We’re still waiting for the midseason turnaround, but game after game the Wizards seem to get their hearts ripped out. Whether it’s a huge comeback, a blown lead, late misses or late blown assignments on defense, the Wizards always seem to beat themselves.
On Wednesday against the Celtics, it seemed like every thing that could’ve went wrong did. 35 points, 13 assists and 6 rebounds from John Wall weren’t enough. Instead, by the end of the night, it was Kyrie Irving getting MVP chants in Capital One Arena.
Whether it was the Celtics getting a tip in after an incredible block from Wall on Marcus Morris or that same Morris twin getting a putback to push the Celtics’ lead to three late, the Wizards never seemed to be able to take control — even when they were up by 11 in the first half. Their biggest break was Bradley Beal’s game-tying layup late, but that just forced overtime. They needed to be in position to win.
“We were frustrated. I thought we played hard. I thought we played hard enough to win,” Scott Brooks said after Wednesday’s crushing loss. That always seems to be the case with these Wizards. So close, but not good enough.
The Wizards can do spectacular things. They’ve shown us that. They’ve got the talent to be great. But they miss on all the little things that the Celtics get right. And that’s why this team will never be as good.
Rebounding is dooming the Wizards
The team is dead last in defensive rebounding percentage and the results from Wednesday night won’t change that. This team can’t rebound and if you can’t close out possessions then you won’t win games.
Giving even a middle-of-the-pack offensive team like the Celtics extra chances in today’s NBA is a death sentence. It equals either a putback at the rim or a wide open three. The Wizards were only outrebounded by nine, but allowed 14 offensive rebounds to the Celtics including two crucial ones late. That’s never going to be a winning formula.
Kelly Oubre is getting better
If there’s a silver lining in this, it’s that the Wizards had quite a few good offensive performances from key guys — Kelly Oubre might be the most notable one. He went 3-of-8 from deep and scored 20 points off the bench.
He probably won’t ever be a good shooter — at least not here. But he has to at least present a threat on the perimeter to make defenses think. He’s had a solid couple of weeks shooting the ball from deep. We know he’s a streaky shooter, but hopefully this can continue.
No Satoransky late
Scott Brooks went away from Tomas Satoransky late in the game, opting to go with Oubre, Jeff Green and Morris in his frontcourt to go along with Wall and Beal. It’s an odd decision — especially given how effective Satoranksy has been over the last few weeks alongside Wall and Beal.
We can’t necessarily blame Brooks for going with Oubre and Green late — they both made plays. But Morris was a complete non-factor for most of the night. He’s one of the veterans on the team Brooks trusts, but that bit them tonight. They had no rim protection and Morris was also taken advantage of on perimeter switches.
I don’t know how much Satoransky would’ve helped, but the Celtics went extremely small late. Satoransky wouldn’t have been out of place. Hopefully, he plays a bit more next game.