Some quick pregame notes:
- When I got on the court at about 5:30, there was only one Wizards player - Cedric Jackson - practicing. By the time Flip Saunders was done with his pregame media session, Cartier Martin, Andray Blatche, JaVale McGee, Nick Young, Shaun Livingston and Earl Boykins were on the court. Throw in the assistant coaches (Sam Cassell, Wes Unseld Jr., Gene Banks, Ryan Saunders and Mike Wells) and the ballboys, and you can see how it gets pretty cramped out there. I've heard more than one player this season complain about how there isn't enough room for him to get into a routine. Here's a tip: try coming out a little earlier.
- Flip Saunders was asked about how the Hawks were able to build themselves up to being a contender. "Because they lost games, they were able to build and get some good young pieces through the draft. They had the patience to let those guys develop and know that they were going to take some hits as they were developing, but in the long run know that it was going to pay off." Hey Ted/Ernie/new GM, you listening?
- Obviously, someone asked about the whole "Andray Blatche trash talking KG" story, i.e. the most overrated thing of the year. Saunders said that he yelled at KG last game for Blatche. I chuckled inside. I think Flip was being serious.
- Sam Cassell's lesson of the day for Livingston? The time to attack a defender in the post is once he sticks out his leg. "As soon as he steps out, go," Cassell told Livingston. To demonstrate, Cassell zipped by Livingston in the post and drained a baby jumper.
- Speaking of Livingston, the 42 minutes he played last night was a career high. I asked Flip whether he was surprised with how well Livingston held up. "No," Saunders said. "When you're playing well, you don't get tired." Saunders did say that he's going to watch for any signs of fatigue from Livingston tonight.
- Livingston's also apparently buddies with Marvin Williams, based on how they said hello to each other before the game. Everyone knows everyone in this league.
- There are a lot of former players doing color commentary these days, but none carry a room like Dominique Wilkins. He honestly looks like he could rip off his suit and go out and play at a high level. I've seen guys like Tom Heinsohn, Clyde Frazier and Sean Elliot this season, but no color commentator has the same aura as Dominique. I'll stop now before I sound any more like Bill Simmons.