Arenas’ Efficiency and Blatche’s Consistency: Wizards Scorch Nets 123-104
Andray Blatche looked more comfortable than he ever has in a Wizards uniform en route to a new career high 30 points and a Wizards 123-104 win against New Jersey. Sure, he had Yi Jianlian and Eduardo Najera guarding him. But Wiz fans are used to Blatche being his own worst enemy, and not necessarily a Halloween nightmare to whomever is guarding him.
After the game, Flip Saunders praised Blatche for his methodical offensive movement, his ability to read the defense, and overall, his consistency to this point of the season. But no one is going to get too excited over the Blatche they’ve seen so far.
“As a player you have to understand that every game is a building block. I hope he continues to give us that consistency offensively but more importantly defensively,” said Saunders. When asked about the visions of Blatche that people haven’t seen before, Saunders responded, “He hadn’t seen it either.”
On media day, Blatche spoke first and foremost (and second-most) about a summertime concentration on his jump shot. One couldn’t help but wonder, ‘Is that really what he should be talking about?’
Evidently so. With the fluidity and smoothness seen in his jumper on Saturday night, it’s easy to understand why he was bragging so much about the work he’s put in.
But as great as Blatche looked, the efficiency of the Wizards’ offense can be credited to Gilbert Arenas. He drained threes, got midrange looks within the flow, and got to the free-throw line with authority. With his team up 62-51 at half and shooting a scorching 55.8% from the field, Arenas wouldn’t allow them to take their foot off the pedal.
Playing off the ball several times alongside Randy Foye and DeShawn Stevenson, Arenas managed to score 12 points (thanks to 6-7 FTs), and drop three dimes to zero turnovers in the third period as the Wiz outscored New Jersey 37-28.
“He let’s those other guys bring their game and play with him,” said Saunders (referring to Arenas in the starting lineup with Foye and Mike Miller). “It helps him when you have Randy on the floor, [he] can handle the ball some and take some pressure off of him.”
Whatever works. This shows Coach Saunders’ willingness to adjust as necessary.
Sure the Nets are bad … and sure they were without Devin Harris. But the Wizards were also without both Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison. An easy win, even against a sub par opponent, shows this team is serious as they continue to come together as a unit.
There’s a reason to get excited about NBA basketball in DC. So far, Gilbert Arenas has been curbing his own enthusiasm. But who cares if he’s not ‘Gil The Entertainer’ anymore. What matters is that he’s happy on the court and leading his team to victory.