home 2014-15, Blogs, Game Coverage Game Notebook 74, Wizards vs. Rockets: DC, We Have a Problem

Game Notebook 74, Wizards vs. Rockets: DC, We Have a Problem

Rockets 99
Wizards 91

March 29, 2015 – Verizon Center, Washington, DC


Game Leaders:

[ezcol_1third]WIZARDS[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third][/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]ROCKETS[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]Wall (25)[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]POINTS[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]Harden (24)[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]Wall (12)[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]ASSISTS[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]Harden (6)[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]Gortat (10)[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]REBOUNDS[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]Howard/Smith (10)[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]Gortat (2)[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]BLOCKS[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]Brewer/Smith (2)[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]Wall (4)[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]STEALS[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]Prigioni/Dorsey (3)[/ezcol_1third_end]

Lights. Camera. Midrange!

The spotlight was on the Rockets and the Wizards in DC, as the two faced off in the ABC Sunday Showcase of the #NBAonABC. And under the bright lights of the National TV spotlight, the differences between these two teams was made depressingly obvious.

While the Rockets put on a clinic of modern HD streaming NBA basketball, the Wizards plugged in the VCR and played their grainy 1990s #PandaRange basketball.

As is often the case with the Sunday early afternoon games, both teams started slowly. The first quarter was full of buffering moments, as both teams were sloppy with the ball, missed free throws, and mishandled passes. Even James Harden, a nearly 90% FT shooter missed one early.

Wall and Beal connected on this awkward alley-oop, but couldn’t get much else going.

The Rockets led 28-20 after one, and probably should have led by more. The Wizards shot 29%, to Houston’s 60%, and were out rebounded 15-11. Only eight Houston Sunday morning turnovers kept DC close.

The second quarter brought more of the same. More Wizards midrange jumpers. More Houston three point shooting. This John Wall coast-to-coast take made you hit rewind on the DVR, but it was the exception rather than the rule.

By half the Wizards trailed 59-46. Even a hungover looking Wall managed a 9-8-4 stat line, but it was Houston looking like they’d had their morning Espresso shot. The Rockets went to half shooting 59%, to the Wizards 37%, and held a 29-19 rebounding advantage. Harden quietly did his thing, with 14 (and 5/6 from the charity stripe).

Never fear, Joey Crawford is here!

No NBA Nationally televised lead is safe with Joey Crawford around, so hope remained!

But Houston did not have a problem. Even Joey Crawford can’t save the day when you settle for jumpers. And the three is only a great equalizer when you actually shoot it.

Instead, while the Wizards passed up on their open threes, the Rockets did this:

Things got eventually got so stale that Otto Porter got in the game. And scored! And the crowd went WILD!! Seriously, only free chicken rivals the crowd eruption that followed every Otto Porter basket, and this fast break Otto dunk helped close the gap to four at 72-76, and forced a Rockets timeout with ten minutes left. Otto to the rescue?!?!

From there, it was #SoWizards.

Stagnant offense and sloppy defense let Houston re-open a double digit lead, en route to an easy 99-91 victory. Wall was good again, finishing with 25-12-8 (but 7 turnovers), and adding this John Wall block that it seems only John Wall can do from the point guard position:

Harden did Harden things, finishing with 24-6-3, and this time, finishing with the W.

The #SoWizards movie ended with more of the standard questions: Why so many short jumpers? Why such a generally slow pace when John Wall is your point guard? Why Otto Porter? Why not Otto Porter? Why does Wittman seem to let the other team dictate EVERYTHING his team does, and everything he does with his rotation? Seriously, is he going to start all his end-of-the-bench guys when the Sixers and Knicks come to town, just because they have bad players in the game?

Losing to Houston was predictable. That’s fine. The Rockets are really good. But how they lost was as predictable as a Chick-Fil-ick: Sloppy turnovers. Inconsistent lineup rotations. Midrange jumpers. And questionable coaching adjustments (at best).

If this is what the rest of the season holds (and right now, there’s no reason to believe otherwise), let’s just fast forward to our first round playoff exist and scene skip to next season. Fade to black.

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