Site Note: I try not to criticize the zebras as a rule, because I believe that in 98% of NBA games, the team which plays better gets the win. However, it should be noted that tonight's game was a travesty of officiating, in which the Dwight Howard received "Dwyane Wade '06" treatment." It is games like this that infuriate fans, and only adds fuel to the fire that NBA has a strict divide between the "haves" and "have nots."
I'm sure that somewhere out there, Ernie Grunfeld is lighting up a nice cigar, pouring himself a scotch, and murmuring to himself "I told you Sean Fagan, I told you about my drafting prowess. How dare you challenge my international scouting prowess?"
How dare I indeed.
Tonight, Kevin Seraphin revealed a large part of the high hopes the Wizards FO holds for the second year player. The lovingly nicknamed "Manbearpig" mixed it up with Dwight Howard, boarded like a monster, and even demonstrated a nice little two man game with a resurrected Jordan Crawford. In fact, the entire Wizards bench mob played out of their minds on evening, providing a majority of the scoring, showing a propensity towards passing the ball, and hounded the Magic (with the noted exception of Ryan Anderson) into taking forced jumpers.
So yes, unleash the manbearpig.
(End positive pixels.)
Wicked pixel warning ahead.
The flip side of this is that the three key starters for the Wizards (Wall/McGee/Young) played exceedingly poorly in almost every facet of the game. Except for a brief flurry by Wall towards the end in which he scored a layup, hounded Turkoglu, and then found Lewis on a corner three, it was rather a quiet night for the second year starter. Worse still, Wall seemed to be playing at half speed for most of the game and appeared to be visibly detached during the third quarter when the Wizards needed him the most.
Young and McGee for their parts also put in terrible days at the office. Young completely blew up in the 4th quarter, but its hard to excuse his breaking the offense in the 1st three quarters of the game.
I will be less harsh on McGee, because some of the fouls that were called on him for guarding Dwight Howard were borderline unbelievable. However, he completely shrank from his matchup with Howard (one again) and made the same repeated errors that necessitate his immediate benching. I'm sure that we will see a resurgent McGee against a weak Toronto frontline, but tonight was a gutcheck where McGee failed to step up.
In the end, you have to question Randy Wittman's decision to leave Booker, Seraphin and Crawford out of the game as long as he did in the fourth quarter. Accountability was the hallmark of the 1st half, I am unsure as to why that didn't carry over to the second.