I'm choosing to forget about this game for the most part, only because writing about it will aggravate me so much. We all know why the game was a disaster and why there are so many causes for concern. Please continue to discuss them civilly as you all have.
Instead, I'll try to provide a few reasons for optimism, or at the very least, a few reasons to stave off the "sky is falling" impulse you all have.
- We are missing two injured players in Antawn Jamison and Mike Miller. I know, I know, injuries are no excuse when Indiana was also missing Troy Murphy, Mike Dunleavy and Jeff Foster. For this one game, the injuries mean nothing. But looking long term, at least both of them are expected to be back soon. Once that happens, we should improve.
- Indiana's one of those teams that's very difficult to prepare for. They play such an idiosyncratic style (fast-paced, but inefficient on offense, jacking threes from all over) that they often catch better teams on bad nights and beat them. They did beat the Lakers at home last year, for example. Combine that with them not having some key guns, and it actually makes them more difficult to play, if that makes any sense. Now, that's also no excuse for poor preparation, but it's different than losing to a crappy team that's just crappy.
- Jamison gave them a real tongue-lashing after the game. Who knows what effect it'll have, but I'm happy to read it for two reasons. One, the team deserved it. Two, he spared nobody -- not veterans, not youngsters, not coaches. Unlike last year, when it seemed like Jamison's messages were directed to one faction of the team, this time he directed it at everybody. That's a good thing.
- It is still really, really early in the season. We all had a feeling this team would start slow, and maybe we were just spoiled by the Dallas game. Maybe it will indeed take some time.
I'm telling myself a lot of these things today as I try to justify not flipping out about last night. Hopefully, there's some truth to them.
Four Factors: (Bold=very good | Italics=very bad)
Snap reaction: The Wizards sucked on offense all around. Bad shooting, no free throws and an unbelievable amount of unforced turnovers. I'm still trying to figure out which is worse: not getting to the free throw line or committing so many turnovers. The defense wasn't terrible, but Indiana also missed a lot of open looks.
Lineup details, via Popcorn Machine
- Highest individual plus/minus: Mike James (+9 in 22:00)
- Lowest individual plus/minus: Gilbert Arenas (-24 in 35:06)
- Best five-man unit: Gilbert Arenas/Mike James/Randy Foye/Caron Butler/Brendan Haywood (+4 to start the third quarter)
- Worst five-man unit: Gilbert Arenas/Randy Foye/DeShawn Stevenson/Caron Butler/Fabricio Oberto (-9 for a short stretch in the third quarter)
Snap reaction: Throwing all these stats out. The entire team was too bad to make much of these.