Good Vibes After Big Win

I think we can all agree that the Wizards needed exactly what they got last night with that easy win over the Indiana Pacers. Granted, the Pacers were without Jermaine O'Neal and they were playing for the second straight night but, the Wizads still took care of business with their best game so far this season. They beat the Pacers down like the democrats "thumping" the repubs. (In the words of W)

By the way, I thought this was an interesting note: The Wiz have now played three teams that were playing the second game of a back-to-back. Boston, Orlando and Indiana each played the night or day before facing the Wiz. Just a thought.

Anyway the win was good for the Wiz, it was good for a guy like me who needed a blowout to make deadline a little more liveable after three close games and it was good for some of you faithful and passionate readers of this blog. bernard king, I was starting to get worried about you bro. Relax, it's a long, long season. Love the passion though. Keep it coming.

Last night illustrated how this team is going to have to win this season: Gilbert went off, Caron and Antawn chipped in and they made up for some terrible early transition defense by forcing a bunch of turnovers and turning them into points.

Few leftover thoughts from players/coaches following the game:
Rick Carlisle: "There weren't many positives to say about this game. We've got to be a no excuses team. Tonight, Washington thumped us. They competed harder and better and we got what we deserved.

Carlisle on Arenas, who scored an easy 40: "He's a great player. He's explosive much like Iverson. And last night (Tuesday night when Indiana beat Iverson and the Sixers) we proved we could do a job on a player like that as a team. Tonight we didn't respond. We didn't step up to the challenge and that was one of the disappointing aspects of the game."

Antawn Jamison on not coughing up that nice first half lead, something that was an issue last season: "That has definitely been one of our problems in the past. We would do a great job in the first half, but then in the third quarter we'd be up by 10 or 15 points adn the next thing you know it's a tie game."

Caron Butler on Arenas: "He is a great player and a great scorer also. It's fun to play with a guy like that who draws double teams. When he gets going like that, we get open. I've played with Kobe and Dwyane and this guy here is in that class."

Perhaps the Pacers should consider staying in a different hotel when they come to DC. They have stayed at the Ritz on 22nd and M the last two seasons and had some interesting things happen. Last night, one of the team buses was bus caught up in notorious DC rush hour traffic and didn't arrive at the arena until 6, one hour before tip off. Last year, I showed up at sports club LA, which sits adjacent to the Ritz, for an afternoon basketball run and Pacers center David Harrison was on the court, waiting to play. This was a night before an NBA game and Harrison, who was wearing a pair of New Balance running shoes, was trying to get a pick up game in.

Needless to say, he was picked but - and I swear I'm not lying here - my team beat his team in a game to 18 points. We spread 'em out and drilled a bunch of three-pointers. Small ball baby. Harrison got one more run in before an assistant coach came down, chewed him out and got him off the floor. The next night, before the game, I bumped into him in the hallway and he said: "Hey, what' s up man. Nice run." Harrison went out that night and a had a great game against the Wizards. Only in the NBA.


Funny story from yesterday's pre-game lockeroom: James Lang was lounging in his chair on the "east coast" side of the lockeroom, minding his own business when Arenas, Antonio Daniels and DeShawn Stevenson addressed his secret life as a "thief." Turns out, Lang borrowed someone's deodarant and was banned from the "west coast" side of the lockeroom, the side occupied by Arenas, Daniels and Stevenson. Arenas evicted Lang last week and Lang is not allowed on that side of the room anymore without permission.

"But what if one of the vets on that side tell me to get something, do I have to do it?" Lang asked. The moment that sentence came out of his mouth, I knew he was in trouble.

"Hell yes!" replied Arenas, Daniels, Stevenson and another west coast dweller, Calvin Booth at the same time in the same incredulous tone. Stevenson turned and gave me a look that pretty much said: "Is he crazy asking a stupid question like that?" As I started to try and interview west coast dweller Andray Blatche, Blatche turned and whispered to Booth, "Hey Cal, tell James to get you something."
"James," Booth shouted. "Can I get a gatorade?"
Lang: "No."
Blatche: "He's a vet, you better do it."
Lang, picked himself up out of the chair, walked over to the large fridge that sits in between the east and west coasts, grabbed a gatorade and rolled it over to Booth.
"Thanks," Booth said.

Arenas, while combing his hair with Jamison's brush while standing in front of Jamison's locker: "You see James, I asked Antawn if I could use his brush and he said yes. That's why I don't get fined."
Fined? Turns out, Arenas has instituted a system whereby Lang is fined $2.60 every time he goes over to the west coast without permission. Why $2.60? Stevenson wears 2, Daniels wears 6 and Arenas wears 0. I wish I was but I'm not making this stuff up.

Blatche on the hazing of Lang: "I'm just glad he's here so they leave me alone."

By Ivan Carter |  November 9, 2006; 2:32 PM ET
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Comments

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They borrow each others deodorant and brushes? Ewwwwww.
Based on this story and the 2 on 1 story, sounds like Blatche and Lang are going to be Haywood and Thomas Part II.

Posted by: Cal | November 9, 2006 3:18 PM

smarter men would have charged $6.20

Posted by: g | November 9, 2006 3:25 PM

The big question, of course, is if the commitment to defense displayed in the second half will carry over.

Posted by: Keithinator | November 9, 2006 3:30 PM

Thanks for the word Ivan! Loved the lockeroom story, my favorite is the Blatche quote at the end, hilarious! Lang seems like a good sport about it.

I think a good thing about the game that was encouraging: At half Eddie told the team to turn up the D, and they actually listened and came out and did it! And the players saw first hand and experienced the result of a)listening to coach, and b)playing serious defense... they shut down Indy completely and put them away with ease.

I hope this solidifies in their minds that serious defense is the key to winning.

Posted by: Darnell | November 9, 2006 3:48 PM

See, these are the kind of blogs I like. :)

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | November 9, 2006 4:23 PM

I know, I took some 'Calm it Down' pills. I'll be OK. I still don't think this squad has fixed its issues. But, if we put a run together of a few games like we played last night, I'll eat my 'pipe down pie' with gusto.

I think NJ will be the true test to see where the D is at.

Tightness on the story IC.

Posted by: Bernard King | November 9, 2006 4:26 PM

I'm with Ray, its that last bit, about Lang and the locker room, that I love. Stuff that wouldn't make it into the newspaper but give us the real background on the team. Keep up the good work IC, I'm loving it.

Posted by: Jake | November 9, 2006 4:41 PM

Excellent stuff...novel followng the Wizards?

Posted by: Anonymous | November 9, 2006 4:47 PM

I tuned in just in time to see that 18-4 run at the end of the first half and the beatdown in the second half until Arenas sat down. I saw a lot of solid ball during that period.

The Wiz picked up the D, cut way down on turnovers (I'm really glad to see them doing that this year after the past couple of years, where they were especially horrible with turnovers) and generally moved well without the ball.

How was the cohesion on the bench? I see Haywood didn't get too many minutes, but judging from the box score, he seemed to make a contribution (I didn't get to see him in action).

As for Blatche -- IC and ML, I see what you're saying about him needing to move his feet on D. But he impressed me in transition -- taking the ball coast to coast, handling the ball with ease and taking it hard to the rim (where he got fouled on a dunk attempt). Kid looks like he can ball, as you said. He just needs to get his composure on offense and choose good shots -- he rushed a few. It'll come.

As far as the East Coast/West Coast "beef" in the locker room... who knew? You guys keep me coming back with stuff like that.

Granted, they didn't have O'Neal and Indy was in the second half of a back-to-back, but if the Wiz play like this night in and night out it bodes well for the season.

Keep the faith, baby!

Posted by: iceberg | November 9, 2006 4:59 PM

Totally, if the Zards make it to the finals this year, Ivan gets a book deal.

Looooooove the bonus coverage, thanks man!

Posted by: Zonker | November 9, 2006 5:15 PM

the locker room stories are the best parts of these blogs. Its quite refreshing to read about the players when they are being totally candid and not spouting off cliches & the company line. If only JLC and the Redskins Insider would do more of this as well... Ivan, you DO need a book deal.

Posted by: chimprage | November 9, 2006 5:54 PM

Very nice! No negativity from the posters on this post....for a change.....

Posted by: Lisa | November 9, 2006 6:42 PM

Love the lockerroom story! They're my favorite part of the blog. Keep them coming!

I liked seeing Blatche get so much playing time last. He seemed quick and moved well with the ball. Looked a little cold on the shooting front but that's to be expected. Hope he gets more time.

Posted by: JoeMoc | November 9, 2006 7:04 PM

""I think NJ will be the true test to see where the D is at.""

I agree BK, they NEVER play NJ very well and Kidd ALWAYS kills them.

I think they are fortunate to get the Pacers a little beat up and tired last night. Maybe some confidence is all they need at this point.

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | November 9, 2006 7:16 PM

The defense was awful in the first half. However, the offense looked tight. Whammy.

Posted by: The Governor | November 9, 2006 9:13 PM

$2.60? It's good thing they didn't run (and bang) and with Ruland, Mahorn, and Johnson ($43,$44, and 15$).

Posted by: Pat (DC Burbs) | November 9, 2006 10:54 PM

Our truest test is against NJ? What was the name of those pills you took B. King? We beat NJ last season (3 times, if my memory serves me correct). Our biggest test is against the team we haven't beaten in 3 YEARS!!! Until we beat Miami, we won't be considered contenders.

Posted by: c.bell | November 10, 2006 5:09 AM

thank IC...great stuff...best nba blogger. period.

Posted by: les bullez | November 10, 2006 10:52 AM

That's too funny, man. Gilbert's such an instigator.

Posted by: Rage | November 10, 2006 12:51 PM

I saw Blatche rebounding and dribbling up the court against the Pacers....can he really come in and play on that type of level (like a Pippen)?

Posted by: skeet | November 10, 2006 2:34 PM

Wow, I can't wait for pregame warmups tonight, I'll be asking Lang about his deodorizing habits.

Posted by: Unsilent Majority | November 10, 2006 2:43 PM

agree with most...this is what makes this blog interesting. thanks.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 10, 2006 2:53 PM

Wow, I can't wait for pregame warmups tonight, I'll be asking Lang about his deodorizing habits.

Posted by: Silent Majority | November 10, 2006 8:03 PM

Stupid, immature, and quite possibly gay. Try and act like adults, not pathetic jokesters.

Sixth graders maybe, not 25 - 30 year olds...

Posted by: Honest Abe | November 10, 2006 11:05 PM

Honest abe, you are that guy standing in the corner at the club and glaring at everyone that has fun. Try acting like a fan, not like some emotionless doofus who doesn't understand human interaction.

Posted by: john wilkes booth | November 11, 2006 12:25 AM

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