The Washington Wizards had a home opener last night against the New Jersey Nets and Deron Williams. The game opened up with Andray Blatche saying some motivational words to the Wizards fans and speaking to the Wizards players. It seemed like he was all about business and being the leader on the Wizards team. Everything was looking great.
The Wizards were coasting early. They opened a 21 point lead in the first half. The tempo for the Wizards was great; early on the team was pushing the break often and it was working. The game was very fast paced and the Wiz were playing excellent defense. They were controlling the pace of the game and the Nets couldn’t find any cohesion on offense. They were breaking down by a brick wall.
The Wizards had 14 points in the paint in the first quarter; for the rest of the game they only managed to get 6 more. The beautiful ball movement stopped, the team ball stopped. Nick Young seemed to be trying to save a team desperate for a win after blowing a 21 point lead. The Wizards ended up being outrebounded by 20 in this game. Damion James and Kris Humphries ended up with 30 combined rebounds. Kris Humphries looked like Kevin Love scoring 21 and 16. There was no excuse for our team to perform like this after a great first few quarters.
The team just seemed to play selfishly after that first quarter; everyone in wanted to play hero ball when there was no need for a hero. Andray Blatche, one of the older vets on the team at 25, blamed the coaches for putting him outside of the post. I don’t think that’s a fair move by Dray. He’s been in the post plenty of times, but he never makes the most of it. He either passes out of the post or misses a shot. According to hoopdata.com Andray shot 25 percent from 3-9 feet last season. It looked like he was doing the same thing last night. He went 1-4 shooting from 3-9 feet and it showed. The Wizards had no inside presence last night. No one showed up, no one boxed out and the team got man handled after the first quarter.
John Wall played timidly and went 3-13 from the field for 13 points. He went 7-13 from the free throw line; as a whole the Wizards went 21-34 from the free throw line. The most disappointing thing was when John Wall turned the ball over at the end of the game. The Nets ended up missing the shot that would’ve put them up 5. We get the rebound and the ball is kicked to Wall. Wall makes the mistake of pushing it and forcing a 2 on 4 fast break. What happens next? The ball is turned over because John forces a pass and the WIzards lose. The Wizards must focus on doing the little things in situations like these. That’s not an excuse for blowing this 21 point league though.
Rookie Chris Singleton tweeted his displeasure with the loss last night. Losing is for the birds he says; I’m with him on that. I’m tired of a team that is constantly doing the wrong thing. DC native rapper King Pen Slim shared the sentiments of a lot of Wiz fans last night. The losing has to stop and it has to stop here. We’re one of the laughing stocks of the NBA and every time the Wizards touch the floor it shows.
This team has a lot of growing up to do. I still have hope in the Wizards because of the blueprint layed out by the Thunder and the Bulls. We have a young, talented group of players. That first quarter last night gave me hope in the future for the Wizards. If we can play like that on a consistent basis this team can be a playoff contender in the Eastern Conference. The Thunder and Bulls have gone through some poor seasons and embarassing losses. I just hope that the Wizards can follow suit and roll with the punches just like those teams.
Michael Sykes is a writer for the SportsBlogMovement. Use the Hashtag follow us on twitter.