Certain loses are easier to take than others and the Wizards eight point loss to the Heat is one of those loses. When you consider the way the Wizards played in their recent games against Orlando, Indiana and Philadelphia, that they were without Andray Blatche and Al Thornton who were nursing injuries, and that they were adding three new players into the mix (Mike Bibby, Maurice Evans and Jordan Crawford) – a beat down against the Miami Heat would have been expected. However, the Wizards elected to play with a little passion. And while they ultimately lost the game, it was a competitive and entertaining game throughout.
The Heat secured the win with an good game by Bosh (15 pts & 8 reb), great game by LeBron James (25 pts, 9 reb & 7 ast) and an incredible scoring performance by Dwyane Wade (41 points). They also received a little help by the officiating crew as the Heat shot 45 free throws versus 23 by the Wizards. (In fact, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade (28 FTs) attempted more foul shots that the entire Wizards team (23).)
In a game that goes into the moral victory column for the Wizards, they also received some very good performances as well:
While JaVale had his moments when he makes you either scratch your head, or throw anything that isn’t nailed down. He finished with a double-double (18 pts & 17 reb). A performance like this for JaVale gets overshadowed by his over-reliance on awkward fall-away jumpers, which are the definition of low percentage shots. One particularly amusing variety came when he was falling to the ground.
John Wall added another solid performance to his growing resume, finishing the game with 24 pts and 12 ast. He did also have four turnovers but he often displayed his blinding speed which left the Heat defenders unable to stop his drives. Wall did an excellent job of picking his spots to go full speed, while also knowing when to walk the ball up court.
As many will point out, Nick Young is one dimensional. He is a scorer. He has not proven that he can or is willing to regularly rebound the ball. And definitely don’t look for more than an assist or two from him. However, when his shot is falling he is fun to watch. And on this night his shot was falling. While the glory went to Dwyane Wade who had 23 first half points – Nick had 24. And while Wade finished with a game high 41 points, Nick Young nearly matched him with 38 – including going 6 for 8 from behind the three-point line. It is important to point out that on this night Nick was much more efficient than Wade as it took 27 shots for Wade to get 41, and Nick managed to get 38 points on only 19 shots.
The Wizards lost 121 to 113 but they could feel good about their performance. They did not get blown out. They played with the type of effort that one would hope they would employ every game – but sadly they often don’t. We can hope that they play with this type of effort for the remainder of the season, but until they string together a few games of consistent effort, few should be willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. They just have not earned it yet.