WRAP UP: Wizards/Memphis Grizzlies
Everybody erupts in cheer as Greivis Vasquez would enter the game and cheered every time he had his hand on the ball. The complete opposite of what you will hear when LeBron has his hands on the rock. It was pretty cool for the love shown for Vasquez since I know for a fact he would have loved to have been a Washington Wizard as I talked to him over the summer. Nothing is better then to play for your hometown team. He ended up with only 5 points but crowd went crazy for all 5 points. If only he was a Wizard, PR would love to have him on this town, oh well.
JaVale looked real motivated as he was going after all the loose balls he could get. It's back and forth with JaVale as he looks good one game and then like crap the next. This is the growing pains to expect as JaVale is maturing season by season. Wizards fans will have to be patient for this guy to grow into his body and learn the game. Flip praised JaVale, "You went crazy, you made a mistake, you forgot about it quickly, and then you made an unbelievable block, which might have been the play of the game," but was quick to say that If JaVale did not get that key block in the 4th quarter with around 3 minutes to go, then JaVale would have been benched. It was a play that got the crowd on its feet.
JaVale in his own right had a double-double as he went for 10 points and 12 rebounds. Stats doesn't do justice as he misdirected many shots, played better defense, and rebounded with authority. Like I always say, JaVale needs a go-to move like a Hakeem the Dream shake or something of that nature because if he did, he would be one scary player in this league.
Chris Miller of CSN made a great point, telling me that McGee is better at the 4 (Power Forward) then he would be at the 5 (Center). Chris was not lying as I noticed McGee covering Zach Randolph and made Zach wasn't doing much as he could not shoot over the tall and lanky McGee.
Gilbert was wearing what I believe to be are the Penny Hardaway's and it looks like he should stay with it. He pretty much was showing glimpses of the 'old' Gilbert. Gilbert defensively was not the 'old' Gilbert for sure. He held OJ Mayo to shooting for 1-11. Gilbert quickly said, "It was team defense, I did my job by cutting off his lanes, and making sure he didn't curl and most of the game, just have a hand in his face."
For a guy who is not 100 percent, he held his own against a young athletic point guard/shooting guard in Mayo. Gilbert finished with a game high 24 points. He is regaining back his confidence and it's showing on the court. "Every day I am getting more comfortable jumping on both my left and right leg."
"Some shots didn't go down, but we were still aggressive, we rebounded when we needed too." Gilbert went on to say, "This is a long season and games like the Boston game happens."
Kirk Hinrich is the most underrated Washington Wizard. Plays pretty damn good defense and runs the offense pretty well. Flip described how Kirk frustrated the Grizzlies with his defense which stopped the flow of their offense. He amazed me tonight as Kirk is not a flashy player but he is fundamentally sound. He has a veteran presence and brings a positive vibe to this Wizards locke room. He played one hell of a game and made all 9 of his free throws. The team overall missed only 5 free throws. Now grant it, it is at home but they must have a win like this on the road because they are winless as of right now.
Coach Saunders said that the crowd's energy pushed the Wizards to do that much better. That is exactly why I get upset that more people don't come out to support the Wizards even if John Wall is injured. I'm sick of the Redskins getting all this attention, other teams like the Washington Capitals and Wizards need the attention more as of right now. The Redskins will continue to sell no matter what, go see and hear the Chad Dukes rant. I criticize the Wizards fan base and the fans that are at the stadium because It can be so much better. Tonight, even though 13,000 plus were in attendance, it must approve and rock like the Oklahoma City Thunder stadium (They have a blueprint of building a great team).
Washington Wizards Post Game Quotes courtesy of the Washington Wizards PR Staff
WIZARDS COACH FLIP SAUNDERS
On Kirk Hinrich’s defense:
“He’s a very unique player. In the years I have been in the league I don’t know if there is another guard in the league that’s tougher to screen than he is. As far screens, he has a way of getting through screens. He always seems to be there to contest shots. I tell you we chart all shots and I think for the season he is 92% contesting shots. So very rarely will he be on a guy where he won’t have a hand up somehow. That’s why people are only shooting about 36% against him. When we got him I said he was an all-league defensive player and he just has a knack and he takes pride in it.”
On Gilbert Arenas:
“Gil’s making the right plays. He did a good job defensively on Mayo. Mayo was 1-11…he chased him and contested all of his shots. He had a great contest on the last play. So he is trying to do what needs to be done from the team concept to try to win.”
WIZARDS GUARD GILBERT ARENAS
On the game:
“Overall, we were still aggressive, we got to the free-throw line and we stopped most of their scorers from scoring. It was a team defense tonight, not just me. I did my job of cutting off Mayo’s lanes for most of the game. Everyday I’m getting more comfortable with jumping off the right and left leg and I’m finishing really well.”
On teammates’ performance without Wall:
“John’s strengths are different than ours. He’s more of a fast break machine. So when he’s in the game we have to lay back and let him do his thing and then we find our rhythm. With Kirk, I’ve watched his game playing against the Bulls, and he’s more of a dribble drive guy so I have to know when to open up for him.”
WIZARDS GUARD KIRK HINRICH
On what the Wizards did in the third quarter:
“We were struggling in the half court, so we talked about trying to get out and transition and attack the rim. We missed some jump shots. We were able to get in to the bonus, make some free throws and kind of got in a rhythm.”
On his defense:
“Tonight, it seemed like we were having trouble finding our rhythm. Offensively, it just wasn’t coming naturally like sometimes it does. Just trying to change up the game, muck up the game and just tough it out. That’s what we were able to do.”
On bouncing back with a win tonight:
“I don’t know. It’s a completely different night. The good thing about the NBA is when you play badly you have another game right around the corner to get the bad taste out of your mouth. It wasn’t perfect for us at all tonight, but we got it done. We’ll take it.”
GRIZZLIES HEAD COACH LIONEL HOLLINS
On the fourth quarter:
“It was a hard fought game and they made some plays and we kept fouling. We had to do better defending without fouling.”
On the last possession:
“They kept us from getting a three-pointer. We ran a play and they did a good job of keeping the ball. We were trying to go to Rudy Gay and (Kirk) Hinrich did a nice job of taking away the baseline (of the sideline) so we couldn’t throw it there. That’s what happens in the last seconds. You’re trying to get a three, they know you need a three, and they did a good job of keeping us from getting a good shot.”
“JaVale McGee had six offensive rebounds and they had 16 for the game, but he was the main culprit. They just did a nice job of using their athleticism. We knew going in that JaVale McGee is doing a great job on the offensive glass.”
On Greivis Vasquez:
“I thought he played with a lot of energy and he played with a lot of confidence. He was comfortable playing in here, he’s probably played in here a few times, and I thought he did a decent job.”
GRIZZLIES FORWARD RUDY GAY
On the game:
“It’s just one of those games where we thought we had it but at the end it just didn’t go our way. We played pretty good defense for the most part but they had shot makers and they had them when they needed to.”
On JaVale McGee:
“He rebounded and got the put-backs at crucial times in the game when they really needed them. He was just big for them. He blocked shots. He’s an athletic freak. He got out there and definitely made an impact on the night. He’s a great player and he’s continuing to get better.”
GRIZZLIES GUARD MIKE CONLEY
On the game:
“The mistakes we are making down the stretch do hurt us. They are starting to hurt us a lot down the stretch, so we have to be more disciplined for the last couple minutes of the game.”
On moving on to the next game:
“I think we’re always going to be ready. I think we always come out with energy, and we’re going to play hard. Like I said, it’s just being smart, being disciplined down the stretch is what’s losing us the games right now. Just know that we’ll come back and be ready to go for Miami tomorrow.”
GRIZZLIES CENTER MARC GASOL
On what they need to do to close out games:
“We have to be able to execute offensively and defensively. We cannot have mental breakdowns at the end of the game because that leads you lost games. So you have to be ready to execute, like I said offensively and defensively because you cannot give up easy baskets.”
On if they needed to adjust or change their style:
“No, they settled down a little bit more in the second half. We expected that. We were ready for that and they did a good job of it. They got the ball out of our hands. That was the problem I think.”
On the Wizards’ athleticism:
“They’re athletic and they know you’re going to come over and help. JaVale (McGee) does a great job of coming over everybody and tipping or dunking and anything around the rim. It’s hard when you have a player like that. It’s hard to disengage and go help somebody else, but you have to.”
GRIZZLIES GUARD GREIVIS VASQUEZ
On his warm welcoming:
“I was very thankful. I love my fans. I love my Maryland fans. I love people from DC. I basically grew up here, so it was so much fun being here. But it’s tough to lose when you’re so used to winning here. But it was a great welcome and I’m so thankful.”
On the team’s execution:
“I thought we executed a lot of good plays. We shot the ball okay. We rebounded okay. It was just a tough game. We should’ve won the game, but we lost and we have to get better and find a way to win. We can’t get down and we have to dig in and come back tomorrow. A lot of people are probably expecting us to lose against Miami but we’re going to fight. There’s going to be a fight and we’re going to play hard. So it’s important for us to get a win right now.”
Pictures Courtesy of Pam Chvotkin of WizardsExtreme.com