Highest plus/minus: Andray Blatche (+17).
Lowest plus/minus: Dominic McGuire (-7).
Ever since Caron went out, I feel like I've been pleading for us to try harder to push the ball. This seems counterintuitive, because you wouldn't want to increase possessions when you're missing your two best players. More possessions means more chances for the better team to exploit their betterness, for lack of a better word.
But for a team that is incapable of creating good shots in the halfcourt, early offense presents the best chance to score the necessary points to keep up with our mediocre defense. And it's not like we have poor shooters, athletes or decision-makers out there -- AD practically never turns the ball over, DeShawn and Nick are strong finishers, Mason, Pech, and Jamison can spot up for three, and Blatche can potentially initiate everything, either with a block, a rebound, or even by dribbling himself. I'm not surprised that Eddie has put the fast break in neutral recently, because he's the type of coach that will retreat to his Princeton offense when he doesn't know what to do, but then again, I'm sure he's fine with it as long as the players start running, which they haven't been doing.
But yesterday (I guess two days ago now), it was the fast break that rescued us. Early in the second quarter, Eddie went with an all-youngsters lineup of Mason, Young, Blatche, Songaila, and Pech, and they started pushing when the opportunity was there. They forced Charlotte to shoot jumpers and consistently scored in the first 12 seconds of the shot clock. It was contagious, as the starters started trying to do the same thing when they were out there. It was a far cry from the deliberate, let's-always-walk-it-down style that dominated the Cleveland game last night.
The stat sheet says the Wizards had only nine fast break points, but that's deceiving to me. Technically, the Wizards only played at 90 possessions, but they had 22 offensive rebounds (!), many of which occurred because the Charlotte defense was still setting itself up. It explains why the Wizards were able to score 110 points on 90 possessions. Push the ball a bit more, get earlier shots in your offense, and you'll even sneak in for some offensive boards for your troubles.
No, they didn't push it like crazy, and yes, this was against a depleted Charlotte team, but I think this win was still significant. I'm not suggesting we need to return to the fast-paced all-offense club from a year ago, but sprinkling in some of that would go a long way. Early offense, as the coaches call it, has to be the key to offensive success.