Welp, that was an example of how NOT to start a ‘Playoffs or Bust’ type of season. Or follow up the new branded season motto hashtag #NoMoreExcuses. The Wizards kicked off the season with a mistake filled and listless performance against the Detroit Pistons. Here are some of the key points taken from regular season game #1:
In the first half the Wizards struggled to contain the three-headed front court monster of Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond, and Josh Smith. The Pistons dominated both ends of the paint all game long, outscoring the Wizards 56-28 in said paint.
Greg Monroe looked like an MVP last night putting in 24 points and 16 rebounds. He drew a ton of fouls all night long and torched the Wiz from the charity stripe. Monroe ended up taking the same number of free throw shots as shots from the field.
Some of the utter low post domination can be explained by the recently acquired Marcin Gortat only logging 17 minutes, but when he was in the game he looked unfamiliar with the defensive assignments and was caught out of position on a few possessions. I suspect that he’ll figure it all out soon enough.
The defense wasn’t all bad, the Wizards deflected a ton of balls and forced 18 turnovers. However, they were not able to channel that into the fast break points that this team needs to thrive especially when Wall, Beal, and Nene are struggling offensively as they did last night.
They were only able to muster 9 points off of 18 turnovers. Bradley Beal seemed to settle for shots all game long and John Wall started the game throwing up jumpers and looked as if he forgot that Quick Ain’t Fair.
In the the second half Wall started to get to the rim and lo and behold the Wizards trimmed the deficit.
Nene just looked out of sorts all game long. It could be because he was getting mollywhopped by Monroe, Smith, and Drummond or because of a left calf injury suffered early in the game according to CSN Washington. He also had three crucial dropped passes late in the game.
The “Big Three” combined to go for 18-45 and sixth man extraordinaire, Martell Webster went took just one shot. When your top 4 scorers combine for 54 points, you’re probably going to lose, and lose bad.
The only reason the Wizards were not blown out was the play of Trevor Ariza. Coming off an offseason in which his name was bandied about in trade rumors, the Wizards resigned Martell Webster, and drafted Otto Porter, it looked like Ariza was the odd man out. If someone who knew nothing about basketball watched the game last night they would assume that Ariza was the best player on the Wizards by far. He was active on defense and accurate from behind the arc, finishing with 28 points and 10 boards. It just wasn’t enough.
So despite the Wizards trimming the lead to as little as 5 late in the game, it was too little too late. Let’s hold off on pushing the panic though, folks. It’s only the first game, and while the Wiz may not have been at full strength, bear in mind that Detroit might also be better than most people think. Mistakes were made, lessons were learned, and Jan Vesely didn’t play…Everything is gonna be A-Okay.