The Wizards shot 16 free throws tonight. The Rockets? 47.
Let that sink in for a moment.
After Trevor Ariza brought the Wizards back from a double-digit deficit in the third quarter, knocking down 7 of his 7 three point shots in that quarter, it looked like Washington was going to complete the comeback. Ariza scored 32 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, and single handedly kept the Wizards in the game. In fact, he set the franchise record for most made 3-point shots and became just the 2nd NBA player in history to make 10 threes and grab 10 rebounds. That’s truly amazing, especially when considering that he made more 3-point shots in a quarter tonight than he did in his first two seasons combined.
John Wall struggled from the field tonight, but he did finish the game with 19 points and 14 assists. He made two crucial free throws with just seconds remaining in the game to give Washington the lead, but that would all become meaningless in just moments. Despite Wall’s heroics down the stretch, Trevor Ariza got called for a foul off the ball, giving James Harden a chance to make a free throw and an extra possession. Needless to say, the referees certainly could’ve went without calling the foul, especially since their were just 4 seconds remaining in the game. Harden, of course, went on to make a game winning uncontested layup. Seraphin missed a turnaround jumpers to win the game in .7 seconds. I’ve honestly never seen that sequence occur in the NBA before tonight. Harden shot just as many free throws than the entire Wizards team did tonight. Granted, Washington settled for plenty of jump shots tonight, but the way Harden exaggerates contact is just disgusting.
It’s tough to focus on the other aspects of the game, including Nene’s offensive contributions, since it was completely tarnished by the ending, at least from the Wizards perspective.
Washington should’ve won tonight, and they should’ve been heading into the All-Star break at .500, but they’ll be 2 games below the mark after tonight’s loss. I don’t want to sound like the game was completely ruined by the sporadically poor officiating, because it wasn’t. Trevor Ariza played out of his mind tonight, and without his ridiculous third quarter explosion the Wizards would’ve probably lost by double-digits.
It was definitely a heart breaking loss for the Wizards. Maybe this will help the Wizards focus more in future contests, helping them instill a sense of urgency right out of the gate, but maybe it won’t. Heart breaking losses happen from time to time, but I’ve never seen anything like tonight.