[Editor's Note: After each game we'll round up the best links and reactions to each game. Throughout the preseason we'll try to tinker with the format to make this as informative as possible for you, the reader. Feel free to leave suggestions in the comments. -Jake]
Arenas showed no hitches as he showed great acceleration and leaping ability and drove past defenders at will. And his court vision was as keen as it ever was as he wove through defenders and still managed to find his teammates. But Arenas hardly looked for his own shot, taking just five attempts. He made only one of them and struggled from the foul line as well, going 3-for-9.
"I thought [Gilbert] was good," said Head Coach Flip Saunders. "He did the things he needed to do in this situation. He had a 20 and 10 game right on his fingertips. He’s not going to miss that many free throws. Nobody should question how his knee is after he jumped over the table in the first quarter (to save a ball). He has given me no indication in the things that he has done that he’s not back. He needs games like this to play and to get used to the flow of the game. He almost got to the point where he was too unselfish."
Saunders said that he planned on using Arenas for just "eight to 10 minutes," but Arenas played 11 minutes in the first quarter. When he grabbed a seat next to assistant coach Sam Cassell, the Wizards held a 29-24 lead. Arenas got the Wizards going quickly as he caught the ball in the low post and kicked the ball out to Antawn Jamison for a three-pointer. He then found Nick Young in the corner for a 19-foot jumper, Butler up high for a 17-footer and Jamison for another three-pointer. His best assist came when he zipped a no-look pass to a cutting Jamison for a one-handed dunk. Jamison said having Arenas back provides him much easier looks. "It was unbelievable, having a guy like him," Jamison said after scoring a game-high 20 points with eight rebounds. "On one, I was so wide open I didn't know what to do."
Mike Miller didn't shoot the ball particularly well (1 of 7), but he had six rebounds. Brendan Haywood, who missed the preseason and the first 75 games of last season with a wrist injury, had six points, seven rebounds and three blocked shots in 28 minutes. Mike James had played well throughout the first week of training camp, but he joined the injured Javaris Crittenton and training camp invitees Paul Davis and Vincent Grier on the bench all night, drawing a DNP-CD.
The Wizards have to be happy with what they got out of Jamison (20 points, eight rebounds), Butler (15 points, six rebounds), Young (11 points, two rebounds and a steal), Foye (14 points, three assists, three steals), Blatche (13 points, eight rebounds) and even JaVale McGee's eight points, three rebounds in spot duty. Saunders said he was happy with Haywood's play (six points, seven rebounds, three blocks), but that he felt like defensively the team didn't give him enough help, and that offensively he would have liked to see him get more touches. But all in all, the Wizards come from this game without any glaring concern areas.
Tonight fans of the Washington Wizards got to see Arenas as a "true point guard," Brendan Haywood as a shot-changer, and a first look at the offensive powerhouse that is the Washington Wizards. Stevenson and Foye showed their range while Miller showcased his passing talents. Frontcourt reserve duo JaVale McGee and Andray Blatche complimented each other inside and out of the paint respectively in the fourth and ushered in the first win of the preseason.
The Griz saw their first action with the NBA's replacement refs, and it wasn't a smooth experience. On one possession, the Griz had just four players on the court because rookie DeMarre Carroll sat at the scorer's table when he was supposed to replace Zach Randolph. Action continued and Rudy Gay intentionally fouled to stop play. There were 55 fouls called in the game.
Michael Conley was perhaps the lone shining example. Sounds like he controlled Gilbert Arenas and forced him to pass more frequently then Agent Zero normally likes him to. His stats suggest an efficient and effective offensive game.
After you check out the latest news from The Onion about Juwan Howard, you can check out the top tweets from last night's game.
Twitter / Michael Lee
Flip Saunders on making his debut with the Wizards: "I hope they aren’t going to judge me on the preseason games."
Twitter / Truth_About_It
Evidently Richmond is "The Most Powerful City In The World" too ... thought only D.C. held that title.
Twitter / Truth_About_It
Blatche tries baseline spin move on Thabeet, weakly loses position and gets his stuff THROWN.
Twitter / The BF gang
Blatche is having a much better fourth quarter than a second quarter. Some great boardwork in the fourth.
Twitter / Mike Jones
So much for the end of "I can't feel my face." Stevenson 3 followed by the hand-wave.
Twitter / The BF gang
JaVale just tried the Hakeem Olajuwon flick at the rebunder move. Needless to say, it didn't work.
Twitter / Trey Ervine
At the wizards grizzlies game! Allen iverson sat on the bench by himself the first half then didnt come out for the second. Smart buy? ...no