There's nothing like a game against the Miami Heat's junior varsity team to remind you just how shallow this Wizards team is. John Wall has become brilliant, Bradley Beal is going to be a good one and the four veterans (Emeka Okafor, Martell Webster, Nene and Trevor Ariza) are competent.
Beyond that? It gets ugly. Nowhere was this more apparent than in a demoralizing 103-98 loss to a Heat team resting LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem. The Wizards never seized control of the game with their depleted starting unit, then saw their bench of failing recent draft picks fall apart on both ends of the floor in a deplorable early stretch in the fourth quarter. That was enough to seal the deal for Miami.
What a way for the nine-game home winning streak to end.
That first half wasn't exactly a thing to remember. The Wizards came out flat, allowing Miami to jump to an 8-0 lead. Washington eventually rallied back early in the second quarter, but general ineptitude from their reserves prevented them from building a lead. (Chris Singleton? Kevin Seraphin? What was that?). Things improved a bit by the end of the half, and led by the brilliance of Wall (what's new?) and the shooting of Webster, the Wizards clawed their way to a four-point halftime lead.
The third quarter began just as frustratingly. The Heat kept clanking open threes, but the Wizards couldn't take advantage. Wall's improved jumper deserted him and he even got confused a couple times in transition by the Heat's coverages. A Shane Battier three with just over three minutes remaining tied the game at 65, and the Heat managed to stay within 72-69 after three quarters.
And then, the fourth quarter happened.
Just in case you thought the second unit couldn't get any worse, it did. The Heat hit a couple threes, and the Wizards' offense resembled Butler in the 2011 title game. On one play, Garrett Temple beaned Jan Vesely with an easy pass. On another, Kevin Seraphin accepted a double team, moved back to the three-point line and threw it away to Ray Allen. The Heat eventually completed their 14-2 run to take a nine-point lead with just over seven minutes left.
Wall returned and the Wizards finally started to get their act together. The defensive effort picked up and Price got hot, allowing the Wizards to cut Miami's lead to one with just under five minutes left.
But the rally ended when Allen posted up Price, got Wall in the air on the help and kissed the layup off the glass while drawing a foul. After a Wizards turnover, Allen nailed a wing three to put Miami back up seven, and Rashard Lewis followed with another three from the left corner to make it an eight-point game with three minutes left.
That was pretty much it. The Wizards never rallied again.
Just a horrible loss. I have nothing more to say. Well, there's also Martell Webster getting hurt. So, great.