The Surprise of Gilbert Arenas Burned By The Heat | Wizards Blog Truth About

The Surprise of Gilbert Arenas Burned By The Heat

Updated: November 12, 2009

{The Quick Run Down}

{Back To Miami}

There was a minor Twitter flurry just before the Wizards game in Miami on Tuesday night. In a flash, reports of Gilbert Arenas’ demise (at least for that evening) spread throughout the web; hyped by yours truly. A sore left calf was the case that they gave him. Bury it with the ghosts of injury past and present, I thought … currently Mike James’ finger, Javaris Crittenton’s foot, the left shoulder of Mike Miller, and the right shoulder of Antawn Jamison … and as we would later find out, Randy Foye’s ankle.

Thoughts of distraught that I won’t repeat conjured in my mind as I rode the late bus home … to make a drink (or two) and watch a DVR delay of the Wizards-Heat game in hopes of catching up by the end. But knowing that without Arenas and the aforementioned others, the Wizards wouldn’t stand a chance.

I arrived home to bond with my television and discover the pleasant surprise of Arenas at the starting gate. Screw whatever was plaguing the team, the Wizards were ready to play.

Containing Dwyane Wade, displaying an in-sync offense — these things weren’t just done for a quarter, they were done for the entire first half. And all with a starting lineup of Arenas, DeShawn Stevenson, Caron Butler, Andray Blatche, and Brendan Haywood. It just had to be the night the Wizards would finally end their four game skid. I could feel it, so I thought.

Maybe Blatche got beat in an unacceptable way by the dunking Michael Beasley on the first play of the game, and perhaps Stevenson had trouble with staying close to Wade when he curled off screens … but the help defense was there. Wade was held to 12 points on 5-13 from the field in the first half. Seven Day Dray was compensating in the passing department in place of the ousted Fabricio Oberto, and guys were diving on the floor for the ball.

Unfortunately a microcosm of the entire game was reflected by a play in which Stevenson got a deflection, Butler dived to keep a loose ball alive, which was gathered by Oberto, who passed to a hustling and cutting Butler, who pushed the rock on a 3-on-1 fast break … which resulted in a missed Arenas jumper from 13-feet. Not very text book.

As soon as the Wizards became comfortable with an 11 point lead was as soon as the third quarter came, specifically, a Miami run that commenced with an Arenas turnover, his fourth of the game, at the 7:30 mark and ended with a 20-6 Heat advantage to end the period. Arenas finished with seven turnovers in the third and 12 for the game, a franchise record. For the fourth time in eight games, the Wizards totaled more turnovers than assists, 22 to 16.

Lost in the midst of the positive idea that a roster spot should always be saved for Dominic McGuire, and the unexplained in the form of an errant pass fired by Arenas to Blatche in the waning minutes, is the issue of free-throws.

Add 14-21 from the line, including a 4-8 effort from Arenas, to the laundry list of problems that includes a stagnant offense and unforced turnovers. Sure, the ‘ultimate’ difference in the game didn’t come from the charity stripe, but shooting .722 on the year, 24th in the NBA (Arenas is 50-68, .735, from the FT line), and you have a potential straw the camel’s back cannot withstand.

Dwyane Wade and the Heat once again, for the sixth time in a row, got the best of the Wizards and the Wizards got the best of themselves. It’s this year’s Groundhog Day. This time, it’s a reoccurring theme of playing the opposite way of that which was played before … in the same game.

If the most recently fallen Randy Foye has been associated with Randy Watson, the performer who once appeared as Joe the Policeman in the ‘What’s Goin’ Down’ episode of That’s My Mama, then just call me Reverend Brown … I’m just trying to keep hope alive.

{A Good Play}

Caron Butler starts on the left block and heads to the right block off an Oberto screen as DeShawn Stevenson crosses from the opposite corner.

When Butler gets to Haywood’s down screen on the right block, he has a choice to use it or go back left, reusing Oberto for another screen — If you recall, we saw Randy Foye run through a similar option in Dallas.

Butler heads up top, but Quentin Richardson over-plays him. As a result, Caron seals Q-Rich and cuts to the open lane via good team floor spacing.

Receiving the ball in such a great position gives Butler an easy chance to score … as opposed to him getting the ball on the perimeter and trying to dribble his way to success.


[Mike Jones – Washington Times]

Gilbert Arenas gave the Washington Wizards a scare about an hour before Tuesday night’s game against the Miami Heat. After running through pregame warmups, the guard and team trainers informed coach Flip Saunders that the sore right calf that had kept Arenas out of Monday’s practice was too tight for him to play.

Saunders, who already had four other injured players, had to come up with a new starting lineup. But 10 minutes before tipoff, Arenas changed his mind.

[William Yoder – Agent Dagger]

Gilbert Arenas brings a whole new meaning to the term “game-time decision” after he is initially scratched only to be placed back in the starting line up literally seconds before they are announced in American Airlines Arena. I’m sure we’ll get more of an ‘explination’ on that in the post game.

[Michael Lee – Wizards Insider, Washington Post]

No matter what Flip Saunders might have said after the game about his team being fatigued, how a tough schedule has his players out of whack, the Washington Wizards could not have expected that they’d be 2-6 right now. They snuck a win in Dallas in the opener, beat an atrocious New Jersey Nets team at home, and haven’t figured out how to score more than 90 points since then.

[Mike Jones – Wizards Outlet, Washington Times]

I’m still not seeing why [Gilbert Arenas] feels like his role as closer should be different now, but nothing with this Wizards team makes much sense right now. It doesn’t make sense that Caron Butler has been such a non-factor this season. It doesn’t make sense how this team turns the ball over left and right. Doesn’t make sense that they can’t for the life of them stay healthy!

[Kelly Dwyer – Ball Don’t Lie]

Gilbert Arenas had 21 points, five rebounds, eight assists, and three steals on Tuesday night. He also missed 13 of 20 shots, and turned it over 12 times. 12 TIMES. Shawn Kemp-styled, stuff.

(The Miami Heat also had 12 turnovers, total, while we’re at it.)

[Mike Prada – Bullets Forever]

Speaking of mystifying, I’m shocked JaVale McGee didn’t get any playing time tonight. This game was screaming for someone who could provide a jolt of energy to a tired team. Miami’s bigs are not very mobile and aren’t really post-up threats. With the game starting to slip away late in the third and early in the fourth, McGee should have been in there. I don’t think he’s played at all since the last Miami game, which is a shame.

[Brian Jackson –]

In head-to-head matches Wade is now 16-0 against Arenas. For the second time in less than a week Wade hung at least 40 points on his Southeast division foes. Flash only shot 14-29 from the field but he got five steals and most of which led to easy breakaways. Once again he single handedly willed his team to victory.

[Matt Buser – Noah’s Arc, Yahoo! Sports]

Caron Butler did not record an assist for the fourth time in six games, this time despite logging 45 minutes of playing time. He now has four assists in 261 minutes, good for a per-48 minute average of 0.7 (his per-48 average over the past four seasons was 4.7). Clearly something is off, but it’s still early, he’s adjusting to a new offensive system, and he’s missing his buddy Antawn Jamison. Let’s give it a few games after Jamison’s return before we assume his assist-to-turnover ratio will remain around 0.2:1 for the entire season.

[Craig Stouffer – Washington Examiner]

If Arenas had shown the same kind of focus and intensity that he had arguing calls with referee Dan Crawford after the game had already been decided – enough to earn himself a dumb technical foul – back during his 7-turnover third period, perhaps he might not have rung up the most dubious of double-doubles: 21 points, a career-high 12 turnovers.

[Patrick Cassidy – Dime Magazine]

Gilbert Arenas’s comments in the locker room after last night’s disappointing loss to the Miami Heat were almost as deflating as his 12 turnovers. “I don’t know what the hell is going on around here,” he told reporters. “I don’t know if some old player put a curse on us back in the day. I have no idea.”

Yes, Washington is dealing with some disappointing injuries right now (including Randy Foye spraining his ankle in the first half last night), but they are clearly are feeling sorry for themselves and it’s turning into losses. Quickly. And if Gilbert and Caron Butler don’t put a stop to it ASAP, a once-promising season will be over before it even gets a chance to start.

[George Panagakos –]

It was risky putting Andray Blatche in at starter; fans have been wanting Blatche there after his early season success, but who would have imagined Foye would get injured.  The Wizards remaining bench, Fabricio Oberto, Nick Young, and and Dominic McGuire, is sort of like a who does not belong as a non-scorer?  Young is going to need to step up his O-game somehow.

[The Miz – Fight For Old D.C.]

What can you say about the past week for the Wizards? They’ve been blown out by one of the NBA’s worst teams in the Indiana Pacers, chewed out by their injured leader Antawn Jamison, and seem downright lost out on the court. Needless to say it was a pretty rough week for the boys in blue. Let’s jump a little further into the misery that is 2-6 (a.k.a. Redskin Land).

[DolPhanDave – The Peninsula is Mightier]

The Heat started the 4th quarter up by 3 and with a very odd lineup. Anthony, Haslem, Beasley, Wright and Arroyo. Really…? The lead was gone in under two minutes as that lineup missed their first four shots. After that, both teams began scoring at will and there were six lead changes spanning just seven possessions. With the game tied at 71 half way through the 4th quarter, this game of runs was going to come down to which team could close with the better one. With Dwyane Wade leading the way, the Heat finished the game on a 19-3 run.

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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.