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Gilbert Arenas? No. It’s Andray Blatche that really matters to Washington

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The last time Gilbert Arenas really mattered on the court for the Washington Wizards was four years ago.

That hasn’t stopped him from being the preseason focus of the team, what with fake injuries, the not fake injuries and very important questions about his beard.

But Andray Blatche matters a lot more to this year’s Wizards and how they do than Arenas, as Kyle Weidie at Truth About It hammered home today, complete with quotes from Blatche and Flip Saunders.

“I don’t know what my role in his offense … I’m just doing … I don’t know, I’m just playing the game of basketball,” Blatche quickly quipped after the game when I asked him how he felt his role was coming along in the offense.

“Our bigs basically tried to play too much perimeter,” Saunders added to his analysis of the offense. “That’s something we have got to clean up.  We got to have a thrust inside.  They keep on popping out, popping out.  That just isn’t going to work.  We got to have more of a presence in the paint…

“Dray’s the low post scorer. As a four, he’s about as good a low post scorer as there is … you know, if you look at fours around the league,” said Saunders when asked about his team’s overall low post situation. “We just got to get his big butt down there more often more often, and not having to keep poppin’ out there all the time. Because that’s were he’s most effective, is down there on the block.”

Blatche has to be the guy scoring in the paint because Yi Jianlian can and should step out, while JaVale McGee and Hilton Armstrong will step out whether they should or not. Yet of his 17 shots against the Bucks eight were beyond 15 feet. He shot 25 percent beyond 15 feet, 66 percent inside 15 feet.

That said, Wall needs to get the ball to Blatche off cuts or as part of the pick-and-roll, not just lob it in to him in the post. Last season Blatche shot 46.7 percent when given the ball in the post, 38.9 percent when he got the ball in isolation. As the pick setter in the pick-and-roll that jumped to 52.1 percent.

Blatche is no longer option number one, as he was at the end of last season. Actually, he was option two and three at that point as well. Now John Wall gets to make the decisions and guys like Jianlian and Arenas are earning touches. Blatche seems unable or unwilling to adjust.

If he doesn’t, what Arenas does will not matter much because the Wizards will not go far.

Report: Pelicans to waive Omri Casspi after broken thumb leaves them shorthanded

NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 23:  Omri Casspi #18 of the New Orleans Pelicans warms up before a game against the Houston Rockets at the Smoothie King Center on February 23, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
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In his first game in New Orleans, coach Alvin Gentry threw forward Omri Casspi right into the rotation, and he scored a dozen points.

Casspi also broke his thumb and will be out 4-6 weeks.

Because there is so little time in the season and the Pelicans want to make the playoffs, they have decided to waive Casspi, reports Sams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

The idea is to create a roster spot to either grab someone waived by another team over the next few days or to get players on 10-day contracts.

Casspi will be a free agent this summer, and there are a number of teams that think he has real potential once unleashed outside what was going on in Sacramento.

Hawks sign Ryan Kelly, Lamar Patterson to multiyear deals

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 13:  Tobias Harris #34 of the Detroit Pistons defends against a pass to Ryan Kelly #30 of the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on October 13, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Hawks have signed forward Ryan Kelly and guard Lamar Patterson to multiyear contracts.

Patterson provides depth across the perimeter, including at point guard. He previously signed two 10-day contracts with the team, most recently on Feb. 8. He has averaged 2.3 points in four games.

The 6-foot-11 Kelly has played in nine games with the Hawks after signing Oct. 31.

The Hawks now have their maximum 15 players. They traded forward Mike Scott to the Suns on Thursday, leaving two vacant roster spots.

Kelly and Patterson are expected to be available when the Hawks play Miami on Friday night.

Kevin Durant: Shaq’s constant ripping of JaVale McGee ‘childish’

SPRINGFIELD, MA - SEPTEMBER 09:  Shaquille O'Neal reacts during the 2016 Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony at Symphony Hall on September 9, 2016 in Springfield, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Golden State Warriors center JaVale McGee fired back at Shaquille O’Neal via Twitter after the former star-turned analyst posted on his verified account a disparaging photo of McGee with the words, “America meet Javale “BUM” McGee.”

O’Neal also responded angrily to McGee , saying he would “smack” McGee’s “bum a–.”

Warriors coach Steve Kerr and Kevin Durant backed McGee on Friday, with Durant calling Shaq “childish” while calling out the retired center’s free throw shooting and other flaws in his game during a Hall of Fame NBA career.

Shaq and McGee went back and forth in a heated Twitter spat late Thursday night, when McGee returned to a reserve role for the NBA-best Warriors as starting center Zaza Pachulia returned from an eight-game absence because of a shoulder injury.

Rockets’ GM Daryl Morey on plan for Warriors: Bury them in an avalanche of threes

HOUSTON, TX - JULY 19: Daryl Morey, general manager of the Houston Rockets speaks during a press conference announcing the signing of Jeremy Lin at Toyota Center on July 19, 2012 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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For a couple of seasons now, teams have tried to beat the Golden State Warriors by making the game ugly — slow, grinding, physical, and the opposite of the free-wheeling game they like. Only one team has had any real success with that strategy, and it has LeBron James on it (and even that wouldn’t have been enough if Draymond Green could keep his hands to himself).

So why not beat them at their own game?

That’s what Rockets’ GM Daryl Morey thought when he added Lou Williams to the roster, he said.

There is a sense around the Warriors that the Rockets may be a bigger concern than the Spurs, because Houston can score with them. Don’t confuse that with worry in the Bay Area, they are the best team in the West if healthy, but the Rockets may be the team they face off against in the conference finals.

And if that happens, Lou Williams is going to play a significant role.