The season turnaround some Wizards fans are looking for didn’t start here. If this game was indicative of anything, it’s that this team just probably doesn’t work anymore. They were completely outplayed and outclassed by the Nets from early on.
They gave up 43 second quarter points to Brooklyn and 70 overall in the first half. The Nets continued to lay it on to start the third quarter, scoring the first seven points. But the Wizards clawed back and cut the lead to four with just under four minutes left to go, reeling you back in just in time for one of their patented hollow comebacks where they out-talent themselves back into the game by giving a minimal amount of effort.
But the Nets eventually pushed their cushion back up to 16 and the Wizards never really threatened again. Bradley Beal scored 31 points and dished off nine assists to go along with John Wall gave 17 points and 12 assists, but it wasn’t enough. The team shot well and hovered around a 50% field goal percentage throughout the night, but they just couldn’t defend. And that, ladies and gentlemen, has been the theme all season long.
The defense is just putrid all around
Inside. Outside. On the catch, Off the dribble. In transition. They just can’t keep anyone in front of them. Even when the Nets would go on scoring droughts and the Wizards would cut their leads down to single digits, they couldn’t get stops consistently enough to make things work.
This is a team issue from John Wall complaining to officials about foul calls and jogging back in transition on defense to Markieff Morris not even thinking about contesting at the rim to blown switches from Kelly Oubre and Bradley Beal, this team just stinks at defending.
How do they solve the issue? I have no idea. It won’t be easy, but if they’re going to salvage this season they’ll have to do it.
Rebounding wins games
That’s why the Wizards don’t. They were crushed on the glass once again by a Nets team that stayed solid all game long. They were outrebounded 46 to 25 by Brooklyn with not a single player on the roster registering more than six rebounds.
You want to help your defense? Close out defensive possessions. There was a possession near the end of the third quarter, after a Spencer Dinwiddie lay up, where the Nets got four extra possessions after a steal because of offensive rebounds. They didn’t ultimately score, but that’s the kind of effort that changes games. The Wizards gave up on the glass — no one found a man. No one boxed out. Luckily, the ball was tipped out to Sam Dekker by the Nets and the Wizards won possession back. But you can’t survive like that.
The Wizards need to pick a direction
Because this isn’t working. This team has one of the highest payrolls in the league and are now 11th in the Eastern Conference. They’re only a few games out of the 8th seed in the East, but that’s unacceptable. This team should be better. They’re not though, and something has to change.
I don’t know if someone is getting fired or if there will be a major trade or what awaits around the corner — I just know it’s something. No one knows what direction this team is going in, but it’s pretty obvious it’s the wrong one. They’ve got three max salary players on a roster with nothing to show for it.
They’ve been punched in the mouth by the Brooklyn Nets twice, Cleveland Cavaliers, the Sacramento Kings, and the Orlando Magic. Those are supposed to be the bottom feeders, but the roles here are reversed.
Something has to give. I don’t know what, but it just does. Because this ain’t good enough.