Songaila will dress, may play

Wizards Coach Eddie Jordan said that forward Darius Songaila will be in uniform and may play tonight against Minnesota. Songaila sprained his left ankle at the end of Sunday's win over New Jersey and did not practice yesterday but did participate in shootaround. Jordan said he would see how Songaila felt after warmups and decide whether to play him then.

If Songaila can't go, Jordan said he may play Dominic McGuire more. Dominic played a little over five minutes Sunday night when New Jersey had a small lineup on the floor. Jordan said he will consider playing him when teams got to similar lineups.

Eddie: "What it will probably boil down to, even if everyone is healthy, is matchups. If we're playing a team with really small forwards or a smaller lineup, we'll play Dominic."

By Ivan Carter |  December 11, 2007; 6:45 PM ET
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Ivan, great news on DM.

I have a few comments and questions on rotations.

If you look at the most frequently used rotations on 82games.com, several of them look questionable in theory and practice.

Let's assume that EJ is set on his starting five.

Given the style of play of the starting five, it seems that subbing NY and AB for DwS and BH iin the 1st quarter is a good move because it changes the nature and pace of the Wiz game. However, the resulting 5-man unit doesn't appear in the top 20 used rotations.

However, the following two 5-man units are close, and seem very effective.

AD, NY, AJ, Dsong, AB = 83% win-rate, +6 for the 15 minutes

DS, NY, CB, AJ, AB = 66% win-rate, +11 for the 14 minutes

Does Eddie look at the 5-man unit stats and/or recognize that NY and AB with any of the 3 combos mentioned above is his best option for rotation substitutions?

Separately, do you know what criteria or basis Eddie uses for trying some of the 5-man rotations, and does he look at the statistical results thereafter?

Posted by: Izman | December 11, 2007 6:59 PM

Izman, good question. I'll ask Eddie that specific question after practice tomorrow and post a blog with his thoughts on the matter. Generally speaking, Eddie is not a "stats" guy - he tends to go more by feel and flow so I don't know how much he even looks at plus/minus numbers etc.
They should pound this T-Wolves team tonight. God are they terrible and that's coming from a life-long Minnesota sports fan who grew up loving the Wolves.

Posted by: Ivan | December 11, 2007 7:21 PM

There's not a large enough sample to back those stats, I think a coach would be crazy to rely on plus/minus numbers to pick who he has on the floor. It's helpful to glance at those numbers which I am sure Eddie already has.

Posted by: juandixonformvp | December 11, 2007 7:34 PM

Uh oh...AB went backstage with an ankle injury. S-Song may have to play now. 3 fouls on BTH.

Cause really, the T-Wolves are pounding the Wizards....Beastly Craig Smith.

82games.com is great....but the stats just can't sense the feel and flow of a game as a coach can. Sorry, I guess that I'm just a skeptic on whether they should factor into the rotation.

But I'm willing to be proven wrong. A good question indeed Izman. Of course, I thought that Ivan no longer responded to comments....

Posted by: TruthAboutIt.net | December 11, 2007 8:21 PM

Why am I not playing tonight?

Posted by: Nick Young | December 11, 2007 8:42 PM

You are playing.

Posted by: EJ | December 11, 2007 9:00 PM

Roger Mason should go to the All-Star game this year.

Posted by: Me | December 11, 2007 9:13 PM

Good win, seems like the Wizards were content with letting Craig Smith score, from reading the box. I didn't see the game, but thats just what Im going to assume, seeing as that nobody else for Minnesota cracked the 15 point mark. I am very curious as to why Nick Young only got 4 minutes though... I guess whatever rotations Eddie was using seemed to be working. These are the kind of wins we need to be absolutely sure to lock up until Gilbert gets back.

Posted by: Jason | December 11, 2007 9:16 PM

Plus/minus stats are for fantasy drafts and rotisserie leagues. I'd bet most coaches don't pay any attention to them, if they even bother to know what they are.

Posted by: kalorama | December 11, 2007 9:18 PM

I have nothing to say.

Posted by: DC MAN88 | December 11, 2007 9:19 PM

Nick Young stayed on the bench because (A) Mason had it rolling and (B) Young would have been at too big a defensive disadvantage with the speed and/or size of Minnesota's guards.

Posted by: kalorama | December 11, 2007 9:19 PM

Good game again for the Wizards. My boy Haywood got some meaningful minutes in the 4th quarter and the dude produced. I am not surprised at all. I hope EJ sees what he has in Haywood by playing him around the 8:00 minute mark in the 4th instead of the 4:00 minute mark as he usually does.

As for my other boy, Mr. Young. The only thing I can think of is Eddie is trying to teach the young boy a lesson about something. What it is I do not know. By time my boy finally got in, he was already out of sorts.

He probably was boiling inside and that is why he could not get his shot to fall. I imagine it is pretty hard to "start your engine" when you come in late in the 4th quarter.

Lets hope this is only one game EJ is trying to lay down the law with the young boy. I do not think the youngsta can handle the "Haywood Brow Beating Technique" practiced by EJ. He might go into a shell and never come back out.......

Posted by: Bullets Fever #1 | December 11, 2007 9:28 PM

Wow, how many empty seats were there tonight? I know nobody wants to see the Twolves but you'd think that a team that has gone 10-5 in the last month would draw a bigger crowd.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 11, 2007 9:37 PM

Of course Haywood had good #'s.....it was the twolves. He will go back to his Brenda ways any time he matches up against anybody good!

Posted by: Anonymous | December 11, 2007 9:38 PM

Let Gilby go build around caron and blatche!

Posted by: Anonymous | December 11, 2007 9:40 PM

Just heard Eddie on his explanation on NY. He admitted his error there, so I take back my previous post on the "brow beating" thing. Glad to see that was not the reason.

However, I still do not know why he does not like the NY/Mason combo? Mason holds down the point alright to me. I don't get that one. Anyway, very good win and good coaching job again EJ....

Posted by: Bullets Fever #1 | December 11, 2007 9:41 PM

Getting over .500 scares me as Abe might decidehe doesn't NEED Gilbert when of course they do.

And y'all ragging on Brendan and Mason, just stop. Brendan's having a better year than I ever though possible. And all Mason does is what you and I all loved Juan Dixon for.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 11, 2007 9:44 PM

Gil wasn't the same at the beginning of the year. He will be even worse once he comes back from another surgery. If we sign him to a max deal were stupid. No one else in the league will give him that money. Let him go......we are better without him. Use the money to sign another free agent

Posted by: Anonymous | December 11, 2007 9:46 PM

Jamison 7 of 22 again tonight.

I love that the Wiz are playing with consistency; beating the teams they should beat, not playing to the level of the competition. Even short-handed. I'll take a loss to the Suns anytime if they beat all the sorry, no-account teams.

Posted by: reispace | December 11, 2007 9:48 PM

with Gilbert, they can compete against the Suns, without, forget it.

Believe me, people will be lining up to sign Gil to max money.

I agree that he wasn't the same at the beginning of the year, but given time to heal, he will be. Look at the record (and the game winning shots, and the performances againts the Lakers and the Suns) before the All Star break last year. Anyone want to venture that the Wiz will have as good a record this February?

Gil's as close as we have to an unstoppable force. There aren't too many of those in the league. Kobe, TMac . . .

Posted by: Anonymous | December 11, 2007 9:54 PM

Missed the game and will view it later this evening. But from what I heard and the stats it looks like Young got lost in the numbers game today. It is tough getting major minutes from 4 guards and it looked like the other 3 were just going too well to pull them. Young will get his time. EJ just admitted it on Comcast. Injury to DSong forced him to give time to MacGuire a well and that is good. Playing time will only make him more comfortable with the pace of the pro game.

4-1 at home during this stand! Can't complain at all. Kudos to the gang. They are playing with focus and attitude that we need to see. And we have to give EJ his props for that as well.

I was thinking about the team in contrast to last year. Looks to me like the collective improvement of the players individually plus their commitment to defense and to share the ball have offset the loss of Gilbert so far. If, and this is a big if, he can return in the spring and become part of the team rather than revert back to the former style of Gil dominating the ball, then we could just keep our goal of going deep into the playoffs. I'd like to see him save himself for the last 6 minutes where he can take over the game as we know he can. That's the perfect scenario. I hope he sees that his role on the team needs to change. he can trust the other guys, not just Caron and AJ.

I looked at the conference loss column today and it looks like the east just has 3 teams that have seperated themselves from the pack: Boston Orlando and Detroit. Why not 4? Let's get on a major roll! The schedule is in favor of us having a great December this year!

Posted by: BmoreRev | December 11, 2007 10:01 PM

"I have nothing to say.

Posted by: DC MAN88 | December 11, 2007 09:19 PM "

Somebody clearly misses me.

Posted by: DC Man88 | December 11, 2007 10:06 PM

"with Gilbert, they can compete against the Suns, without, forget it.

Believe me, people will be lining up to sign Gil to max money.

I agree that he wasn't the same at the beginning of the year, but given time to heal, he will be. Look at the record (and the game winning shots, and the performances againts the Lakers and the Suns) before the All Star break last year. Anyone want to venture that the Wiz will have as good a record this February?

Gil's as close as we have to an unstoppable force. There aren't too many of those in the league. Kobe, TMac . . .

Posted by: | December 11, 2007 09:54 PM "

People bash me for talking about Gilby when he's out injured and not playing. What about these people who like to live in their fantasy world as they make Gilby out to be some savior when Mr. "Unstoppable Force" is going to be out another 2-3 months or longer?

All I know is that this team is playing some pretty good team ball while Gilby is out, and they are sharing the ball and having fun. Guys look loose and nobody is standing around watching a one man ball hog session. It was in fact refreshing to see the latest Les BouleS commercial sans Gilby.

Posted by: DC Man88 | December 11, 2007 10:12 PM

why didnt nick young play...one night he plays almost 20 minutes and have a chance at a game winning shot(philly game) and others like tonight he didnt get in till very late. Dmac played alot though...

Posted by: Anonymous | December 11, 2007 10:22 PM

BmoreRev

I'm feeling the passion and I agree with most of your post. From late Feb. to the last game of the season that's generally when you see the Impact of Super Nova's (Kobe, Duncan, Gil etc)on their respective teams and the league. Gil will hopefully know he needs to adjust somewhat and Trust his non Big Three. It's hard to go deep without one unless your unusually balanced like Detroit.

This Wiz team is developing into something nice. They generally seem cohesive and it appears they have enough Inside (Post/Slash) to balance out the Perimeter game.

Go Wiz! and 10 day Contract for Charles and Caldwell Jones!

Posted by: Janitor | December 11, 2007 10:25 PM

It was disturbing though, how Craig Smith had his way in the paint. Who the heck is Craig Smith? He looked like Karl Malone out there.

Also, Sebastian Telfair, supposedly a bust when he left Portland, was slicing and dicing. I was surprised though, at how ineffective Corey Brewer was. Brewer is 6-9, and only 185 lbs.

http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/boxscore?gameId=271211027


Posted by: DC Man88 | December 11, 2007 10:48 PM

I wouldn't read anything into Young not playing. Eddie's making an effort to find PT for the younger guys, but at the same time, he clearly knows he needs to ride his main horses, even against scrubs like Minnesota, in order to win games. He's doling out the PT to Young, McGuire, et all in doses, not wanting to put too much on them at once and not wanting to have to count on them to win the game. With Mason heating up and McGuire getting run because of Songaila's injury, Young was just the odd man out this time around. No big. It's part of being a rookie.

Posted by: kalorama | December 11, 2007 11:14 PM

Good to see the Wizards professionally dispose of a bad team (with the exception of a couple of 5-minute stretches). The Craig Smith explosion doesn't bother me as much because the Wizards absolutely dominated the boards and that seemed to be one of the biggest reasons for the win tonight. Nice to hit the road on the good foot.
Now lets break the Dwayne Wade-Shaquille O'Neal curse Thursday night!

Posted by: George Templeton | December 11, 2007 11:17 PM

1st off TMAC isn't an unstoppable force...he has never made it past the 1st round of the playoffs in his career. Secondly Gil isn't even in the same league as kobe.

you guys might hate DCMANN88....I'm not a big fan myself but he is right about Giby.

"All I know is that this team is playing some pretty good team ball while Gilby is out, and they are sharing the ball and having fun. Guys look loose and nobody is standing around watching a one man ball hog session."

Let gil go and use the money for a team player or 2 that will put us over the hump and play solid D. Gil might be exciting to watch but he will never win a championship the way he plays

Posted by: Anonymous | December 11, 2007 11:21 PM

The Wizards are better without me and Brendan Todd Haywood is the better center. Should I just retire and write poems?

Posted by: Etan Thomas | December 11, 2007 11:59 PM

"Let gil go and use the money for a team player or 2 that will put us over the hump and play solid D. Gil might be exciting to watch but he will never win a championship the way he plays"

With the exception of Toronto and Dallas, all of their wins have come against teams that were below .500 (and, given how up and down Dallas has been, even that win doesn't look as impressive as it did at the time.) And it's not like all of their losses have been agaainst powerhouse teams either.

They're beating up on weaker teams, which is fine, but even many of those wins have required more work than they should from a team that's as good as some arounbd here want to believe. Kudos to Jordan and the players for staying afloat without Gilbert (and Etan). They way the Wiz are playing is encouraging, but the very notion that anything they're doing now is indicative of them not needing Arenas is utter nonsense.

And, on more practical note, even if they don't resign Gilbert, they won't have the cap space to be significant players in the FA market. Gilbert's salary is about $11 mill this year, and the team is about $12 mill over the cap. The only way they'd proffit from not re-signing Gilbert is in a S&T, and in that circumstance it would be Gilbert and his agent, not the Wiz who would be in the driver's seat. It's hard to imagine they'd have much incentive to arrange a deal that favors Washington.

Posted by: kalorama | December 12, 2007 12:02 AM

i think a ton of teams would pay gilbert max money. WAY worse players have gotten a TON of money. this is the nba, remember?

anyway, this team is playing well, but do you guys remember gilbert over the last few years? or is everybody's memory really that short? hit tons of daggers. scoring 50+ a few times. hit that dagger against the bulls in game 6 of the playoffs. a guy who can score a ton, who can hit in the clutch; and you guys want him gone? its madness..

Posted by: andy | December 12, 2007 1:20 AM

I seem to recall Gilbert playing both a team game AND scoring his 30 before he re-injured his knee...people seem to assume that he won't be able to fit into this team and are calling for a trade already? That's just ridiculous...how about waiting for the man to come back and see how he meshes with the team? We'll see how badly he wants to win a championship come March/April. Until then, I think it's safe to say that giving up a superstar for some role player like some people want EG to do is just foolish.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 12, 2007 2:08 AM

Please stop the gay jokes. I am in love with Gilbert, so what? HE IS HOT.

Posted by: DC Man88 | December 12, 2007 2:57 AM

My son's comment from Section 101 was "Decent game." As usual, he is on target.

As far as Craig Smith (aka The Cookie Monster from BC) going off on the Wiz, we will tend to have trouble with physically intimidating mid-big men, especially when DSong is unavailable to body up on them. I was at the infamous Raptors game last year (the one they won on MoPete's last second heave) and Joey Graham, another body builder type, was tough for us to handle.

One key for us last night though was Brendan basically playing even up against Al Jefferson, something I had hoped for in my posting yesterday.

Miami poses lots of intersting questions tomorrow night, and it is as close to a "must" win as you can have at this point in the season. We will need a big night from both Butler (30 points including threes) and Jamison (45% shooting not 33%), and hope that Haywood and Blatche will be able to exploit their mobility to frustrate Shaq and Zo. DeShawn will have to show us why he is worth his contract with a big defensive game against DWade, who is starting to have some big games. A bit of DSong is vital, to keep Haslem off his mid-range game, which has been pretty good this season.

At the end of the day, though, our chance of winning actually rests with Daniels and Mason, who must and should dominate all Miami guards not named Wade.

I don't see much of a role for the rookies in this game, but it would be nice if Nick Young could get a chance to put up a few shots early because if his shot is on he could also be a game turner.

Posted by: khrabb | December 12, 2007 4:18 AM

Thanks Kalorama and Andy. Finally someone who sees what I see. Great post and observation. I agree totally. Even the team knows that they need Gilbert. This is the I hate Gilbert forum here. None of the other blogs are this critical of him. Even Wilborn, who is usually ant-Wizards stated that people were foolish to think that the Wiz don't need Gilbert. Plus, everyone seems to forget the last game he played in. Not only did he score in double figures, but so did SEVERAL other players and he had a high number of assists. I guess now I will be labled a "Gilby" lover when the fact is I am just a diehard Wiz fan and will defend all of the players. Go Roger Mason!

Posted by: Lady Wizz | December 12, 2007 7:33 AM

The comments about Gil needing to take over the game late are right on. But Gil is never going to be a pass first point guard. AD is. Maybe we should see more of this lineup: Daniels, Arenas, Butler, Jamison, Haywood. Eddie already ends games with it, but maybe if he started games with it, Gil would be able to do what he does best -- score baskets. The best scorers, with the exception of a guy like Iverson, aren't usually doing it from the point anyway.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 12, 2007 7:39 AM

Hmmm. BTH gets us a dbl-dbl. Jefferson, who averages 20 and 11, gets 14 and 7 and shoots a poor percentage. BTH plays almost 30 minutes. Is there a relation? Nahhhhh. Coincidence.

Mason haters may need to rethink. This dude is playing good ball. While other guys have been getting the glory recently he's quietly living up to the 'assassin' label that EJ gave him. The last 3 games that he's played over 20 minutes, he's had 15, 15, and 17 and shot VERY well from the field and 3 point land. He's also staying in front of point guards on defense. I saw Telfair press him last night and he handled the pressure. This may wind up being one of those veteran signings that pay off in the playoffs. He doesn't seem to get rattled like he did at first. If this team can stay healthy and get a healthy GA back for the playoffs, there's no reason we can't get to the Finals.

Posted by: mark | December 12, 2007 7:43 AM

Some of the Gilbert bashers are still living in the Wes Unseld era. By that, I mean that they're content going out and winning games against the bad teams and getting bashed by the Suns, Mavericks, etc. They're content when the team exceeds expectations -- and they can point and say, "See, my team plays hard." That's what Wes always wanted, guys that played hard and exceeded expectations.

Why did they exceed expectations? Because they were horrible.

In Gilbert, you've got a guy who has raised expectations. With Gilbert, you can legitamately compete against anyone in the East. Without him, Boston, Detroit and Orlando are much better.

Seriously, anyone on here bashing Gilbert, what were your expectations of the team going into the season? What were they when you found out he'd miss three months? How confident are you that the team can play with the Suns when Gilbert's healthy? How confident were you (and we all read the posts) when they just played the Suns? Prevailing wisdom was that they'd get killed, which they did, but that was okay because no one could expect them to play with the Suns anyway.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 12, 2007 7:56 AM

Brendan Haywood

Posted by: aFan | December 12, 2007 8:07 AM

I'm with you, Anon. I think we can beat most anyone in this league with the team we have if we get it going but to win a series against a good team, we need GA. By March/April, we should be scary good if healthy. All of our bench players will be experienced and our legs will be fresher than in years past. Pech should be rounding into shape by then to give us another dimension, too. When GA does come back, hopefully he'll split minutes with Ad. I can't see how many teams could stop us with our depth and experience. Even now, we're winning with AJ shooting poorly.

Posted by: mark | December 12, 2007 8:15 AM

It's not "Gilbert-bashing" to state the obvious, which is that the ball movement has been much better since the Agent has been out. The question is not whether the team is "better" with or without the Agent but whether they can keep it up once the Agent is back.

The Agent needs to modify his game, which I'm sure he can do. Ie., settle for a lower scoring average but a more effective team role.

Posted by: Mitch | December 12, 2007 8:23 AM

Don't know that I'd put Miami in a must win catagory, but it would be really nice.
Butler needs to counter balance Wade, if he plays well enough to even him out in scoring or outscore him a little we'll be close.

This game will be a big test for Brendan and how far he's come confidence wise. From what I've seen of Shaq so far this year he seems slow, Brendan should be able to give him problems with mobility.

But don't let him catch the ball deep, he'll still explode and go right over a guy for the dunk. He's been really just doing it in little spurts these days. Just hope that he doesn't pick tomorrow night to get really interested in playing.

I think in Shaq's mind he thinks he can just cruise along and get in shape during the season and he'll bring it for the playoffs. Those guys are just running along on cruise control trying to get Shaq in shape and D Wade healthy and gathering up strength for a second half run.

But then again the big guy might have hit a wall like so many bigs do, the centers that can maintain their game well into their thirties have been few and far between. Not many Jabber's or Robert Parish types that can play into their forties.

Nice game last night, Mason and DMac played pretty well, I guess the B word will move to Pecherov now. Guys like Young and Blatche are going to be up and down because they're so inexperienced.

If anything I thought Young had started to get a little out of control in a few games. Last night Jordan went with Mason and Stevenson because they were producing in the flow of the game. Jordan said it was a mistake afterward, but I take it that he wanted the rook to watch and see while two vets with less talent produced in the flow of the game while he watched.

Craig Smith went off because of all of the attention given Jefferson.

I've been watching this franchise a long time, the we're better off without Arenas makes about as much sense as the "Earl the Pearl's" not a team player and we'll never win a title with him.

If Wiz let Arenas walk, they gain almost nothing since he's making 11m and they're 12m over the cap. The only way to have significant FA money would be to let AJ and Gil go, and then they'd have enough money for one FA not two.

There's no way to let a top 15 player just walk and improve a team. The Wiz are not going to beat any of the top teams without the offensive firepower that that they are missing right now.

Don't get me wrong, I think Jordan and the guys that are out there really need to be commended for the way they're playing. But there is no way they are better off without Gil, and I think every guy on the club would tell you that.

Posted by: GM | December 12, 2007 8:35 AM

brendan haywood just won a game for us.
what the hell is going on here?

Posted by: steve colter | December 12, 2007 8:48 AM

The agent had modified his game. Did you all not see the last game he played in before he went down with the injury. They were playing exactly as they are playing right now. I don't understand why no one saw this. You wait and see, Gilbert is watching and reading and he will blend right in with everyone else and the way in which the Wiz are playing right now making the Wiz an even more formidable team. Just wait and see. I will be coming back here posting I told you so's like with Mason. Everyone here was ready to throw him under the bus and call him a bust too I seem to remember. But if he was so bad, then why did Dallas offer him a contract. All players are going to have good and bad games. That is just the way it is.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 12, 2007 8:48 AM

I agree with the last poster. I think Gil is watching how successuful the team is right now. When he returns, he will blend right in and will slowly get back to his normal self as he was last year before he got hurt.

It's a catch 22, I hate to have Gilbert out, but the Wiz need tihs to learn how to play "team ball", the confidence they gain now will only be multiplied in a few months when Agent Zero comes back!

Posted by: DC Juan | December 12, 2007 9:20 AM

I'd agree that part of the slow start was the whole team adjusting to some changes in style that they were incorperating.

Not hugh earth shattering things just adjustments to the offense. The bigger changes were on the defensive end.

This team is still running the Princeton but it's been modified quite a bit from last year. Butler's expanded range is opening up the floor for everyone. Even with Jamison in a mini shooting slump the floor spacing is still improving.

Get Jamison firing on all cylinders along with Gil's driving and shooting range and this offense could really click when everybody's healthy.

Just a quick point that Kalorama touched on the other day, Gil hasn't opted out, he can't by league rules do so til next summer. Since he's injuried I'd imagine he'll weigh his options between now and then.

Posted by: GM | December 12, 2007 9:25 AM

GM - great comments.

BTW, Minn's performance the first 6 mins of the 2nd half was the ugliest stretch of basketball I've seen in a long time.

I still can't believe the play of Mason lately. He has really step up and done a great job with the 2nd unit.

Posted by: Wizzz | December 12, 2007 9:35 AM

Good D by Jamison on Craig Smith.

Posted by: Sean | December 12, 2007 9:40 AM

I agree with the other posters believing that there's no way this team is not better without Gilbert on the team. As stated, the teams we have beat were mediocre teams and teams that we were expected to beat. All of the top tier teams, we had, and probably will, have trouble with by not having Gilbert and his explosive scoring to depend on. Yes, I do remember the buzzer beater in the Chicago playoff series a couple of years ago to advance to the second round, with a younger Gilbert Arenas.
I'm sure this year he has noticed the fact that he finally has a bench to rely on and all the pressure will not be on him to score all the time. Also, before his injury he changed his name to Nacho anyway, which he explained as serving chips and dips...meaning assists and rebounding more, based on the blog. Also, being a Washingtonian, born/raised, I feel I have to right to say that I want Gilbert Arenas representing my hometown team. Go Wiz!

Posted by: Anonymous | December 12, 2007 9:53 AM

Yea, Jamison did do well defensively last night. I remember at the beginning of the season, one of the anlysts saying that you would not begin to see the defensive changes the Wizards made until they continued to play defense together as a team in a multiple of games and learn to trust on another. To me, they are getting better defensively as each game goes on. I take my hat off to them. Are they perfect defensively? No, but they are getting better defensively and I can see the difference. They stopped Jefferson. But, another player stepped up however that is how it usually is.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 12, 2007 9:54 AM

Wizzz, Eddie does have to get credit for adapting how he's using Mason to get him back in a comfort zone.

Stevenson has to really be given credit for taking on more of the ballhandling and really acting as the backup point. That helped get Mason back in a comfort zone and it really seemed to help Stevenson's game too.

Unlike last year it seems like Eddie can keep the offense going when he goes to the bench. Jamison and Butler are still logging heavy minutes, but players seem to be settling in to a rotation.

Eddie's not having to rush the starters back off the bench to stop the bleeding when the other team puts a run on his bench. That will help as the season wears on.

Posted by: GM | December 12, 2007 10:08 AM

Anon, If AJ did well defensively, who was guarding Craig Smith? He had his way down low. I know BTH wasn't the main guy on him. Wasn't it AJ? If so, he had a really poor night defensively (besides the rebounds).

Posted by: mark | December 12, 2007 11:13 AM

I was being sarcastic. Craig who? abused Jamison all night.

Posted by: Sean | December 12, 2007 11:20 AM

Some around here like to knock Songaila's defense, but Craig Smith is exactly the kind of player that Songaila was built to guard: strong, stocky, and bullish. Darius would have been able to body up to Smith and not get knocked around the way Jamison was.

That being said, it's pretty obvious that Jordan's game plan was to contain Al Jefferson, the Wolves' best player, and force the lesser know guys to step up. Craig answered the call, but no one else really did. Thus the win.

Posted by: kalorama | December 12, 2007 11:29 AM

Okay so AJ is not the perfect player. But, I would hate to see what this team would be like without him. How many rebounds did he pull down and how many points did he score. We all know that defense is not his forte or any of them for that matter. But, they are trying. You all don't give my boys a break on nothing. They got a W and by a good margin and that is what counts! My boys can't win on this post for nothing. Even when they win. Hell, I remember at one time, many thought the boat was sunk and had no confidence in them at all when Gil went out. I am just glad to see the team did not fold and are giving it their all and doing a pretty good job of it. Now, that game is over and it is on to Miami. I am truly hoping that we can escape there with a win. It has been quite a while since we beat Miami either at home or away.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 12, 2007 11:45 AM

"...still living in the Wes Unseld era."

Best quotation I've ever read on here.

In the NBA, talent trumps almost everything. Here's hoping they are able to tred water for a couple months.

Posted by: Patrick | December 12, 2007 12:04 PM

I'm sorry anonymous, I didn't realize that when the Wizards win, we're supposed to pretend nothing less than perfect occurred in the game. My bad.

I was under the mistaken impression that when some nobody from the worst team in the league lights up one of your best players, it might be relevant, and it might have some significance for the team and for that player, now and in the future. Songalia or Etan would have been a better match-up with Smith (but of course EJ would not have put Etan on the floor with Haywood, but that is another debate), but that would mean a nobody would force you to put one of your best players on the bench in favor of Songalia because that nobody was outplaying and outscoring Jamison, and there was no one else on the court that Jamison could guard instead. That seemed a little significant to me.

Posted by: Sean | December 12, 2007 12:15 PM

Did any of you here Eddie's comments about not liking a backcourt of NY/Mason? Maybe I am missing something, but what the heck is wrong with that for your 2nd string backcourt????

Mason handles the point o.k. and NY can do it if he is not asked to do it the full length of the court. Mason and Stevenson are pretty much the same at the point, other than Mason being able to finish on drives to the hole way better than Stevenson. We already know his jumper is way better then Stevenson's also.

NY and Mason is our best "offensive" backcourt, so I am totally lost by EJ's statement. Someone please help me to understand this, please???

It is not like Mason/NY are both totally terrible at the point. If EJ is going to stick to this kind of thinking, NY will never get back on the floor. Thus his confidence will go down and you will probably get what you saw from him in the 4th quarter on the regular.

Some guys are good at handling their playing time. For example, the only people on this team whose minutes played really affects their games is Haywood and NY. They both wear their emotions on their sleeves, so you have to keep them "involved", or you risk the chance of losing them.

You put them on the floor with "set minutes" every night with no surprises, you will then see them blowup in games (i.e. Haywood in the meaniful 8:00 minute mark in the 4th quarter) and in turn give you what you need to help the team win.

Posted by: Bullets Fever #1 | December 12, 2007 12:35 PM

Bullets Fever #1... My assumption with EJ not wanting to play NY and RM together is: they both shoot at the first open shot they get, and do not let the offense plays develop, causing the offense to become stagnant.

Posted by: bullets_0000 | December 12, 2007 12:50 PM

"I agree with the other posters believing that there's no way this team is not better without Gilbert on the team. As stated, the teams we have beat were mediocre teams and teams that we were expected to beat. All of the top tier teams, we had, and probably will, have trouble with by not having Gilbert and his explosive scoring to depend on. Yes, I do remember the buzzer beater in the Chicago playoff series a couple of years ago to advance to the second round, with a younger Gilbert Arenas.
I'm sure this year he has noticed the fact that he finally has a bench to rely on and all the pressure will not be on him to score all the time. Also, before his injury he changed his name to Nacho anyway, which he explained as serving chips and dips...meaning assists and rebounding more, based on the blog. Also, being a Washingtonian, born/raised, I feel I have to right to say that I want Gilbert Arenas representing my hometown team. Go Wiz!

Posted by: | December 12, 2007 09:53 AM "

I don't think anyone is disagreeing that Gilby adds a dimension to the Wiz that, despite the weaknesses in his game, does elevate the team up a notch given his offensive ability.

The point is that any other player out there at Gilby's salary slot would also be adding value, and that value may be more directly beneficial to resolving the weaknesses of this team.

Nobody is saying to cut Gilby and the team will be better. What is being said is that if Gilby decides to walk, or if EG feels the team is better off with some other player, EG better trade him to a team that Gilby would want to play for and get some compensation in return.

Posted by: DC Man88 | December 12, 2007 1:10 PM

OK, earlier this season I had to take back what I said about Brendan. It's just about time to do the same with Roger. The guy has really looked good out there the past few games, and how about that drive to the hole last night? It seems he's showing a new wrinkle every night -- running the point more effectively, showing more discipline on on-ball and help defense, driving down the paint, and his shooting range is coming back. Great to see.

I agree with all the posters who said this team needs Gilbert to make a serious run. All the Wiz are doing now is beating up on the bad teams (except for Philly, who the Wiz should have beat up on). We'll need Gilbert if we want to win in places in Phoenix and San Antonio.

I can't help but think, though, that Gilbert's absence has been something of a blessing in disguise. It's forced the team to come together and not rely on Gilbert to bail them out, and it's given time and space for players like Nick Young, Roger Mason, and Caron Butler to blossom. Hopefully when Gil's back he'll complement that and not seek to substitute for it.

Posted by: Prazak | December 12, 2007 1:16 PM

Wow, DCMan, that's the nicest thing I think you've ever written about Gilbert... Are you overcome by the holiday season? Too much egg nog? :-)

Posted by: Prazak | December 12, 2007 1:19 PM

Wizzz, Eddie does have to get credit for adapting how he's using Mason to get him back in a comfort zone.

Stevenson has to really be given credit for taking on more of the ballhandling and really acting as the backup point. That helped get Mason back in a comfort zone and it really seemed to help Stevenson's game too.

Unlike last year it seems like Eddie can keep the offense going when he goes to the bench. Jamison and Butler are still logging heavy minutes, but players seem to be settling in to a rotation.

Eddie's not having to rush the starters back off the bench to stop the bleeding when the other team puts a run on his bench. That will help as the season wears on.

Posted by: GM | December 12, 2007 10:08 AM

Absolutely - EJ is doing one hell of a job. He definitely deserves all the credit. You can also say he is doing the best coaching job so far in the NBA.

Posted by: Wizzz | December 12, 2007 1:23 PM

"Wow, DCMan, that's the nicest thing I think you've ever written about Gilbert... Are you overcome by the holiday season? Too much egg nog? :-)"

Posted by: Prazak | December 12, 2007 01:19 PM

No, I actually had a change of heart. I now admit that I love Gilby, he's my hero.

Posted by: DC Man88 | December 12, 2007 2:52 PM

BF#1 ... why do you nitpick so much over everything that EJ does. EJ said that Mason and NY play together in practice against AD and DS, and he does not want to put them together in the real game. Just maybe he sees something at the practices that we fans don't have privvy to. He said he wanted either AD or DS to be on the floor when one of those two were out there.

Its seems like you have a fixation with EJ. First you jump on him because NY didn't get in the game until the 4th, eventhough what was out there was really working well. Then you had to retract that because you heard EJ's explanation as to why NY was late getting into the game.

What's amazing is the little scenario that you made up surmizing why NY didn't get into the game until late ( EJ playing mind games, etc).

Some people can't get over "Gilby", please to fall into that category with EJ.

Posted by: 2cents4wiz | December 12, 2007 3:15 PM

"Hmmm. BTH gets us a dbl-dbl. Jefferson, who averages 20 and 11, gets 14 and 7 and shoots a poor percentage. BTH plays almost 30 minutes. Is there a relation? Nahhhhh. Coincidence."


Mark its minnesota

Posted by: Anonymous | December 12, 2007 3:25 PM

Good post, Prazak. Right now the mentality is to look for the open man and to pass up a decent shot when someone else has a better one. I hope Gilbert has been watching and, as you said, that he will fit into the way they're doing things when he gets back.

And I've also been very pleasantly surprised by Mason's good play. He's been amazingly productive for the amount of PT he's been getting. He always seems to be working hard out there, but most importantly has been knocking down his open shots.

Posted by: Mitch | December 12, 2007 3:39 PM

""Wow, DCMan, that's the nicest thing I think you've ever written about Gilbert... Are you overcome by the holiday season? Too much egg nog? :-)"

Posted by: Prazak | December 12, 2007 01:19 PM "

I never questioned Gilby's ability to score. Everything else is questionable.

Posted by: DC Man88 | December 12, 2007 4:40 PM

I think EJ does not like the NY/Mason backcourt pairing because he would like one guard on the floor to be a more experienced ball handler, a la AD or DS.

He also might think that AD and certainly DS are more defensive minded and like an offensive/defensive pairing on the court that I was alluding to yesterday.

Posted by: Tim | December 12, 2007 7:51 PM

BF#1 ... why do you nitpick so much over everything that EJ does. Its seems like you have a fixation with EJ. First you jump on him because NY didn't get in the game until the 4th, eventhough what was out there was really working well. Then you had to retract that because you heard EJ's explanation as to why NY was late getting into the game.

What's amazing is the little scenario that you made up surmizing why NY didn't get into the game until late ( EJ playing mind games, etc).

Some people can't get over "Gilby", please to fall into that category with EJ.

Posted by: 2cents4wiz | December 12, 2007 03:15 PM

2cents4wiz - First of all the only thing I "nitpick" with Eddie about is his non usage of Haywood and his fixation with smallball. Did you read my posts after the game? I said Eddie called a great game the last two games.

I gave him his props. As with the NY thing, yes I jumped the gun on my assumption after hearing Eddie's explanation. I do not have a problem at all admitting when I am wrong.

As I have said before I am cool with EJ as coach. I just feel for Eddie to go to that next level in the playoff's he just needs to realize what he has on his bench and use them to the best of their ablities.

The two players on the roster who I feel you never know what you are going to get from them until you give them minutes is Haywood and NY. Man, I just see the crazy upside in these two and it ticks me off to no end when I see them not getting minutes. So yes, I will say something about it. But does not mean I am on a hate train for EJ, heck no.

Posted by: Bullets Fever #1 | December 12, 2007 9:06 PM

DC woMan88 took our advice and saw a shrink, to help him deal with his.... "issues."

Posted by: Anonymous | December 13, 2007 1:45 AM

I luv Gilby!!!

Posted by: DC Sashay88 | December 13, 2007 1:50 AM

Ivan's hot and DC Man 88 is crazy......

Posted by: Anonymous | December 13, 2007 12:40 PM

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