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Game recap – Wizards at Pistons: #SoManyExcuses

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Pistons 113 Wizards 102

October 30, 2013
The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, MI
NBA.com boxscore/highlights

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What had become one of the more highly anticipated opening night’s in recent years for the Wizards and their fans quickly became a forgettable one last night in Detroit. After an entire offseason of roster reshuffling and shelling out money for talent security, the Leonsis Doctrine was set to put in play. However, the Wizards, who were expected to launch their 2013-2013 campaign with explosions and fireballs, instead performed with the likes of a diffused firecracker as the Pistons toyed their way to an easy 113-102 victory at the Palace.

A dearth of terrible shooting, transparent interior defense, and the usual dose of Will Bynum had the Wizards on their heels the entire night, and despite Trevor Ariza wearing his Gilbert Arenas Halloween costume, the rest of the team would never find their ground.

The Wizards’ struggles began early, with John Wall settling for that springless standstill jumper several times throughout the 1st quarter and Bradley Beal doing very little to compensate. The impotent backcourt would finish the game with a combined 37 points on 39 shots. While Detroit dominated the Wizards on the perimeter and forced Beal to take many unsettling jump shots, Beal failed to take the next measure and test the lane a few times, continuing to put up bad shots. He just never found his groove and often times seemed unsure of himself. These guys have to get better.

The Pistons’ front court, led by Greg Monroe, paraded on the Wizards all night. Monroe finished with 24 points and 16 boards and his entourage of Josh Smith and Andre Drummond were just as effective. The Pistons shredded the Wizards defense with their pick and roll, constantly drawing traps and finding open shooters. With the Wizards unable to rotate to the ball in time, the Pistons had little trouble getting the ball to the rim for easy buckets or to draw a foul.

And then there’s Will Bynum the Wizard Killer. Bynum, who has a history of paramount performances against John Wall, was no different last night. Bynum had Wall in shambles last night, blowing by him into the lane with ease, forcing him to play tag and losing him on backdoor cuts. Bynum finished with 19 points, 10 of them in the paint.

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MVP: Trevor Ariza – 28 pts, 10 reb, 6-11 3PT

It’s ALWAYS fun to see Ariza play well but not so much when he’s the literally the only one. Ariza kept the Wizards within reach especially in the first half, where he psychotically knocked down five 3-pointers, four of those in the 1st quarter alone. He had six for the game. At times, he was effective on defense as well by disrupting passing lanes and getting a steal, but unfortunately he had no answer for Josh Smith. But again, as disheartening as it may be to praise Ariza’s performance in a loss, he was the silver lining of this awful game.

LVP: Trevor Booker – 2 pts, 1-3 FG in 20 minutes

There was enough awful play amongst just about every player at any certain instance throughout this game, but I’m going to go with Book as the one who earns the ultimate denunciation. Mysteriously appointed as the starter over Marcin Gortat, Trevor Booker was more useless on the floor in his 20 minutes than Lamar Odom without a blunt. And 20 minutes of burn for him seemed like a lifetime for me. He and Nene’s lack of aggression down low clearly set the tone for Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe’s interior supremacy, but yet Wittman still felt compelled to watch him suffer. Booker did show his usual spurts of effectiveness maybe once or twice. Maybe none at all actually. The Wizards as a whole just got ruined underneath and Booker’s presence on the floor was a prime reason why.

Key stat of the game: Pistons outscore Wizards in the paint 56-28

The Wizards’ defense down low has been the premise of this entire blog and there are the figures that prove it. The Pistons doubled up the points in the paint over the Wizards with ease last night. At one point during the first half, the Wizards were being outscored 32-4 with a combination of easy transition buckets, failure to defend the pick and roll underneath, and those pesky ass backdoor cuts by Will Bynum.

Tweet of the night:

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The “white bro” being referenced is Kyle Singler, who finished with 8 points and handled the glass well with 8 rebounds. Singler also knocked down a 3 in the first half of the game, and later trucked over Marcin Gortat to draw an and 1.

What’s next:

The Wizards will need to pick themselves up and get ready for their own home opener on Friday night against the Sixers. The film room will have plenty of game tape to be looked at after this loss with a lot of adjustments to be made, one of which could possibly be a change in the starting lineup. With the Wizards’ front court weakness clearly exposed, it’ll be interesting to see how Wittman reacts after one game and whether or not he decides to put Nene and Gortat on the floor against a smaller Philly lineup. The Sixers will be coming to town riding the momentum of a huge opening day upset over the Miami Heat. Fortunately for the Wizards, Philly’s interior presence isn’t nearly as much of a threat as Detroit’s was tonight, although Spencer Hawes did earn 24 and 9 in the win against the Heat.

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