[Editor's Note: Rashad Mobley has reported on the Wizards with media credentials since the 2008-09 season for Hoops Addict. He occasionally contributes to Truth About It.net, providing excellent analysis and a different perspective from his up-close coverage of the team.]
- When I initially read that the Wizards would unify and rally around
the recent passing of owner Abe Pollin
, I must admit I had a certain degree of cynicism. I wasn’t doubting the sincerity of their feelings around Abe’s death, because I have no doubt that he touched each and every one of those players in some way. Being touched is one thing–translating that into a team that plays well together in every facet of the game is another. But on a night where Gilbert Arenas
and Caron Butler
combined for 18 points, the Wizards were still able to win by 10, despite losing double digit leads one more than one occasion. I don’t know whether Coach Saunders has found his rhythm substitution-wise, or if Abe is inspiring this team from above, but it was nice to see the Wizards put two strong efforts together.
-JaVale McGee checked into the game unusually early (with 3.27 left in the 1st quarter), and Coach Saunders clearly must have known that was the right move, because his impact was immediate. Within 15 seconds of entering the game, McGee had a first block on Jermaine O’Neal. Two minutes later he scored on a pretty finger roll around O’Neal. A few seconds later he blocked a Joel Anthony shot, and then he stole the ball from Udonis Haslem with 15 seconds left in the quarter. McGee only played 15 minutes total, and he didn’t have much of an effect on the game after the first quarter, but it was nice to see McGee do the little things and be seemingly content.
-Just last week I wrote an article about Nick Young‘s inconsistency, and I questioned whether he was truly ready to step in and be an effective contributor to this Wizards’ team. On Wednesday, lost in the shuffle between Eddie Jordan’s return and Abe Pollin’s untimely death, was the start and solid play of Nick Young. In that game, Young scored 20 points on 50% shooting, and he seemed to develop some confidence. Against the Heat, Young’s confidence only increased with a 22 point, five assist performance. But more importantly, Young played solid defense on Dwyane Wade who had burned the Wizards for over 40 points in their prior meetings. Wade was held to 18 points on 6-of-19 shooting, and much of that was Young’s defense. He consistently had a hand in Wade’s face, and he forced him to take some uncharacteristically bad shots. More importantly, he played well with the starting lineup of Jamison, Haywood, Arenas and Butler.
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