Besides the Oklahoma City Thunder loss which also occurred in overtime, the Wizards lost in a most disappointing fashion last night to the Cleveland Cavaliers at home. While watching the game, I find that it’s pretty hard to comprehend the events which happen prior to the final buzzer. There were sequences in last night’s game that I’ve never seen happen in professional basketball. For instance, Bradley Beal stole the ball in the fourth quarter, but slipped and fell causing a turnover on what would’ve been the most elementary 2 on 1 fast break bucket possible. That is why I’m writing this to remind you: The Wizards might be down, but they’re not yet out.
Losing games on the road to championship contenders like the Wizards did this past week is excusable, but losing at home to sub par teams such as the Cavaliers is truly unacceptable. Even though the obstacle the Wizards must get through to overcome their early woes may seem devastating, when you truly look into their issues, their problems are easily fixable. Washington has struggled defensively this season and much of the fan base has blamed head coach Randy Wittman for that exact issue, but at times the Wizards have looked exceptional defensively, especially in the first half of last night’s game against Cleveland. At the end of the day, basketball is just basketball. The X’s and O’s obviously matter, but the Wizards have constantly brought up their lack of focus and grit after games which should’ve resulted in wins. I might be in the minority, but I honestly think that might be an easy problem to fix. If the Wizards had played tighter defense down the stretch, or didn’t lose the ball in transition like Beal did last night, the bad outcomes could’ve undoubtedly turned into W’s.
The Wizards are better than their record indicates and they’ve proven that by consistently competing each and every night. The problem is, they must do a better job competing for the full 48 minutes instead of just 3 1/2 quarters like we’ve become used to seeing this season. As the leader of the team John Wall has to do a better job leading his team when closing games, because at the end of the day, that’s what he’s essentially paid to do. We’ve seen Wall do it before and I’m sure he could will he team to victory once again.
It might seem like the time to do so, but don’t push the panic button this early on in the season. I’m as critical of this team as anybody, but I’m not willing to wave the white flag 9 games into the season. Do the Wizards have issues? Sure. But I’m not convinced they don’t have the personnel to fix the problems before it becomes too late. Washington has lost 2 overtime games which could’ve easily resulted in wins. Every team goes through rough stretches in the season and the Wizards are enduring their own right now.
They’ll have a chance at redemption on Tuesday against the much improved Minnesota Timberwolves at home. As much as we’re disappointed, I can assure you that the season is not over just yet. Washington is not alone at the bottom of the standings and they have the talent to turn it around as we’ve seen in the past.