The Wizards couldn’t string two in a row together against a team led by a player who could have donned the red, white, and blue this season. James Harden saddened Wizards fans everywhere with a strong performance, but the real reason for the loss was poor offensive execution due to little play-making efforts from the offense initiator.
The Bullets Points:
- James Harden came out and cooked the Wizards so perfectly you would think he was a chef. Harden equaled the Wizards’ 17 in the first quarter and forced Wizards Twitter into a general meltdown, as Michael Lee of the Washington Post reported early this morning that Mr. Grunfeld turned down a deal for Harden involving Bradley Beal and Chris Singleton.
- The general amount of disgust on Twitter following the first quarter was quite staggering. Even though I have been a casual defender of Grunfeld, I couldn’t help but pile it on. Harden eventually cooled down, but still finished the game with 31 points on 50% shooting.
- Chris Singleton, whom Randy Wittman is trying to turn into a stretch four, went scoreless and missed all seven of his shots.
- The Wiz went to Houston’s own Emeka Okafor early and often and he was surprisingly efficient. He didn’t get to the line much, but didn’t force the ball and went away from the free throw line jumper he has been hitting a cool 33% of the time.
- Expanding on that, Okafor had his best scoring output (19) since February 6th. He hasn’t scored over 20 points since December of 2010.
- Early on, Nene operated as a bizzaro-Okafor, forcing drives to the paint that weren’t there then hanging his head in disappointment. Being the stalwart he is, he got it together and had a solid game, getting to the line, grabbing rebounds, and facilitating.
- The Rockets simply beat the Wizards down the court and scored at least three easy buckets off immediate outlet passes off missed shots. You may remember Patrick Patterson’s monstrous split-legged dunk, which came off such a pass.
- Bradley Beal led the team in points with 20 and also contributed six assists and four rebounds, but was largely overshadowed by the fact that he could have been turned into James Harden and wasn’t.
- Beal and Jordan Crawford played 77 minutes and shot 12-33. If JC isn’t distributing and knocking down 3’s (3-9), this team cannot win. There aren’t enough individual scorers to make up for no playmaking. It might make sense to start running every set through Nene at the high post.
- Jan Vesely didn’t play. At what point does it make sense to let him go to the D-League?
- Tonight’s box score