Bobcats 100 – Wizards 94
March 31, 2014
Time Warner Cable Arena
4th quarter outtakes, best to be watched to the tune of a circus melody.
Defining the meltdown that occurred last night in Charlotte is easy: disastrous, cruel, “what the fudge”. Sadly we can also call it a precedent, a normality, a mere exemplar of #SoWizards. But mindless of the fact that “we’ve seen this before” or that we “can’t say this wasn’t expected,” a meltdown of that magnitude, with the asterisk that denotes a clinched playoff spot lingering in the corner of our eye only to suddenly diminish from our sight, the comprehension and acceptance of THAT is what is not easy. It’s downright inexplicable.
I’d like to, for just one segment of this recap, extract some of the goodness that was offered in this game. The 17-3 closeout going into halftime. The 40-point 2nd quarter outbreak led by Andre Miller and Bradley Beal. Martell Webster regenerating some of his proficiency. Drew Gooden continually performing at a decent level.
Ok, I’m done. Certainly, there were plenty of pros to pick out of this one, but regrettably they all funnel away into futility after a heart-wrenching loss.
The Wizards were on pace to have this one bagged by the end of the 3rd quarter. That was until a blocked John Wall shot was quickly converted into a buzzer-beating CDR layup, a tumultuous sequence that set the tone for a 4th quarter onslaught by the Bobcats. From there on washed away from the Wizards was any notion of will or desire. The Wizards’ offense became more stagnant than a pantry room conversation with Rust Cohle. Their half court sets became more predictable than Wale reacting to a heckling tweet. They were out-muscled, outplayed and out-coached. This is the second time in roughly two weeks I’ve noticed fans call a Wizards loss “the worst loss of the season,” with the Sacramento loss being the other. And this, mind you, during the last month of the season. Charming, Wizards. You’re a bunch of real f*cking charmers.
You think a team that squanders a 16-point second half lead in a game with such high stakes is ready for real playoff contention? You think a team that backpedals its way to the end of the regular season on the mere idea and security of eventually making the playoffs actually has a chance to BE competitive for four to seven games against another playoff caliber (and most likely better) team? Save it, please. The Wizards have to offer me some pretty sweet impressions over these last eight games for me to even develop a speck of optimism about how they produce in the postseason. Otherwise, we’re still just playing for next season.
But please, relieve me of my angst, Ted Leonsis. Tell us how YOU feel.
Play(s) of the night
Ok. Alright. Woosah. I went a little HAM on these guys, but really, let’s highlight the good stuff. #MillerTime in the post against Kemba Walker is a good start.
Bradley Beal – 20 points, 8-12 FG, 5 assists
Bright spot from Monday's loss, aside from Triple OGs in 2ndQ: Bradley Beal shot better than 50% (8-12) for first time in 17 games #wizards
— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) April 1, 2014
As noted by Mike Lee, it’s been a patchy season for Bradley Beal shooting the ball, so any time he shoots it over 50% in a game is pacifying. Beal went all out in the 2nd quarter alongside Andre Miller, playing all 12 minutes and making five of seven baskets for 12 points. And guess what — three of those buckets came at the rim! A short 2 and a top of the break 3 round out his other two shots.
Bradley Beal is only 20. His game is still a baby calf who’s merely mastered the concept of standing upright with minimal buckles. He’s grazing his surroundings and gradually establishing himself in comfort spots, trying to do comfortable things. His natural instincts as a basketball player is to shoot. His habitat is the outskirts aka the perimeter. But does that make him fearful of the Elephant Graveyard aka the paint? Is this analogy really veering towards “Lion King”? Is Randy Wittman Scar? Bradley Beal Simba? Whatever. You bought it. Point is, we’ve seen Brad show and prove his comfort in attacking the rim, and we’ve seen him succeed at it. It’s an unhurried growth spurt which demands patience. He’s only 20. It justifies patience.
Also, lost in transit from last night was this 4-point play to help simmer the Charlotte onslaught. Now just a 6-second data file stored in my phone’s cache.
A forgettable night for:
Starting with this jixing tweet:
@MrMichaelLee They clinch tonight. Book it.
— Mike Wise (@MikeWiseguy) March 31, 2014
YO HOW DO THE #WIZARDS LOSE GAMES LIKE THIS
— Richard Kirby (@therichardkirby) April 1, 2014
What an awful loss. One step forward, two steps back. That's the Wizards way.
— Ben M (@BenAgent0) April 1, 2014
— Danny (@recordsANDradio) April 1, 2014