First lets all take a deep breath and chill out for a second. It's only one win and while John Wall played well, he obviously has a long way to go before he develops the consistency that a truly elite point guard possesses....
In the midst of what is probably going to be a long year for Wizards fans, tonight served as the nice bright beacon of hope for what the future may hold for the franchise. John Wall continued to be well....John Wall, Andray Blatche made good on his promise to take it to the hole and Nick Young played perhaps one of the most disciplined games of his career. And Cartier Martin did to the 76ers what the Jannero Pargos, Ramon Sessions, and Andrea Bargnanis of the world have been doing to Wizards for years. It was nice for the shoe to be on the other foot.
As much as I want to get excited and jump and down and celebrate the first Wizards win of the season, I need to remember that Philadelphia was the perfect match-up for a young, athletic team looking for its first win of the season, just like Orlando was one of the worst possible opponents for us to play in the season opener. The 76ers's front line is horribly, terribly nonathletic. Spencer Hawes, Mareese Speights, and Elton Brand shouldn't strike fear into the Wizards hearts. So it was unsurprising that the Wizards held a 36-35 rebounding advantage at the end of the game. Despite this achievement, the Wizards are still suffering from poor interior defense. I can live with Elton Brand shooting his rainbow jumpers over tight defense. However, letting Spencer Hawes backdoor you on repeated possessions or jumping out on defense and creating a post mismatch are both things that are probably going to burn my britches all year.
However, wins are a rebuilding team are to be savored and I will save the criticism for the cold light of morning. I will leave you with this thought, for the first ten minutes of the game John Wall was getting owned by Jrue Holiday. The fact that Wall was able to recover from the Holiday blitzkrieg and have the kind of game that he had points to a truly remarkable player. Enjoy the win everyone and I will see you in the morning for postgame quotes.
- I know that this will make many of you sad, but Hilton Armstrong looks likely to be playing a large role in your basketball watching this year. Flip liked what Armstrong brought out there tonight, and while I still he Armstrong isn't much better than a third center, he communication and positioning are still miles ahead of JaVale McGee.
- Yi had one of those Jekyll and Hyde type of games. Three quarters off semi-solid defense and a willingness to tack it to the rack were erased by some truly porous defense in the fourth quarter. However, it is fun to hear the Verizon Center yell Yiiiiiiiiiii every time he touches the ball.
- McGee picked up two quick fouls and was gone for the rest of the first half. In the second half he was his normally half consistent/half dominant self. I have a real concern that if McGee doesn't begin to pick it up soon, we are going to lose every game against teams with real centers
- I have no idea why Nick Young didn't get more PT in the second half.
- Andray Blatche made good on his word and took the ball to the basket. However, there are still too many silly shots that get taken during the course of a game. Maybe the Wizards coaching staff are at the point where they accept that they are going to get a couple of those a game, but its still infuriating to watch.
Back tomorrow morning with player reactions. I'll also have the skinny on whether Gilbert has returned to practice.