Russell Westbrook is a champion in life. But he and the Washington Wizards (17-30) proved to be chumps once again in a 120-91 loss to the Detroit Pistons (14-34).
A lot of you criticized since I gave Stephen A. Smith the light of day twice this week with two pieces where he criticized D.C.’s point god (pun intended). That’s fair, since every piece on here has my indirect or direct approval. While I wouldn’t have been surprised to see the Wizards lose tonight, even if Detroit was on the second night of a back to back, I was surprised to see them blown out by the second quarter.
First of all, how the hell does a team go TWO OF ELEVEN from the free throw line in the first three quarters of a game? While the free throw disparity alone wasn’t going to change the outcome of this game, it still looks really poor that a team is shooting at Shaquille O’Neal levels from the charity stripe for an extended length of time!
Next, Westbrook had another triple double (16 points, 12 assists, 11 rebounds) in another loss which felt like empty calories when one eats a 400-calorie 7-Eleven apple pie for breakfast. Like a triple double, a 7-Eleven apple pie tastes good. But a Westbrook triple double for the Wizards still ends up doing no good, just like a 7-Eleven apple pie is no good for your body.
I just don’t know how he does it. He shot efficiently (7-of-16 overall), gets teammates to score off his passes, etc., but the team still can’t win.
To be fair to Westbrook, I don’t think he played terribly (aside from his 9 turnovers), but this type of performance will certainly feed into Stephen A. Smith’s narrative for ESPN’s First Take tomorrow. Mark my words on that one!
This game was effectively over in the first half with Detroit having a 63-44 lead and maintaining that for the second half.
Josh Jackson led the Pistons with 31 points. For the Wizards, Westbrook still had his triple double with Alex Len adding 14 points and Robin Lopez added 14 more off the bench.
Bradley Beal missed tonight’s game for the Wizards, but I don’t think his presence would have done much considering how poor things have gone tonight.
Before I finish this recap, where I don’t have many nice things to say, here’s the most alarming stat:
SIX OF NINETEEN. IN THE FREE THROW DEPARTMENT. THEIR BEST PERFORMANCE FROM THE FREE THROW LINE TONIGHT WAS THE LAST QUARTER WHEN THEY WENT .... FOUR OF EIGHT!!!!
In the words of Steve Buckhantz? Un — beee- lieeeeeev - able....
HOW DO HIGH SCHOOL OR COLLEGE TEAMS, LET ALONE NBA TEAMS SHOOT UNDER ONE THIRD FROM THE CHARITY STRIPE!?!!???????? NO TEAM SHOULD BE AT THAT LEVEL, EVEN ON A BAD DAY FROM THE FREE THROW LINE!!!!!!!!!!!!
Washington will head back home this Saturday to face the Dallas Mavericks. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. ET. Until then, I know it’s not gonna happen. But I’ll put my pipe dream out there: