Let's go through the Wizards bad loss checklist.
- An inexplicably bad shooting night from Gilbert Arenas: Check. It wasn't like New Orleans was playing amazing defense on him like Chicago did. He just missed shots he normally makes.
- That bad shooting from Arenas leading to a bad night from Antawn Jamison: Check. 14 points doesn't look horrible, but 2 of 7 from three, combined with only 5 rebounds and horrible defense, is not good.
- Horrible perimeter defense:: Check. It's really not that hard to maneuver around screens guys. Teams usually find a way.
- That horrible perimeter defense leading to horrible interior defense: Check. Too many easy layups for New Orleans all night.
- A baffling coaching decision: Check. Seriously, Donnell Taylor in the fourth quarter? Andray Blatche for 2 and a half minutes? The small lineup, featuring Jarvis Hayes at power forward, for much of the fourth quarter? Huh? How did any of these make sense. Considering how easily the Hornets were getting to the rim, don't you think having Blatche in there instead of Hayes would have been more effective? It's still somewhat of a small lineup, but now with a real rebounder and shot blocker.
- Failing to put away a bad team early: Check. Playing New Orleans in Oklahoma City is like playing a mid-major college team. If you let the Hornets stay in it for too long, the crowd is going to give them the momentum necessary to close the deal. The Wizards were up 8 at the end of one, but relaxed and didn't go in for the kill. That really hurt.
- The gold jerseys: Check. God, those things are horrible.
I wish I could believe that this is an elite team in the league, but since tearing it up in December, the Wizards have been as average as usual. After their win over Orlando at the end of last month, the Wizards are 3-3. They have 3 home wins, including a last second one over Milwaukee, and they have 3 bad road losses (Milwaukee, Toronto, New Orleans). They weren't as bad as they showed in November, and they aren't as good as they showed in December. In reality, the Wizards are somewhere in the middle. Tonight's loss proves that.