Wizards Game 2 Review: 76ers 109 Wizards 102
THE GAME TURNED WHEN… The Wizards led 89-84 in the fourth quarter when the 76ers went on a 17-3 run, led by Thaddeus Young and Eric Turner, who put Philadelphia up 101-92 with 3:49 to play. The Wizards tried to battle back, but they kept missing outside shots and allowing second chance points for the 76ers, who held fast to their lead until the final seconds ticked away.
IT WAS ALL OVER WHEN… Trevor Ariza threw the ball away to the 76ers with less than a minute to play and the Wizards trailing 107-102. The 76ers took advantage of the turnover when Spencer Hawes got free under the basket and laid the ball in for a 7-point lead with 26.3 seconds to play. The fans at Verizon Center began pelting the home team with lusty boos in the final minutes and sent the players to the locker room under a shower of disgust.
THE GOOD… Trevor Ariza had a bad shooting night [5-15 FG], but did other things to help his team. Ariza led everyone with 14 rebounds and tied John Wall for team lead with 6 assists. I like the way Ariza never gives up on a play and it is easy to see why head coach Randy Wittman hates to take Ariza [game-high 39 minutes tonight] out of the game.
THE BAD… The 76ers forwards, Turner and Young, hit 24 of 38 shots and combined for 52 points and 14 rebounds. Once again, the Wizards played terrible interior defense, allowing the Sixers to shoot over 51% from the floor even though they missed 17 of 23 3-pointers. The Sixers simply pounded the ball inside or got out quickly on their early offense and the Wizards couldn’t keep them from getting to the hoop. Once at the hoop, the Sixers found it far too easy to score. Thaddeus Young [game-high 29 points], in particular, dominated the paint all night.
THE UGLY… The Wizards defense disappeared after halftime, allowing the Sixers to out-score them 65-48 in the third and fourth quarters combined, with an amazing 46 of those points for the Sixers coming in the paint. In all, the Sixers scored 74 of their 109 points in the paint. That’s just completely unacceptable. The Wizards led by 12 after one quarter and by 10 at halftime, but they gave away the entire lead in the third quarter and let the Sixers just pull away after the halfway point of the fourth quarter. The Sixers used an 18-6 run to tie the game at 74 and then that 17-3 run to put the game away. Philly got momentum in the second half and the Wizards looked powerless to stop it.
MISSING IN ACTION… Nene [left calf strain] was hurt and didn’t play and I suppose we should get used to that. Nene missed a bunch of games last year and is likely to miss a lot more this year. He’s a very talented player, but his talent is exceeded by his fragility, which is now something of legend. However, the Wizards can’t just mail in a loss every time Nene is hurt because he’s probably going to be hurt a lot. The team has got to figure out a way to play without him. Clearly, they are nowhere close to doing that.
THE STUDS… John Wall hit his first 7 shots, poured in 11 straight points in the first quarter and by halftime he had 23 points on 9-13 shooting. However, Wall seemed bothered by an injury in the second half and did very little after the break, finishing with 26 points and missing 5 of the 6 shots he took after halftime.
THE DUDS… Bradley Beal earns a spot of dishonor on this roll for the second time in only two games this season. Beal shot 4-18 from the field and is now 10-36 from the field this season. Beal also led the team with five turnovers and he didn’t have a rebound until the fourth quarter and he didn’t earn a single free throw. The only shot he got from the charity stripe came off a technical foul for illegal touching by the Sixers. Beal simply cannot play basketball right now. Hopefully, we will hear no more about how great his preseason was.
& THE BENCHWARMERS… The usual suspects [that's what we'll call them from now on] didn’t play – Jan Vesely and Glenn Rice, Jr. both got DNP-CD.
POSTGAME QUOTE… “Commitment to playing fucking defense, that’s what it boils down to.” — Head Coach Randy Wittman.
WHAT IT ALL MEANS… I hate to write it, but I’m not shocked. This is pretty much the Wizards team I expected to see this year. I never understood the optimism and I still don’t. Washington is not a good team right now and they play a lot of bad basketball. They don’t box out when they need to, they play almost no interior defense and their shooting is completely unreliable. The Wizards are now 0-2, with both losses coming against teams that are not considered NBA powerhouses. This is the fourth consecutive season the Wiz have begun a season 0-2 Game 3 is against the Miami Heat and it will surprise no one if Washington starts the season 0-3. Despite all the the undeserved hype around the team this year, the Wizards could only entice about 17,000 fans into its building for the season opener. John Wall spoke to the fans before the game, calling them the best in the NBA. But the truth is, Wizards fans are not the best fans, they’re just the most abused fans. Playoffs or bust? Hmmm.