Some things never change. There will always be death. There will always be taxes. And there will always be the Washington Wizards playing horrible perimeter defense.
If you can't play the perimeter, and you can't guard the opponents point guard, the Phoenix Suns will destroy you. Simple as that. And if you try to stop the Suns' onslaught with contested mid-range jumpers of your own, it'll be even worse. That's what happened to the Wizards tonight, as the Suns blew them out.
This was a recurring theme tonight (AP Photo/Nick Was)
Anytime you play the Suns, you offensive and defensive strategies need to be cohesive. You can't expect to play good defense if you're pulling a Jarvis Hayes and shooting contested 20 foot jumpers early in the shot clock every time posession. Phoenix is too good offensively to simply corral on the defensive end. You can't just say "We'll dig in and stop them." The best way to slow the Suns attack is to attack them efficiently on the offensive end. Force them to foul you or let you score the layup. If they foul you, you get to the line and slow the game down. If they let you score, they're just trading baskets at best. A fast-paced team can therefore conceivably beat Phoenix at their own game, but only if they're getting quick shots going to the basket.
Yet the Wizards elected to jack up quick jumpers early in the shot clock, playing right into the Suns strategy. Do that, and the Suns will slaughter you offensively, especially when you're defense is as bad as Washington's.
Just look at the first quarter posessions during Phoenix's 28-8 run. [Editor's Note: if any SBNation bloggers know why the table tool isn't working, let me know]. Only three times (all at the end of the run) did the Wizards work the shot clock under 10 seconds. Like I said, this isn't a problem if you're hitting layups and drawing fouls. However, only once did the Wizards attempt a layup during this stretch, and only twice did the Wizards draw a foul. The rest of the posessions were jumpers with at least 10 seconds left on the shot clock. And you wonder why the Wizards were blown away.
Defend two guys! I can't defend one!
Also, I've come to the conclusion that Antawn Jamison should not play more than 30 minutes a game. Any longer, and his offensive abilities will suffer, leaving his atrocious defense uncompromised. Jamsion's said that he's feeling fatigued after a summer with Team USA, (a feeling that lots of players on that team have right now; see Miller, Brad and James, LeBron) and as we've discussed, it's not like he's significantly aiding the team when he's out there anyway, at least not as much as Arenas or Butler. Tonight, the speed of the game absolutely killed him, and with Butler's struggles complimenting Jamison at the other forward spot (and Arenas at the point, for that matter), it's no wonder why the Suns were able to get so many open looks from three.
Unforutnately, there's really nothing the Wizards can do but trot out Jamison for 40 minutes at this point. Darius Songaila is on the shelf, Andray Blatche is in the doghouse, and we can all agree that playing Jarvis Hayes at power forward is not a good idea. The Wizards could really use an athletic 3/4 man that leans more to the defensive end. If you have any ideas on who that guy might be, throw them out there. Hopefully, some team will be baited into trading this unidentified guy for Hayes.
Overall, the Suns were who they thought they were, and the Wizards are showing that they've probably always been something we didn't think they were. The Detroit game looms large on Friday.