For the entire first half, I thought I would be giving the MVP to Bradley Beal as he seemed to be finding his stroke on the floor. But then Jordan Crawford decided to come out of the halftime break guns blazing. He was up to his usual antics: sinking contested threes, making absurdly difficult passes and spinning around enough to make an Olympic gymnast puke. Did I mention he managed to grab a triple double with 27 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds, too?
Love him or hate him, Crawford is probably the only player in the league I will give the “MVP” to on 10/22 shooting. His bad shots just don’t outweigh the number of times that he’s sunk the same shot before. When the guy gets hot, he gets blazing. With the Wizards being a team whose only consistency is losing, Crawford is a pretty close second.
Emeka Okafor: I detailed his night a little more in tonight’s “The Ugly” section, but here is his stat line for the night. He ended the night going 3/9 for six points, two rebounds and one assist in 26 minutes.
Al Horford: Horford had a pretty horrendous shooting night and was a nonfactor on the offensive end scoring only five points. However, he did manage to rack up 11 rebounds and set up his teammates with six assists. He managed all of these feats in a very quiet fashion as I didn’t even realize he was playing until he made his second field goal in the fourth quarter. All in all, it was not a great night for the starting big men in tonight’s matchup.
Free Throw Shooting. The Wizards went a perfect 10-10 in the first half at the charity stripe and is what ultimately kept them in the game at the half. They did miss four free throws in the second half, however, which I’m sure Nene, Beal and Martin would love to have back and not have sent this game into overtime. But on a 3-19 season, there’s got to be some positive, right?
Turnovers. Washington turned the ball over 14 times for 16 Atlanta Hawks points. While they kept the number of points off turnovers down to a manageable amount, they let the Hawks gain momentum as many of the points come consecutively.
Actually, now that I think about it, the fast break defense was pretty poor on Washington’s part as well. They allowed 17 fast-break points and made themselves look bad by not getting back down the court. Nene came from behind and blocked an attempt on one fast break but no one was behind him to get the board, and Josh Smith picked the ball back up and put it in.
I’m usually quick to defend the Wizards’ effort level even when the final outcome is not a win, but this team was sleeping on the defensive end tonight on some plays that could have very easily been stopped if not at least bothered.
He made it too easy tonight, so the ugly goes to Emeka Okafor. You know you’re not playing well when Randy Wittman decides to throw Earl Barron in halfway through the second quarter. He’s shown zero improvement over the season with this team and pretty soon, you’ll be able to officially call him a bust(if you haven’t already). While getting more playing time in the third quarter, Wittman showed his frustration with Okafor by yanking him out just minutes into the quarter after a turnover. How Seraphin does not get the start is still something I have yet to understand.
By the end of the game, Earl Barron managed to pull 14 boards down, and even with a 2/10 night from the field, I would feel much more confident seeing Barron in than Okafor any day of the week.