Notes from the Game:
There was a different feeling out at the Verizon Center, as the Washington Wizards made their preseason home debut at the Verizon Center. Flip Saunders pre game told the media during his pre-game interviews stated that Nick Young and Yi Jianlan would get the start at home, replacing Gilbert Arenas and JaVale McGee. The starting 5 were John Wall, Kirk Hinrich, Andray Blatche, Yi Jianlian, and Nick Young. This gave another starting 5 for Flip to take a look at. Flip said that it was the first time in 15 years since he didn’t have a set starting 5 this far into the preseason. I could see why, because he could go any direction with the starting 5. Case in point, Flip started 3 guards in Hinrich, Wall, and Arenas. It is becoming more confusing because we have yet to see projected starter, Al Thornton as the starter as the small forward. The 3 guard offense does create a lot of opportunities for the offense but can hurt on the defensive end as the biggest guard of all of them is Gilbert at 6-4. Actually, to think of it, all three guards are around 6`4.
Nick Young was shooting lights out as his three point shooting has improved from last year. It looked like that Nick Young is feeding off the energy from the face of the franchise, John Wall.
Speaking of three point shots, Andray Blatche shot a couple, two to be exact, and hit them both. The man is going to have a great year. He can stretch defenses and can do what other power forwards in the league can’t and that is a shot.
The Speeding Bullet aka John Wall does not disappoint, he showed a lot of hustle and defense. Not to mention, he is faster and quicker than a mongoose (you think I would say speeding bullet but that’s boring). Towards the end of the 3rd quarter, John Wall had a crazy layup in mach 3 speed and got the And 1, igniting the small crowd at Verizon Center.
JaVale McGee had his best preseason game yet so far, as he was rebounding well on both sides of the court. He hustled and ran the offense pretty well. He had his moments where you would scratch your head but he is learning and getting better. Wizards can only hope he can master that running jump hook. I talk to JaVale after the game and I asked him about getting help from the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jaabar or a Hakeem Olajuwon, and he told me he is trying to do that. Not sure If It will go down during the season but I see maturity in this young kid and he will make it if he can just master a post move or two.
The man who doesn’t smile, was smiling a lot in the locker room. Actually he made me and the other media members laugh. Gilbert Arenas said that he would only talk to the local media and not the “national” media. Gilbert will always be Gilbert. This was the first time I have met Gilbert since 2 years ago and he is still the same. He is goofy yet hilarious at the same time. He made a comment that scratched my head, saying that he faked his injury to let Nick Young get the start. But I honestly think he was joking. That’s how I took it. But then as I reviewed the video, Michael Lee of the Washington Post asked, "are you ok?" and Gilbert responded by saying, "yeah I'm fine." Interesting....
· Crowd was dead, as it looked like highways 495/395 along with the Transformer 3 that is being filmes here in the heart of DC.
· Ted Leonsis was sitting behind the Washington Wizards watching everything that was going on. They were not kidding when they said he pays attention to details. I even saw one of the Wizards officials hand him a stat sheet!
· Another Ted Leonsis random note (I am not stalking him, I promise) he got up as John Wall was fouled and fell to the foul. Now that is what you call a passionate owner that cares.
· Adam Morrison a.k.a The Billy Goat (as I like to call him) looks like a crowd favorite not named Gilbert Arenas and John Wall.
· The rookies (Kevin Seraphin, Hamadi aka H) entered the game late in the 4th quarter seeing little action. Lester Hudson made an appearance late as well.
· DC rapper/superstar Wale was in the building had the pleasure of meeting him.
Official Wizards Quotes courtesy of the Washington Wizards Press Release
WASHINGTON WIZARDS VS. ATLANTA HAWKS
OCTOBER 12, 2010
WIZARDS 107, HAWKS 92
HEAD COACH FLIP SAUNDERS
On John Wall:
“I liked the matchup on Bibby. I think he did a good job defensively. I like the way he competes. That’s the main thing…when you get your guards like him and Kirk to compete like that, that’s the first line of defense.”
On the competitiveness of the team:
“We want to make sure all these guys get an opportunity to play really well. This team is more trusting with each other, and we have a lot of young guys that are committed to learning. I also think our defense is pretty solid.”
WIZARDS GUARD JOHN WALL
On the team’s overall performance:
“I think we came out more aggressively. We have a lot of people that can score on this team and I try to keep feeding them the ball to make everyone happy. We did a good job of keeping the momentum going.”
On his first home game:
“It was a great game. Every game we wish the crowd gets (bigger) and (bigger). The first game they want to see how we are and that we get better and better. We just keep working and keep trying to win. I have a big role as a rookie, and I feel I can reach expectations to try and keep everyone happy and win games. We have to know we’re not going to win every game, some nights might be bad but we’re going to play hard and keep getting better.”
HAWKS GUARD MIKE BIBBY
On John Wall:
“He did good. He was being aggressive, and he had the ball in his hands a lot. It looks like his confidence is high. You know I’ve seen a lot of fast guys in my time, and I’d have to put him up there as one of the fastest.”
HAWKS CENTER AL HARFORD
On the game:
“There’s no excuse. I think that we have a long ways to go as far as defense. If we want to be an elite team, I think we have to get better effort than what we are showing right now.”
On the Wizards big men and John Wall:
“I think they did a good job. Those guys are really playing well; really getting up and down the floor well. They’re long, so they’ve been doing a good job. (John Wall) was great, very poised for such a young guy. He really got guys in transition, pushed it when he needed to, pulled it back when he did, and he seemed like he had control of that offense, so that was something that I was most impressed with.”
Shots of the Game:
by: Pam Chvotkin