The faces have changed, but the culture has stayed the same.
Sure, there might not be anymore bickering now that many of the team's veterans are out of the picture, but the Wizards are still losing the same ways they lost before, giving up a bevy of late three pointers and failing to create similar opportunities on the other end to respond. Yes, the locker room culture may have changed for the better, but the culture of failing to execute in late game situations remains unchanged.
- One of the big culprits in last night's loss was the three-guard lineup Flip Saunders used late in the game. It provided a spark that got the Wizards back in the game and temporarily gave them the lead, but it came back to bite them defensively, while Al Thornton sat. One person who thought it might have been a good idea to get Thornton back in the game was Gilbert Arenas, who said "There was a point in the fourth quarter where I should have subbed myself out for Al," according to the Associated Press.
At times like this, I would normally say, "FIRE THE CONTROVERSY ALARMS!" except, that Saunders echoed Arenas' sentiments, according to Dave Johnson:
"I said to Al I made a mistake," said Wizards head coach Flip Saunders of his decision to keep Thornton on the bench the final 9:19 of the game. "We got into a rhythm with Gil in there. Gil was making shot. Kirk is our best defender in pick and rolls and John has to play."I'm sure some media outlet will still find a way to create a controversy, but there's really nothing here to see, let's keep it moving.
In Friday night's game thread, a lot of people were talking about Arenas' shape. Some said he looked like he packed on some pounds, others said it was just muscle. Arenas ended that debate after the game last night with Michael Lee.
"I'm about 10 pounds overweight then what I came to training camp at, so I have to get that down. It's hard when you hurt you ankle and your groin and you can't really run. Other than that, once I get my legs back I should be fine."
- Craig Stouffer has an excellent breakdown of some of the best and worst individual performances from last nights game. In it he picks up on something no one else reported on in last night's game: Why was JaVale McGee sitting in the closing minutes? He finished the game with a plus/minus of +12.
- Finally, this happened last night after the game:
Non-game related links
- John Schumann has a nice profile of John Wall on NBA.com, which also includes a nice invisceration of Colin Cowherd. If that's not enough incentive to click that link, I don't know what is.
- In the wake of losing Fabricio Oberto for the season, the Blazers have moved down their list of recently departed Wizards big men and have signed training camp invitee Sean Marks.