It was an unusually warm night for October in the nations capital so it probably brought the feelings of home from the visiting Dallas Mavericks who showed up at the Verizon Center to play the Wizards for their 1 of 2 home pre-season games. This night also marked the return of a healthy Gilbert Arenas who was injured for the past 2 seasons and the return of the BIG 3 The Verizon Center was not packed as expected but a solid crowd was on hand to cheer on the new arrivals in Mike Miller, Randy Foye and Fabricio Alberto.
The game featured many different sets as it was obvious Flip Saunders was trying out different things and getting guys their minutes to get into game speed mode. The first half featured the usual suspects and there was an obvious layer of rust that was slowly working its way off the guys as defense was lackluster. The mavericks made mince meat of the Wiz on the inside as Dirk and the boys from the house that Cuban built set up a nice lead going into the half The 2nd half was a bit better as Gilbert finally came to life. He was quiet and was trying to be facilitator early on but something triggered in him as the deficit was growing on the score board and someone had to do something. He took it to the hole several times and made opposing players look like kids in his way and that was refreshing.
Andray Blatche also had a swagger about him as he jammed the ball with both hands and showed some good hustle on both ends of the court. Time will tell how this new attitude carries into the season but overall the Wiz kids looked pretty good. Brendan Haywood is out for a while as his ankle went one way and he the other but all indications so far is its not as bad as we think and Flip stated it will be ok before the season starts.
I know many shook their heads at the lack of defense but these issues will be addressed. How do I know that? Our coaches name is Flip Saunders Wizards