Wizards at Magic, more Gilbert

Is tonight a playoff preview? I guess we'll find out after the Wizards get back from next week's brutal West Coast trip but we pretty much can count on the Orlando Magic staying in third-place. I arrived at the arena early (the hotel is right across the street) and saw Gilbert Arenas go through an extensive shooting workout.

I'll say this: the guy has not lost a bit of range and I didn't see him favoring the left leg in any way. At one point, he drained 10 of 13 shots from four of five feet behind the three-point line. Patrick Ewing, who is on the Magic staff, and a group of Orlando assistants watched Arenas intently.

Arenas also offered something of an update on his possible return.
"I'll be back way before the playoffs," Arenas said. "Hopefully, within this week, I'll be playing or maybe on the West Coast trip."
For the record, the Wiz play at Miami Friday night, host Detroit Sunday night and open a five-game trip at Portland on Tuesday.

Never one to let the foks with notebooks down, Arenas showed why he is the favorite of writers in most NBA towns by offering an honest answer to a question from Orlando reporters about the possibility of the Wizards facing the Magic in the playoffs.

"We're not scared of any team," Arenas said. "There's no team that actually frightens us out there. When you have three guys that can score 20, we're more frightening because no one has actually seen us as a whole group yet. Everyone has seen spurts of our team but they don't have a scouting report. If they have a scouting report, it's from last year so, we're kind of the favorite going in of you look at it from that aspect."

So there you have it, the Wizards are the favorites. Gilbertology baby, you gotta love it!

He also talked about what kind of Arenas fans should expect.

"To be honest, this year, I don't think I'm going to be able to play like I play. I'll probably be a shooter, distributor but probably won't be as aggressive. We probably won't see that until the playoffs or I might just wait 'till next year before I start attacking, just throwing my body all over the place."

He also expanded a bit on why he is more hesitant to rush back from the second surgery than the first. (Which goes to my theory that he simply doesn't trust that he's going to go out there, cut loose and not wind up under the knife a third time in less than a year. Hard to blame him for that).

"That's what happened last time," Arenas said. "As soon as they said I was cleared, I got hurt again. That's what's really on my mind. I got the MRI (in early November), it said I was clear. They said: 'there's just puffiness in there' and I asked the question: 'can anything happen?' and it was "oh, no, no, no.' Then two games later, I said: 'let's get an MRI again, and it was: 'oh, you need surgery.' I was like: 'what the hell, you just told me to go out there and play free now.' Then, as soon as I go out there and play free, I'm back here. So, that's the big worry. I've heard this one before."

More on that: "I'm looking for the miracle where it doesn't hurt. I don't know if I'm going to wake up all of a sudden and there's no pain and it's healed. Or, is there going to be achiness until I just actually stop playing for a while. Players have told me: 'you're going to keep feeling it. You're going to keep feeling it until you just actually sit down for a month or two and just strengthen in. Once it gets stronger, you won't feel it."

Elsewhere in the locker room before the game, DeShawn Stevenson shed some new light on why he busted out and called LeBron James "overrated" after last Thursday's win over the Cavaliers. In case you didn't notice, the two were jawing at each other all night long and it began before the opening tip.

Apparently, James said something about DeShawn to former Cav Drew Gooden, who recently related that information to DeShawn. He didn't appreciate it.
"We're all in the same profession," Stevenson said. "We don't need to talk bad about one another. So, that's how it happened. I was ticked off and that's why I said something to him at tip-off. So, it goes back further than people think."

I asked DeShawn if what James said was basketball-related or personal and he said: "It was both. I won't say what he said. I said something back and we'll leave it at that."

Maybe James, who wears a beard, is jealous of the one Stevenson is growing?
Stevenson with a laugh: "I don't know what he's jealous of. He makes more money than me that's for sure."

Coach Eddie Jordan reported that all went well with the curfew he imposed last night so the fellas should be well rested. They get tonight off after the flight to Miami and will be back under curfew Thursday night. Not me though. The book stores stay open very late on South Beach.

By Ivan Carter |  March 19, 2008; 6:52 PM ET
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Comments

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This is an ugly game thru the 1st half. I'm not seeing a ton of desire, passion, and energy from the Wiz tonight so far.

It almost looks like Eddie's had a curfew all year and then lifted the curfew before this game.

The Wiz better pick up the intensity and show some desire to win the game in the 2nd half or it could get ugly...

Posted by: Sam | March 19, 2008 8:19 PM

pretty it aint - but Dwight, in the 3rd, sits with 4 fouls, 1 point, nothing for 4 from play - nice D!

Posted by: Conor | March 19, 2008 8:41 PM

The Wiz are playing better defense tonight, but it's basically been a battle between Turkoglu and Jamison. So far, there have been some very questionable calls by the officials, but the Wiz are playing hard...

Posted by: Krem | March 19, 2008 8:48 PM

The Wiz are playing better defense tonight, but it's basically been a battle between Turkoglu and Jamison. So far, there have been some very questionable calls by the officials, but the Wiz are playing hard...

Posted by: Krem | March 19, 2008 8:48 PM

be nice if someone could get a hand in Turkoglu's face on those outside shots...

Posted by: Conor | March 19, 2008 8:51 PM

5 fouls on Howard right now.... the Wiz really need to take advantage of these minutes that he's on the bench...

Posted by: Krem | March 19, 2008 8:57 PM

Too bad Gilbert isnt playing. I love watching his buns wiggle up and down the court! oooogaaaaa!

Posted by: Bullets70s | March 19, 2008 9:01 PM

My hope and my dream is that Gilbert will someday pose for Playgirl.
Anyone else here share my same dream?

Posted by: Bullets70s | March 19, 2008 9:03 PM

Just DCMan88.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 19, 2008 9:06 PM

book *ahem* stores..

Posted by: satch | March 19, 2008 9:23 PM

What a great win!

Now if only PHI would loose...

Posted by: B.A.M. | March 19, 2008 9:39 PM

Wow...well we got the win! What an ugly, horribly officiated, no flow, crappy game. The best you can say is we won, but neither team played well.

What is with our inbounding and last minute plays after timeouts??? They're terrible!

Posted by: Rob P | March 19, 2008 9:40 PM

Not a big fan of the iso for Caron at the end there. Yeah he had made a couple of shots, but I would rather have seen some movement with the ball.

Big win though.

Posted by: amalg | March 19, 2008 9:41 PM

Rob P, do you like anything? All you do is complain.

Posted by: ? | March 19, 2008 9:47 PM

Another big statement win! Turgolu couldn't do it by himself. Haywood neutralized Howard. AJ was incredible. What was most exciting was that we won with a defensive stop. That's what playoff hoops will be all about.
Magic still scare me more than Cavs. Cavs trade has caused them to take a step back. Brown doesn't know yet how to set the rotation.

We need to hold the line and let Gil get back and then take off from there when the post season tips off. Sunday just may be the return of Arenas. I just kind of think he loves the stage and it's an ESPN game. I honestly hope they bring him off the bench for 2 weeks and gradually let him adjust. He needs to get on board with the defensive intensity and the sharing of the ball offensively. There will be big adjustment period. But games like tonight give me real hope.

Posted by: BmoreRev | March 19, 2008 10:04 PM

I know Caron is just getting back into it, but he really needs to play much better defense. Turk took it to him all night... Good win though.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 19, 2008 10:17 PM

So Toronto just beat down the Heat 96-54, we could use a game like that to rest the starters and have the young guys regain confidence. Watch Chris Friggin Quinn drop 40 on us!

Posted by: CN | March 19, 2008 10:21 PM

I also dream about Gil. I often imagine waking up to him wearing only an apron as he cooks me blueberry waffles. We then smear the uncooked batter on one another and slip and slide our battered up bodies all over each other. He then takes it straight to the hole on me. Some times it gets so rough that I have to call a flagrant foul. Oh Gil come back baby!!!!

Posted by: DCMan88 | March 19, 2008 10:33 PM

"Too bad Gilbert isnt playing. I love watching his buns wiggle up and down the court! oooogaaaaa!

Posted by: Bullets70s | March 19, 2008 09:01 PM

My hope and my dream is that Gilbert will someday pose for Playgirl.
Anyone else here share my same dream?

Posted by: Bullets70s | March 19, 2008 09:03 PM

Just DCMan88.

Posted by: | March 19, 2008 09:06 PM "

--------------------------------------------

I hope people notice that I didn't make one post on this blog yet, but an idiot decided it kickstart it by talking about some stupid playgirl spread and associating me with it.

Back to the blog topic, I like the edge and the confidence that Gilby brings for the team. I just hope he's not writing a check that the team can't cash. I seriously doubt if Les BouleS should be beating their chest that they are the "favorites."

Looking at Gilby's quote, again, I like the fact that he's confident and that he doesn't seem like he'll back down from anyone. He might have to get DS's back b/c DS isn't at Lebron's level.

All in all, I think it was mistake for Gilby to brag about 3 scorers on the team that can hit 20 in a game. That's great, but to win in the playoffs, you have to up your D and stop the other team. Remains to be seen.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 19, 2008 10:34 PM

Just so some of you know especially POSTED BY(hell of a name) Hedo is three inches taller than Caron,CB is playing hurt, bone chips, still hobbled with the hip and he still hit two big shots late in the game!!! what do you expect, most guys would not attempt to play with the wrist let alone just comming back off the hip injury and Hedo should have been an all star this year without a doubt, anyway good gutsy win even though it started out rough, found some kryptonite for Superman(Dwight Howard) HAYWOOD did an excellent job defensively and kept him fustrated most of the game. AJ played at an all star level again night in night out he brings it I hope Abe and Ernie get their checkbook and credit cards ready so they can resign him.Philly won again DAMN,DAMN,DAMN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

Posted by: DARGREGMAG@AOL.COM | March 19, 2008 10:42 PM

Yeah ?, do you have anything to say yourself?

Did you watch the game?

Yeah, I say plenty of good things when warranted. Tonight not much to say that was good except we won. Now make your own points and leave me alone.

I'll give Jamison props, how's that? Make your night a little better?

Posted by: Rob P | March 19, 2008 10:46 PM

I am not DCman88. I am Bullets70s in the flesh.
I enjoy Gilbert, so what.
You have to admit he is a pretty good looking dude.

Posted by: Bullets70s | March 19, 2008 10:47 PM

Pretty impressive win tonight by the 'Zards on the road. While the perimeter defense was not great, got to give up for Haywood tonight. He completely took Howard out of the game with his defense AND had a double-double. Hopefully that will happen in the playoffs; you take Howard out of the game and the Magic are an average team.

Posted by: Buck Worthy | March 19, 2008 10:56 PM

Didn't see it, listened to some of the Magic postgame on Sirius and I was flabbergasted to hear 3 points, 14 rebounds (0 offensive) for Howard. How much did the officiating play a part in that and how much was it Brendan Haywood (very nice with the dbl. dbl.).
Of course Turkoglu goes crazy again, I am sick of the sight of that guy.
All in all, a hell of a job to come back off the Hawks loss and pull this game out. No screwing around in Miami, come out early and get the kind of lead that gets the Heat to give up!

Posted by: George Templeton | March 19, 2008 11:08 PM

Hope those people clamoring for the Wiz to meet the Magic in the playoffs rather than the Cavs were watching closely. There's no such thing as an easy matchup for this team. Even with Howard in foul trouble and not having an impact on the scoreboard, the Wizards still barely escaped.

Posted by: kalorama | March 19, 2008 11:09 PM

NY and AB must be in the curfew doghouse because neither had much PT (combined 14 min) although Roger Mason had 21 min and went 1-8, while DS went 40 min, 5-14.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 19, 2008 11:19 PM

Congrats on a productive post, DCMan. People are jumping on you before you've even said anything and you didn't take the bait. Way too reasonable, even complimenting Gil. Are you sure that's really you? You feeling OK?

This is the third game in a row where Caron was trying to do too much down the stretch. He made two key buckets at the end so I had to eat my words, but just before then he was forcing things again and I almost wished Eddie had put D-Mac or AB in there instead of Caron.

Roger was forcing things too much tonight too. It's like his recent successes have gone to his head. Since when do the Wiz need a fifth guard like Roger looking to create his own 3s outside of the offense in a context when Antawn and Brendan were already heating up?

Before AB had about three mental lapses in a row he was actually showing some heart out there for a change.

Another solid game from Darius.

Eddie was all over the place tonight. At one point in the 3rd he had the entire second unit out there, followed by a three-guard offense with D-Mac at the 4 and AJ at the 5, followed by a triple-tower offense with BTH at 5, AB at 4, Darius at the 3, and Caron at the 2.

Posted by: Prazak | March 19, 2008 11:19 PM

I like it when Gilby talks up Les BouleS and how they can do well as a team, and he does a good job of keeping management on their toes. I prefer less of the "me me me" quotes from him.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 19, 2008 11:24 PM

Just to add to that, Brendan and Blatche really play well defensively on the court at the same time. Blatche was blanketing Rashard Lewis out there. Getting Blatche more time over at the 4 will be one of the best things about having Etan back at the reserve 5.

Posted by: Prazak | March 19, 2008 11:25 PM

DARGREGMAG@AOL.COM so what if Turk is 2 inches taller than Caron? Blatche is 2 inches taller than Jamison and talented, so he is better than Jamison right? Get real OK? It was a simple statement, Caron needs to play better D on Turk because he's had great games vs. the Wiz with Caron guarding him at least 75% of the time. Doesn't mean Caron is any less of an allstar, he just isn't playing defense the way he ought to vs Turk. Nothing more, not like I was saying he was trash or we need to trade him or nothing. So chill wack job.

Still a good win especially good play from Haywood and Jamison.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 19, 2008 11:26 PM

I actually took away some positives from tonight's game.

1. Wizards defense stepped up in the second half.

2. With the exception of Turkoglu, they didn't give up too many open 3-point shots.
(Lewis 1-9, Nelson 1-4, Cook 0-2, etc...)

3. Haywood's defense on Howard. It's starting to look like Haywood has figured out how to play him....

4. Eddie's reliance on Haywood, especially in the second half. (33 minutes tonight)

Some other observations:

He only played 8 minutes, but McGuire covered Turkoglu pretty well. He got rubbed off on one screen, but otherwise played him tough. In a 7-game series, I could see Eddie using him as a defensive stopper.

Nick Young looks like he's pressing.

Butler is obviously still hurt, and not playing at 100%

Eddie's substitution patterns (big minutes for Haywood, Jamison, Butler and Stevenson tonight) suggest that he may be thinking
the Miami game will be one he can use his bench extensively. Watch for Blatche, Young, Mason, McGuire and Songaila to get major minutes against Miami.

Posted by: Rook | March 20, 2008 12:15 AM

I wonder if there is a real difference in medical staff around the league? Shaq was praising the unique methods of the Phoenix staff, and I wonder if the Wiz don't have the medical talent they need? Can we trade doctors?

Posted by: CK | March 20, 2008 12:56 AM

"I wonder if there is a real difference in medical staff around the league? Shaq was praising the unique methods of the Phoenix staff, and I wonder if the Wiz don't have the medical talent they need? Can we trade doctors?

Posted by: CK | March 20, 2008 12:56 AM "

Of course there's a huge difference.

If you were sick, would your rather go to Howard Univ. Hospital or Inova Fairfax in Falls Church?

http://www.inova.com/inova_fairfax_hospital/news/inova_fairfax_hospital_ranked_among_the_nations_best_by_u.s.news_and_world_report.jsp

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 20, 2008 9:26 AM

In April 2007 the head of the faculty senate called for the ouster of Howard University President H. Patrick Swygert, saying that the school is in a state of crisis and it was time to end "an intolerable condition of incompetence and dysfunction at the highest level." This came on the heels of several criticisms of Howard University and its management. A National Science Foundation audit condemned Howard's management of several federal research grants.[21] The Division of Nursing faced losing its accreditation and being placed on probation for a second time because of the program's deficiencies. In Division of Allied Health Science, Physical Therapy and Physician Assistant program are also on probational accreditation status.[22] In addition, the residency programs at Howard University Hospital received a much-publicized unfavorable assessment by the Accrediting Council of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).[23] Swygert announced in May 2007 he will retire from Howard in June 2008. [24]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howard_University

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 20, 2008 9:37 AM

During the 3rd and 4th quarter I was starting to think I was going to have to blast Eddie again for playing small ball to long and not giving AB any minutes in the first half and whole 3rd quarter, except spot duty for Haywood when his contact came out.

But as Eddie has been doing the last 2 months he corrected himself and got AB some minutes in the 4th and did not leave Songalia in against Howard when he came back in. I think Eddie has finally started to see the light....!!!

2 months ago Eddie would have keep that small ball lineup in the whole 4th and not play AB at all to teach him a lesson like he use to do with Haywood. Instead, Eddie made his point and that about the team and hopefully did not make it personal.

AB must have really ticked Eddie off because his minutes are dropping with every game now. Granted, I am not seeing anything from AB the last two to three weeks and that is maybe one of the factors in his decreased playing time from Eddie.

Ivan, could you try to find out some more information on why OPEC was the first to check in at the 5 last night vs. AB. If that was the case Eddie would have had OPEC sub for Haywood that hot minute when his contact came out. Why have AB come in for one minute and then sit him all the way to the 4th quarter? That sounds like doghouse to me.....

Eddie keep up the good coaching job and don't make the AB doghouse thing run too long like the Haywood saga the past two years. I think you have made your point with the youngsta and he should now straighten out and fly right now.....

Posted by: Bullets Fever #1 | March 20, 2008 9:42 AM

Oh yea I forgot. D Stevenson, I am loving it man.........!!!!! I think with this kind of smack talk going I would not mind seeing the Cav's in the first round.

Again, I short changed you this summer and thought the Wiz should not resign you. My man I was wrong!!!! I am glad to see there is somebody out there who is not "scarrrred" of the "King of Traveling"!!!!!

Keep talking that smack like you did down Barry Farms this summer with that dude under the basket in the crowd, I'm loving it.....!!!!!!

Posted by: Bullets Fever #1 | March 20, 2008 9:49 AM

Gilbert is the man

Posted by: Dan | March 20, 2008 2:12 PM

George T, I saw the game on the NBA package per usual and I got to listen to the Orlando guys the whole time. Haywood did a decent job on Howard, but the officiating was terrible both ways. Howard got a couple of touchy fouls, but the dude who sent him to the bench was Stevenson who drew 2 fouls on him and Blatche drew another. Haywood got 1 I believe.

Rook, the Wizards gave up open 3's all night long! The Orlando crew pointed out more than once how the Wiz are the WORST 3 pt defending team in the league. It showed last night. Turkoglu after making all his shots was still getting left alone at the 3 pt line all night. Jamison was covering him WAY too much especially in the 2nd half. I would like to see McGuire or even Blatche on him more...they have the size and quickness to guard him better.

Posted by: Rob P | March 20, 2008 5:13 PM

DCMan, I think you'll enjoy this one. Even the Orlando crew pointed out a couple of times how the Wiz play their injured stars WAY too much.

They also were critical of the Wiz defense. What else is new? But they told the Tom Thibedou (sp?) story, and basically laid the D problems on Eddie Jordan even saying he basically ran Thibedou out of town. Funny!

By they way, the dude is in Boston and the C's just so happen to have the best D in the league. What could have been?

Posted by: Rob P | March 20, 2008 5:20 PM

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