The First Two Minutes of the Third Quarter Against Minnesota: Just Part of What Flip Saunders Was Talking About | Wizards Blog Truth About

The First Two Minutes of the Third Quarter Against Minnesota: Just Part of What Flip Saunders Was Talking About

Updated: December 28, 2009

There were several interesting quotes from the Wizards about themselves in Michael Lee’s report from Minneapolis on Wizards Insider. I’m unsure if it’s more frustrating that they actually realize what they’re doing wrong. Let’s first read a quote from Flip Saunders:

“Guys have to be disciplined. They have to be willing to turn down a shot at time. Tonight, we had no shot discipline. Tonight, it was, ‘I haven’t taken a shot, so I’m going to shoot it.’ when you do that, you shoot 38 percent from the field.”

A reoccurring theme … the players not trusting, or deviating from, Saunders’ offense. Lets see what Antawn Jamison had to say:

“We played selfish basketball at times. On the road, you can’t do that. I don’t care who you’re playing against.”

I’d also like to add that you can’t do that at home either, but yes, another reoccurring theme. Saunders has put such selfishness more nicely before, calling it ‘hero basketball’.

This theme also probably had something to do with why Brendan Haywood was singing Beyoncé’s “Ego” after a loss against the Spurs in San Antonio. Haywood later made a comment on one of his own blog posts that he never sang Beyoncé because, “that’s not masculine at all!!! lol.” More controversy was subsequently stirred when Gilbert Arenas said, “There’s about 15 players on the team … 14 get along.” Perceived differences between Arenas and Caron Butler were eventually resolved, evidently.

Over a month later, the Wizards are no longer expressing their opinion of each other in the media, at least not yet. But they are playing the same crappy brand of basketball. The most damning quote after the Minnesota game came from Saunders:

“Until we decide that we get upset when we miss defensive assignments, as much as we get upset when we don’t get the ball on offense, we’re not going to take that next step.”

Arenas did show maturity by claiming responsibility for a piss-poor offensive effort that should be blamed on the entire team. He told Lee that he was “the main culprit” with attempts of ‘hero basketball’ and also truthfully said:

“I hurt the team more turning the ball over then the shots I take.”

To illustrate the bad brand of basketball Flip was talking about, let’s take a look at the first two minutes of the third quarter, which led to the coach calling a quick timeout. Saunders is usually great at calling plays coming out of a timeout, but you’ll also see an example of the Wizards not initiating what Saunders would surely consider an ideal post-huddle offense.

{start of the 3rd quarter}


Jefferson hit a one dribble righty hook at the dotted line over Haywood. Tough shot, not much defense could do.


Wiz got a decent look resulting from Foye dribble penetration to the free-throw line from the left wing. Foye passed to Arenas coming off a Jamison side screen on the right wing three-point line. Arenas just missed an open shot.


Arenas did a poor job staying with his man, Johnny Flynn, and allowed Jamison to pick him up in a switch. Flynn dribbled back out past the arc and Arenas got caught on Love in the paint. Jamison kind of covers Flynn, but then seems to look for Randy Foye to pick him up … and Antawn will rotate, I guess.

So, when Foye was slow to commit to Flynn, but eventually did, Jamison wasn’t forward-thinking enough to see the next pass coming. The ball was rotated right to Corey Brewer who nailed just one of his several open jumpers.


Looks like a Jamison hand-off play that sets Caron up for a post or Gil to come around and receive.

Caron got position on Damien Wilkins, but then stepped out and away from the post …

Caron jab stepped, got the ball poked away, recovered it and then fired for the longest two-pointer possible with nine seconds on the shot clock. Not ideal at all.


Flynn easily drove middle against Arenas. Haywood blocked his shot, but stepped out of bounds. On the reset, Jefferson got the ball on a re-post, which, you gotta wonder if Haywood was doing enough to fight for position. In any case, Jefferson drove on Haywood to the left and hit a very hard-to-stop running lefty.

Flip Saunders calls a timeout.

What happened up to that point wasn’t that bad … but you expect the Wizards to execute coming out of the timeout, right? Wrong.

So the Wizards come out “ready to move the ball”. Reminescent of the days of old, Arenas dribble hands-off to Caron on the right wing.

Caron dribbles and reverses the ball to Jamison at the top of the arc. As Jamison looks to further reverse the ball to Foye on the left wing, Butler makes one of those Princeton cuts into the lane.

It’s certainly not meant to be an iso for Foye. I guess the play is drawn up for Butler who doesn’t post on the left block …

Rather, Butler very slowly muscles his way past Wilkins to set a ball screen for Foye.

Randy doesn’t really use the first pick, guess he didn’t have room and the sideline was trapping him like another defender.

As Caron goes to set a pick in the other direction (to the right), Foye turns it down and …

Instead Randy takes a dribble, shoots a heavily-contested jumper and misses. Once again, the longest two-point attempt possible by the Wizards … with a whole 10 seconds on the shot clock.

Inefficient jumpers is the name of Washington’s game.

Arenas ended up coming up with a bouncing loose ball rebound and got it to Jamison for an easy bucket.

Then Arenas got hot by hitting three jumpers in a row, openness courtesy of Flynn’s inability to get around screens (Minnesota’s inability overall).

Then, over a six-minute period in the fourth quarter (around 8:50 to 2:50), the Wizards only made one field-goal and missed eight shots.

Then the Wizards lost.

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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.