Who among us has not enjoyed a nice, lazy Sunday morning? Who among us has not occasionally shirked our responsibilities when tired or feeling down? Surely, we should not judge those who fall victim to Sloth from time to time.
On an entirely unrelated note, the Washington Wizards were routed by the New Orleans Pelicans by a score of 125-104 on Wednesday night. Jrue Holiday was superb in leading the Pelicans, who jumped back up to .500 on the season with the win. In his hometown return, Kelly Oubre Jr. recorded a season-high 22 points, along with six rebounds and quite possibly zero passes. It was extremely wavy.
Early on in the game, the Wizards revealed their defensive game-plan: take away Anthony Davis’s offense. They pressured him on lob passes, ran out to him on jumpers and generally helped hard toward whenever possible. Unfortunately for the Wizards, the Pelicans countered with the smart strategy of putting other good players who weren’t Anthony Davis on the court; players like Jrue Holiday. Perhaps as a result of Washington’s focus on the Brow, Holiday started the game shooting six-of-eight from the field and scoring 14 points as the Pelicans jumped out to an early 23-13 lead.
Of course, Davis eventually tallied 28 points and 15 rebounds in his own right, because he’s Anthony Davis. Safe to say the strategy didn’t really work out.
On the other side, Kelly Oubre Jr. enjoyed a strong start as well, scoring 12 first-quarter points including two threes, but the Wizards still trailed 31-24 after the first period.
In the second quarter, Washington’s bench unit continued to show more life than the starters. The New Orleans lead was cut down significantly, and then... disaster. The starters re-entered the game once again and got crushed.
Washington failed to score from about the seven-minute mark to around the two-minute mark, only breaking the streak with a wild shot-clock-buzzer-beating contested three from John Wall. It was an abysmal offensive effort, particularly from Wall and Bradley Beal, who combined for 14 points on four-of-14 shooting in the first half.
Over that time, the Pelicans stretched their lead to 20 points because of aggressive transition offense and dominant rebounding from players like Julius Randle and... Tim Frazier? New Orleans scored 22 fast break points in the first half, shooting eight-of-eight from the field on those possessions.
Randle and Frazier eventually both finished with double-doubles. This was Frazier’s first of the season — he was undoubtedly hunting for some revenge against his former team. The Pelicans ultimately led the Wizards 67-47 at the halfway point.
In the second half, the Wizards finally started putting in some work on both ends. As has become customary, Washington nearly halved the deficit in just a few minutes of play, with each of the starters making at least one basket. But over time, the rally proved to be as fake as usual. Washington never got closer than 11 and trailed by 17 heading into the fourth.
In the fourth, it was more of the same. Scott Brooks left Beal in for the beginning of the quarter to see if he could lead a Wizards run, but New Orleans simply gashed Washington over and over on defense until the lead once again exceeded 20. It never got close again.
Rebounding Troubles Return
The Wizards had done an acceptable job of rebounding since Dwight Howard departed the starting line-up for the second time this season, but that changed significantly against the Pelicans on Wednesday. Washington was outrebounded 64-38 by New Orleans. Seventeen of those Pelican rebounds were on the offensive end, and most of those resulted in uncontested tip-ins and put-backs. There simply wasn’t enough effort from the Wizards tonight on the boards, and with Howard out, they don’t have the size to afford a lack of effort in that area.
Markieff Morris Thrives Again in Bench Role
Despite his, er, unconventional shooting style, Morris had yet another strong game off the bench. Morris hit four of his nine three-point attempts and scored 22 points. He also nearly double-doubled, recording nine rebounds over 32 minutes. Morris has caught fire a bit since his pseudo-demotion to become the engine of the reserve offense, and the Wizards will need him to continue to perform his best in that role.
Where are the Satoransky Minutes?
At the end of the first half, Washington trailed by 20. Yet Tomas Satoransky was a +2 in his eight minutes. Despite Scott Brooks’ frequent claims that he would find Sato minutes at any cost, he simply doesn’t seem to see the court enough. Austin Rivers played significantly more than Satoransky until the game was already out of hand, and Rivers shot one-of-seven on the night. Rivers even got toasted by Frazier on the defensive end a few times, but was never in danger of being pulled. Brooks has spoken quite a bit about making sure Satoransky is on the court, but his actions are speaking louder than those empty words.