On a night when another Gilbert Arenas story took front and center the Wizards put on a stinker at Energy Solutions Arena in Utah. I can remember two other instances this year where Arenas news has been announced before a game. January 6th vs the Cavaliers, which was the day Gil got suspended and February 1st vs the Celtics when the media room and pregame chatter was all about Arenas and his op-ed titled Learning to be a better role model. In both cases the Wizards were playing teams that were better than them and in both instances they lost. On Monday night the Wizards were facing the same type of odds. Utah came into the game a full 21 games better than Washington who was looking to break a seven game losing streak. Washington improved from the last game against the Magic by playing for the first 22 minutes against Utah. Shortly following a Shaun Livingston put back at the 1:24 mark of the 2nd quarter the Wizards imploded allowing the Jazz to go on a run to open up a 14 point lead at the half.
In the second half, the Jazz came out and scored the first four points, causing Saunders to call a timeout 1 minute into the 3rd quarter. I don't think you'd be going out on a limb to say the team probably didn't execute the game plan that was discussed in the locker room. The Jazz proceeded to pull away from Washington and for all purposes ended it with about 8:50 to go in the 3rd. Following 4 failed shot attempts in transition by the Wizards, Utah's Deron Williams countered dropping a gorgeous between the legs bounce pass to Mehmet Okur who drained a 3 pointer. What followed was bad shots by the Wiz, bad defense, a couple of three point plays and next thing you know they were down by 30. Broken record, same old same old, same thing different day, groundhog day, tell me if you've heard it...we've used up all the sayings to describe this team throughout the year.We're at the point in the season where we are used to talking about the important aspect of the game that Washington failed to execute on.
Tonight it was shooting and effort. In order to have even a remote chance to compete with the Jazz you have to shoot above 37%. Further, if you don't box out, provide help defense or simply compete, what happened tonight is going to happen on most nights in the NBA.That's why Washington is a 21 win team. There was one play however that stuck out in my mind. Following a dunk to cut the lead to 22, Andray Blatche decided it was a good time to talk some smack. So he did and received a technical foul for it. On his way back down the court, ComcastSportsNet cut to Flip Saunders who could be seen mouthing something to the extent of "be smart, your down by 20."
[/caption] Andray has to know, he absolutely has to know that any attempt to get into a verbal war with a team that is just dismantling you is absurd and shows immaturity. You could hear the crowd jeering him and they had every right to. It was actually a bit embarrassing from a fan standpoint. You are a 21 win team getting blown out by 22 and you want to talk trash? This was one of those games that ages a coach and you could tell that it wore on Saunders. Usually when your coach has a look on his face like the picture below things are not going too well. [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="450" caption="When will it end?"]
[/caption] If I had the chance I might have told Flip, don't worry coach only 17 more of these things to go. At least the rest of us Wizards fans can put the season on auto pilot as we get to watch March Madness and all of our potential draft picks play meaningful games.
Flip doesn't have that luxury.
- Joe Glorioso Wizards Extreme ComcastSportsNet Highlights