Dave Johnson: Blatche Nets Career High In Win


Dave Johnson: Blatche Nets Career High In Win

Sunday, February 28, 2010, 8:50PM

By Dave Johnson
CSNWashington.comEast Rutherford, NJ----Post All-Star break the Washington Wizards Andray Blatche is playing like an All-Star. Blatche scored a career high 36-points and added 15-rebounds to help lift the Wizards from a sluggish first half to an 89-85 win over the New Jersey Nets.I got hot early and my teammates kept looking for me, said Blatche who played through early foul trouble and only had three turnovers despite being double-teamed at times late in the game.Quiet most of the night, Randy Foye made noise when it counted the most by hitting two shots in the final minute to help the Wizards pull away. Foye, who was 2 of 11 from the field before his final shots, effectively sealed the game with a 14-foot fade-away jumper with 13.5 seconds left to give the Wizards an 87-83 edge.That was the two biggest plays of the game, Blatche said of Foyes final four points. Great players always step up in the end even if they are having a bad game and he is a great player.The emphatic finish by the Wizards was in stark contrast to the first-half when the Wizards were out-hustled by the Nets and were slow to get back on defense. In that opening half, the Nets enjoyed a 16-9 advantage on fast-break points and outrebounded the Wizards 27-19Coach (Flip Saunders) got on us real bad about rebounding in the first half, Blatche pointed out. All the guys just started crashing the boards and I think that turned it around for us. The Wizards commitment on the boards really came through in the closing minute of the game. Mike Millers ability to secure a rebound in traffic after a Devin Harris miss from seven-feet preserved the Wizards 85-83 lead with 32.9 seconds remaining.To get that rebound Miller, who had 8-rebounds for the game, had to fight off the Nets Yi Jianlian who had been a force all the night on the offensive boards. Yi led the Nets with 20-points but had 19 rebounds including 12 offensive boards to help compensate for the Nets shooting 35 percent from the field as a team.With 5.8 seconds on the clock Al Thronton also snared a critical rebound for the Wizards. Thornton was able to secure the ball after a Blatche block of a layup attempt by Yi as the Nets were desperately trying to stay alive. Thornton finished with 20-points and eight rebounds.Down twice by as many as 14-points in the first-half, the Wizards were able to seize the game in the third quarter when they had a 14-10 edge on the boards. Blatche had six of those rebounds and scored 14 of his points in the third.We realized we came out slow and soft, Blatche noted. Second half we wanted to pick it up and be more aggressive and get to the rim.The Wizards were also effective in using a 2-3 zone defense on the Nets in the second half. The Nets Brook Lopez and Devin Harris were dominant in the first two quarters, but combined were 4 of 22 from the field shooting over the final two quarters.Harris scored 18 points and had 14-assists for the game but eleven of those assists were in the first-half. Lopez added 16-points, but only had two points in the second half.The Wizards won despite only four points from their benchall from Earl Boykins. James Singleton, who suffered a sprained left ankle Friday against the Knicks, only played a little over two minutes in the first-half.The victory stopped the Wizards two-game losing streak and prevented the Nets from building on their win against the Celtics on Saturday.

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Now the Islanders' coach, Barry Trotz explains why he left the Capitals

Now the Islanders' coach, Barry Trotz explains why he left the Capitals

DALLAS — Hours after being named head coach of the New York Islanders on Thursday, Barry Trotz made his first public comments since stepping down in Washington earlier in the week.

And, from the sounds of it, his departure was mostly a business decision.

“Yeah, obviously, I love the D.C. area,” he told reporters on a conference call. “But when it came to the business aspect, from my standpoint, I felt that it wasn’t really sincere [given] what we did together. So I decided that it was better to just move on.”

“I thank the fans,” he added. “I’m glad we could get it done. I said we could get it done in four years, and we did.”

Although the value of his contract with the Islanders has not been publicly disclosed, Hockey Night in Canada’s Elliotte Friedman reported that Trotz is set to earn “at least $4 million” per year—or more than twice what he was earning in Washington.

A source told NBC Sports Washington earlier this week that Trotz, who directed the Caps to their first Stanley Cup two weeks ago, sought $5 million per season for five seasons. The five-year term, that source said, was a non-starter as far as the Caps were concerned, given the relatively short shelf life of NHL coaches and the fact that Trotz had already been in Washington for four seasons.

When it became clear that the sides weren’t going to close the considerable gap between their positions, Trotz offered to step down and the resignation was accepted, making the 55-year-old a free agent.

When “I got the [counteroffer], I guess I knew it was time to go in a different direction,” he said.

In New York, Trotz replaces Doug Weight, who was fired earlier this month along with GM Garth Snow. Lou Lamoriello, a longtime NHL executive, took over for Snow and immediately started a search for a new head coach.

Once Trotz became available, it didn’t take Lamoriello to zero in on the NHL's fifth all-time winningest coach. The two met, exchanged ideas and quickly realized that they had found a good fit in one another. Trotz said he's already reached out to the Islanders' star captain, John Tavares, who could become the biggest prize on the free agent market on July 1. 

And, like that, Trotz now is the coach of a Metropolitan Division foe. The Caps and Isles will face off four times next season, beginning with a Nov. 26meeting in New York.

It’ll be weird, for sure. But professional sports is a business. And all sides involved in the Trotz saga were served a painful reminder of that this week.

Asked if he felt wanted in Washington, Trotz said: “Well, I’ll leave that up to the Caps to answer that. I think, absolutely. We just won a cup together and so I don't think that was an issue. I think it was more principle.”

In the end, Trotz wanted to be compensated like one of the top coaches in the game. And now he will, settling in behind big market coaches such as Toronto’s Mike Babcock ($6.25 million per year), Chicago’s Joel Quenneville ($6 million) and Montreal’s Claude Julien ($5 million).

“It’s good to be wanted,” he said. “It happened really quickly because you go from one emotion of winning the cup to the next emotion of leaving the team that you just won the Cup with, and you have to make some quick decisions. I know the timing of it—end of the season, the draft coming up, free agency [and] all that—there was some urgency on that. Both parties knew that, so we went to work at it and got it done.”


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Wizards’ First Round draft pick, Troy Brown is a Vegas Golden Knights fan


Wizards’ First Round draft pick, Troy Brown is a Vegas Golden Knights fan

Uh, oh it may get awkward in Capital One Arena.

The newest draft pick for the Washington Wizards, Troy Brown is a Vegas Golden Knights fan.

Brown, who went to high school in Las Vegas, Nevada, wore a Golden Knights’ jersey on draft night.

The 18-year-old must not have known he was going to Washington, the home of the 2018 Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals. He would have known better, right? Either way, we can't hold it against him because again he's from Vegas.

It’s a good thing it only took the Capitals five games to win the Cup, otherwise, that might make it a little tense. At least he wasn’t wearing a Pittsburgh Penguins jersey right?

Ted Leonsis will get him rocking the red in no time.