Wizards 117, Pacers 91: That Was Refreshing
For one, this was probably the Wizards' best defensive game that I can remember. Understandably, O'Neal was out, but the Wizards still held Indiana to 38 percent shooting and 4 for 19 from three-point range. Considering how poorly the Wizards usually defend the perimeter, this is an extremely encouraging sign. DeShawn Stevenson finally showed why the Wizards got him in the offseason, as he completely took Stephen Jackson out of the game. Granted, this is Stephen Jackson we're talking about, but Jackson's 5 point, 2 for 9 performance is still way below even his standards. The Pacers simply never got it going on the perimeter, and Stevenson deserves a lot of credit for that.
The other surprising development was the play of Brendan Haywood. Only two days after fighting with Etan Thomas and prompting this blogger to ask his readers for trade proposals, Haywood had easily his best game of the season with 9 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks in 24 minutes. Apparently, at least for the short term, Haywood has used that fight to motivate him to play better. As a 7 footer off the bench ,this is exactly the type of role Haywood can play when he's playing well. In past years, it felt like the team was hoping for Haywood to develop into a double-figure scorer in the post, but now that Thomas has beat him out, the focus has shifted for him. Hopefully, the adjustment will get Haywood to continue to play well.
With home games coming up against Milwaukee and New Jersey and a road game against the Knicks, the Wizards have a great chance to go into Detroit on a 4 game winning streak. At some point, you have to wonder why the Wizards play so much better at home than on the road, but it's still early and the Wizards are only a few points away from being undefeated.
In other news, Gilbert Arenas has an explanation for the robe he wore on opening night.
I was planning on doing it last year, but I just thought the way this year was going, it’s just The Takeover. I’m trying be mentioned. If I came out in that robe and had a bad game, they was gonna make fun of me. That’s how I was getting pumped for the game. I want all of this to come back on me. A lady made it for me for my birthday two years ago. I used to use it when I used to beat Chucky Atkins in dominoes. I used to come out to the gym after I’d beat him and I’d say, “I’m the king!” and I’d hold the belt. And Chucky used to die laughing from it.Again, Arenas is at the point where he can do whatever he wants as long as it works. There's nothing he could do that would surprise me at this point.
Finally, as a final reminder, keep sending in possible Brendan Haywood trades. So far, I've gotten a lot of interesting ideas, but keep thinking for the next week and I'll decide which one I like best.
Postgame thoughts? What are your impressions from yesterday's win?