Preview & Chat: The Washington Wizards

Kurt —  January 26, 2010

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Records: Lakers 32-11 (1st in West) Wizards 14-29 (14th in East)
Offensive points per 100 possessions: Lakers 108.8 (10th in league), Wizards 105 (22nd in league)
Defensive points per 100 possessions: Lakers 101.8 (3rd in league) Wizards 109.4 (23rd in league)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Wizards: Randy Foye, Deshawn Stevenson, Caron Butler, Antiwan Jamison, Brendon Haywood

Lakers Updates: Ron Artest was at shoot around today and will play tonight (likely getting a key matchup on Caron Butler). I will add that this is one guy who could benefit from the upcoming All Star break. A few days without the pounding on the hardwood will help the plantar fasciitis he is fighting.

Wizards coming in: Do I really need to go into the ugly details here? Well, I think we do on this point: While the Gilbert Arenas/Javaris Crittenton gun charges get the mainstream media attention, the team’s problems on the court are much deeper than that. The guys at Truth About It nailed this the other day.

It would be simple to cite constant themes of lacking energy and settling for jumpers and conclude that this team has quit on their coach, themselves, the franchise, and the fans. But these issues have plagued them since the beginning of the season. So, and pardon me if I’ve said this before, you technically can’t quit if you never start playing.

Early season issues arose from the players’ unfamiliarity with a new offensive system. That quickly beget reoccurring situations where they should have known the system, but didn’t trust it. The most recently evolution involves one of the team’s captains ignoring the coach and running his own play with the game on the line.

Wizards blogs Did I mention Truth About It?

Keys to game: We complain sometimes that the Lakers aren’t focused and can just win on talent and not teamwork, but it is nice to have a few of those on the schedule. Like when you’ve been struggling and need win. This should be one of those games. Should.

Both teams have had weak bench play of late — if one of them can get a good spark off the bench it will be a huge advantage. Mike Miller has been a Lakers killer, the Lakers need to focus on him. Also, Andre Blatche has a lot of talent when he decides to focus. Against the Lakers may bring his “A” game, and that could be a problem because he is long and more athletic than our bigs.

The Lakers need to communicate on defense tonight because Flip Saunders’ offense can score points when it is executed. Always has, Washington just tends to not execute it well. But Butler and Jamison have the talent. They love to set a wing up on the weak side, have run a strong-side pick and roll where the screener rolls to the weak side and the ball handler drives. The goal ball reversal (a problem for the Lakers with their current defensive scheme) and to get easy weak side looks for the wing (who can also set to the new post on the weak side, who should have deep position). Saunders offense needs ball movement, and when the Wizards do it they can cause problems.

Where you can watch: Early 4 p.m. start here out west, on KCAL 9 locally plus NBATV where you are. Plus, ESPN radio 710am.

Kurt

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70 responses to Preview & Chat: The Washington Wizards

  1. this one’s for Warren ;)

  2. Dang…must…type….faster

  3. I like how Stu’s worried that Kobe’s gonna start shooting because his first few penetrate-and-set-up-for-a-big plays resulted in TOs

  4. gotcha! PJ, takes calm nerves when you see you can be the first commentor, hehehe… but I know you were thinking of Warren, so your heart was in the right place.
    seriously though, re: the game…
    the Wizards seem to be one team that will be looking to just about unload anyone, blow it up, stick a fork in it… well, you get it.
    so I’ll be watching to see who or what possible gem might be found on their bench.
    also, even though we lost to the Raptors, I felt like we are starting to gel a little bit, the 3 headed monster at PG did a pretty decent job, Fish hit some shots, took the charge on a break, etc, Farmar and Shannon also did a decent job.
    Pau and Drew are feeling like they are also starting to gel, so I’m feeling pretty positive.

  5. The Lakers are a step slow on everything. Not reading passes on the offensive end and not closing out on the defensive end.

  6. I’m only following on gamecast, but looks like Lamar is balling…

    7 min, 5/5 fg, 4 rebs, 3 ast, 11 points

  7. Yup, Lamar is playing aggressive ball and going to the hole. I like the way the offense is looking inside – we just need to tighten up the D.

  8. If only lamar could play like that half the season and half as good the other half…

  9. Feels good to see Pau back to his old self. All of his touches have been golden.

  10. sasha doin a good job

  11. Think the Knicks are fired up today? They’ve jumped out to a 15-0 lead.

    Then again, they are playing ‘Sota (sorry Rambis).

  12. Lamar and Pau playing great, Bynum hasn’t been too shabby

    But most importantly

    OUR BENCH GUARDS ARE PLAYING GOOD. ALL OF THEM. EVEN SASHA. ESPECIALLY SASHA. CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS?

    I don’t even know why Fish is in the game right now, other than that open 3 it’s not been a good run for him

  13. Too many PUJITS to count in this game – and funnily enough I can’t remember Fisher taking one.

  14. really good d this quarter

  15. sasha playing well. brown shooting bricks. big lebowski pitching hyundai – on nba tv…

  16. 12 – I think the key has been their desire to disrupt the Wizards’ offense (if you really want to call it an “offense”). They’re pressuring the ball, rotating on D, and jumping the passing lanes.

    I played a city league full court game last night with no subs (against an eight man team) and our offense looked 10 times better.

  17. Shannon is beasting.

  18. ShanWOW with dunk #3 so far

  19. Every time I see Sasha playing well, I somehow manage to convince myself that he could be the perfect point guard for the Lakers: Tall, quick, pesky defender and good shooter.

    I seriously think that it’s all mental with him. If he was to regain some confidence, his contract wouldn’t seem like such a mistake. (Will he ever be able to do it? Who knows.)

  20. That’s the $1 million question. Can the machine be fixed?

  21. You guys mentioned Sasha playing well but I’m only following on gamecast… he’s just got one FG and one rebound. What has he done so well? Not get in the way?

    Then again, maybe that’s the answer at PG!

  22. Jaybird: First of all, there is some truth to the statement that not getting in the way is a good thing for the Lakers’ point guard. As far as Sasha playing well, it’s been mostly a feeling that he’s fluent and in the game. He’s looked composed, for lack a of a better word.

  23. Great to see the explosion by Kobe.

  24. Gasol turns into Miller, but bounces off. LOL. Mike Miller. A shooting guard. Weaksauce.

  25. Andreas, I gotcha. Thanks for the info.

  26. Nice ball movement to Artest for the open trey.

  27. this is the kind of game that reminds me we are still a very good team

  28. You know how you often say “he’s so good, it’s not even fair” when talking about the really great players? Well in Kobe’s case it really seems fair. It’s obvious that his game is the result of perfecting his skills through hours and hours of practice, rather than just being gifted with insane physical abilities à la Lebron.

  29. Is that Ammo who’s not in uniform? If so, Is he hurt or inactive?

  30. Anyone else watching this game on NBATV? Webber was sounding pretty vindictive there. Someone is bitter.

  31. LOL @ CWebb trying to act like an 80s tough guy.

  32. brown just not running the offense

  33. Awful offense Kobe. Taking a 3 with a double team 27 feet away?

  34. 33, that was a heat check. He made one from the same spot (albeit wide open) a possession ago.

    This reminds me of 2008. Can’t stop anyone, but that doesn’t matter because we’re red hot anyway.

  35. Will PJ end the experiment and take Kobe out please? He cannot run the two man offense right now injured. Point taken.

  36. What constitutes a free throw lane violation?

  37. kobe and 15 attempts. wow.

  38. Interesting that Artest was toooo sick to come to THE WHITE HOUSE. I was texted 3 times that Ron-Ron was out at several night spots in Jamestown last night. I don’t trust this guy. He also can’t jump and the moment he goes out and Brown goes in the game changes.

  39. God, I really miss Sun Yue.

  40. I’m just guessing, but I imagine Kobe’s assist and turnover numbers are highly correlated. When he passes the ball more, he gets more of both. I guess that’s not so surprising.

  41. yeah, ShanWOW is gonna get a little more than $2m this offseason…you can book that.

  42. “Dr. Jekyll, please pick up the white courtesy phone.”

  43. Frustrating NBAtv!! I recorded this on league pass this morning, only to come home to it being blacked out b/c it was broadcasted on NBAtv. Rookie mistake!

    Well boys…outside of the box score…how was it looking?

    (First missed game of the year…not happy)

  44. Pau’s technical, what was that about?

    And only 4 O-Boards? Product of good shooting or lack of effort?

    Luke’s DNP…CD or nursing another injury?

  45. @38- RonRon may not have been invited to the WH because he was not on the team last year. In which case, the back at the hotel sick thing was simply an excuse.

  46. This was another one of those games where looking at the stat sheet tells you very little about what the players did. You had to see it.

    Not a great game, but the bench bunch really decided this game when the starters just didn’t have it. Actually, Phil pulled Pau, Artest, and Fish early and let the others run – and they dominated.

    Sasha came in on Farmar’s 2nd foul and probably earned more minutes again. His play recently is encouraging, regardless of what you read in the stats. He was very active and around the ball on defense and he didn’t force things on offense.

  47. Just hoping facilitator-Kobe lasts us throughout the season…

  48. Is it too much to ask to see that Lamar every game or even every other game? I think not but the basketball Gods do not favor me

  49. @38 – I’m sure Ron didn’t want to be lauded for winning a title he had nothing to do with. Makes complete sense for him not to go; maybe he felt it more graceful to cry sick than cry left out? If he wasn’t sick, he should have gone & sat with press or the families just for the experience (and maybe as motivation to get there again, next time on stage)!

  50. Wow. All I’ll say is that if someone told me celebrity nude photos were forthcoming, Greg Oden would have been near the bottom of my list of expected revealers.

    Portland got rid of the Jail Blazers, only to bring in a new era of deviation. Good thing Ruben Patterson’s no longer on that team.

    Good win, by the way.

  51. It’s all good, peeps. Even on a bad day the Lakeshow still dominates. And now that Favre has finally blown it (as expected) for my other favorite purple and gold team, I can once again concentrate 100% on the Lakers. Glad to be back in basketball mode again. Go Lakers!

  52. Off topic, but mildly pertinent: San Antonio expresses interest in obtaining Stoudemire. This is from Yahoo! Sports’ Woj, so it’s quite a few steps up from Vescey dribble.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news;_ylt=Alzz2joIt13P6oJe_XwYOhG8vLYF?slug=aw-stoudemirespurs012610&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

  53. What is wrong with our country where nudity is so awful? No wonder puritans were kicked out of Europe. We are a crazy country. It is not illegal or immoral for Greg Oden to send a naked picture of himself to a girlfriend but yet he has to apologize for it? Another example of how far this country has to go. We can elect a black President but if we see a black nipple during a halftime show the nation slows to a halt!

    On a side note… I hope Greg’s girlfriend was a philly or she has been walking around Portland broken in half.

  54. http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=354128

    I missed out on the “trade” thread so this link might deserve its own thread.

  55. Warren, no. We are not having another Hinrich discussion in this thread, and it is not its own. If you think the Lakers are taking on all that salary long term, you have not been reading what Buss has been saying (and save me the explanations of how this is different/and exception ).

  56. Oh and good god; 134 points per possession. Talk about potent offense.

  57. Why wasn’t Craig Hodges in the White House? Maybe because the incident in 1992? (that incident finished his career…) That was true?

    Here, a link in Spanish, maybe Xavier (who speaks much better than me in English can translate it): http://www.marca.com/2010/01/27/baloncesto/nba/1264599986.html

  58. Why did I have a feeling Aaron would be the first pro-nudist?

    I guess you can debate the morality of it all you want, but Greg’s actions (i.e. the apology) were appropriate for the societal standards we currently hold, like it or not.

    His grandchildren must be so ashamed.

  59. Matt’s disdain for the Lakers never seemed genuine to me.

  60. A now gone post questioned why if there is a story saying that the Lakers/Bulls talked Hinrich we should too in this thread, then went into detail about why it is a good idea.

    First, if you can’t help yourself, there is a trade thread a couple posts back where the comments have deteriorated into a useless debate about Bynum (and you wonder why I have disdain for trade threads).

    But in this case, two points: 1) This comes from one of the smaller suburban papers outside Chicago, not with anybody traveling with the two teams (the guys that usually hear trade stuff first) so I’m not remotely sold that what the source heard recent, and he says himself that nothing is close; 2) Teams talk ALL THE TIME about deals just to float stuff out there. If you knew every trade that was discussed at some level by organizations you’d flip. Lower level guys throw stuff around all the time that never merits a serious talks by decision makers. In this case, I’m sure somebody with the Lakers in the last year did float the idea of Hinrich for Morrison/Sasha. That is very different than saying it is a credible rumor. I know people will be entranced by the bright shiny objects that are trade rumors the next couple weeks, but please keep in mind the reality. And keep it in the trade threads.

  61. 60. Matt’s hatred is more for Lakers fans than the team itself.

  62. I usually don’t bother with trade rumors.

    If we’ve learned anything in the past few years, the Lakers keep their business tight lipped. We never hear about a trade before it happens. Then boom. So, if a trade does go down, it will most likely be a trade that was never discussed by anyone.

    I’m really more intrigued by the politics that go into “leaked” ideas. No matter which part leaks it. Front offices, agents, media. There’s always an angle to rumors.

    I’d like to know just who put the Bosh/Bynum rumor out there. Bosh’s people or Toronto’s FO? There’s benefits to both parties leaking the idea.

  63. Snoopy,
    Ha… “grandchildren”…because he is sooo old. Come on people.

  64. read the LA Times today where Phil Jackson says teamwork and leadership are key.

    “It’s got to start somewhere. That place is really difficult unless you have leadership. the first thing is your top player has to show the leadership that’s necessary, or make the sacrifices they make. In our situation, Kobe playing through injuries that are very likely injuries that players would take a week or two weeks off. This is a team that’s driven and on a mission. I think that’s one thing that makes other players realize that this is just not a job. It’s a job that requires sacrifices.”

    The article further states: Jackson said the players make the right sacrifices by performing and working together on the court.

    Now, when I read a Jackson quote, I try to read between the lines. Am I reading too much into this, or does it seem he wants Kobe to make the sacrifice in playing to take two weeks off?

    It doesn’t seem he’s praising Kobe for working through the pain. Thoughts?

  65. For those wondering, the article that Ray is mentioning is here:

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-lakers-sider27-2010jan27,0,3351543.story

    My take is that Phil is using the example of Kobe playing through an injury as an example of leadership and one that shows that “sacrifice” is needed in order to promote team play. I don’t think there was a hidden message for Kobe, but that’s just my take.

    Phil went on to mention a “pecking order” and “filling roles” as other necessary components of successful team play and those are messages he’s been preaching his entire career as a coach. In the end, I think Phil knows that this team has everything it needs to win and he’s trying to seek out/show players the path in order to get there. Besides Auerbach, no coach has been even remotely as successful as Phil in coaching repeat champions. It’s a different mindset and path to repeat than it is when you’re the team that is at the bottom of the mountain and climbing up.

  66. I got the same impression from the article as Darius. Phil is pointing to Kobe as an example of a leader who leads by example, who makes whatever sacrifice he has to, to win games and rings.

    Imagine if all our players had Kobe’s focus. We would be one scary, scary team…

    Speaking of something all else, SS&R has a little write-up on forcing injured players to sit until they heal, and they’re not talking about Kobe.

  67. Reason why I think he is talkin to Kobe is because of my impression that Kobe doesn’t feel that him playing is a sacrifice. To me, sitting would be Kobe’s sacrifice because Kobe really doesn’t want to do it.

    Also, Phil saying something about making the RIGHT sacrifices just jumps out at me.