With Randy Wittman’s punishment still hovering over #TeamCinammon - Nick Young and JaVale McGee, it was up to John Wall to pick up the pieces offensively for the Wizards.
Wall did just that, pouring in 33 points on 52 percent shooting along with four assists, nearly matching his season high in scoring.
Unfortunately, his valiant efforts weren’t enough to help the Wizards overcome a 17-point first half deficit against the Orlando Magic, as the Wizards dropped their sixth consecutive game, losing 102-95.
Last night featured much of the usual in a Wizards game: a slow start, a lot of missed shots, Jordan Crawford going lights out, Jordan Crawford returning to being Jordan Crawford, Jan Vesely’s sore tailbone from sitting on the bench.
Side note: Vesely has been getting the playing time of a sixth pick…in the SECOND round rather than the first. With only 14 total minutes of playing time over the past four games, we can only assume this is part of coach Wittman’s methodical plan of only playing the deserved ones.
That’s about as much of a game recap I’m going to give you.
The fact is, the Wizards lost to a team we expected them to lose to. The few positives we can take out of the game are obvious: John Wall looking like he punk'd us all along into thinking he had no jump shot, Trevor Booker’s relentless hustle on both ends of the floor, Andray Blatche and Rashard Lewis continuing to be absent, and most importantly, the overall effort the Wizards are giving over the past few weeks, especially since Wittman’s takeover.
But as Wittman continues to implement his “no work, no dinner” strategy on these young bucks, and with the trade deadline looming, there is much more to be buzzing about besides another expected loss.
McGee and Young began the game the same way they left off against the Bucks on Tuesday night: sitting on the bench.
JaVale looked disengaged and uninterested during the pre-game warm ups, and looked just about the same during the post-game interviews.
“I can’t say I do, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out sooner or later.” – McGee’s response when asked if he understood the message his coach was relaying by benching him.
Well, Pierre, as a nonmember of the Wizards’ small group of “untouchables” you have roughly two weeks at the most to “figure it out”.
Two weeks marks the March 15 trade deadline.
Now I’m not one to over speculate on possible trade scenarios, nor am I suggesting that McGee be shopped, but after observing McGee’s demeanor last night, I’m not even sure he is willing to “figure it out” anymore.
We surely cannout discount the amount of production that McGee has brought on the court more often than not this season. Even last night McGee tallied 9 points and 6 rebounds in just 16 minutes. However, Wizards fans know very well how misleading filling stat sheets can be and should very well understand why Wittman is treating JaVale this way.
While McGee remains disgruntled, Trevor Booker continues to relish his opportunity. In defending the NBA’s top big man, the undersized Booker played well enough to contain Howard from domination. Howard finished the game with only nine shot attempts and four turnovers. With McGee in the doghouse and Kevin Seraphin virtually useless against Superman, Wittman had little choice but to go small, placing Booker at the 5 for a good portion of the game.
Nick Young was invisible for most of the game. Besides one 3-pointer early on, Young was not productive at all in the 18 minutes he was on the floor. He was seen heading in to the locker room in the 4th quarter with what has been said to be a knee injury. No further details.
Wittman’s approach seems to be working, at least in terms of effort and will. The players we’re seeing on the floor more often now are the ones that have caught his attention, or perhaps have “figured” out what McGee hasn’t.