The Washington Wizards lost to the Utah Jazz 83-76 for their seventh straight loss to open up the season. The Wizards started with a 15-2 run, but it was basically all Jazz the rest of the way.
The least encouraging part was it was clear that the Jazz were not playing well tonight. They shot 37% from the field and only hit 22% from three. The problem almost entirely stemmed from the Wizards lack of activity on the boards. The Wizards weren’t active on the boards, losing the battle for the glass by 16 rebounds. Even more troubling, they lost the battle for offensive boards by 10.
Wittman seems to be on the hot seat coming out of this game. While there hasn’t been any word from management, the team seems to have lost its focus and he made some questionable rotation calls in the fourth quarter. Wittman can’t control injuries, but he also was brought in as a fundamentals coach. If the Wizards can’t do basic things, like bring energy on the boards and attack closeouts, he may not be around much longer.
- First the good. Jordan Crawford continued playing well, not only scoring in bunches (he finished with 20 points), but also finishing with 8 assists. Ariza was a definite positive, providing relatively efficient volume scoring while having a strong effort on the board. Okafor also led the team in rebounding. Finally, Jan Vesely actually looked pretty decent to start the game, flustering the Jazz big lineup inside. Hopefully, Vesely can still actually become a half decent NBA player.
- Beal looked great finishing at the rim and in transition. He started 3-3 by driving at the rim, including a pretty finish in transition with a defender in front of him. Once he gets more athletic to get by his man, he’s not only going to be a shooter, but a high quality duel threat scorer as well.
- I’m still flummoxed by Kevin Seraphin. There is very little consistency from him on the offensive end. His hook shot is either really on or really off. Tonight was an off night. He’ll get their eventually, but for now, fans need to live through his growing pains.
- This is my first full year as a Wizards fan, so I hadn’t seen Shaun Livingston play before tonight. For all the fans talk, I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary in his play. He took care of the ball and let his teammates do more of the scoring, which is more than Jannero Pargo offered, so I’m still happy.
- Cartier Martin was not on tonight from beyond the arc. I hope Wittman keeps playing him. One bad shooting night does not negate what he offers this team.
- Tip of the hat to: Al Jefferson, for thoroughly dominating the Wizards in the paint and on the boards, and Gordon Hayward, who provided the Jazz the necessary spark to close the gap on the Wizards in the first quarter after that 15-2 run.
Like many other games this season, the trick to staying involved is to forget the scoreboard: just look for progress among the young players. It’s been tough, but things will get better when Wall and Nene get back (or so I’ve been told).