Alas, the perfect season is no longer a possibility. So lets break down where this all went wrong.
1) The frontcourt depth is going to be a issue all year.
I alluded to this in the pregarme, but the Wizards just had no answer for Dwight Howard tonight. Going into the game, it was fairly apparent that if JaVale McGee got into foul trouble, the Wizards were going to have trouble containing Howard on the block. So the fact that they "limited" Howard to 28pts and 14 rebounds can be seen as a moderate success. What disappointed me, and continues to baffle me throughout the Flip Saunders regime is need to switch to a complex defensive system when the game starts to get away from the Wizards. Down only seven in the third quarter, Saunders elected to go zone, which immediately allowed Jason Richardson and Reddick to exploit the Wizards from behind the arc. I feel like we have all read this book before, and on a team trying to incorporate so many young pieces (again, this sounds familiar), I think Saunders is doing a disservice to his team by trotting out a system which only 52.5% of them understand. Speaking of strange....
2) The lineups are becoming Eddie Jordan-esque
I'm not sure another discussion of the hot-hand theory is needed, but the rotation that Saunders broke out to stop the bleeding in the the third had all the hallmarks of the Frankenstein lab work we came to associate with Eddie Jordan. Saunders left the lineup of Wall, Jeffers, Lewis, Booker, and Blatche in there for over seven minutes, by which time the Magic had stretched their lead to 12. Furthering the damage, Wall then had to be benched for the opening five minutes of the fourth because he was too gassed from playing the entirety of the third. Saunders needs to make a concerted effort to establish consistent lineups early on this season, because right now the only people who seem to understand their roles are Wall and McGee.
3) Jan Vesely Dunk!
Ok, it was in garbage time and the Wizards were down by 20, but I will take what I can get.
Tonight we have the Heat, so there is a good chance that we will be 1-2 on the season. Luckily, the Heat will be without Chris Bosh tonight, who is still out with a bruised tibia. Hopefully, the Wizards can get fired up and take advantage of the weak Miami frontcourt, but it will be a awful tall order for the team to win in Miami on the second game of a back to back.