No Need To PanicPosted on November 07, 2013 by Carlton Holliday Jr.
The home opener against the 76ers was an exciting one. However, the Wizards fell to 76ers 109 to 102. So far this season, the games have been competitive. Last year, the Wiz had quite a few games that weren’t competitive. This year, only three games in, the team appears to have much more fire in their bellies. The Wizards have played some good ball, just not a solid forty eight minute effort to pick up a W.
The Wizards looked like two completely different teams in Friday night’s loss to the 76ers. In the first half everything was going smoothly and the offense moved the ball well. In the second half, the Wizards looked stagnant. After Friday’s game against the 76ers, Coach Whitman told the media, “A commitment to playing fucking defense, that’s what it is. That’s what it boils down to. This thing our guys … we haven’t learned, and I got to figure out a way. You could see it coming out of the locker room [after halftime]. You’ve got to respect … the game.” That was Randy Whitman’s candid diagnosis after losing a fourth quarter lead at home.
The star of the team thus far this season has been Trevor Ariza. While on the court, the Wizards’ defense looks stellar. So far, he is averaging 1.7 steals per game. Against the Heat, he got into early foul trouble, forcing him to the bench early.
He is also shooting lights out, averaging just a shade less than 18 points per game. He’s pulling down 10 rebounds per game and averaging three assists. Although he is just shooting 37 percent from the field, he is getting his share of attempts. It appears that he is comfortable on the offensive side of the ball. His shot selection is looking good; none of his shots look forced. He is a perfect complimentary player for the backcourt tandem of Wall and Beal.
Wall started the game against the 76ers shooting seven for seven as he sparked the Wizards’ offense to an early lead. Let’s see if he catches fire early and jump starts this offense the way he did Friday night against the 76ers. These are two young teams who are trying to turn around from last season. Both teams are trying to change the culture of their respective franchises and seeking respect in the NBA Eastern Conference.
Last year the Wiz started horribly. They dropped their first twelve games. They are just three games in so far this season with a whole lot of basketball left to be played this season. There is no need to panic. The Wizards must do what they do well. Getting stops on defense and pushing the ball in the open court is their bread and butter. The Wizards outscored the 76ers in fast break points 34 – 20, but where crushed in the paint 74-54.
Rookie sensation, Michael Carter-Williams, hit a 3 pointer with 6:28 left in the fourth quarter to give the 76ers their first lead of the game. They never looked back and went on to win the game. What to look for in the game on Wednesday is how the Wizards will play on defense. Will they make adjustments to how they defend the bigs on the 76ers roster? Spencer Hawes spaced the floor and hit some key long range jumpers. Thaddeus Young also had a great game. He finished the game leading all scorers with 29 points. The matchup to look for in this game will take place in the paint. Spencer Hawes killed the Wizards with his double-double of 16 points and 14 rebounds. How will the newly acquired Center, Marcin Gortat, play against Hawes this time around? Gortat’s numbers weren’t bad. He finished the game with 12 points and 7 rebounds. He must outplay Hawes this time around.
Wall led the Wizards with 26 points, 6 assists and 5 boards. Whether he is penetrating opposing defenses and getting point blank layup attempts or dishing the ball off to open jump shooters, that is what it will take to open things up for the Wizards on offense. John Wall must control the pace and tempo of the game. The Wizards must get out and running in transition. They must also make it a point of emphasis of getting shooters Beal, Ariza and Webster their shots. They were a combined 13 - 39 from the field. A number that is sure to improve. They are the three players that need to take some of the pressure off of John Wall especially with Nene sidelined due to a left calf injury.
Don't press the panic button Wizards fans. The best is yet to come...
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