Tonight the Washington Wizards went up against another struggling team on the road – the Detroit Pistons. And eerily similar to many of their previous road games they looked as if they were disinterested, in a malaise or completely disoriented.
And I can already imagine the explanation:
"We knew there would be growing pains in the rebuild." "We have young guys" RT @980nba: i'm excited to see how teds take excuses this one.
Unlike the previous two loses in which the Wizards played well and were able to take away some small moral victories, there would be none taken away from this game. The Wizards were over-matched in nearly every phase of the game and lost to the Bulls 105 – 77. Early in the game, the Bulls were unstoppable in the paint and finished the game with 48 points in the paint. The Bulls were also able to own the boards, pulling down 56 rebounds – 17 more than the Wizards. Following the game, Flip Saunders put it bluntly, “There bigs kicked our butt.” High percentage shots in the paint combined with their success on the backboards enabled Chicago to hit 48% from the field.
Andray Blatche finished the game with a double-double, he led the Wizards with 15 points and 11 rebounds. However those statistics, as they often are with him, are misleading. Andray is rarely in good rebounding position, often is slow getting back on defense and doesn’t appear to be focused when on defense. Those shortcomings can and were exploited by a team like the Bulls. Andray can put points on the scoreboard but they often come at the expense of good offensive flow.
Another video against the Spurs. In this short video clip, notice how Andray Blatche quickly looks at the offensive player as the shot is going up. Rather than put a body on him… he looks at him. The rebound goes long and guess who is there to get the ball… no not Andray Blatche. See if you can catch John Wall’s expression at the very end of the clip.
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).)
Good NBA teams hover around .500 on the road and the best teams have winning road records, but few teams (and none so far this season) have better records on the road versus at home. So, given this it goes without saying that the Wizards will generally get their opponents best effort – since their opponent will be at home where they play their best ball.
In this article, we explore whether the blame solely rests on the team’s defensive effort or whether there are other contributing factors.
The Heat – Wizards game, minus Gilbert Arenas, ended up being much more competitive than the Heat – in the quiet recesses of their minds – likely thought it would. Hell, in their previous game (with him) they were down by 23 to the Nets… yes, those Nets. So surely they would struggle even further without him.
Well, the Wizards played like a different team and led for many stretches of the game. Early in the third quarter, the Heat were able to reclaim the lead for a bit, in part behind a couple of LeBron James threes. But the Wizards kept playing hard.