Highest plus/minus: Nick Young and Dominic McGuire (+4)
Lowest plus/minus: Caron Butler (-14)
I think we all know the story of this game was our problems on the glass. Atlanta outrebounded us by 16, which is inexcusable considering they don't have a true big man. Cuppetcj talked about them punching us in the mouth, which is definitely true, but this is Atlanta, not Detroit circa 2004. By the end of the game, there was a concentration problem on the glass, evidenced by DeShawn Stevenson chilling on the baseline as Josh Childress sneaked around Nick Young for the key putback of Josh Smith's air ball in the final minute of the game.
The scary thing is I can't even blame smallball this time. The Wizards' best stretch came in the second quarter with a lineup of Young/Stevenson/McGuire/Jamison/Songaila. Against a team like Atlanta, with lots of athleticism, but not a lot of size, that's kind of concerning. In particular, I'm concerned about Andray Blatche, who played 10 awful minutes yesterday. We expected some growing pains, but so far this year, we could always count on Blatche playing hard. Recently, that hasn't been the case, which begs the question of whether he's back to his bad practice habits. I'm going to hope that's not the case, but this is the type of game where we really needed him, and he fell flat.
As for the final possession, I guess I don't have a major, major problem with Nick Young pulling the trigger. It's rare that you see a rookie with that much confidence to shoot at the end of the game, and it's clear something Gilbert Arenas is telling him is shining through. With that being said, I think he telegraphed his interest in shooting that shot, which made it easier for Atlanta to close out on him. If he had made it less obvious, I think he would have been more open.
It's true that Atlanta is a better team than before, but you can still beat them if you play smart and punish their lack of size. We didn't do that yesterday, and paid for it.