Gilbert Arenas is currently struggling to find a set role in the Wizards back-court, and John Wall is struggling with consistency and turnovers. The general feeling is that the current plight of both players is a temporary one, and eventually they will find their individual games, and then learn how to play off each other as well. This is not a slight to Kirk Hinrich at all, but as Hubie Brown would say, “Now we know Wall and Arenas have tremendous upside, and at their peak they give you the best chance to win.” And Hubie is always right.
Until Wall and Arenas find that comfort zone, they will have to continue to work hard in practice, trust each other when they do get in the game, and perhaps watch film to correct their mistakes. The first piece of film they should watch? The play of Mo Williams and Daniel “Boobie” Gibson during the Wizards 107-102 loss to the Cavaliers.
Williams scored 28 points in just 31 minutes of play, and Gibson added an efficient 19-point game during his 27 minutes of the floor. Williams did his damage from beyond the three-point arc, on drives and on mid-range jumpers, while Gibson primarily hurt the Wizards from the outside. During a key 10-0 run by the Cavs, one which saw the Wizards lose the lead for good, Williams had seven points and Gibson had three–including back-to-back three pointers that pretty much sealed the Wizards’ fate.
When I listened to the post-game comments of some of the Cavaliers players and coaches, I couldn’t help but to think about what Wall and Arenas could be. First there was Byron Scott; Read more »
Slow steps and seconds guesses were the main themes from Saturday’s night home loss to an Antwan Jamison-less Cleveland Cavaliers. The Wizards let a very winnable game slip away as Anthony Parker, Daniel Gibson and Mo Williams all burried late key three pointers and Washington fell to 1-4 on the young season.
Coach Saunders regretted sitting a hot Al Thornton (23 points on 10-16 field-goals) for the final nine minutes of the game.
“I said to Al that I made a mistake….I question myself the last three minutes about not having Al in there.”
Flip went to the long anticipated three-guard lineup of John Wall, Kirk Hinrich and Gilbert Arenas for the fourth quarter. The trio led the Wizards to a 90-85 lead with five minutes to go in the game after Arenas fueled a 3-on-1 fast break that ended with a flush by Andray Blatche.
Dammit. I did it. I used that LeBron fella’s name in the title of this post. I know, I know … I shouldn’t have.
If it’s any consolation, I refused to watch the “decision” when the option was offered to the awaiting media to do so in the Wizards’ family room (the usual press lounge was unavailable).
Oh, the “awaiting” media part … well, yea, we were all waiting to speak to John Wall after he’d gone through his first day of mini-camp with the Wizards. The team’s opening session went from around 6:30 to 8:30 pm on Thursday; it was well after 10 pm before Wall spoke. Can’t blame him, he had to watch his buddy Bron Bron and then ice down some sore muscles.
Which makes me step back and think … back in February, would you have ever imagined that by July Cavs fans would (likely) want to trade places with Wizards fans?
Sure, team captains Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler chimed in about not liking it. But DeShawn Stevenson … Mister 50/50, I Can’t Feel My Face … the Wizards’ protagonist in their rivalry with the Cavaliers (or antagonist depending on what side you’re on) … was the most vocal about Miller’s shoe selection, drawing scorn for his antics.
Ok, maybe “argue” is a strong word. Perhaps it was a disagreement … a contention … a discussion … a conversation. Whatever it was, Brendan Haywood and Antawn Jamison certainly weren’t on the same page regarding defense for a moment toward the end of the second quarter against the Cavs on Wednesday.
I couldn’t quite hear all of the audio that goes with the scene above, I just know it began with a quizzical point by Jamison followed by Haywood putting his hands in the air in a defense manner and saying “I don’t know,” several times before getting his ‘I DO know’ point across. The players then moved on with the basketball game.
Now, I don’t profess to know much about the scheming and assignments in Flip Saunders’ defense. So, let’s take a screen-shot look at the play in question.
The Wizards seem to be in a match-up containment zone looking thing. Boykins is playing in the passing lane, facing West, but not up on him. Haywood steps out, seemingly to contain West. Read more »
The Wizards play the Thunder at 8 pm tonight in Oklahoma City. I’ll be Twittering and perhaps chatting a bit on ESPN’s Daily Dime.
We’ll see if the Wiz have the consistency, energy and focus it takes to win. Word out of Oklahoma is that the Thunder practiced their zone offense at shoot-around today.
Watch out for that Thabo Sefolosha cat. His on-ball defense is something to get excited about … when not playing the Wizards, obviously. It won’t be easy for Mike Miller or Caron Butler, whomever Thabo is guarding. That means … no dribbling around and trying to force things, Caron.
Brendan Haywood will also being going against his old buddy, Etan ‘The Poet’ Thomas. Wizards Insider has more on the game’s matchup.
Finally, it’s Zero vs. Zero tonight, as my fellow ESPN TrueHoop Network blog, Daily Thunder, points out. Russell Westbrook vs. Gilbert Arenas … hopefully it will be fun to watch (and Gil’s not throwing up stink bombs from deep).
Don’t want to call it a rivalry? There are too many coincidences in the series surrounding these two teams not too. With a Wizards six game losing streak that began in Cleveland and ended against the same team in D.C., there’s a certain symmetry displayed that you just don’t get in your usual Wednesday night matchup between most other NBA teams.
And how many teams does LeBron get so frustrated against that he decides dunk a ball so meaninglessly hard that he hurts his wrist? I don’t know.
This time, however, the injury shoe was on the other foot. There shouldn’t be a single Cavs fan out there saying, ‘We were without Shaq and Varejao.’ They’ve had no qualms about disassembling the Wizards’ bandwagon when it was down a couple wheels. LeBron likes to whine but he’s not Eva Perón, no one in Wizards Nation is going to cry for him, his team, or his city because of injuries.
LeBron was as much of a proponent for his team as he was a detriment to their efforts last night. This will be explained further below.
I’ll be reporting from the game tonight with a Live Twitter Blog (hopefully, if the wordpress plugin works), and will also be checking in on ESPN.com’s Daily Dime chat. Until then, here’s what you need to know …
As Tuesday night got later and later, I found myself less and less wanting to write a blog about the Wizards-Cavs game. It’s not that I was particularly distraught about the loss … I just preferred to put it behind me, have a short memory as they say in sports.
Dwyane Wade and the Heat are in D.C. tonight for a game that I will be covering/reporting from … and I’d rather focus my energy on hoping the Wiz take care of business at home.
Plus, I predicted a Cavs win because of what I thought would be a Cleveland home court advantage (ahem … whistles). And well, that pretty much held true. In the first half, the Wizards’ four big men were whistled for a total of 12 fouls — Haywood (3), Blatche (3), McGee (4), and Oberto (2).
Most of the fouls were just, some not so much … and ultimately this threw the Wizards out of sync on both ends of the court.
On defense, bigs were worried about picking up fouls. And a Shaq versus JaVale McGee matchup, simply in appearance much less game flow, was like choosing between a simple salad and a bacon cheeseburger from Five Guys … when you’re six beers into a six hour empty stomach. Which one do you think will prevail?