The Wizards are playing their fifth back-to-back of the season, and so far are 1-4 in the back-end games. They’re trying to avoid the flat, lifeless performance that plagued them last Saturday against Charlotte.
Saunders said the key is coming out with energy. He believes that if the Wizards can hit the court running, they’ll improve their chances against a young, energetic team that is led by Brandon Jennings.
“Any time you’re on a back to back, the main thing is energy, and more than anything else you need to start off bringing energy to the game and as you bring energy to the game, everything will fall into place,” Saunders said. “We’ve got to come out with good energy tonight. We’re going against one of the hottest teams in the league and one of the most surprising teams in the league, mainly because of how Jennings is playing. He’s one of the most exciting young players that’s come into this league in a while.”
Saunders said the Wizards will have to generate their own early-game energy because he has noticed that doesn’t really come from the fans, who normally get to games a few minutes late.
“Some times when the game starts, some people aren’t hear yet,” Saunders said. “You’re looking around late first quarter and there are a lot more people there than at the start of the games. So we’ve got to find ways to generate our own energy and our own kind of atmosphere to start the game.”
Saunders, who came from Detroit, where the Pistons always sold out games, said he was taken aback by the late-arriving Wizards fans when he first got here.
“In Detroit, we had 250-something straight sell-outs. So when you walk out there to start the game, they’re there, and then when I would walk pack pre-game to the locker room, there’s about 300 people there for autographs and everything. It’s a change, but yeah, we also need to change that. As the team becomes better and becomes more exciting, and people see they can identify more with the team, they’ll all come out and get here sooner and have an opportunity to get autographs and things like that, too.”
I know the metro line and D.C.’s terrible traffic have something to do with the late arrivals, but it has now been proclaimed by the coach, show up early, and you’ll get autographs in return for helping jump-start the home team.
The Wizards will have the same starting lineup for the fifth straight game (Arenas, Young, Butler, Jamison and Haywood). Milwaukee will start Jennings, Charlie Bell, Carlos Delfino, Ersan Ilyasova and Andrew Bogut.