Have you ever been called into work at a weird hour? How did you respond? Well, there's only two ways you can handle such a situation, either you'll show up with an extra pep in your step, because you enjoy the change in routine, or you'll come in with a super grumpy attitude, because work is messing with your rhythm again.
In Wizards' 109-86 loss to the Kings, they made it clear they're not the type who likes changes in their routine. Considering the team's roster is mostly filled with veterans who like their toast medium-brown, their orange juice with extra pulp, and their game to start PROMPTLY at 7:10€, it shouldn't be surprising that they showed up to work less jumpy and more grumpy than their Sacramento counterparts.
For the first half, the Wizards were able to mask their malaise with some assertive playmaking from the team's youngest player, Bradley Beal, and the unconscionable shooting of Drew Gooden, the team's youngest player at heart (he finished with 13 shots in 23 minutes for some reason). But when the second half rolled around, it was clear the Wizards weren't going to work extra-hard in the second half to make up for taking it easy early. They were just waiting for the final horn to blow.
In the NBA, games like this happen sometimes. The only shame is that it had to come against the Kings in a game that would have been niceIf you're looking for a silver lining, the good news is the Wizards should come back with a more concerted effort on Monday night against the Warriors.
Here's what else we noticed tonight:
Beal comes through with another fiery first half
For the second straight game, the Wizards made a concerted effort to get Beal engaged early, and he responded with 17 points on 7-10 shooting, 3 assists and 2 rebounds in the first half. Like Friday night, things dried up for Beal in the second half. He only scored 2 points after halftime, though that was partly because the game got out of hand so quickly in the second half. But unlike Friday, we're not too upset about Beal's dropoff in the second half tonight, because the process was much better tonight.
Friday against the Clippers, Beal was effective because he was hitting the bad shots he usually misses. Tonight he got it done by getting to the rim, like he did so effectively in the playoffs last season. Granted, part of Beal's success was Sacramento's lackluster defense, but it was still encouraging to see Beal avoid getting lulled into bad habits in a game where many of the Wizards' bad habits were on display.
Gortat fails to make Kings pay for going small
In today's preview, we talked about how playing big with DeMarcus Cousins could be a good thing for the Wizards, because it's harder for the Kings to go small, where the Wizards struggle. But the Kings found an interesting wrinkle that still found a way to exploit the Wizards' size issues. The Kings wound up switching DeMarcus Cousins onto Nene, leaving Rudy Gay on Marcin Gortat. Problem was, Gortat couldn't exploit the size mismatch, because he's just not an effective option in the low block, regardless of who he is trying to back down. It will be interesting to see if more teams will try to switch smaller, more nimble guys onto Gortat who can cut off pick and roll lanes and force Gortat into more post ups.
Paul Pierce made a little girl cry
Paul, we realize you were upset here and you probably didn't realize there was a little girl down there, but this is just a bad look.