Wizards Miss Crawford’s Steez, Fall to Bulls

Dec 29, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal (3) shoots the ball against Chicago Bulls shooting guard Kirk Hinrich (12) during the first quarter at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Without Jordan Crawford’s steez, the Wizards figured to struggle offensively and they did. The Wizards started hot, shooting 50% in the first quarter, but were incapable of consistently producing good looks and shot 31% for the final three quarters. The effort was there, which was nice to see, but ultimately the offense was not. If you had told me in August that I would be writing about how much the Wizards missed Jordan Crawford on offense, I would have blocked you on Twitter. Alas, this is where the Wizards are.

Now to the Bullets Points:

  • Garrett Temple got the start tonight in place Jordan Crawford, who nursed a tweaked ankle. Temple had an early triple-double alert, which is fitting as he replaced DC’s version of Mr. Triple Double. Temple finished with 8 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists.
  • The Wiz have been notoriously slow starters (and middlers and finishers, I suppose) but came out hot in the first quarter, shooting 50% and going on an early 10-0 run. It was odd to see the team look prepared, especially with Young Steezus on the bench.
  • In the first quarter, Jan Vesely blew an easy lay-in off a great pick and roll opportunity by going up softly. If Jan can’t jam it from outside the restricted area, he may not even be useful once Wall returns.
  • During tonight’s game, Michael Lee of the Washington Post was asked why Chris Singleton replaced Jan in Wittman’s dog house. His response: “Randy always seems to have a spot reserved for someone”.  Singleton did not play for the third time in four games.
  • I must have heard “Rip Hamilton left alone” from Steve Buckhantz at least five times tonight. The point total for Rip doesn’t show it, but he shot wide open jumper after jumper while Beal chased him in a state of confusion. Kyle Weidie of Truthaboutit.net quipped, “Beal had just turned 6 when Rip Hamilton was drafted & was not yet 11 when Rip won title w DET, so I guess doesn’t know enough 2 respect?”
  • When Rip took a seat, Marco Belinelli came on and continued to torch Bradley. Beal couldn’t hang with Belinelli off the dribble, which is alarming.
  • Sticking with Beal – midway through the second, those watching witnessed Bradley Beal’s first sign of emotion. After a hard foul from Belinelli on a drive, Beal stared Belinelli down and chatted back and forth with Joakim Noah while confidently sinking both free throws. The more emotion Bradley shows, the better. Confidence is key right now. At least we can take that from tonight’s game.
  • Emeka Okafor continued to elicit loud yelps from Wizard fans everywhere as he shot 15 footers with glee. He knocked most of them down, garnering quite a hilarious rise out of Steve Buckhantz after drilling two in a row to cap an 11-0 Wizards run in the third.
  • Big Mek also did a tremendous job on the boards tonight. He had 18 rebounds, the most he has pulled down since he recorded 19 in February of 2009. Okafor also recorded 35 minutes tonight, his season high. I can’t tell if Okafor wasn’t in shape earlier in the season, but it’s quite clear he should be playing more than 23 minutes a game.
  • Tonight’s effort from Nene and Okafor is likely exactly what Ernie Grunfeld had in mind when he acquired Okafor. Emeka did the dirtier work, Nene provided the moves in the post and passingm and the two combined for 22 points and 27 boards.
  • Shelvin Mack played well in limited minutes and hit TWO buzzer beaters. Skip Bayless tweeted that Mack has the “clutch gene” and suggested the Wizards trade John Wall. Just kidding, but he probably thought it.
  • Jan Vesely Points/Personal Fouls Watch:.92 pts/pfs. Jan now has 47 points and 51 fouls on the season.
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