If I was really cruel, I could talk about how it could've been worse yesterday because at least the Wizards didn't blow a 15 point lead to a team that averages less than 15 points per game. But I'm not going to do that, because I'm not cruel like that. Anyways, on to the yesterday...
Arenas, again, was slow to get involved at the opening tip. He missed his first five shots in the first period and didn't look like he wanted to take any of them. But when he returned in the second half, Arenas hit an 18-foot jumper, a corner three-pointer (yes, Arenas shot two three-pointers on Sunday, making one), a driving reverse layup and another 16-foot jumper. He also found Jamison cutting to the basket for two layups and hit Andray Blatche for a nifty lob.
But what did I learn about the Wizards? Well, I can’t wait until Gilbert Arenas gets 100% comfortable with his offensive balance and ability to distribute … and is able to display it for a full game. He looked great in the third quarter. Made my day. The turnovers, however, are a slight concern. So far this preseason, Arenas is averaging 6.3 turnovers per 36 minutes, which shatters his 3.2 TO/36 in 05-06 when he led the NBA in total turnovers with 297.
His teammates couldn't be happier, as they interpret his vow of silence as a renewed commitment to his on-court career, one interrupted by three surgeries on his left knee, limiting him to 15 games during the past two seasons. "It's good. He's a leader, he's the franchise player. When he's serious it's good for everyone," Wizards teammate DeShawn Stevenson said. "I'm just glad to see him out there." Added Caron Butler: "Whatever works for him. Whatever works for him. As long as we get wins."
I was impressed when I arrived at the arena nearly three hours before the opening tip and saw Gilbert Arenas and Mike Miller working with the Wizards assistant coaches. It’s rare to see vets putting in that kind of work but it’s the kind of example the Wizards younger players need to see.
After losing the most important quarter (3rd) of the game, the Raptors held it together and won the 4th 30-11 locking up the game. Sure it was the 2nd/3rd unit, but they done-did-right. Amir Johnson and Patrick O’Bryant used their length and athleticism to change the game on the boards. Thing of beauty. If the toe jam is no big deal, Weems looks more and more like a regular contributor then the 3rd forward off the bench.
Jamison absolutely torched [Bosh] to start the game….that tattoo on Bosh’s body might just be a Wizard’s logo with a #4 attached. He had as brutal a game as can be expected from a guy in his second game back, but the way he was neutralized and knocked around was concerning.
DeMar Derozan Meets the Washington Wizards - Jarrett Carter, Stet Sports Blog
Nick Young has some competition to get into the dunk contest this year.
Non Game Related Links
Saunders was fired in the summer of 2008 after his team lost in the Eastern Conference finals for the third consecutive year and was forced to take his first hiatus from coaching in the past 32 years. Saunders said recently that he was surprised when Joe Dumars, the Pistons' president of basketball operations, told him that the team was moving in another direction. "I guess a little bit, because when I talked to Joe when the season ended, he actually said it was the best coaching job that I had done since I had been there. So I thought I was fine," he said. Dumars "said at that time [late Pistons owner Bill] Davidson made a decision and wanted to make a change, so in this business, it doesn't matter what we think.
"This is my first time having a relationship with a coach like this," said Blatche, who had 17 points and nine rebounds Friday in the Wizards' second preseason game. "I must admit, I like it. It makes me want to work harder and be a better player. He tells me so many things that, if I told them all, we'd be standing here all day. But the main thing is, 'Just stay focused; continue to work hard.' He lets me know hard work pays off. He continues to just give me confidence and boost me up."
Although the Wizards were forced into overtime against the Lakers when Arenas missed the final shot in regulation, he made sure that a really special night had a really special ending. He scored a franchise record 60 points, eclipsing former Washington greats like Earl Monroe (56 points), Phil Chenier (53 points), Bernard King (52 points) and Michael Jordan (51). A handful of NBA players have scored 60 or more. Only one has scored 16 in overtime. He broke the record of 15 set by the unheralded Earl Boykins two seasons before.
Twitter / Truth_About_It
Blatche was just described as a "solid player" by the Raptors announcers. Guess they really don't do their homework up there in Canada.
Twitter / Michael Lee
Blatche and McGee just hooked up for back2back alley-oops. Nice passes by AB, effortless jams from McGee. Raps lead 39-36
Twitter / The BF gang
McGee is such a highlight film on offense. Too bad he might be the most clueless defensive player in the last 10 years of the NBA
Twitter / Michael Lee
Gil might be staging a media boycott, but he's talking to refs. Picked up first tech of the preseason, arguing a call. He just hit a 3, too
Twitter / The BF gang
Gil's completely controlling this game. This is the Gil we need to see all season.
Twitter / Jack Kogod
Jesus, I really hope Mike Miller didn't totally forget how to shoot the ball.
Twitter / Craig Stouffer
Radio says they're not impressed with #wizards lineup Blatche, Young, McGuire, McGee, James. Hello, that group had 63 losses last year.
Twitter / DeMar DeRozan
A tough game but we pulled it thru.