Luckily there’s only [ insert rounded digit ] games left.
That seems to have become the default locker room reaction subsequent to each unvaried loss. I could literally copy and paste blurbs upon blurbs from past articles to recount the Wizards’ loss to Cleveland on Saturday night. A wasted double digit lead, contentious player rotations, bad free throw shooting, and an exhibition of bricked shots led to the Wizards’ ultimate collapse in overtime and dropped them to a dismal 2-7 record.
The Wizards surrendered to 41 points by Kyrie Irving, who began the game sluggish, before turning it on for 17 points in the second quarter alone. And oh those dreaded second quarters. Where your studs get shelved and the head coach conducts his routine mix and match exercise. With John Wall on the bench, the Wizards saw a 15-point lead shrink down to 8 before Wittman decided to sub him back in. But Irving and CJ Miles were already too hot and by halftime, the lead was only 5 for the Wizards. Irving and Miles would score 21 of the Cavs’ 26 points in the 2nd quarter.
The Wizards would inevitably lose the lead early in the 3rd quarter, but managed to quickly retain it and go back up by as much as nine thanks to Nene and Marcin Gortat. Nene had seven points in that quarter, showing his feistiness under the rim, as well as looking sharp on his midrange.
In the 4th, the Wizards had a shot at sealing the game….a free throw shot…..and, yeah, let’s just move past that and wrap this. The Wizards eventually seemed to have grown tired in extra time and got outlasted by seven, losing 103-96.
Game notes below:
Wizards bench looked pumped up before tipoff, lots of butt slaps, lots of palm slaps, even a colorful secret handshake between Jan Vesely and Kevin Seraphin.
Cavs go inside early, posting up Bynum vs. Gortat. Gortat held ground pretty well, forcing a miss, then breaking up an interior pass which led to a Bradley Beal layup in transition.
Wizards miss their first few shots. Wall a short jumper, Martell an open 3 and Gortat a good look off the P&R.
Cavs interior forcing issues for the Wizards on both sides of the ball. Blocking shots on defense; Earl Clark, Tristan Thompson, and Andrew Bynum seem to be affixed under the rim contesting shots and crashing the glass.
Anddd Nene heads to bench with 2 early fouls
Wizards pick up steam with Gortat driving dunk, Wall lob to Martell in transition, and then a Wall 15 footer.
Wall finds Beal for corner 3
Wall is doing WORK. Finds Martell for a 3, then drives to the basket in transition for and-1
Seraphin tried. He tried so hard. Good effort, gets his own rebound, but could not convert under the rim.
Wizards just missing shots now. John Wall gets swapped by Alonzo Gee on a transition layup. Recovers. Gets the ball back. Sweet spin move on the baseline and cross-court pass to wide open Beal in corner, who missed the 3.
At some point, Seraphin himself will start questioning his purpose in the NBA. Gets called for a carrying violation.
Rice, Temple, Seraphin, and Jan on the floor with Beal. Beal wants to go home, and is taking his ball with him.
GRJR to Honza alley oop to close out first quarter. Wizards lead 25-18.
Temple starts second quarter. Finds Beal for a three to start things off.
Nene looks very composed tonight. Starts second half with a jumper over Varajao, then loses Varajao to the rim off a shallow post.
Beal and Nene holding sanity within second unit. Wizards maintain double digit lead
Can I mention Nene again? He continues to carve up the Cavs’ interior, drawing a foul
Temple matching up well defensively against Kyrie, making him earn his way to the rim. It’s not going so well for Kyrie.
Cavs trim lead from 15 to 10 while Wall remains on bench and Kyrie on the floor for Cavs.
Ugh. Randy Wittman’s questionable rotations again, keeps Wall out until 4 minute mark, when lead is cut to single-digits.
Wall is such a magnet for defenses. It’s a really a work of art how incredibly open his wing shooters become when he drives the lane.
Kyrie Irving two straight 3-point shots trim Wizards lead to 4 in final minute
CLEANNN look by Wall to find Gortat under the rim for a nice lead pass and layup.
KYRIE FREAKING IRVING. Tough 3-point shot from the corner to close out the half. Wizards lead 49-44.
Beal checks Kyrie off a switch. Not happening.
Gortat remains staunch in his post defense. Bynum unable to convert a lot of points against himdown low.
Wall lobs to Nene for and-1 layup, Wizards regain lead
Dellavedo, backpedaling in transition, wanted no part of Wall pushing the ball to the rim. TIMEOUT CAVS.
Nene looking solid all night, until that weird step back fadeaway off the high post. It was just weird.
Wizards are rotating the ball beautifully. Wall makes a slick bounce pass to Gortat rolling to the rim, who makes a slicker outlet pass to Webster for a corner 3. Wiz ballin.
Feel really happy for Webster back with the first unit. Just looks so much more comfortable. Hits his second straight jumper. This one off the dribble on the baseline.
Wizards have the Cavs in an offensive frenzy. Pressure on Jack makes him flail the ball into the 4th row bleachers.
Wizards getting clean looks, they’re just missing.
Vesely effective on the help D, but recovers late against his own man (Clark) who knocks down the long 2.
However, Vesely’s overall production tonight has been extremely settling. In the most action he’s seen all season, Honza’s been
Great work by Temple running down Dellavedo in transition and getting the block. Beal converts at the other end.
Cavaliers continue to chew into leads with Wall on the bench, Wiz in a tight one in the 4th with Wall set to finally check in at the 7 minute mark.
Not crazy about GRJR’s knack for floaters.
Nene misses 2 free throws, gets own rebound, fouled again and makes 2 free throws
Good sequence for the Wizards late in the game. Wall finds Beal cross court for another wing 3. Irving coughs up the ball on the other end. Wizards lead by 5.
Kyrie stripped by Nene as he drives to the basket off a screen. Nene switched over to Irving with Wall trailing behind, and snuck a hand in on the ball. Temple recovers and calls timeout with a second left on the clock.
MVP: Nene – 24 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks
After spending the last two games in our Hoop District Dawg House (the LVP), Nene recouped and had a very efficient game. Nene, who found the audacity to publicly call out his teammates despite his own recent struggles, came out the gates and proved that he can practice what he preaches. Nene was a bit slow coming out the gates, struggling to counter Cleveland’s tough interior and found himself on the bench just 4 minutes into the game with two fouls. But the second half was a different story. Nene found his groove early after halftime, knocking down jumpers, losing his defender on the way to the rim and drawing fouls. He scored 16 of his 24 points in the second half and overtime.
LVP: Kevin Seraphin – 2 points, 3 turnovers in 8 minutes
It doesn’t take a lot of floor time for Seraphin’s detrimental presence to be known. In just 8 quick minutes, Seraphin managed to miss 4 of 5 shots, commit three turnovers, and further prove his worthless value. Meanhwile, Jan Veseley, who earned 23 minutes of burn, may be on the the brink of emergence, which could land Seraphin back in a familiar spot under Wittman: the last half seat of the bench.
Key stat of the game: – 6-for-25 (24%) 3-point shooting
The Wizards missed a crap load of shots against Cleveland and a substantial portion of them were good looks. Coming into the game, the Wizards were top 5 in 3-point efficiency, so it’s not a question that production from long range is a staple of this offense. John Wall, who missed four of his own shots from downtown, was able to find his guys in their routine spots on the wings, but the shots just weren’t falling.
The Wizards play the 7-4 Timberwolves at home tomorrow night. The Wolves come in town with a high-powered offense that ranks in the top 5 in points, rebounds, and assists per game. They’re getting monster production from Kevin brothers, Love and Martin, who are averaging 27 and 24 points per game, respectively. This will be a huge defensive matchup for the Wizards since they certainly won’t have the firepower to contest the Wolves point for point. Key factors in the game include Wittman’s ability (or lack thereof) to keep progressive lineups out on the floor and avoid mismanaging the floor time of his best players, mainly John Wall — which evidently leads to botched leads and runs given up. The Wizards will go on to play at Toronto and Cleveland, before returning back to Chinatown for New York and the Lakers.