Amazing

I'm off today and tomorrow so my man Mike Lee is covering tonight's game but I wanted to put up a post so you guys can talk about tonight's amazing win over the Celtics. I watched from the comfort of Chez Cartier here in DC and saw what you all did: the Wiz suck it up and pull out a tough win for the third straight game. Caron Butler/Tough Juice, came up huge, DeShawn Stevenson made a huge three late just two days after Antonio Daniels did the same and the defense and rebounding was again huge.

Bottom line: the Wiz have made a real statement with these last three wins. First, they went to Atlanta and gutted one out in OT and now they have knocked off the league's best team twice. Stunning. And how about this: Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce will be in the all star game but they were outplayed by Butler and Antawn Jamison these last two games.

And just one question: Anyone out there still wanting to fire Eddie Jordan, trade Antawn Jamison and replace DeShawn Stevenson with Juan Carlos Navarro? Anyone?

By Ivan Carter |  January 14, 2008; 10:13 PM ET
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oh my

Posted by: oddjob | January 14, 2008 10:22 PM

Wow, Butler put the team on his back, played on both ends of the court.

Great win, this team has shown guts and hearts!

Posted by: Sagaliba | January 14, 2008 10:23 PM

Another strong finish by BTH. I'm giddy for when Gilbert comes back.

Posted by: amalg | January 14, 2008 10:24 PM

I haven't seen a b-game like that since Willis Reed hobbled onto the court for the Knicks in game 7 of the championship series against the Lakers - and won.

Simply amazing!

Caron has instilled his insatiable will to win into the rest of the players. MVP, MVP, MVP - Mr. Butler!

Posted by: Izman | January 14, 2008 10:26 PM

Well said, Ivan.

Posted by: Larry Roberts | January 14, 2008 10:28 PM

Again, like last one, this is a hard-fought, tough-nosed game. Both team played physical and at the end, Wizards came out on top. Another "scrum" (courtesy of Doc River)?

Again, Wizards' much improved free throw shooting saved them. Wizards shot 90%, Boston shot 72%, enough to account for the final difference.

Posted by: Sagaliba | January 14, 2008 10:29 PM

Wow! What team is this and can we keep them?

Starting with the Atlanta game, the wiz have taken on a personality that is totally foreign to this franchise. Where has it come from, and why now? I have no idea. Has the absence of Gilbert allowed the veterans (Jamison, Caron and Daniels) to redefine the personality of the Wiz.

Awesome is all I can say.

Posted by: M.E.G. | January 14, 2008 10:31 PM

One of the best wins I've ever seen from the Wiz/Bullets considering it's the best team in the league and we beat them twice in a row while losing by 12 with 4 mins left tonight. Tough Juice baby!!!

By the way, I watch the game from here in Minneapolis (transplant) on the NBA package and I swear Tommy Heinsohn has got to be one of the worst announcers in sports. The dude does nothing but whine about officiating for 48 mins. The Celtics never foul and the other team gets away with murder. It's enough to make you want to watch the game on mute!!!!!!

Posted by: Rob P | January 14, 2008 10:31 PM

Ivan, add:

Anyone needing Gilby to rush back, or come back at all?

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 14, 2008 10:34 PM

And just one question: Anyone out there still wanting to fire Eddie Jordan, trade Antawn Jamison and replace DeShawn Stevenson with Juan Carlos Navarro? Anyone?

By Ivan Carter | January 14, 2008; 10:13 PM ET

Amen, Ivan. Amen.

What a win. Anyone else take Wizards moneylines the past 2 games? +350 on Saturday and +650 tonight. That's called 10-1 odds people.

BANG!

Posted by: Barno | January 14, 2008 10:34 PM

Sick

Posted by: Fat Bob | January 14, 2008 10:34 PM

Great Win tonight...I'm very proud of my team

Posted by: LightAgent | January 14, 2008 10:35 PM

"And just one question: Anyone out there still wanting to fire Eddie Jordan, trade Antawn Jamison and replace DeShawn Stevenson with Juan Carlos Navarro? Anyone?"

Aww com'on now Ivan, the whole team coaches included has picked up their game after Gilbert went down.

And for the record I WAS NOT one of those people who said to trade Jamison. :P

Stevenson has to be the Leagues most improved player to this point. The guys best season until now was 11.2 points a game. He's been on fire for over a month now. If he was playing like he is now he would have gotten a better contract, right?

It also helps when your bench is better then the previous year and your two All-Stars set the tone for the season. Caron and Antawn deserve all of the credit, with Jordan a close second.

My concern now is Etan Thomas will be back soon. How will Brendan react to that? What's your take on this Ivan?

Boston looks tired already. I would be very concerned if I was them. Just goes to show they can be beaten in a series. This is NOT Chicago's MJ team, that's for sure.

Congrats Wiz! See what happens if you play good defense????

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | January 14, 2008 10:39 PM

Ivan, I've been harsh on Eddie in the past and I think he deserved it in my opinion. But, this year he has really stepped up which leads me to ask - is Gilbert a coach killer on some level? Follow me here - if you don't "let Gilbert be Gilbert" then he gets an attitude or won't shoot for an entire game. Meanwhile, his lack of running the offense/passing, jacking up shots, and poor defense is a bad combination for a coach especially when you can't confront it. I'll take a healthy more mature Arenas, but to act like it's a no-brainer is not the right answer either.

Posted by: Rob P | January 14, 2008 10:39 PM

GO WIZARDS!! :)

Posted by: smiley70009 | January 14, 2008 10:43 PM

Props to Randy Ayers as well!!!! I've been watching him coach on the sideline lately and he is very active.

Right now the Wiz are probably a top 7 defensive team. Did I just say that????

Posted by: Rob P | January 14, 2008 10:43 PM

Wow. Just wow. I literally LOL every single time I think about EG trading Kwame for Caron. That dude is a gem.

What a feel good Wiz week. The only thing better than beating Boston twice is doing it like this--with absolute guts! :)

Posted by: Lou | January 14, 2008 10:44 PM

That's amazing.

Nobody would ever say that the Wiz might be better off long term w/out Zero (and they absolutely wouldn't be as entertaining), but the players out there tonight more closely resemble what might ideally fit Eddie Jordan led teams.

How about Zero to the sixers for Andre Miller and Sam Dalembert? Or, Zero for Mike Bibby and Brad Miller?

Posted by: ap | January 14, 2008 10:45 PM

Gilbert is one of the best players in the league. All of us love the game the Wizards have played the last few games, but get serious with this "we're better off without him" talk. WITH Arenas we wouldn't be launching contested threes as the shot clock runs out, because he can penetrate and break down the defense. Think about how good we can be if he's able to come back and perform at the level that we know he can.

Posted by: Larry Roberts | January 14, 2008 10:46 PM

Coach of the Year. I can't explain it -- can anyone, how Eddie's sub patterns all of a sudden look great? I'm not saying that just because we won -- look, he played Brendan just about all game! He wasn't doing that as recently as a few weeks ago; but now we look like a different team.

Posted by: DC | January 14, 2008 10:48 PM

I just cannot say enough. I mean wow, great wins, and DeShawn has certainly turned the corner. Next Monday against Dallas should be fun! Great win boys!

Posted by: Robert | January 14, 2008 10:52 PM

ap - you say the would not be better off without Gilbert then you propose trades? Huh?

Also, I give you entertainment factor, but I would rather play the type of basketball that can win in the playoffs!!! Dominique Wilkins (the human highlight reel) was entertaining, but he did not win a damn thing!!!!

I am personally on the fence, but you can't say it's a no-brainer to keep him for max dollars.

Posted by: Rob P | January 14, 2008 10:53 PM

"Gilbert is one of the best players in the league."

Agreed.

Just think how amazing they would be WITH him right now. The last game he played he had a really good game. Caron and Jamison are on a mission right now, it's hard for me to believe that if Gilbert was playing they would not be better off. Everyone would be talking about how the Wiz could make a run at a championship right now. If Gil actually comes back this year the East is the Wiz's for the taking.

Also agree with Rob, props to Randy Ayers.

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | January 14, 2008 10:53 PM

i think the sub patterns look better simply because there are now better players to sub with.

god i hope jamison doesnt go anywhere.

Posted by: riskus | January 14, 2008 10:55 PM

Ivan:

I've enjoyed your work. I know I'm not your editor, but I would love to read an in-depth article examining the reasons behind the Wizards' improvement defensively. They are 6th best in FG% allowed after perennially stinking in that category. Some suggested explanations and angles:

1) Increased playing time for Brendan Haywood. According to ESPN's Hollinger stats, last season the Wizards defended 6.6 points/48 min better with him on the floor than otherwise. This development is particulary interesting given the deteriorating relationship with EJ as of the end of last year. Was EJ's hand forced due to Etan's heart issue?

2) Different emphases/strategies thanks to Randy Ayers (or possibly EJ himself?)

3) I hate to say it but it has to be brought up- the absence of Gilbert? I love Arenas and hope he's back soon, but he is not exactly a lockdown defender.

Every year we hear that they're committed to getting better on defense, but this year it actually happened. Why? Poll all the key folks on the team (players and management) and throw in a quote or two from anonymous opposing scouts, and you've got a story I'd love to read.

Posted by: Joe S | January 14, 2008 10:56 PM

Since the 0-5 start I've gone from trying to run EJ out of town to thinking he may be the coach of the year. These guys are all on the same page, all buying into the team concept. Everyone is stepping up their play. These are all signs of good coaching. So yeah, I was wrong.

Imagine if Arenas comes back healthy and buys into the team concept. Oh boy...

Posted by: Ben | January 14, 2008 10:57 PM

"I can't explain it -- can anyone, how Eddie's sub patterns all of a sudden look great?"

I can.

He has no choice but to play his veterans, EG got rid of everyone on last years bench and replaced them with young guns. :)

Which once again brings me to Etan Thomas coming back SOON. What will he do and what will happen with Brendan?

The key this year is they are actually playing good, solid, defense. Last year team just couldn't grasp it. Props once again to Randy Ayers.

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | January 14, 2008 10:57 PM

Well said Ivan. My buddy who threw Eddie Jordan under the bus along time ago called me today and said, "I guess I have to take back what I said about Eddie Jordan."

Now you are going to hear the get rid of Gilbert talk.......

Posted by: Dominic | January 14, 2008 10:59 PM

Incredible win! The Wiz actually look like a tough team. I agree with everyone, the defense is unbelievable! Randy Ayers knows what he's doing. Jamison is playing out of his mind. Caron's last two minutes was MJisque. That last shot was vintage Dr. J. One hand on a drive! Go Wiz. No let down against the knicks tomorrow! Forget Navarro. The guy couldn't play my little sister.

Posted by: PTP23 | January 14, 2008 11:00 PM

Biggest win in the entire NBA this year. No other win by any other team spoke more in volume than beating Boston back to back home and away without GA.

I almost got kicked out of a family restaurant I got so loud.

Posted by: JSchon | January 14, 2008 11:00 PM

No, no and no. EJ has done a great job in turning this team around after the 0-5 start. Stevenson has been extraordinary in these last three games and vastly improved in the last few weeks. And what else can you say about Antawn, I wanted them to use his contract to net a better player but with a worse contract, but he does fit this team like a glove.
I wonder if they have anything left in the tank for the Knicks. It would stink to lose to them, but if you had told any of us they would go 3-1 in this 4-game, 5-night stretch we would taken it in a heartbeat.

Posted by: George Templeton | January 14, 2008 11:00 PM

Any chance we'll start getting respect from the national media?

Posted by: juandixonformvp | January 14, 2008 11:01 PM

"Any chance we'll start getting respect from the national media?"

Of course not.

The Wiz didn't beat them, Boston is just playing bad.

Go figure.

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | January 14, 2008 11:03 PM

I love watching Gilbert as you all do, but I do think this team is better without him. Yes Gil can score, but he doesn't play any defense. With Gil's knee I would strongly consider not signing Arenas or at this point consider trying to trade him--if that is even an option. A trade I would consider trying if I was EG would to send Gil/Thomas for Jason Kid. The money works and Gil is close to being ready in about 4 weeks. Jason Kid knows EJ system and would fit in Nice!

Posted by: Gerald | January 14, 2008 11:09 PM

Jason Kidd? He's 35... Crazy talk.

Posted by: JSchon | January 14, 2008 11:12 PM

-Trade Jamison
-Fire Eddie
-Dump Stevenson, sign Navarro

And, now:

-Team is better without Gil

Stop the madness!!

Posted by: reispace | January 14, 2008 11:13 PM

I was a big Navarro supporter, but Ivan just made me eat my words. Stevenson has found a new role from beyond the three, and he's playing it better than I ever thought he could last season. Perhaps we are now seeing the kind of game that the Wizards could have had in the past, if only they'd kept all their starters.

Much credit to Brendan Haywood. The man is a beast, getting blocks, rebounds, getting to the line. Haywood has come into his own defensively. Not that that should be too surprising for the Atlantic Coast Conference's all-time greatest shot blocker (does that record still stand?).

And if Antawn Jamison doesn't make the All-Star team, it's a crime. He's the rock for this team.

Posted by: satch | January 14, 2008 11:14 PM

True to form, juandixon and Ray, all the chatter on SportsCenter just now was how the Celtics didn't close out (and a mention of the 25-6 run in passing). Then analysis on whether the Celtics have shifted, discussion on injuries ("Rondo was out") and then they talked about the Bobcats and MJ!

WTF?!?

Even so, I'll take the Wiz under the radar. Like I said before, let 'em sleep... though back-to-back wins over a 30-5 team will get enough attention from players, coaches and scouts.

We'll see if Butler and AJ make All-Star based on that attention.

Posted by: iceberg | January 14, 2008 11:14 PM

"Ivan, add:

Anyone needing Gilby to rush back, or come back at all?"

Agree!!!

17-11 without Arenas!!


We had the same record at this point last year with him.

Sign and trade him for someone that will actually help the team!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 14, 2008 11:18 PM

Why cant people understand that players get better, coaching staffs get better, bench play gets better...

Thats why we are better, not because GA isnt playing...

One more year together as a team, cohesion... thats why we are playing better.

EJ is elder statesman in longevity in the East.

Hiring of Randy Ayers.

Haywoods emergence.

Butler becoming an elite player.

Jamison's leadership on the court.

Its not because GA isnt in the lineup.

Things just evolve, teams evole, players evole, coaches evole.

Posted by: JSchon | January 14, 2008 11:19 PM

"Yes Gil can score, but he doesn't play any defense."

That's silly. Gil was 7th in the league in steals last year and Caron was 3rd.

Gil plays very good defense, but until this year the entire team has not. You can't blame Gilbert for that at all.

One thing Gil will have to do when he comes back is take less shots and TRUST his team-mates, aka Kobe.

I don't really think that is going to be a problem here since Gil is not as selfish as Kobe.

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | January 14, 2008 11:21 PM

I promised myself that I wouldn't respond, but I can't take it anymore. Good teams are not better without their most talented player. Please remember the Detroit game and the Houston game. The team is NOT better without Gilbert, and if you post an opinion to the contrary you really should post it anonymously.

Posted by: Larry Roberts | January 14, 2008 11:27 PM

Great post, JSchon. It's called "building a team". Actually, Gil being out may have helped CB develop into a force in his on right, and that's a good thing. When Gil returns, he takes this team to another level. Suddenly, making the Finals THIS YEAR doesn't seem all that far-fetched.

Posted by: reispace | January 14, 2008 11:27 PM

The fact that the Wizards are 17-11 since Gilbert got hurt ought to be enough to get both Antawn and Caron in the all-star game, but hell leave them out. They could use the rest!

Eventually the rest of the NBA will notice the Wizards . . . when Gilbert returns. And that is the somewhat typical laziness of the TV media combined with the fact that all they ever seem to want to talk about is, Kobe/Lakers, the Knicks suckiness, the Celtics greatness, the Suns, MJ and the supposed improvement of the Bobcats, where/when is Jason Kidd going to go, etc.
Unfashionable teams (which apparently the Wizards are without Arenas) get ignored. Portland the notable exception during their winning streak.

Posted by: George Templeton | January 14, 2008 11:28 PM

We are not a better team without Gilbert Arenas. We play better defense with Antonio on the floor, and we have enough firepower to hang with any Eastern Conference team without him. But with Gil we had the BEST RECORD in the East going into the break last year.

An idea came to me as I was sitting courtside at the recent Wiz-Hawks game (Sorry, had to brag). About eight minutes into the game, I thought - Man, it would be great to see Gilbert Arenas come in at this point of the game.

Egos aside, I think Gil off the bench gives us the best chance of winning a ring this year.

Imagine. The starting five can hang with almost anyone. What if, eight minutes into every game, we had Agent Zero running all over the floor against tired starters and second stringers.

Look at what Ginobili does for San Antonio and Leandro Barbosa does for Phoenix. Gil is better than both of those players.

Thoughts?

Posted by: ATLwizFAN | January 14, 2008 11:28 PM

The same reaction as everybody else ... WOW. What. A. Game. Caron Butler is amazing ... he took over in the 4th quarter and absolutely willed the team to win. Did you see the shot in the huddle during one of the last time outs. Caron was calling out everyone and demanding they win. Again they win without being able to shoot. Antawn missed a ton of inside shots that are normally money for him. At this point its about the D ... defense and desire. All of the sudden, the Wiz have it in spades. Things are just going to get tougher with the schedule, but you got to love their play of the last couple weeks. Not winning because they are shooting great and outscoring team, they're winning because they are the tougher team. Did you ever think you'd say that about the Wizards? I hope Gil is watching and thinking about his role on this team; if he comes back and fits to the team now, we are going to be monsters in May (and dare we even think it, June?)!

Posted by: westcoastwizard | January 14, 2008 11:28 PM

Great win. Truly exhilirating and it really is fun to root for these Wizards!

Posted by: mjwies11 | January 14, 2008 11:29 PM

deshawn stevenson is playing like a wizard. i think its because his beard is finally making him look like one. hes becoming a part of this team.

Posted by: gary | January 14, 2008 11:30 PM

Ray,

Steals don't = great defense!

Posted by: Gerald | January 14, 2008 11:31 PM

AtlWizfan - I've been saying that Gil should come in off the bench for his first month back. Eases him back in, doesn't strain the knee, doesn't disrupt the flow of the starters, and gives us a huge weapon. I don't think it can possibly last longer than a month.

Posted by: reispace | January 14, 2008 11:32 PM

I do agree, Arenas coming off the bench providing a spark with his scoring punch would be interesting to see and would definitely work, but it just won't happen. If he's healthy, I fully believe he'll be in the starting lineup from the first day he comes back.

Regardless of anything about Arenas, what a great win tonight. They took the best from the Celtics and they clawed their way back in to the game with huge play after huge play.

Only 1.5 back of Orlando...

Posted by: Krem | January 14, 2008 11:33 PM

I go to school up in Mass., so the only time I get to see the wiz is when they're on national tv or playing the celts. Rob from way up above is right. the celts broadcast team--especially heinsohn--is just awful. really makes me appreciate bucko and phil.
can't lose in the garden tomorrow night.

Posted by: J Ep | January 14, 2008 11:35 PM

Wow, what a win! CB has continued to lift his game to superstar status. But to me the biggest change in the team is the defense, which comes from attitude as well as a better grasp of defensive technique. Props to R. Ayres as many have stated.

It has me in a kind of analytical mode. Just how good are we really? We could be watching a team that is serious contender this year. Who would have thunk it?

A great stretch like this however should not make us automatically take back everything that we have seen over the last few years. For example, yes, I was clearly wrong about Jamison who is not soft as we thought. But still think Garnett would have been an upgrade. AJ plays tough on the boards, has great post game with his flips and runners and is leader in the locker room. Yes I was also wrong that the team could not transform into a defensive minded team. And yes I was wrong that McGuire needed more PT. There is just no room for him this year. Still think he has untapped skills on D though. And Haywood...Wow. He has proven to be the consistent center that we thought he would never become. Plays confidently and within himself.

I am glad I was wrong about all those things. But I still won't concede the following: Gilbert is a closer and to win it all we need him. Butler is becoming one quite quickly but Gil has proven to be able to do it in April and May.

And secondly, I still question some of the rotations, though there has been much improvement in this area as well. They are no longer all offensive-oriented subs.

The Blazers coach is currently a top candidate for the coach of the year but then EJ is right there. This really surprises me but it pleases me to no end.

Here is a thought to ponder: Gil is our best player. To me the big question of this season is whether or not when a healthy Gilbert returns will he submit to the leaders of the team and play within himself and play tougher defense or will he want to prove he is still "the man."

I hope that EJ, AJ, CB and AD are already in his head trying to prepare him to return without his ego. We need his skills but not his ego. It seems clear to me that we could go deep this spring if Gilbert blends in with this gutsy group. Is he concerned about getting stats or getting a ring? That is the big question of the year right now.

Posted by: BmoreRev | January 14, 2008 11:42 PM

I'm going to give Ernie Grunfeld a Tommy point and take ten away from myself.

Posted by: Tommy Heinson | January 14, 2008 11:45 PM

I really hate to say this, because even at 0-5 I never for a moment thought EJ should go--he's the best coach in DC since Dick Motta and without being sleazy he's still cagey enough to survive a nuclear holocaust; which is to say, I'm a pretty loyal fan and don't advocate quick or sudden change. I would LOVE for Gilbert Arenas to be able to swallow his drive for individual honors to "fit in" with what this TEAM is trying to do--play tough defense, share the ball (though it still feels like slow-mo sometimes), rebound, and trying very, very hard to est. Brendan as a credible inside presence. But I have my real doubts about whether Arenas could commit to doing that for more than a few games at a time. And I love Gilbert, too.

You know perfectly well, the first timethe offense starts to stagnate, he'd score 50. And the rest of the team would let him. When Gilbert got here, he really had to do that because the Wizards didn't know how to compete--period. But the kiss of death for a serious team might be to really believe you're totally reducible to your "star." Then it would be about setting up Gilbert and trying to chip in enough to get them over the hump. And always playing down to your competition.

So here's the question: Could Gilbert be happy scoring 18-22 pts. per game, with 6-7 assists and only a few turnovers? Could he be happy on a team where he doesn't have to be our hero Zero every night? I don't know the answer to those questions, and I don't even think Gilbert knows. It will be VERY interesting to see what Eddie, Ernie, and Gilbert decide to do. Trading him without trying very hard to integrate him into the new mix would be foolish, even reckless. But I'm not sure Gilbert would give it a fair shot? That would require a lot of maturity and self-confidence. Gilbert seems to love earning people's respect and admiration in big, over-the-top ways. Can Gilbert dominate like Bill Russell did at his position (different thing, I know, but you get me?)? Would be even be interested in something like that? To do that would take A LOT of maturity.

Posted by: Joe R. | January 14, 2008 11:49 PM

To add to what JSchon posted, we should appreciate Ernie's long term strategy put in place a couple of years ago.....building a core group around a solid if imperfect coach with a real system and philosophy, of talented players who were long on character.....and letting them mature in the system and now complementing them with very athletic young talent.

Ernie has made one smart-to-brilliant decision after another and let's give him his due: Kwame for Caron and then signing Caron to a very favorable long-term deal, refusing to overpay for Hughes, refusing to match the ridiculous money the knicks gave to Jeffries, locking up Stevenson, a superb complementary player who plays with passion and intensity every night, using two non-lottery 1st round picks and two 2nd round picks for Pecherov, Young, Blatche and McGuire, 4 players who all have potential to be significant contributors, and finally not trading Haywood despite the feelings of his coach and most of the fan base. Only signing of Etan looks like a mistake, but certainly not a major one given some of the ludicrous contracts some players around the league have signed over the years.

But even with this superb track record so far, his decisions this summer on Gil and Jamison will determine if this team steps to the next level.

And it is absurd to think this team is better without Gil. He is a fabulous talent who could blend perfectly back into this team and in my opinion will do so.


Posted by: arnie | January 14, 2008 11:51 PM

Sad thing is - if they lose to the Knicks tomorrow night most of you will change course and say they suck....Deshawn is horrible...Eddie should be fired...trade Antawn....etc.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 14, 2008 11:52 PM

"Steals don't = great defense!"

Your right. Caron is a league leader in steals and he sucks at defense.

Oh please, stop the madness!

I love AD and always have, but think how much better the Wiz would be with Gil in there.

"....will he submit to the leaders of the team and play within himself and play tougher defense or will he want to prove he is still "the man.""

Well everytime you hear Caron and Jamison talk Rev, they ALWAYS say "when we get Gil back" so they must have a really good relationship. I really don't see Gil as a "Kobe" type player.

I hate to say this but I kinda hope Etan takes the rest of the year off. Just having him back on the bench could really mess Haywood's psyche up. Plus that also means less minutes for all of the Wiz's big men.

Last note....Gil is an awesome player, they can only get better when he comes back.

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | January 14, 2008 11:58 PM

arnie,

Very well put. Could not agree more.

-Barno

Posted by: Barno | January 15, 2008 12:02 AM

Can we stop keeping track of our record without Gil? We get it already!

This year's team is not about Gil anymore. Its about the toughness and professionalism Butler and Jamison have instilled into this team. It will be up to Gil to fit in when he get back not the other way around. It will speak volumes of Gil's character how he comes back. Will he whine when the spotlight is not just on him? Or will he try to fit in and elevate the Wiz to an elite team? I hope its the latter.

I love Gil's game but Butler and Jamison have played great and gotten the young bucks to take the game seriously. You think Gil would do that? He'd be too busy blogging.

Posted by: TOM | January 15, 2008 12:08 AM

now we SHOULD consider trading arenas for a low post scorer, we play as a TEAM when arenas is out, that's what basketball is all about, not as individual but as a team....trading for arenas for an all-star big man will help improve our team greatly ..

Posted by: ak47 | January 15, 2008 12:08 AM

And just one question: Anyone out there still wanting to fire Eddie Jordan, trade Antawn Jamison and replace DeShawn Stevenson with Juan Carlos Navarro? Anyone?

By Ivan Carter | January 14, 2008; 10:13 PM ET

Of course they're out there. They're just hiding in the woodwork like cockroaches in the sun, waiting for the next loss to darken the sky so they can scurry out with "I told you so."

Great win, probably the best regular season win I've seen from this team in the 12+ years I've been in D.C.

"I hate to say this but I kinda hope Etan takes the rest of the year off. Just having him back on the bench could really mess Haywood's psyche up. Plus that also means less minutes for all of the Wiz's big men."

It's not about Haywood, it's about the team. He showed no signs of understanding that in previous years. He appears to have changed this season, but if he goes back to his pouting ways because he's worried about how a move that's good for the team will affect him, then screw him.

Posted by: kalorama | January 15, 2008 12:22 AM

Ray, agree with most of what you say except for the defense thing. Gil can be a good defender but if you watch him its clear he isn't exactly giving it his all on that end of the floor. You can also notice this by who they assign him to defend, usually the worse offensive guy on the other team. Steals don't always equate to individual defense. Gil gets his steals by playing off his man and shooting the passing lanes, not by taking it from the man he is defending. If you remember Hughes final year here, he led the league in steals (or was up there) and was named to the all-defense team only to get abused in the playoffs by Dwyane Wade. Hughes couldn't do a thing to stay in front of Wade that series.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 15, 2008 12:36 AM

Still to Ray, to further my point take for example Iverson. He puts up a ton of points but no one would ever mistake him for a great shooter. You could look at his shooting percentage and the amount of shots it takes him to get those points to easily see that. Thats kind of like Arenas on D. He gets a ton of steals but its not from being a lock down defender. If they kept the kind of percentages on D that do on O, you would see how many open shots he gives up by going for those steals when he is playing off his man. The point being you have to look beyond the raw numbers to see how exactly they get to them.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 15, 2008 12:42 AM

"Our eyes are on winning a championship," Butler said. "Hopefully we get Gilbert back by March and when he comes back we will be even more dangerous."

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/recap?gameId=280114002

Posted by: Anonymous | January 15, 2008 12:42 AM

To quote Shaggy Doo:

Like, wow, man.

Posted by: Keithinator | January 15, 2008 12:45 AM

Hey, the Lakers just won without Bynum. Does that mean that the Lakers are better off without Bynum?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 15, 2008 12:51 AM

Wiz over .500 both at home and on the road.

Randy Ayers for President.

Posted by: Keithinator | January 15, 2008 12:55 AM

For those of you wondering about the Wiz getting love from the media - forget it. The segment on ESPNNews is all about the Celts losing. Would love to hear what Bill Simmons has to say...

Posted by: ATLwizFAN | January 15, 2008 12:56 AM

Hey, the Lakers just won without Bynum. Does that mean that the Lakers are better off without Bynum?

The difference is that the Wiz have been doing it all year without Gil. I realize it's a sarcastic question, but after these back-to-back wins over Boston, a little doubt is beginning to creep into my mind. And I love Gil.

As I mentioned earlier in the year, teams often take on the personality of their best player. For the Wiz this year, that's Caron. He was a maniac on D tonight, as well as ultra-clutch when it counted. The Wiz won these two games for one simple reason: inspired defense.

The defense always, and I mean *always*, suffers with Gil (sorry to disagree, Ray, but Arenas is a horrendous defender.) Now, if Gil can buy into the program when he gets back, I think the Wiz can contend for the conference title this year. But that won't happen unless Eddie is firm with him and sits him for long stretches if he displays his normal lack of desire on D.

This is all speculation, of course. I want Gil back -- but a small (perhaps growing) part of me wonders if the Wiz win both of these if Gil is playing.

Does that make me a bad person?

Posted by: Keithinator | January 15, 2008 1:02 AM

Good grief...
Huge win, like I said earlier, biggest win by any team in the NBA this year.

but... lets keep this perspective...

3rd win against a team with a winning record since Dec 1st (TOR w/o Bosh)...

We have a long way to go, a long way... Our SOS is .479 thus far... We play these between now and the end of February...

DAL
@CLE
TOR
@TOR
LAL
UTA
SA
@PHX
@DEN
@GST
@CLE
@HOU
@CHI
@NOR

What some of you are asking to do by trading GA is going against one of the major factors of why we are playing so well lately, continuity.


Posted by: JSchon | January 15, 2008 1:14 AM

And btw... 10 of the 16 teams we play in March have winning records...

Posted by: JSchon | January 15, 2008 1:19 AM

"Yes Gil can score, but he doesn't play any defense."

That's silly. Gil was 7th in the league in steals last year and Caron was 3rd.

Gil plays very good defense, but until this year the entire team has not. You can't blame Gilbert for that at all. - Ray

Ray, rarely are you so off base with a post. Gilbert is a terrible defender. He takes too many chances and gets steals, yes. But, 90% of defense is keeping your man in front of you and taking away their comfort zone on their shots. Gilbert is a matador on defense. One of the worst in the league and it makes no sense considering he is big, strong, and quick as hell. I'll take zero steals and zero penetrations by his man any day!!! Plus, his gunslinger offense leads to easy fast break points for the other team as well. He can change if he wants to. Jamison has impressed me with just his effort on D. I would now consider him average/slightly below average on D whereas before I would say he was putrid. Effort counts in the NBA.

Posted by: Rob P | January 15, 2008 1:26 AM

Why do people have to "take back" their opinions on EJ's coaching in the past? His coaching was subpar and his coaching (substitution patterns, matchups, bench development, etc) is vastly improved this year!!! So, I don't take back any of my past criticisms at all, but will give him his props now. My one nitpick is Jamison and Butler are still playing too many minutes. We've had a few games where we were up pretty big, yet AJ and CB were still in the game with minutes left. I know coaches are paranoid creatures, but - why???? Those guys should sit at any opportunity.

Posted by: Rob P | January 15, 2008 1:34 AM

Food for thought:

1) I recall CB, after being drafted 10th in 2002 saying something along the lines of "those 9 teams are gonna regret not picking me." Here's to vision, and faith in yourself. What's really funny is that the Wiz had the 11th pick of that draft (jeffries).

2) I recall Gil, on his blog a few months back, saying something along the lines of "I could easily fall back and be a Deron Williams type of PG, but he could never be me." Here's to hoping that wasn't just talk, and that he can tame the ego oozing out of even this hopeful quote.

3) AJ is the friggin truth! I watched almost the entire game (minus a few minutes here and there) and I could have sworn he had no more than 10-12 points and 5-7 rebounds. Lo and behold, 20 and 10... As usual. Amazing. Whoever wants to trade him needs to lay off the dippers. Anytime you can say 'as usual' to a double double, you count your blessings.

4) Songaila only played 5 minutes. Maybe EJ's saving him for the stretch run? And tall-ball was spotted again, briefly in the 1st half. AB messed that up with three quick fouls.

5) AB without the mistakes and with another 20lbs of muscle (which is where I see him in 2-3 years - just in time to take over for a retiring or aging AJ at the 4) is an awesome player. Entirely too many mental lapses at this point for him to be a playoff factor, or even really down the stretch. EJ is playing him heavy because he has no choice.

6) For all Brendan's improvement, he's still got the worst hands ever. And when's the last time BTH got an oop? I'll tell you: Larry Hughes got the assist...

7) Deshawn Stevenson is averaging 18pts 5reb 3ast 1.7stl and 47% from 3-land over the last 3 games. Plus he won the Atlanta game on the defensive end with 2 huge blocks late. And he absolutely put the clamps on Ray Allen in the 2 W's over Boston. You gotta give him his due. Still can't finish at the rim tho.... If he keep playing like this, watch out east.

Thoughts?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 15, 2008 1:36 AM

last post mine sorry

Posted by: jones-y | January 15, 2008 1:39 AM

How about GA as our 6th man off the bench? lol Think that would fly?

Posted by: Rob P | January 15, 2008 1:41 AM

Caron is a true franchise player in the middle of blooming. This is his true breakout year as an allaround player. What a great young leader/franchise player to have.

We showed so much poise tonight. So much heart, never-say-die..... playing with so much confidence. Many teams wouldve just packed it in and quit being down by 14 in Boston midway thru the 4th............... not the Wizards.

I have total faith in every single phase of this team right now (And its been that way for about 3 weeks now.).... very well coached, unselfish, great chemistry, playing with a ton of confidence on both ends. They follow the fight of their leader (Caron) and follow him with defensive effort and unselfish offense..... our ball movement is so great with AD stabilizing the PG spot, we dont turn the ball over, everyone is having fun and playing hard because htey know theyll be involved in the offense, we have good inside play, depth, shooters, defenders, rebounding, a very very good 2nd option in Jamison, and a young stud as our main man with Caron..............

Wow. Awesome win tonight. Boston is honestly a great team with 3 great players at thehir core. But I really believe the Wizards stay on this path they are also a GREAT team. They keep playing hard like this no matter who the opponent is and trusting each other playing team ball on offense and good defense and we're good to go.....

Theres a reason why we are 20-10 since the 0-5 start.I stand by my "blazer-like run" prediction 100%

Posted by: Steve | January 15, 2008 1:52 AM

Debrick who??? If Deshawn and the bench can step up like that down the stretch...watch out. Don't forget about the hibachi!

Posted by: Hooray | January 15, 2008 1:55 AM

Great gutsy game by the Wizards! Way to go! According to the media the Celtics lost the game, but boy oh boy did they try to win it any way they could. They were not tough defensively, they were rough! You could see it on our guys' faces every time they were fouled. They were intentionally trying to hurt the Wizards, particularly Caron, Antonio and Deshawn. It's good they kept their cool except when Andray and Pierce were given a double technical after Caron was fouled by Garnett. I figure it was Caron and Antawn keeping the team cool and focused. Great game, and keep on keep on!

Posted by: rgz | January 15, 2008 1:58 AM

Jonesy - I think of all the positives this year the play of Songalia is one of the disappointments. If he has to do anything other than a set shot, he is done! Not sure his playing over the summer really helped him. I don't think vacations to Cancun during the season are smart and neither is playing through the off season. To me it leads to tired legs and injuries! He looks sluggish, which is kind of ironic to say about Songalia.

AB - I think is playing fairly well. I'll take his hustle on D - blocking shots like mad. I don't think he'll ever be as good as he could be, but I think he'll be a solid pro especially on D. He could be an all-star if he was so ambitious.

AJ - is playing the best I've ever seen him play. The criticisms of the past at least from me were - sure he could score 25 and grab 8 boards, but his man would do the same if not better and he is not put on the best offensive player on the other team if you get what I mean. Effort on D is MUCH improved. Props!

BH - don't nitpick his best season! The passes tonight to him in the post were horrible. Low sling-shot passes from Butler at least 2/3 times. Not his fault. Hey, if he keeps hitting foul shots the way he is now, I have no complaints! The shot coach we have is a stud and earned his pay just with BH's improvement.

DS - playing great now! I defended his contract all summer. Many persons acted like 15 million or whatever it was was a vast overpayment, which I did not see. He's earning it now plus some, but he's had ups and downs. A few weeks ago I wanted and EJ was playing more NY bc DS was not so good. He seems to be back on track. By the way, is there anybody worse at driving to the hole? He is an out of control charge!!!

Posted by: Rob P | January 15, 2008 1:59 AM

All of our players play harder with AD at point than wit Gil there because they know that theyll be involved on offense. We turn the ball over less and have more inside play as well..... and obviously we're much better on defense with AD in there.


Also the leadership. You follow your best player, and in the past the best player was Gilbert. On the floor he was the leader, and we were a wacky/no defense playing/lacked toughness/and selfish team...... now with Caron as our on-floor leader and best player (Lets face it, this is Carons true breakout year. He is a great young leader and franchise player. He is our best player, including Gilbert.). With Caron as the leader our team takes on his identity. Effort on defense, unselfishness on offense, intensity, focus, toughness, play extremely hard, never give up. That is a huge difference.


Our ball movement is tremendous on offense, and Caron dominates the game without dominating the ball. He plays the right way, he is a stud. Our teams roles are well defined and gladly accepted. We are thriving in them..... we're having a lot more fun playing right now than we were with Gilbert as well. AND despite popular opinion around here: We are also much more fun to watch!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 15, 2008 2:06 AM

Thank god we did not get stuck with Navarro!

How has he worked out for Memphis so far? I believe they are one of the worst teams in the league the last time I checked! His defense makes Arenas look like first team all defensive team.

Posted by: Rob P | January 15, 2008 2:07 AM

ATLwizFAN I had the same exact thought and Agree 100% on Gilbert as our 6th man.

Posted by: steve | January 15, 2008 2:10 AM

The Wizards originally wanted to draft Caron that year. He was their first choice and Jefferies was their second. I remember being disappointed in Caron being taken one pick before us since we really needed a SF (and a PG, and the wiz addressed this by taking Jefferies and Dixon, neither of which are true to those positions. Makes you REALLY appreciate what Grunfeld has been able to do when you think back to the Unseld/MJ days)

Posted by: Anonymous | January 15, 2008 2:13 AM

I like the last post by anon! Gilbert needs to do some soul searching to determine if he wants to win championships or have his picture on billboards. He was entertaining for a minute, but like I said earlier so was Dominique Wilkins and he won absolutely nothing. We are less talented now, but playing a better brand of basketball!!! I think that is irrefutable at this point! If he melds with what the team is doing now when he comes back - look out!

This thought just occurred to me. What happened to the Cavs dynasty? I thought they would rule the East for years according to the basketball talking heads? I knew that stuff was nonsense. I said I would take the Wiz roster over the Cavs even as they were in the finals. They had the easiest road to the finals in the history of the NBA last year. Fools gold!!!

Posted by: Rob P | January 15, 2008 2:14 AM

Rob P - AB is 20. I'm 31, and I look back at my 20th year... He's got a lot more maturing to do. And he will.

BTH - good point on the FT shooting. I just wanna see some power to the hole. But thats not his makeup so I guess it is what it is. I appreciate most his D. He played KG well down the stretch. Forced some difficult shots, which is really all you can ask for against an MVP caliber player.

IMO AJ really hasn't improved that much on D. Yeah he's learned the fine art of lateral movement this year, but as a 4, I think a lot of his success on the defensive end is due to 1) BTH/AB in the paint blocking shots instead of ET/DSong, and 2) DS and AD doing much better against dribble penetration. Oh and 3) CB's defensive intensity.

I think DSong is gonna end up being a factor down the stretch, as AJ gets worn down from all his minutes. He's a wily vet. And when his 19 footer is wet (which can be for stretches of 5-10 games) it pulls the opposing 4 out of the paint, and opens up opportunities for the guards to dribble-dish or pick-n-roll/screen-n-roll off of DSong. Yeah disappointing so far if you look at the stats, but tonight, as well as a number of other nights, there was no good matchup on the floor most of the night. Too slow for KG, to small for big baby and perkins.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 15, 2008 2:55 AM

sorry me again...

Posted by: jones-y | January 15, 2008 2:57 AM

I'm so tired of hearing that only three wins against teams with .500 records since December 1st stat (formerly the only one win against teams with winning records since December 1st). Since December 1st the wizards have played a grand total of six games against teams with winning records! We've played Toronto, Phoenix, Detroit, Houston, and now Boston twice. And we're 3-3! Almost every team in the league would take 3-3 in those six games. That statistic is totally meaningless.

If you want to make the point that the Wizards have had a weak schedule, thats fine. But people stop implying that we've been playing poorly against top teams!

Posted by: Mike | January 15, 2008 3:38 AM

This shut ups up those anti Wiz twerps for awhile.

DS mamkes me feel like I am watching Dennis Johnson again. Soooo solid does eveything.

Posted by: Victor | January 15, 2008 4:22 AM

Wow... Now do it again in MSG tonight!

Posted by: khrabb | January 15, 2008 4:39 AM

And just one question: Anyone out there still wanting to fire Eddie Jordan, trade Antawn Jamison and replace DeShawn Stevenson with Juan Carlos Navarro? Anyone?

By Ivan Carter | January 14, 2008; 10:13 PM ET

Well said Ivan. No to all the questions above. We are in capable hands.

I wonder what Tom Thibodeau is thinking now. I can't imagine him having a bigger impact on the Wiz Defense than Randy Ayers. The whole team has obviously benefited this year under his tutelage.

It's inevitable that whenever we get on a roll or have a significant win, some of us feel compelled to deviate from the moment; make it a REFERENDUM on whether we are the Worse or Better w/o GA.

Well, just like the rest of the this team Gil will benefit from Coach Ayers on the defensive end too. If AJ can improve with less athletic ability and almost a 10 year reputation for being a wretched defensive player than I'm sure GA will be fine too.

We match up well with Boston and clearly we are one of the top 3 teams in the East. We truly will need a healthy GA to get past Detroit and (maybe) Boston in a series.

I like the balance on this team and response from the bench the last few games.

Posted by: Janitor | January 15, 2008 6:16 AM

From the Boston Globe: CB on Pierce..."It was a pleasure to get the opportunity to go at him like that down the stretch."

Now can you imagine GA the entertainer ever making a comment like that? Probably not. This type of maturity and leadership displayed by CB (plus AJ and AD) is one of the main reasons the Wiz can now beat teams like Boston, with consistency.

I personally think GA can come back a fit in, if really wants to. But it will take a major effort on GA's part to do so. AJ may indeed need to take little brother out to the woodshed several times once GA gets back, later this season...and if it doesnt work out, this offseason would be the ideal time to work a sign and trade for GA, so Ernie can fleece yet another unsuspecting team and set this francise up for years to come.

Posted by: oddjob | January 15, 2008 6:50 AM

What a win! The whole team. I loved watching Caron and Pierce go at it. As for the same ole discussion about Gil. I keep reading he is not a lock down defender. If I remember correctly other than Deshawn neither were the rest of the team. But, the new defensive coach has them playing defense and they are learnig. Gilbert will adjust his game, hone up on defense just like the rest of the team. You all need to cut it out, celebrate 3 great wins by the Wiz and stop with the trade Gil foolishness! Gil played well his last game against Minnesota and he played defense and had 5 or 6 assists and 20 points. Get well quick Gil! Can't wait for you to join the rest of the team. The Wiz are BALLIN!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 15, 2008 7:40 AM

I read these blogs every day. I have followed the trends of regular contributers and just as teams tend to run like the tides of the sea, so do the feelings about personnel. They are strong when they are strong and weak when they are weak. I read these blogs because I live in the UK and have not been able to follow the Wiz from the stands or on my sofa for seven years. This blog reminds me of sitting in a bar in Old Town with my boys deciding on which trades we would make if we were GM. If you didn't want change then what affect could you have on the team?

The kind of change that has been described is internal. Is sport the business that drives a personality like Gilbert to draw attention to himself for the contracts, all-star appearances, endorsements and so forth or is it about guys showing to the world they are better on a given night than the ones standing opposite? We have team leaders who are proving themselves to be winners. Gilbert proved himself to be a winner. We traded away proven winners at the college level in Rip and Dixon which drove me nuts. I remember Gilbert talking two years ago that when the game was within ten points at the fourth quarter, he knew they would win. Caron and Antawn pulling the team together, willing a win, this is the stuff of championships which is more important than the best talent. The tides will pull away again, hopefully not too soon. They will come back too. If we are playing strong at the seasons end with the addition of another winner in Gilbert, well I just hope the UK decides to show me a game because the airfare is more than I can afford to be a part of DC believing it can build around a winning attitude. Gil has that and it will always find its place. When the fans buy into it and give their energy to the team, boy, watch out.

Posted by: yankeevicar | January 15, 2008 7:51 AM

Settle-down everyone, the lesson to learn here is that:

1. Teams playing w/o their starting PG are going to struggle; we did at-first w/o Gilbert, and now the Celts are struggling now w/o Rondo. The Celts are slumping.

Still, we had the will to win last night, and we did.

Posted by: Perspective | January 15, 2008 7:53 AM

Hopefully, what Gilbert is noticing is a "team" effort. We still need his abilities and attitude, but he needs to know it is ball movement, toughness (not long hours of workouts), defense, and all around attitude that is turning the tide. He gets this in the business world (endorsements, contracts, etc.) but needs to get it on the floor. The Wizards have stepped up the game and are showing that team play, fundamentals (Free throws), and a sound bench get you to the next round.

Posted by: Gareth | January 15, 2008 7:55 AM

Funny how short some of our memories are. CB is doing EXACTLY what Gilbert has been doing for the past few years. The difference between those teams and this one is that now we allow our center to be a center. We're playing our 7 footer and letting him control the paint. That allows us to be aggressive on the wings.
If we'd used the same substitution pattern last year and had Ayers stressing defense, we'd be seeing this same defensive intensity. Someone asked whether GA would be happy geiing 20-22 points a game with more assists rather than scoring 30. I think we saw that this year before he got hurt. The problem was never Gilbert Arenas. It was with our coaching style and sub pattern. Now that that has been fixed while GA is out, folks are blaming GA for his lack of D. Fact is, BTH, DS and AB were the only guys consistently playing defense in previous years and it was in a flawed system. Now, the system works.
With GA, we'll be even better. Instead of winning by 5, it'll be by 10. He's just as good a defender as AD and a better scorer. More importantly, he is a scoring THREAT, which will free up the other 4 guys that much more. You've all seen how many contested shots we've been forced to take by the Celts. No more cheating because GA can't be left alone.
If we keep this up, we're a championship caliber team.

Posted by: mark | January 15, 2008 7:56 AM

AJ played KG even AGAIN and got the win AGAIN. Am I really crazy for saying he's playing as well as KG? Hmmm. Think not ! Oh, yeah. Another double double for the league leader in double doubles.

Posted by: mark | January 15, 2008 8:01 AM

All the questions about whether Gil will "fit in" with the way the Wiz are currently playing are really just moot. First of all, the Wiz INCLUDING Gil had already been developing in this direction in the few games just before Gil was reinjured. They were very successful in those games. When Gil returns, there will be an adjustment period for everyone - Gil, the rest of the team, and the coaches. The end result will probably be a Wiz team slightly less focused on defense (but not back to last year's standards) with significantly increased offensive production - and even more wins.

IMHO, while the Wiz have improved defensively, are more cautious in their offense (jack up the ball less), and have improved their FT shooting, their real improvement has been in the areas that don't show up in the stats - determination, grit, poise, intensity. That's what Gil needs to bring when he returns.

Posted by: reispace | January 15, 2008 8:20 AM

Great article Ivan. Touche!

But, I am sure the trade mongers on this post will still find somebody on the Wiz team to trade away.At first the Wiz were stupid for signing Deshawn. Dude is getting it done. Then, all you heard was Jamison is a liablity on defense and needs to be traded. Now he is one of the best in the league statistically. Come on, what did he have last game, 13 or more offenisve rebounds! The Cap is playing out of his mind. Now, all you here is the team is better than Gilbert. Wonder what they will say when he makes his seamless transition back to the game with the Wiz and they become more formidable. But, you and I both know how foolish that it would be to think this team is better off without him.

Again Ivan, great article and a wonderful win for the home team! Go Wiz! Let's blast the Knicks!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 15, 2008 8:34 AM

I think everybody on this team has his role. Everybody knows Arenas isn't gonna be the tough leader that CB has grown into. It's just not gonna happen. But Arenas is the star and the NBA is still driven by star power. In a 7-series playoffs, the wizards are gonna need all the advantages of having a star on your team.

Posted by: Bart | January 15, 2008 8:35 AM

mark,

that's the question i've been asking myself. is it all the other factors, like improved post defense, that are making the most difference? i sure hope so.

But it's crap like this article: http://preview.tinyurl.com/32ygfu that make me wonder what he's thinking. If my own team doesn't take me, I'll go somewhere for a lot less to win a championship."

What is that supposed to mean? Is he somehow of the opinion that the Wiz won't want to re-sign him? It also doesn't make any logical sense. If he'll go "somewhere else for a lot less", does that mean he'll take less to stay with the Wiz so they can build a championship contender? Or does that mean that the Wiz better offer him a max contract, or else? If so, then he's saying it's a) all about the money, in the case of the Wiz, or b) no, it's actually not about the money, it's about winning.

Dude is a head case.

Posted by: Keithinator | January 15, 2008 8:42 AM

Most people in here have itchy trigger fingers. We should re-name the blog as Wizards Knee-Jerk Insiders.

How quickly we forget that GA, as our PG, got EJ the All-Star caching gig. Before GA and CB got hurt we were on pace to win 50 games last year.

GA's first year here 27 wins, the next year 47 and 2nd round of the play-offs. The following season 42-40 record, loss to CLE in first round.

GA just turned 26...

This years team isnt last years team, top to bottom. We are a year older and a year wiser, a year better.

I credit Ayers. I'm sorry to say ET being out has been the best thing for BH's emergence. CB has become a top 15 player in the league.

AD is averaging 6.3ast as a starter, GA last year, 5.9ast. DS was the biggest scapegoat not 3 weeks ago, now he is a good SG? No, truth is he plays great D and is a below average streaky shooting 2 guard who is hot right now.

Posted by: JSchon | January 15, 2008 9:01 AM

Keithinator - if you're going to parse Gil's quote, pick the more interesting part:

"If my own team doesn't take me"

After giving away his strategic thinking in his blog, he now concedes the Wiz have more leverage than he does. Dude really *needs* an agent.

Posted by: reispace | January 15, 2008 9:02 AM

"Settle-down everyone, the lesson to learn here is that:

1. Teams playing w/o their starting PG are going to struggle; we did at-first w/o Gilbert, and now the Celts are struggling now w/o Rondo. The Celts are slumping.

Posted by: Perspective | January 15, 2008 07:53 AM "

Huh?

Les BouleS lost the first 5 games with Gilby as the starter this season. Get real.

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 15, 2008 9:07 AM

Les BouleS lost the first 5 games with Gilby as the starter this season. Get real.

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 15, 2008 09:07 AM

You get real. The first five games were an aberration. The coaching staff emphasized defense and it was a difficult adjustment for the entire team - including for the coaches in finding the right balance. The team eventually adjusted and was playing at a very high level when Gil was reinjured.

Posted by: reispace | January 15, 2008 9:14 AM

reispace, i'm actually not sure what that part of the quote means. i took it to mean "if they don't offer me what I think I'm worth." why do you think he's admitting that the Wiz have leverage?

Posted by: Keithinator | January 15, 2008 9:15 AM

Well said Bart. Well said. We still haven't had our west coast swing yet. That will tell the tale. How we fare with the those guys will really show how far we have come. I can't wait for Gil to get back to show you guys that he is a part of this process and has been since it was implemented this past summer. I hope you all like crow.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 15, 2008 9:18 AM

Rondo played yesterday and sucked it up. Did anyone notice all the flopping going on with the "best team" in the east. I swear I've never seen so many people just purposely jump in the way after a player has been in flight for a second or two. Pierce is a primadona (ie: when butler was gaurding him on the sideline and he flung his arms around as if Cabron shoved him.) Integrity is something not many teams have...I think we got it!

GO WIZARDS!!!!

Posted by: Burg w/ a U | January 15, 2008 9:22 AM

Keithinator - we can speculate on what Gil meant or didn't mean, but the truth is quotes can be taken out of context. I personally think the entire quote is tounge in cheek. Did he laugh right after saying that? I don't believe he was serious.

Posted by: reispace | January 15, 2008 9:23 AM

The one thing that I get from the quote is that he's playing for a chmapionship, not money. The quote is encouraging to me. If he really wants to win (and I truly think he does. He proved it to me during Olympic trials) then he'll do what it takes when he gets back. Contrary to what a lot folks think, it won't be hard for him to get back in the flow. He averaged 6 assists a game last year. AD is averaging 5.3. Gil will pass. I think he sees that his teammates can actually make the shots, now. He won't feel the need to shot as much.

Posted by: mark | January 15, 2008 9:29 AM

Gil has said the same thing time and time again for those who listnened. He did not say he wanted to break the bank, what he wants is a long term deal. He wants to be a Wiz for a while. He reiterated that just recently. THAT is what he is looking for. I hope he gets it.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 15, 2008 9:32 AM

Well said, Mark.

Posted by: Sagaliba | January 15, 2008 10:35 AM

I'm new to this board, and what a victory last night. That was some show of heart and determination led by our standout veterans in Jamison and Butler. As a die-hard Wiz fan, I got used to seeing us let off the gas when things get tough, and when we went down by 14 in the fourth, I thought the game was about over. . . Butler, Jamison and gang proved me wrong and had me squealing like a little girl.

This team has improved vastly in the absence of Gilbert Arenas - this chatter about the team being better without him is nonsense. Butler reached elite status this year, Jamison has always been solid, Deshawn is earning his contract, and how about our young guys providing a spark off the bench? The role players are stepping up and not letting down when they're in the game, all things the team didn't have last year... They talk about the Celtics and the Pistons having a great bench with tons of chemistry? I myself would include our young bench in there. With Zero we would not only be good, but we would dominate and be held in the same breath as Detroit and Boston. Sure we're doing incredible right now, but with Arenas in the lineup, we would/could possibly own one of these winning streak we're so accustomed to see coming from Detroit/Boston/Phoenix/Dallas, etc...

GO WIZ!

Posted by: Asian Zero | January 15, 2008 11:18 AM

the Atlantic Coast Conference's all-time greatest shot blocker?? Haywood was good, but not the best. Tim Duncan gets that honor.

Vhttp://www.sportsstats.com/ACC/leader.lists/Most_Blocks

Player School Yrs BS BPG BP40 B/PF
1 Duncan, Tim WFU 94-97 4 481 3.76 4.28 1.59
2 Sampson, Ralph Virg 80-83 4 462 3.50 4.54 1.25
3 Rollins, Wayne Tree Clem 74-77 4 450 4.09 1.20
4 Jones, Alvin GT 98-01 4 425 3.43 4.38 1.22
5 Gminski, Mike Duke 77-80 4 345 2.83 1.44
6 Lewis, Derrick Mary 85-88 4 339 2.67 3.23 0.87
7 Campbell, Elden Clem 87-90 4 334 2.72 4.18 0.95
8 Haywood, Brendan UNC 98-01 4 304 2.16 3.67 0.88
9 Wright, Sharone Clem 92-94 3 286 3.11 4.26 1.15
10 Morris, Terence Mary 98-01 4 256 1.88 2.84 0.80

I love it when the Wizards beat the Celtics. Great work team!!

Posted by: fquinnjr | January 15, 2008 11:24 AM

The one thing that I get from the quote is that he's playing for a chmapionship, not money. The quote is encouraging to me. If he really wants to win (and I truly think he does. He proved it to me during Olympic trials) then he'll do what it takes when he gets back.

Posted by: mark | January 15, 2008 09:29 AM

Mark,
It is yet to be seen how Gil integrates when he returns. Citing the Olympic trials however seems to me to be the worst example possible of Gil's desire to win and the foremost example of his selfishness. When the Olympic Teams coaching staff did not swoon over him and provide the minutes he felt he deserved he faked or at least overplayed an "injury" so he could go home. How does this display a champions heart? He could have used the opportunity to soak up everything he could from the winners surrounding him but he chose to sulk and pack it up.

I would love to see Gil dedicate himself to the team concept and the current defensive focus but I personally believe the bar is still high for him.

Posted by: Dr. Strangelove | January 15, 2008 11:39 AM

Agreed Ivan - that was amazing last night.

I just hope they can keep up this fire power tonight and down the stretch.

Posted by: patrick johnson | January 15, 2008 12:17 PM

Strangeglove, during the trials he hustled and played defense and didn't shoot at all, hardly. It's only after he realized that lesser players (talent wise) were being kept instead of him that he sulked. Frankly, If I was GA and saw that Hinrich made the team and I was 'on the bubble', I would have said 'screw it', too. Particularly because he subjugated his normal scoring game for the good of the team, I think he got screwed. As big a patriot as I am, I was glad to see them get their butts handed to them because of a lack of outside shooting. The team should be chosen without bias based on skills, not favorites. GA could have made the difference. I know what you're saying but these guys are human. I can't fault GA for feeling slighted because in my opinion, he WAS slighted.

Posted by: mark | January 15, 2008 12:26 PM

Mark, you may be right about the factors other than Gil that weren't right, but you have to admit, there are lots of possessions that Gil walks the ball up and before triggering the offensive set just chucks the ball. That's got nothing to do with Brendan getting more playing time or the other factors you cite; that has to do with Gilbert being on occasion a selfish player. Now, when he hits those shots we all love him; but when he misses them it's embarrassing to watch.

Keith, there's no point trying to analyze Gil's statements. I think he means what he says, but he means different things on different days and has no "off" switch.

Let's wish Gil a speedy recovery and let's hope the guy comes in here and adds his considerable talent into the team mix.

Posted by: Prazak | January 15, 2008 12:40 PM

I agree with my man about our homecourt advantage. Once the home crowd starts to really go off this team will be so dangerous. We have EVERY SINGLE THING/ASPECT (from coaching to chemistry to players to depth to the young franchise player (Caron) and 2nd option stud (AJ), our PG play, size, rebounding, inside play on offense, defense) that is needed to be a bigtime winner in this league, EXCEPT for the real crazy home crowd/homecourt advantage. BUT that is building towards what it needs to be, and when our players can feed off of that energy when it gets to that level that will be the very last thing needed to be a 50+ win team in this league.


Youre right man, Caron is doing exactly what Gilbert has done in the past. Which is being our best player/franchise player and leader on the floor... Except he is doing it much more unselfishly and efficiently (over 50% shooting), plus doing it on both ends of the floor, plus doing it with 100% effort and toughness. Caron is playing better allaround this year than Gilbert ever has. He is our best player, he dominates the game without dominating the ball. Everyone is involved, everyone has fun and plays extremely hard and TRUSTS EACH OTHER AND THE SYSTEM. Antonio has alot to do with that as our true PG as well, which is why we turn the ball over much much less, take much better shots, our ball movement is 100 times better than its ever been, everyone is having fun because they know theyll be involved on offense, and we have much better inside/post play (Espeically from BTH and AJ).

IF when Gilbert comes back he does fit seamlessly into our new style of play and unselfish team-ball system than we will be even better and be extremely dangerous in the playoffs.

IF he comes back selfish and playing like Allen Iverson circa Philly as OUR POINT GUARD than we are in trouble, and we are worse off than we are now (And if thats the case than Eddie should have Gilbert as our 6th man and AD should continue as starting PG with our great starting unit.... that would VASTLY improve our bench from above-average to one of the best in the NBA with that move as well.)


I hope he plays more like a true PG (Even as a Baron Davis would be great), buys into this team concept on both ends, and just fits into the system as our PG, we will be very very very dangerous if that happens. AND I do think it could happen, Gilbert is smart, I hope he buys in.

Posted by: Steve | January 15, 2008 1:10 PM

Also this is Caron's breakout year. He is a great young leader/franchise player. It is so nice to have seen him grow these last 3 years into an allstar last year and now this year into a young true team leader/franchise player and borderline superstar allaround player. This kid is a great player and is hitting his stride in every aspect of the game on both sides of the ball (And as a leader on the court and off).

Posted by: Anonymous | January 15, 2008 1:20 PM

Mark,
Agree totally that players are flesh and blood and subject to the same challenges we face everyday. I have consistently been of the opinion that long term head games with EJ contributed greatly to a lot of Brendan's past issues.

That said, Gil still strikes me as overly immature and ego driven. I am hoping the positive to come out of the time away for Gilbert is for him to get a different perspective and return as a more serious player and team leader. That combined with his already superior talent and work ethic would be quite scary, no limit to where the team could then go.

Posted by: Dr. Strangelove | January 15, 2008 2:12 PM

What is up with the Celtics' Perkins constantly moving on picks and not getting calls at all, except for that one time because it was so blatant and Caron was trying for a steal? Drives me crazy! BH does it too, but he gets called for it all the time. Last night, he must have gotten 3 or 4, earning EJ incredulous stares.

Celtics do play a little dirty sometimes, a la Ray Allen shoving AJ in the back, trying to set a pick, away from the ball near the end of the game. Not a legal pick, if it was around the ball, it would be called. But no call at all, the officials are keeping their eyes on the ball and not noticing that type of thing plus they let a lot of things go on the last one or two possessions in a game.

That type of sly, veteran moves come up big sometimes but it feels a bit too dirty for my taste...Maybe it won't if we had a few Wizards who could do those types of things without getting called for...

Posted by: Anonymous | January 15, 2008 4:15 PM

"The one thing that I get from the quote is that he's playing for a chmapionship, not money. The quote is encouraging to me. If he really wants to win (and I truly think he does. He proved it to me during Olympic trials) then he'll do what it takes when he gets back.

Posted by: mark | January 15, 2008 09:29 AM "

mark is an idiot. If Gilby wasn't about money and was only about championships, then why did he say he wanted 6 years and max money to start?

Then, Gilby says he will take less to go to another team to win a championship.

DUHHHH!!!!!! IF LES BOULES DO NOT GIVE GILBY MAX MONEY, OF COURSE HE WILL HAVE TO SIGN FOR LESS MONEY WITH ANOTHER TEAM BECAUSE THE BEST THEY CAN GIVE HIM IS 5 YEARS!!!

It's just purely stupid that people take someone's quote and spin some positive into it when it's the only way that Gilby's salary negotiations can play out.

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 17, 2008 10:09 PM

If Gilby wasn't about money, he would be signing an extension, NOT opting out!!!

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 17, 2008 10:10 PM

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