POST GAME REPORT
Introduction with the 3D glasses was a neat touch to a introduction and a start of a season at home. Not only that, but John Wall did the’ Dougie’ for his introduction. I hope he does that every game as a matter of fact. The energy from the crowd was different this time around. You can feel the crowd when something exciting was happening. Every piece of media was out here from LaVar Arrington, Michael Wilbon, Holden Kushner, and even Elliot of The Elliot in the Morning show on DC 101 was there. It felt like a playoff game. I know we shouldn’t expect this all season long but it was a great feeling overall.
Nick Young was feeling it. He felt the John Wall effect. He would stand on any corner of the key and just wait for Wall to attract defenders and he would be the recipient of his passes which would lead to a 3 point shot or a jumper. This is what exactly what the Wizards imagined but what if Gilbert was playing? That is yet to be seen but we will see soon this Saturday.
The face of the franchise John Wall showed why the Wizards made him the #1 pick and why he was rated the best player. He took control of the offense and when he was in the game. He is truly the quarterback of this offense.
After the game, John Wall talked about the great win at home, “Atleast we won at home, Cartier made a big shot for us and Dray (Andray Blatche) made some big free throws in the end.”
John Wall had 9 steals, one short for a triple double which would have been his first of his career. “It was a great impression but I really need to work on is my turnovers,” and then stated, “the main thing is, helping my team win, that’s the main thing to me.”
Wall put his individual achievements to the side and quickly went to talk about the things he had to work on and what the team had to work on. It’s simply amazing to hear a 20 year old team captain with this much poise and patience.
Along with Wall, Andray Blatche, and Nick Young all combined for scoring 72 of the 116 of the Wizards points.
A win would have not been possible without the amazing three point shot by Cartier Martin that sent the game into overtime.
“That was probably one of the biggest shots of my life.”
Cartier worked hard in the NBA Summer League to get a spot with the Washington Wizards. He went from the D-Leagues to now. Shows in the work he put into it and is taking advantage of his playing time. Cartier looked at me after the game and said, “I needed that.” He meant that for his confidence.
Some negatives out of the game were the defensive play when It came to pick and rolls. The Wizards could not defend the pick and roll. It's a matter of stepping out and more communication between the two players who are the recipient of the pick and roll. Yi Jianlian needs to become a better rebounder because if he was, he could be a monster. JaVale McGee is a great shot blocker but needs to work on more post moves offensively and also needs to get better feet on the defensive end. I once mentioned to JaVale to reach out to Hakeem the Dream Olajuwon and he said he would. What better to learn, then from the greatest.
THE WE SPOTLIGHT
WE spotlight from our thread on the WizardsExtreme.com Forum was shining on Al Thornton. Al did not have a great game statistically but he had a overall good game. He played good defense and was hustling for loose balls. He made some key shorts towards the end of the 4th, especially a short jumper with around two minutes left in the game. He is gaining more confidence every game. You can see the hunger in his eyes.
Al told me after the game that he wanted to celebrate their first win and who could blame them? After two rough games on the road, a nice home victory deserves a little celebration.
* Gilbert Arenas was wearing the Roy Jones Jr. Signature Jordan cross training shoes for warm ups and looked really comfortable wearing them.
* Elliot from Elliot in the Morning of DC 101 was in attendance. Great to see him and Ted Leonsis as I caught up with the both of them. Great people to be around I tell ya!
* I noticed that they took away the "DEFENSE" chat, the wav sound that would come out of the speakers at the Verizon Center which produced fake chants. Instead, they had DJ Tigger (Of 95.5 Big Tiggers Morning Show) start screaming and getting the crowd involved. Much better in my opinion. This is the Ted Leonsis effect.
* The Verizon Center during the first time out showed for the first time, the new John Wall Zig Tech commercial. Haven't seen a shoe commercial about a Wizard since Gilbert Arenas/Addidas.
* John Wall is the first person to get 70 pts/30 assist in his first three games. Who was the first? Oscar Robertson. Not a bad field to be in! This stat was courtesy of Michael Lee of the Washington Post.
Post Game Quotes Courtesy of the Washington Wizards Press Release
WIZARDS HEAD COACH FLIP SAUNDERS
On John Wall’s play:
“He’s got an unbelievable will to win. I mean he wills the team. He wants to take the last shot, he wants to take the big shot, he wants to make the play. He got us in trouble tonight at times but he fought through it and was able to make some big plays at the end. I think that his ability in getting nine steals in a game you just change the complexion of the game so much at that end and it got us aggressive.”
On the importance of having Kirk Hinrich:
“Kirk gives us good leadership on the floor, being able to make the right decisions. At the end of the game we ran a play to have Kirk be the entry guy and he could get the ball to (Andray) so that (Andray) could get that last score. So it’s something that might go unnoticed, passing into the post, maybe last year we couldn’t have gotten the ball into there, where Kirk has the ability in order to do that.”
WIZARDS GUARD JOHN WALL
On the game:
“Cartier made a big shot for us, and I was just trying to do what I can to help my teammates, and everybody came with me.”
On the home opener:
“We didn’t want to come home and lose our home opener. The first loss was a big loss and the second was a tough one on the road, so we wanted at least to get a win at home. We all had that will to win, and now we just have to keep on improving.”
On his nine steals:
“I was in the right place at the right times. Coach says not to gamble too much, but tonight I felt like I was in the right places.”
On the match-up with Evan Turner:
“I try not to look into a one-on-one battle. I just hope the best for both of us in our careers. I was just trying to do the best I could for my team, and I hope he was doing that for his team.”
WIZARDS FORWARD ANDRAY BLATCHE
On the crowd:
“I would have to say that was the biggest thing for us. That was the best crowd I’ve seen in three years now. They were into the game, they were cheering us on, getting the guys hyped on the court. I feel that game was definitely won by the crowd.”
On his own performance tonight:
“I told people before the game, my main focus is to get to the hole and get fouled. As far as outside jumpers, that’s going to come, but I’m going to continue to be aggressive and get to the hole.”
On Cartier Martin’s shot:
“That was the biggest shot of the night. That was basically the shot that won the game for us. To come off the bench after not having touched the court all second half and then hitting a shot like that -- that’s amazing.”
WIZARDS SWINGMAN CARTIER MARTIN
On his three-pointer to send the game to overtime:
“I just have to stay ready for whenever I'm called on. I think they were trying to foul before the shot was taken, but that was one of the biggest shots I've ever hit in my life. This is the big leagues, and there were a lot of fans out here supporting us tonight. I felt like it was a good shot when I let it off. I was pretty confident, and the bench stepped up and did well tonight. We contributed a lot tonight.”
WIZARDS GUARD NICK YOUNG
On the game:
“It was a great game. I got it going early on. I’ve been doing this for a while and now we just need to keep it going. It was the home opener and John (Wall) played with great energy for us tonight.”
On the fourth quarter:
“Cartier (Martin) made a great shot. It was the big shot. That’s the mindset we all have to have, staying ready. We’ve been stepping up. I can warm up fast so hopefully I can keep getting time and keep this going.”
WIZARDS GUARD KIRK HINRICH
On the game:
“It’s important to keep taking steps forward. It’s progress and that’s what we are looking for. Coming in with no wins we had to step it up.”
On John Wall:
“You could tell he was excited. Tonight was just the first one, but there are a lot of big games coming up for him.”
76ERS HEAD COACH DOUG COLLINS
“We shot 55% and gave them 34 points off turnovers. We couldn’t come up with one stop when we needed it.”
On the final play:
“We wanted to get Lou (Williams) in the gap and I think he thought the shot blocker was coming over and so he made the pass to Andre (Iguodala). I can’t fault him for that.”
On John Wall:
“He’s terrific. I watched him play in college. He’s just so explosive with the ball. When you have a player like that you can almost guarantee that you can get a shot anytime down the floor because he can create something. He’s so strong, and can get into the gaps. He’s very unselfish and a powerful finisher at the basket. He’s a terrific player.”
On Evan Turner:
“Evan (Turner) played well. In the first half he got in there and got a couple fouls and a couple turnovers, but he settled in. At the end of the day, you’re not going to see a lot of flash but he’s arguably our best defensive rebounder.”
On Jrue Holiday:
“It’s hard for me to talk about a young point guard when you have John Wall, who’s even younger, but I think John Wall has been a point guard his entire life and think Jrue (Holiday) is learning how to be a point guard now, and that’s a huge adjustment.”
76ERS GUARD EVAN TURNER
On the shot to send it to overtime:
“It was one of those crazy shots. It’s just what occurred. We still had it down at the last play. In the overtime we had the game and they got some fouls and made some free throws.”
On scoring late after a drought early:
“[The points] are going to come. I just have to maybe assert myself more I guess and try to find the ball a bit more. At the same time, it doesn’t matter if you keep losing.
76ERS GUARD LOU WILLIAMS
On the momentum shift going into overtime:
“If I’ve ever seen a momentum changer that was the one, especially when you are basically trying to ice the game and you want to make all your free throws and do all those things. We did those things and gave ourselves the opportunity to win. Like I said, he makes that show and that’s just our luck right now.”
On John Wall and what they tried to do to stop him:“We just wanted him to see traffic. We wanted him to see five jerseys. When he’s one-on-one there and the screen and roll is coming, dude is a rocket. He’s quick, one of the fastest guys that I’ve seen in a long time. We just wanted him to see jerseys. We were able to do that and have some success with it, but other guys stepped up and made shots for them.”