert’s Back’ – Chris Needham, NBC Washington]

Logging 38 minutes, Arenas instead managed to control the tempo throughout, with Dallas forced to scramble from behind for much of the evening after the Wizards rung up 35 points in the second quarter. The only displays of his old showmanship were nods in approval after a couple jumpers and teasingly leaving his shooting hand in the air after one late dagger from the perimeter.

[‘Agent Zero Returns as a Low-Key Hero’ – Mark Stein, ESPN’s TrueHoop]

Andray Blatche changes his number to seven this season to signify that he was going to think basketball seven days a week from now on. One thing is for sure, he was thinking basketball Tuesday night.

[‘Arenas Scores 29, Wizards Top the Mavs in Season Opener’ – William Yoder, Agent Dagger]

Besides Arenas, Caron Butler chipped in 16 points and eight rebounds. He may have forced a few shots and didn’t shoot the best percentage (6-17), but Butler seemed intent on attacking the rim, even with a talented defender like Shawn Marion hounding him for much of the game. Brendan Haywood didn’t have the best offensive game (seven points on 3-10 shooting), but he played strong defense in the middle and also grabbed 10 boards. (He needs to work on that wild hook shot, though.)

[‘Arenas, Wizards look impressive in season opener’ – Matt Kremnitzer, Krem’s Sports Blog]

{The Other Side}

Rick Carlisle turned 50 on Tuesday and the coach really wanted to get presents from more than just Dirk Nowitzki.

But as it turned out, Nowitzki was the only Maverick who was kind to the coach and his monster game in the season opener wasn’t enough to save his mostly unhelpful teammates

[‘Mavs open with a thud’ – Eddie Serko, Fort Worth Star-Telegram]

The mantra of the Mavs’ off-season was finding more help for Dirk Nowitzki. If you were to evaluate the fulfillment of that goal solely on last night’s performance against the Wizards, I don’t see how the assessment could be anything aside from “huge, embarrassing failure.” But hey, guys, this is the first game of the season. That means we’re grading on a curve, and “huge embarrassing failure” just so happens to round up to “pretty terrible, but I’ll get over it.”


Gilbert deserves more praise than the cursory treatment I’ve already given him. Considering everything he’s been through physically and mentally, he was a revelation. He fully compensated for the absence of Antawn Jamison with a deadly pull-up jumper, and Gil’s forays into the paint emanated both creativity and resolve. Plus, Arenas had a way of answering every would-be Maverick run with a huge play of some kind, either with a dagger of his own or a perfectly placed pass. Maybe he wasn’t yelling “HIBACHI!”, but Gilbert Arenas was back in almost every other sense. As a basketball fan, that excites me. As a Mavs fan, not so much.

[‘Washington Wizards 102, Dallas Mavericks 91’ – Rob Mahoney, The Two Man Game]

The Wizards, playing without co-star Antawn Jamison, dominated in the paint. I mean dom-uh-nate-id. During one ugly sequence in the second quarter center Brendan Hayward had uncontested dunks on three consecutive possessions. The Mavs tried Erick Dampier, Drew Gooden, Nowitzki and Krys Humphries at center, all with varying degrees of suck. At one point Carlisle looked down his bench, stared, then turned back to the game. Coulda sworn his thought bubble read “Damn, I wish I had Marcin Gortat.”

[‘Wizards 102, Mavwrecks 91: My Top 10 Observations’ – Richie Whitt, Dallas Observer Dallas Sports Blog]

Jason Terry, on the other hand, looked very much like where we left him in the playoffs against Denver. His 4-15 night (including 1-6 behind the arc) was ugly. Honestly, I can’t remember the four shots he actually hit. In the second half, he killed runs with ill-advised threes, and just generally had a bad floor game.

[‘Five on Five: Mavs v. Wizards’ – Zac Crain, Insider Corner, Zone Coverage of Dallas Sports]

Washington scored 35 points in the second quarter against Rick’s “your-guess-is-as-good-as-mine defensive aligment. So Carlisle largely gave up on trying to come back on the strength of his defense. Jason Terry started the second half and the move failed to work immediately and failed to work after that, too. With less than eight minutes remaining and Dallas trying to stay alive, there was Carlisle’s 3-PG Attack. Guess who drew the assignment of covering Arenas?

At times, it was Jason Terry. And it was like those two guys were playing two different sports

[‘All-Access Pass: Wizards 102, Mavs 91’ – Mike Fisher,]

{Other Links}

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Kyle Weidie
Founder / Editor / Reporter / Writer at TAI
Kyle founded TAI in 2007 and has been weaving in and out the world of Wizards ever since, ducking WittmanFaces, jumping over G-Wiz, and avoiding stints on the DNP-Conditioning list. He has covered the Washington pro basketball team as a member of the media since 2009. Kyle currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife, loves basketball, and has no pets.