So, that was rough.
After a close loss, which the Washington Wizards had plenty of opportunities to win in Game 2, they seemed to have the Pacers right where they wanted them. The series was knotted up at 1-1 and Games 3 and 4 would be played in the nation’s capital at the Verizon Center.
The Wizards got demolished by the Pacers 85-63 and now trail in the series 2-1. I don’t know how, but I’ll try my best to touch on everything that went wrong for Washington.
1) John Wall Played Like A Rookie
This was Wall’s big moment. He made a few foolish mistakes at the end of Game 2 that ultimately cost the Wizards, however he seemed to collect himself and put his focus on this massive Game 3. Instead, John Wall played passive and uninspired. There were multiple opportunities for Wall to attack the basket but instead kicked the ball out needlessly, which led to turnovers and hurried shots due to the shot clock. John Wall may have improved as a shooter this season, however he will still always be an attacking player. There were many times where Wall would avoid contact, that would have sent him to the foul line, and hoisted up running floaters. This has never, nor will it ever be Wall’s game. Just attack and try to get fouls! Hopefully, Wall will study his mistakes and improve and play with more intelligence in Game 4.
2) Avoidable Mistakes
The Wizards have had turnover problems throughout the regular season, however they have limited this number once the playoffs arrived. Well, Washington’s dumb mistakes caught up with them this time around. John Wall, in particular, had a numerous amount of costly turnovers, including one in the third quarter where he just threw the ball behind the half-court line to Drew Gooden. There was no communication tonight, especially with the big men. Gortat and Nene both were out of position on offense multiple times and let the Pacers’ defenders push them around. Along with the turnovers and offensive woes, the Wizards defense was horrendous tonight. There seemed to be no talking on the defensive end as there were multiple backdoor cuts, by Paul George and Roy Hibbert, which the defense lost and allowed easy buckets. Even on Pacers’ missed shots, the rebounding for Washington was atrocious. Especially in the second half, Indiana got second chances routinely and the Wizards never got a chance to get fast-break points.
3) Shooting, Shooting, Shooting
24. The Wizards made 24 total shots out of 73 attempts. The Pacers have been a solid defensive team this season, however that’s no excuse for how putrid the Wizards’ shooting was. Beal, Nene and Gortat combined for 11 for 40 from the field. Ariza started 4 for 5 in the first half and finished 4 for 8. The Wizards have prided themselves on shooting this playoff run, especially from mid-range, and nothing seemed to fall tonight. Along with jump-shots, the woes on the free-throw line have continued for the squad. The Wizards ended up going 11 for 21 from the charity stripe, including important misses in the third quarter which would have kept the game close. At the end of the day, basketball is about whether you put the ball in the basket and the Wizards failed to do so tonight.
Always Look On The Bright Side of Life
-As horrendous as the Wizards played tonight, they were still close midway through the third quarter.
-I don’t think it’s possible for the Wizards to shoot so poorly in Game 4, even if they are blindfolded.
-This is a golden chance for John Wall to blame his struggles on that beard and get rid of it.
-Nene will make his midrange jumper next game.
-Randy Wittman still has a 62.5% winning percentage in the Playoffs, one of the best in NBA history…take that for what it’s worth.
-This is Washington’s first bad game of the NBA playoffs. It happens, everyone has off nights. It just so happened that the entire team had one at the same time. Game Four will prove if the Wizards have the mettle and toughness to overcome a tough situation.
-John Wall will play all out Game Four. I have a feeling that we’ll see the Wall we’ve been waiting for this entire series. And, there’s nothing better than All-Star Wall.
Washington will be back at it on Sunday night in a must-win game against Indiana.