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New Orleans Hornets 96, Washington Wizards 80

Box Score
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Post recap
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At the Hive
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Four factors (see explanation)

Team Pace Eff eFG FT/FG OREB% TOr
Washington 92.0 87.0 41.8% 17.7 27.7 22.8
New Orleans 104.3 50.0% 24.7 18.2 14.1

Ugly.  Frankly, that could describe our entire preseason outside of the Memphis game (which wasn't exactly poetry in motion either).  Our young guys have looked really out of sorts recently, and only some awesome garbage-time play by DerMarr Johnson made this score remotely decent.

The issue is pretty simple.  For some odd reason, probably because we're playing a lot of young guys who are still learning, we're rushing our Princeton offense.  Dee Brown is a jet in transition, but he doesn't know where the ball is supposed to go.  This is where AD was missed, because AD calms the troops down and maintains the slow pace we need.  But that's not all.  Everyone is shooting the first good jumper they see.  Right off the bat, Caron Butler's first two shots were long jumpers when the shot clock was still in the teens.  Dude, you're better than that.

In fact, here how our offensive possessions looked during that 18-0 run.

-Butler missed jumper, 13 on the shot clock

-Etan missed jumper

-Butler missed jumper, 12 on the shot clock

-Stevenson missed jumper, 10 on the shot clock

-Stevenson missed jumper, Butler offensive rebound, Etan missed jumper after 4 seconds

-Dee Brown missed jumper

-Songaila missed hook shot, 9 on the shot clock

-Dee Brown turnover on high s/r

-Songaila missed jumper, 9 on shot clock

-Butler missed jumper

Notice how there are no actual forays to the basket.  We aren't going to win anything shooting a ton of jumpers to start the game, especially without Gilbert Arenas.  In the past, maybe Arenas gets hot early and shoots us to a win.  That can't happen anymore.  We also don't have Brendan Haywood around to establish the post-up game, which really hurts, but seriously, there's no excuse to have your first 11 shots be jumpers.  This is the first team we're talking about here, folks, or at least what remains of it. 

That set the tone, and the bench didn't make things any easier when it came into the game.  I guess Eddie Jordan decided to penalize Blatche for his 2-12 foul-out performance against Detroit, butit didn't work as Blatche went 3-14 tonight.  Still, doesn't this strike you as remedial behavior?  I don't want Songaila to become the guy that Eddie uses to screw around with Blatche's minutes, a la Etan for Brendan Haywood in 2007.  That doesn't mean I don't want Blatche to feel some competition, but I want that to come in practice, not in games.  If it does come in games, I'd rather see Blatche start and maybe play fewer minutes if he's struggling.  Don't bench him, though.  Develop him by teaching, not by scolding.

Our defense really wasn't that awful.  New Orleans is a really deliberate half-court team, but they will run off long rebounds and turnovers.  That's what they did early, and it got us in a major hole.  Our offense screwed our defense.

At least DerMarr Johnson continues to make his case for making the roster over Juan Dixon and Dee Brown.  Irrespective of how he played today, I'd rather have a big guard than two small guards.  That he played well today only makes the case stronger.  DerMarr's NBA career was pretty brutal before, but he's shown some signs of newfound maturity, both in his short San Antonio stint and in the D-League.  At the very least, he's been beaten down enough to be humble with a 15th-man role.  Keep him, please.

Otherwise, I don't feel like remembering this game much.  It's only preseason, sure, but there are tons of warning signs.  Remember how a poor end to preseason led to last year's 0-5 start?  A repeat would really have us buried this time around.