Day three of the Wizards mini-training camp has come to an end and the first order of business was an early arrival by the players to visit the training staff. The Wizards are a virtual M*A*S*H unit, making the busiest people at Verizon Center this morning the guys with the athletic tape.
“When you’ve got six or seven guys [hurt], you’ve got to make sure they [the players] get here early because those guys have to spend a lot of time with them to try and get them ready to practice,” said Wizards coach Flip Saunders.
So, with three tough days of practice behind them in preparation for a visit from the “Blake Show” also known as the L.A. Clippers, how does Saunders size up his players at this late date in the season?
“We’ve played hard, now we’ve got to make sure we can carry that through. We have some guys that have improved over the three days as far as understanding what we want to do, we’ve had a lot of different groups together, so we just have to see now if we can carry that through,” Saunders said.
Although the team is not quite shooting blanks, Saunders is concerned about the team’s “lack of firepower.” In Tuesday night’s loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, the Wizards tied their season low point total, 76.
“Our biggest concern is that with some of the people we have out, are we going to have enough ability to score points? We’ll wait and see how guys are tomorrow.”
Clearly, lineup changes could be in the works.
“I do think that for the guys who have been starters, the last couple of days were a little bit of a wakeup call for them because they have found themselves on the outside looking in a little bit, but today, those guys in particular really stepped it up. They reacted to that situation in a positive way,” Saunders said.
Ailing but not absent will be guard Nick Young and swingman Cartier Martin, while forward Rashard Lewis has left the team and is in Houston to get a second opinion on his sore right knee. Andray Blatche is still day to day with a right shoulder strain.
The visitors from L.A. (25-40) are playing extremely well right now in Saunders’ estimation, having gone 5-5 in their last 10 games.
“[Blake] Griffin is playing at a high level. Not being able to turn to another big body, a veteran big body to match up with him, we’re going to throw a lot of young guys at him. [Center Chris] Kaman is back and he gives them another big off the bench. He’s been an all-star and he can score around the basket. But overall, we’re in a situation where we can’t even worry so much about them, just try and concentrate on the things we can do and work on things we think can help us to become better both now and down the road,” Saunders said.
As for Wizards center JaVale McGee, he’s not concerned about facing the guy who bested him in the all-star Slam Dunk contest, but only by bringing out the gold standard of props, a car and a fully robed choir. At the five spot, McGee said he’s not likely to see too many one-on-one matchups with Griffin, who plays the four.
The Wizards vs. The Clippers, featuring the Blake Show, tips of tomorrow night at Verizon Center at 7pm.