- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 29, 2011

MILWAUKEE — Containing Milwaukee Bucks guard Brandon Jennings will be the biggest test facing Washington as the Wizards seek their first win Friday night.

Jennings, 22, who’s entering his third season is averaging 23 points, 5.5 assists and one turnover in Milwaukee’s first two games.

But in order to stop Jennings, and the rest of the Bucks, the Wizards will have to find something that has eluded them in losses to New Jersey and Atlanta.

“We’ve just got to find the chemistry,” Wizards guard John Wall said.

“The only way you’re going to win in this league is if your starting five, your main guys, can find chemistry and learn how to play together. We do it in practice, but like I said, practice don’t mean nothing. We’ve got to do it against other opponents.”

During the first quarter in Wednesday night’s 101-83 road loss to the Hawks, with the Wizards starters looking overmatched, a frustrated Wall shouted across the court to coach Flip Saunders “get him out of the game.” It was unclear who Wall was referring to.

In the first two games, there seems to be more chemistry among the second unit than the starters, which means Saunders will have a lot of lineup tinkering to do to find his best five players.

“The second group has come in and done a lot of things defensively, and it’s carried over to what they do with the offense. They’ve moved the ball,” Saunders said.

“Our plus-minus for that first group, I don’t know what it is. But it’s got to be in the minus-20s or something like that. Dray [Andray Blatche] and JaVale [McGee]; you can’t have your two, upfront big men in that kind of situation.”

The plus-minus stat calculates the number of points the opposing team goes up by when a certain player is on the floor. Saunders‘ estimate wasn’t far off.

Blatche was minus-16; McGee was a team-worst minus-25 despite 15 points and 12 rebounds. Blatche was a nonfactor, with four points and four rebounds. None of Blatche’s points was scored in the paint.

For the Wizards to win, they may have to rely heavily on bench players such as rookie Chris Singleton, who is set to make his mark as the team’s stopper, and Nick Young, who may be a bench player now but will return to the starting lineup as soon as he’s in better shape. Young has led the team in scoring in both games, averaging 18.5 points.

“Everyone would like to see Nick play 30 minutes,” Saunders said. “He’s not ready to do that. If he does, he’s going to break down, and we’re not going to be able to play him for two weeks. We’re still trying to find out [the right] pieces. As a coach, that’s the toughest thing.”

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide