Flip Saunders talked about having to look for the right mix of players as well as not getting enough energy out of the guys he's got out there. The Wizards, as they have much of the year, spent a good portion of their game on Sunday afternoon playing catch up to the Los Angeles Clippers. The problem is, and Saunders addressed the point after the game, when you are playing catch up you exert much more energy which leaves you gasping in the 4th quarter.
On a bright note, for the first time in quite some time Mike James was able to get a little burn and Brendan Haywood had another solid performance with 18 points and 12 rebounds. Antawn Jamison chipped in with another ho-hum 20 points and 10 rebounds. Caron Butler, on the other hand continued to struggle from the floor where he is a combined 17 for 50 in his last three games. This game as many have gone this year had its share of "ole" defense, forced jump shots, lack of energy, bad passes and and bad team chemistry. What's amazing to me is that this does not look at all like a team that has spent 43 games together.
Players are obviously still not comfortable in the system and with each other. Saunders mentioned in his last presser how fragile he believed this team was. After another loss, it's hard not to notice that the season is taking a toll on everyone. Heads are down, the players look worn out, the coach is short with his comments and as evidenced today the fans are starting to get weary. There were boo's, many empty seats, and a mass exodus with about 2 minutes to go. The Wizards are in need of some good news and they need it quickly. Tuesday night they get a much tougher opponent with the Clippers co-tenant, the LA Lakers coming into town. Kobe Bryant is coming off a 27 point 16 rebound performance and holds career averages of 25 points and 6 assists vs Washington. The Wizards will surely need Caron Butler to get back on track in order to have any chance at slowing down the second best team in the NBA.
- Joe G.
Game recap in words, pictures and video..
WIZARDS HEAD COACH FLIP SAUNDERS On today’s game: “It’s disappointing because we’re searching for guys with energy. I give Mike James credit, he hasn’t played in awhile, but we put him in and he was playing effective at times and made some mistakes. Overall, he played hard and with energy. If you do that consistently as a team, you will find a way to get back in the game but we didn’t have that.”
On the team: “Everybody is going to have an opportunity to play. We have to find guys that are going to continue to do what we ask them to do. Again, we have to call a timeout with 8:39 into the first quarter and that’s ridiculous. In 15 years, I have very rarely called timeouts before seven minutes into the quarter. That shows you that we are not carrying out what we’re supposed to do.”
WIZARDS CENTER BRENDAN HAYWOOD On Chris Kaman: “A lot of people talk about Dwight, Bynum, along with others but for me he’s probably my toughest matchup because he can shoot the fifteen footer, he has a left hand hook, a right hand hook, running jump hook, he basically has every move in the book so for me he’s one of the toughest guards in the league right now at the center spot.”
On the Clippers’ improvements: “This team right here has made one of the biggest improvements in the league from where they were last year to now.”
On slow starts: “At the beginning of the first quarter and the beginning of the third quarter there needs to be a Wizards law, ‘take the ball to the basket.’ That first ‘j’, even if it’s open, pass on it and get the ball to the cup unless it’s wide open ‘j’ off of a penetration to the basket.”
WIZARDS GUARD MIKE MILLER On the difference in the game: “I thought the energy to start the game was the difference today. The Clippers jumped on us early in the first quarter and again to start the second half. When you put yourself behind the eight ball it’s tough to come back.”
On the amount of jumpers taken: “We have to attack the rim more. If you are taking a lot of jumpers, you either have to make them or change them up. Today we should have changed it up a little bit. We just have to make sure we are ready on Tuesday.”
WIZARDS GUARD RANDY FOYE On the energy level: “I just think we have to start being more aggressive and take open shots when they are there. We can’t pass up open shots. I think the biggest thing is we have to bring it on the defensive end, which will cause some easy baskets.”
On losing at home: ”It’s real disappointing to have the home court advantage and yet not be able to feed off the energy. We all as a team have to bring it on Tuesday because if we don’t it could get nasty with the Lakers coming in.”
WIZARDS FORWARD ANTAWN JAMISON On losing: “Anytime I lose a game it gets to me. I don’t care if you have the best record or the record we have, losing is tough and takes its toll especially when you get the same results over and over. We just have to come in and continue to work hard and know that you are doing everything possible to make it work.”
On the start of games: ”It takes the five guys out on the floor to pull together and recognize how important the start of the game is. This is what separates the good teams but the mediocre. No matter what your record is, you still have to work.”
On taking too many jump shots: ”During the game I was telling everyone we were taking too many jump shots, however we still took them. You know when you aren’t aggressive the other team sees that and they become more aggressive. We knew we weren’t going to win the game playing like that.”
CLIPPERS HEAD COACH MIKE DUNLEAVY On the third quarter: “At halftime we talked about how we had a nice ten-point cushion by our bench, but we came back in the game and gave it away, and with a team that’s an explosive offensive team like they can be, you can’t do that. I told our guys they had to come out and get it back. They came out and did a good job and our defense was really solid and our bench came back in and they gave us a lift as well and we just took it down the stretch.”
On the team this year: “We’ve been healthier. We’re getting better all the time and they are getting to know each other better. We go through stretches where we move the basketball and when we’re moving the ball we’re really good. When we score, our defense is good. When we get to be set that’s when we’re at our best.”
CLIPPERS CENTER CHRIS KAMAN On the win: “It’s always tough to win on the road. We played well in spurts tonight and at the end we played well enough to win.”
On how they won: “I think overall (the Wizards) put a lot of pressure on us. They tried to bring little traps and double teams. Guys did a good job of finding the open man and the open man did a good job knocking down shots.”
On the third quarter: “I thought we made three or four good runs. We didn’t execute to the fullest extent like we should have, until the end. We kept the lead and did a good job defensively. (The Wizards) ran a zone trap which is different for us. It messed us up a little bit, but once we get that figured out I think we’ll be okay.”
CLIPPERS GUARD BARON DAVIS On having more wins than the team had all of last season: “We’re a better team than we were last year. We still have a chance to have a great season. At this point we’re a lot further along than we were last year. It’s more of a team feel. Coach has put a lot more trust in us out on the floor. We make mistakes but he’s done a better job of allowing us to make those mistakes and play with a lot more freedom than we had last year.”
On Clippers ball movement: “We wanted to play unselfishly. The last couple games we weren’t really sharing the ball like we should as a team. We wanted to make a concerted effort to make that extra pass. At halftime, Coach really got on us about passing the ball.” C
LIPPERS FORWARD AL THORNTON On running into the scorers’ table in the third quarter: “I ran into the scorers’ table. I got a deep cut. I had to come back and get four stitches but it should be fine – nothing serious.”
Wizards vs Clippers Pictures Post-game Video:
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Anybody got any questions from the game fire away, you've got me in here till Tuesday.