Wrap Up Report: Wizards defeat the Trailblazers at home with DEFENSE!
The Washington Wizards came out doing something everyone in Washington dreams of, and that is, they played defense. Now was it bad offense (on Portland's behalf?) or good defense by Washington? Well, you would be surprised to know that the Wizards actually held the blazers to 33% shooting. Washington shot 41% for themselves. Flip stated that they would not hold the Phoenix Suns (who they play on the road soon when they go on their West Coast road trip) to 33% as he had the media room laughing. With that said, was this one of those games where Portland just did not have what it took to win? Possibly, but either way, Washington came out with a W, and a win is a win, bottom line.
Andray Blatche had, 'one of his better games' said Flip. Coach was right because he was quiet but did the little things by boxing out and communicating on the floor. I could not hear him literally because the crowd was much better tonight.
Flip said, "We worked on defense, it showed in our offense," which drew laughs in the media room yet again (he's hilarious when they win, you don't wanna know how he is when they lose).
Gilbert did not start and one media member questioned to me on why that was the case, and I simply stated that John Wall is the new face of the franchise, and Gilbert is the old face of the franchise. Alonzo Gee started as small forward and that made sense as Gee has made an impact coming off the bench and has started the last couple of games. He can play defense but it is a little weird to see a guy who was just released from a San Antonio Spurs team, to be picked up from the Wizards and start instead of Gilbert.
On Gil not starting, "He told Sam that he wanted to come off the bench, that he would have more of an impact, for the team at that point, but reality came to do it, he wasn't sold to that idea."
"Kirk, in training camp, has been playing well, and it wouldn't be fair if coach put me on the sideline and take him out." says Gilbert about not starting and Kirk starting.
That is a true team player folks but don't be surprised if you see him traded. He's a great guy and I enjoy interviewing him and being around him because he has that aura about him you can't help but talk to the guy.
The 3rd quarter was a quarter that the Wizards need to have every quarter and game. Wizards outscored the Trailblazers 23-10. What a crappy half from the Portland Trailblazers. Kirk Hinrich was the key player to help spark this lead for the Wizards. I can't even deny the fact that Kirk has been a pleasant surprise for this team. He has brought leadership and brought defensive toughness to this team. Every team needs a Kirk Hinrich.
John Wall had an ok game, finishing up with 10 points, 2 assist, and 4 rebounds, but one must expect a game like this, as he will continue to have them because he is a rookie. People tend to forget about that. He was being covered by a gentleman by the name of Patrick Mills who surprisingly caught me off guard when he was sitting next to me to tie his shoes during shoot around, with an Australlian accent.
Here is the link to our friends over in Portland who cover the team under the Bloguin Network, Bust A Bucket
WHAT I SAW/HEARD
* Gilbert Arenas was wearing his pair of Jordan's I have no idea what they are. Love covering what he wears because you never know what he will wear.
* Speaking of shoes, Josh Howard had some nice looking Jordan's I haven't seen. I asked Coach Flip Saunders about Josh Howard and he told me that he does not expect Josh Howard anytime soon.
* During the TV timeout, the Wizards have there segments on the big screen and the topic was, 'Worst Date'. John Wall was probably the funniest thing I have heard. He went to explain how he went on a date with a girl and they were gonna go to the movies, and when they got there, he thought she was going to pay for it and she said she had no money so they ended up not going at all.
* Former Wizards and Redskins PR Director and Ladies man, Zach Bolno saw me as he visited the Wizards and said he loved my hair and wish he had my hair. Hey, everyone has a Zach Bolno story, so there is mine.
Photos Courtesy of WizardsExtreme.com's very own, the beautiful Pam Chvotkin
Here is the Video Recap Highlights courtesy of CSNWashington.com
Couresty of the Washington Wizards and Washington Wizards PR Staff, Post Game Quotes:
WIZARDS HEAD COACH FLIP SAUNDERS
On the importance of a having a stellar defense:
“If you want to be good in this league, you’re going to have to learn how to play defense. So right now that’s our point of emphasis.”
On guard Kirk Hinrich, forward Andray Blatche and the entire team’s strong defensive play:
“(Kirk) matched up, he fought (Brandon) Roy as about as good as one guy can fight him. And what can you say about our defense? The (Blazers) shoot 33%. That’s something we can hang our hats on. I thought that Andray (Blatche) played one of his better games tonight. From the standpoint of how he fought Aldridge for most of the game and how he rebounded especially early in the game, and he played with a great amount of energy so I was happy with that.”
WIZARDS GUARD JOHN WALL
On his team’s stifling defense tonight:
“(Defense) is key. We talked about it the other day. Coach was telling us that when we win games it’s not going to be our offense. When we need sparks we can get it, because we can get sparks from Gil, it might be me one night, Andray, JaVale, Kirk, it doesn’t matter. But the key thing is defense and we did a great job. They are a great offensive rebounding team and they have some great All-Stars on that team so I think we did a good job of keeping the score down and getting a tough win.”
WIZARDS GUARD GILBERT ARENAS
On coming off the bench:
“John’s at the point and Kirk has been doing a good job at the two, so since I have a rhythm I just come off the bench and just bring a spark, whatever is lacking, and it worked tonight.”
On the third quarter:
“I think I went to the point… and made a couple shots, found a couple people open and we just went on a run. Kirk hit some shots, Wall got some layups, Dray hit some shots and from there we all played defense.”
WIZARDS FORWARD ANDRAY BLATCHE
On the game:
“We did a great job with help side today. It’s all about helping your teammates, and that’s what we did tonight. It was tough when they kept making drives and hitting their jump shots but we kept putting in work and got the win.”
On his performance:
“It was tough when my shot wasn’t falling, but I kept telling myself to stay confident and eventually it’s going to happen. Flip always says the game is won by three plays. Kirk took over and set a great play up for us and we just kept feeding off of that and our energy stayed high to get the win.”
BLAZERS COACH NATE MCMILLAN
“Evidently, they’re not responding to me, because all of these games look similar. We have a pretty decent first half. The second half we struggle to score and to get stops. We have a 10-point third quarter. We don’t score the first four minutes of the quarter. We struggle down the stretch to get shots. We’re getting more attempts than teams, but we’re shooting a low percentage. I’ve said that the last five, six games. I asked them if it’s clear what we are asking them to do. They didn’t say anything. The thing is, they didn’t have to say anything. I think the games show that we’re not getting it done.”
On what changed in the third quarter:
“We didn’t score. You have a 10-point quarter and you don’t score the first five minutes, that’s when you have to run your cuts harder and set screens and all the things we talked about. We got to make shots. But they didn’t hear that from me.”
BLAZERS GUARD BRANDON ROY
On the issue during the six-game losing streak:
“It’s the same result six straight games. Games that we have had control, not just the lead, we had control. Then we go blank for a while and can’t score, can’t get stops. We’ve lost the last six of them the same way. It’s not like we got blown out in any of them. We went in and got whooped in the second half.”
On whether the season feels lost and returning home:
“I’m not looking that far. I’m looking that we have lost six in a row and we still haven’t figured out what the problem is. I can’t predict that far ahead because it’s a long season, but 19 games in and we’re losing the same way. Everybody is at a loss of words. Coach doesn’t know what to say to us and we don’t know what to say to one another. We just have to try to break it in the Clippers game. It will be good to have a few home games in a row, though. “
BLAZERS FORWARD LAMARCUS ALDRIDGE
On the stretch of losses:
“It’s too early to say it’s the lowest point of my career. I wouldn’t say that, but it’s been the hardest stretch of basketball in my career definitely, always being in the games and losing. We have to figure it out.”
On not responding to coach:
“I wouldn’t say we’re not responding. I would say we’re all trying to figure it out. He’s not by himself right now. No one here wants to lose. We have to figure it out. We’ll go home and get some work in and try to work on this rhythm and chemistry.”