Close, But No Cigar. A Cigarette Instead.

In the first game since their first back-to-back-to-back of the season the Wizards traveled to Indianapolis to play the Pacers for the second time in the last week. The last time the two teams played, the Wizards gave up a big second half lead and lost by two. Tonight though, it was close until the end as the Wizards lost 93 to 89.

Even though there was no double-digit fourth quarter collapse on the Wizards’ part, there was a lack of execution in the final quarter. “Hero ball” has cursed the Wizards all season, and while it was kept under wraps for most of the game, it reared its ugly head down the stretch. The main culprits being Jordan Crawford — no surprise there — and John Wall, who once again didn’t have a good game.

I wrote about how I believe Ernie Grunfeld’s plan is progressing recently, and I think tonight was a great example of that. This Wizards team is remaining competitive and fighting, just not winning. Ultimately that’s what it’s all about, but winning and learning to win doesn’t just happen with a young team. It takes time, and sometimes having that patience is painful.

Hopefully soon we’ll see the rewards from this gut-wrenching stretch of tough losses.

But now on to the Bullets Points:

  • It was the perfect example of a “rookie game” for Chris Singleton tonight. He came out hot offensively in the first quarter, but the same can’t be said for his defense. At times he looks lost on defense, but fortunately his jump shot seems to be progressing.
  • Jan Vesely made his first jump shot from beyond nine feet. I thought I was seeing things, and then I looked on Twitter and saw that everyone else was as excited and surprised as I was. But Jan made sure we were in for a reality check. He followed that up by air balling his next jump shot.
  • Nene had another double-double tonight. It was his third in five games with the Wizards.
  • It was his first game in Indianapolis since leaving Butler last season for Shelvin Mack. In his return he played 14 minutes and totaled 2 points (1/3 FG), 4 assists, 2 rebounds, and 2 turnovers.
  • Of course, it was also the return of Cartier Martin to the Wizards, and he did not disappoint. Off the bench he drained two 3-pointers, made four of his seven shot attempts, scored 10 points, and played 20 minutes. His defense in the second half was also pretty good on Danny Granger.
  • Jordan Crawford took 10 shots from 3-point range. So, yeah … He made three.
  • Trevor Booker pulled down 11 rebounds tonight. This was his third straight game in which he’s had double-digit rebounds. 11 tonight at Indiana; 12 at Boston; and 14 vs. Atlanta.
  • Tonight’s box score

The effort was there tonight, just like it has been ever since the trade deadline, but effort alone couldn’t win this game, dropping the Wizards to 11-39.

Only 16 games left, and the next one is tomorrow night in Washington against the Philadelphia 76ers (28-22)

See you then.

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