You just really never know which Wizards team is going to show up to play.
After pulling off an upset against the Phoenix Suns last night, the Wizards were in position to finally get over the .500 hump against the lowly Utah Jazz tonight. The only way they were going to lose is if they didn’t show up to play. Well, what do you know?
Washington gained a 13 point advantage in the first half, but quickly squandered the lead. For the most part, it still looked like they were going to sneak out with a win, but once Enes Kanter and Trey Burke got it going, it was all over.
John Wall played one of the worst games of his career tonight, and it was completely related to the lack of effort he brought on the floor. Every player will have a rough game every now and then, but when that happens, it’s important to at least play with effort on both sides of the floor. The bad thing is, John Wall wasn’t aggressive at all and looked like he just wanted the game to be over with. Wall finished with 13 points on 14 shot attempts. Washington is too reliant on John Wall for him to occasionally take nights off. As a leader, and frankly the best player on the team, he needs to show up to play. It’s really that simple. Being outplayed by a rookie point guard is unacceptable at this point of John Wall’s career. He just can’t let that happen, especially since the Jazz have been so bad this season.
Trevor Ariza, Nene, and Marcin Gortat all had decent games, but it wasn’t enough to get the ‘W’. Gortat scored 14 points to go along side 11 rebounds, while Trevor Ariza chipped in 23 of his own points, most of them coming from beyond the 3-point arc. Although Nene had a solid 19 points, his effort on the glass wasn’t all that great. Derrick Favors grabbed 14 boards, and a few of them were key in the fourth quarter against Nene. He’s never been a great rebounding big, so I don’t expect him to compete on the glass with Favors, but it didn’t help Washington’s case tonight.
As long as Washington continues to play down to their opponent, they’ll never get above .500 this season. Don’t get me wrong, Enes Kanter’s 24 points off the bench certainly made a difference tonight, but it shouldn’t have affected the outcome of the game. Utah is one of the worst teams in the NBA, yet the Wizards gave up 104 points tonight. You just can’t allow that to happen and expect to close out the game.
The Wizards aren’t good enough to let teams linger around down the stretch. They had multiple opportunities to extend their lead, but instead they decided to let Utah get back into the game. Losing to teams that you should beat happens sometimes, but it usually doesn’t happen when you play with effort. The Wizards played with zero effort tonight and payed the price.
Washington will play the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday and tonight might’ve been their last real chance at getting above .500 for a long time.