You're all aware of the stats. The Wizards have been an abysmal 4-10 since the start of February, and an even worse 4-12 ever since Garrett Temple reunited with prom date Candice Wiggins. The offense has bottomed out, and the defense has stagnated. There has been serious noise about firing Randy Wittman. PR gaffes have been made. Dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria! Someone needs to take Washington on a bowling trip, immediately.
Yes, that's right. Randy Wittman needs to take a page out of David Blatt's playbook and get these players into some of those funky clown shoes. David Blatt famously canceled practice and took the Cavaliers bowling after a rough start to the season. Pre-bowling, the Cavs were struggling mightily at 19-20. Since that fateful trip the Cavs have gone on a 21-5 tear towards the top of the Eastern Conference. The Wizards need to get themselves some of that Bowling mojo ASAP to save their season and become the contenders we all know they can still be.
Today's Summation is gonna be a good one you guys. We goin' bowling. pic.twitter.com/gKMyiSxNSQ— Bobby Steele (@BobbySteeleBF) March 8, 2015
Predictions: I have a distinct feeling that Drew Gooden would be the strongest bowler on the team. Something about that beard with no hair combination makes me think he's spent more than his fair share of time in the lanes. Naturally, Paul Pierce's competitive drive would push him to give Gooden a run for his money. But at the end of the day DG3 has got the W on lock. Nene would probably be pretty miserable at bowling, but would heave his inevitable gutter balls faster than everyone else in that trademark Brazilian blind rage mode he so often gets into.
If Wittman doesn't want to completely copy Blatt's brilliant recreational therapy idea, there are plenty of other options to choose from as well:
Who doesn't love paintball? Talk about a great way to work out your aggression. The image of G-Wiz strapping on goggles and wielding a paint gun is worth the trip in itself.
Predictions: Ramon Sessions would dominate. Being the shortest player on the team has it's advantages in this situation. He would easily pick-off the larger big men such as Gortat and Seraphin whose enormous frames would be sitting ducks crouched behind small hay stacks and barrels (or whatever it is they put on paintball courses). Sessions also has the added benefit of not having much of a history with his teammates yet, so he would feel no remorse in mowing down his lesser opponents. Otto Porter would get completely owned in this hypothetical paintball match. Let's face it, the kid's too nice to have the blood lust it takes to compete in a cut-throat game such as paintball.
This could be the perfect sort of zen activity that could bring a team together. Heck it kinda worked for Paul George and the Pacers last year, why not us? Once again, G-Wiz in a fishing outfit. Just think about it.
Predictions: Marcin Gortat almost immediately gets bored and decides it would be better to get in the water and catch the fish with his bare hands. He would insist it's easier this way. Garrett Temple would catch the most fish, because that dude is seriously zen or whatever. Kevin Seraphin would catch one fish pretty early on, but spend the rest of the time on the lake uploading photos to twitter of said fish. Randy Wittman would insist that Bradley Beal isn't catching enough fish due to "lack of effort".
This one is kind of an outside shot, but has the potential to be the most beneficial. Cotton candy, funnel cake, and overpriced beer can lead to some good ol' fashion team bonding moments.
Predictions: Paul Pierce immediately seeks out 3-point shooting side show game. Sets records and wins multiple 6-foot tall stuffed animals, carries them around for remainder of day to let everyone know who's boss. Dejuan Blair reveals fear of roller coasters, sits on bench at exit for every ride waiting for rest of team to finish. When asked if he feels left out he'll say "it's just like game day!" Drew Gooden meets the bearded lady and is unimpressed. G-Wiz feels right at home and makes friends with several of the carnival mascots. Gets recruited by Carnival owner and is whisked away to the extravagant lifestyle of a side show mascot. It would be unfortunate but it's a risk I'm willing to take for the sake of this team.
Hopefully Randy Wittman and Ted Leonsis read this article and decide to give one of these options a whirl. It's potentially a quick fix and it's a heck of a lot cheaper than you know... signing a player to fill that 15th roster spot or uh... getting a new coach. *Ahem*
It's time to go bowling Randy.
Photo credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Before I get into Temple's week, I would like to point something out to everyone. Was everyone aware that Garrett Temple's middle name is Bartholomew? Garrett. Bartholomew. Temple. I have found a whole new respect for him. Ahem... back to the analysis.
Although he had a very forgettable outing against the Bulls, Temple finished the week nicely and saw increased minutes in the Heat and Bucks games. He's shot 4-7 from long range since the Detroit game and scored 11 points last night against the Bucks. Neither of those stats are blowing anyone away, but the real impact Temple has on the floor has always been his defense. Temple is one of the Wizards best defenders (for better or worse) so when he isn't being a liability on offense he's actually a very solid player to have coming off of your bench. So while his small offensive successes may not be that impressive, they are necessary to warrant his expanded minutes recently. Let's hope that Temple can continue this, lord knows we need the boost for this stagnant bench.
Photo credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
Webster has officially been demoted to "Dejuan Blair" status on the bench. This week he saw a total of two minutes of action, only coming in for the tail ends of the second and fourth quarters Saturday against the Bucks. In those two minutes his stat line was just a row of goose eggs. In fact Webster hasn't recorded a single stat since the Philly game 9 days ago. His stat line that night: 1 rebound and 0 EVERYTHING ELSE. It's a shame that he can't crack the rotation because if he was even a shadow of his former self his three-point shooting could be very beneficial. Alas, he is doomed to the fate of bench warmer hype man. It's a role he could thrive in. If he plays his cards right he could join the hype man hall of fame alongside Warriors era Kent Bazemore and Lakers staple Robert Sacre. Make it happen Martell.
Photo credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
Coming into Tuesday's game against the Chicago Bulls the Wizards had a small amount of momentum. They had finally snapped their 6-game losing streak by defeating the Detroit Pistons on Saturday 99-95. The hope was that they could capitalize on this momentum by beating a shorthanded Bulls squad to gain some ground in the East. Unfortunately, there are no gimme games for the Wizards anymore.
Just so everyone remembers the context here: Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, and Taj Gibson were all out of this game due to various injuries. When a team is without it's best player (Butler), it's leader (Rose), and it's sixth man (Gibson) then that team shouldn't stand a chance. The heart and soul of that squad was sitting on the bench. However in a testament to either the depth of their roster or the incompetency of Washington basketball right now, the Bulls still came out with the win. Despite missing the entirety of their starting backcourt, the frountcourt of Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol both stepped up and notched double-doubles (14 and 12, 20 and 10 respectively). But the real heroes for the Bulls were Aaron Brooks and Nikola Mirotic. Aaron Brooks seems to always look very comfortable getting the start at PG, and had a field day with the suddenly terrible Wizards D by notching 22 points and 8 assists. Mirotic was the high scorer that night with 23 points to go with his 8 rebounds, but what was most impressive was his ability to get to the line 11 times in the contest. This Bulls roster is deep and I think many Wizards fans are kidding themselves when they say they want Chicago in the first round.
On the Wizards side of the ball, most of the starting unit played well. John Wall got 21 points and 11 assists and Paul Pierce was hot from three, going 4-6 overall. Nene on the other hand had a miserable game. He got into foul trouble early, and never got a rhythm going. His stat line in 20 minutes of play was... depressing. 6 rebounds and a big fat goose egg in the points column. You can't place this loss solely on Nene, but even just a little bit of productivity from him and this game could have very easily been a W. It's especially disappointing after Nene stoked the flames of the Bulls-Wizards rivalry in preparation for Tuesday's game. Read our recap here.
BONUS: Read Blog-A-Bull's recap here. Those guys really hate us, ESPECIALLY Nene.
Photo credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Friday night's game was a nail biter for all of the wrong reasons. Once again, the Wizards faced a team who was without it's stars. Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, and Luol Deng were all out for the Miami Heat. This time, at least the Wizards came out swinging. The Wizards put up a season-high 40 points in the 1st quarter, a season-high 67 points in first half, and a season-high 28 point lead at halftime. Surely, the Wizards wouldn't blow this one right?
Well.. that's kind of right. After building the lead to as high as 35 points with 7 minutes left in the 3rd, the Wizards had a complete meltdown. In those remaining 7 minutes, the Heat outscored the Wiz 25-5 bringing the score to 88-73. The 4th quarter was no better, as the Wizards were held to 11 points. With 5 seconds remaining in the 4th the lead had been miraculously whittled down to a single point. Henry Walker had an open look from three to take the lead but just couldn't drop it in. Beal was sent to the foul line on the ensuing possession, only making one. With 1.3 seconds left on the clock the Heat trusted Michael Beasley to take the final shot. Inexplicably, he did this:
If Beasley hadn't have had a brain fart at that crucial moment, the Heat would have completed the second largest comeback in league history. The Wizards should have lost this game, and that embarrassing second half of basketball is becoming all too common in Washington. Read the recap here.
Photo credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Saturday night's game against the Bucks had quite a bit riding on the outcome. The Bucks were a mere 2.5 games behind the Wizards in the standings and were looking like a lock to seize control of the 5-seed. The first half was a forgettable one for Washington. Poor shooting and way too many turnovers put them in a 12-point hole going into the half. Shockingly, the Wizards didn't implode in the second half. Despite going down as much as 17 points in the 3rd, the Wizards managed to cut the lead to 2 by the end of the quarter. The 4th was a very exciting quarter of basketball, and the Wizards even had the lead with a minute and a half remaining. Unfortunately, Khris "Wiz Killer" Middleton knocked down a clutch three (he was an animal from long range all night, 6-9) and the Bucks never looked back. Milwaukee is now breathing down our necks in the standings and the Wizards don't seem to be able to do anything about it. Read the recap here.
This coming week will be another light week for Washington. They will be staying very close to home with an away game against Charlotte and two home games against Memphis and Sacramento. None of these games are back-to-backs so if there was ever a week to get their mojo back this would be it. God help the Wizards if they don't, the regular season is winding down and an unceremonious first-round exit is seeming more and more likely for the Wiz.
Photo credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
The Hornets have always been a very tough match up for the Wizards. Charlotte has a 4-game winning streak against Washington spanning back to over a year ago. Charlotte has had a very up and down season thus far, but currently holds the 7-seed in the East with a 27-33 record. The loss of Kemba Walker was devastating for them but it seems as though he will be game-ready well before playoff time. They are currently 5-5 in their last ten games but are riding a 4-game winning streak including convincing wins over Brooklyn and Toronto. They're a streaky team however, so perhaps the Wizards can catch them on the down-swing. Charlotte will be on the second part of back-to-back games after playing the Pistons the night before, so fatigue could be a factor. Unfortunately I don't see the Wizards breaking the curse on the road, as they have a frightening 13-17 record when playing away from the Phone Booth. Let's all hope I'm wrong.
Photo credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports
The Wizards will enjoy another break on Tuesday and Wednesday before welcoming the Memphis Grizzlies into the Verizon Center on Thursday night. The Grizzlies are sneakily one of the best teams in the league, sitting in the 2-seed in the West despite almost zero national media attention. Since the game will be broadcast on TNT, Thursday night will give them the opportunity to make a statement in front of a national audience. Marcin Gortat and Nene will have the daunting task of matching-up against an elite frontcourt in Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. Those match-ups will be key, if one of those players has a big game it's tough to see the Wizards making it up with perimeter shooting. Call me crazy, but I think the Wizards show up for this one. They are still a strong team at home with a 22-10 record, and John Wall loves the bright lights of national television. I see the Wizards pulling an upset in what will certainly be a low-scoring affair.
Photo credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports
Saturday's match-up against Sacramento will be another nationally-televised match-up. Although the ratings are significantly smaller for NBATV as opposed to TNT, the stakes are there all the same. The beginning of George Karl's tenure as head coach has been rocky with a 3-5 record. The return of DeMarcus Cousins certainly makes them a stronger unit but the Kings are having a rough time staying relevant. Luckily with a 21-39 record, they are most definitely out of the playoff race so there is no rush for George Karl to turn the ship around anytime soon. One thing to look for is the awkward return of Andre Miller. Fortunately, Miller seems to be very comfortable with his new team and happy to be back in his old stomping grounds of Sacramento. It will be interesting to see if he brings a little extra to the point-guard battle between himself and new Wizards guard Ramon Sessions. As long as the big men can keep DeMarcus Cousins from doing too much damage, Washington should be able to walk away with a win.
In Case You Missed It:
For those of you who live under a rock, here's Otto's bizarre defensive gaffe from the Bulls game.
And here's what the motion tracking camera's saw, which somehow makes it worse.
John Wall is on track to break the Wizards single-season record for assists
Drew Gooden capped off Washington's 40-point quarter with this emphatic put-back slam
Between the legs OPTIMUS DIIIIME!
Randy Wittman didn't fare well on the Dads Matrix
Comment of the Week:
Very well said KappakidToo, very well said.