It was back to square one for the Wizards on Wednesday night.
One night removed from their first victory in as long as a pregnancy, the Wiz Kids had a golden opportunity against a Chicago Bulls team sans Derrick Rose.
Go ahead and ‘LOL’.
Unfazed by the absence of their MVP point guard, Chicago still managed to cruise to a 78-64 victory, dropping our boys to 1-9.
By the grace of God, Andray Blatche sat out for the Wizards due to a sore hand, while Rose nursed a turf toe injury – two missing elements I THOUGHT would have worked to the advantage of the Wizards, right?
Wrong. Meet John Lucas III.
The undrafted son of a former Washington Bullet and DC native filled Rose’s shoes pretty well, pouring in 25 points along with 8 dimes and 8 boards.
Quite the journeyman, Lucas played for two different schools, doing a stint at Baylor before transferring to Oklahoma State. He has also played in Spain, China, the NBA D-league and for the Houston Rockets, twice.
Okay now I feel like I’m creating his match.com profile. Should have gone on: “Man seeking woman. Enjoys kite flying, knitting and long walks on the beach….”
Lucas’ valiant performance, combined with a late 4th quarter collapse was enough to doom the Wizards with their 9th loss of the season.
Scoring barely over 60 didn’t help much either.
Despite their offensive woes, the Wizards continued to show improvement defensively, forcing 16 turnovers and holding the Bulls to only 34 percent shooting.
It was the second game in a row the Wizards held their opponent under 80 points.
What has sparked this eruption of defensive intensity?
We can start with the recent injuries to Andray Blatche and Rashard Lewis paving the way for Chris Singleton and Trevor Booker into the starting line up.
Blatche and Lewis’ passion and effort on the court has constantly been in question this season, and fans had been yearning for Flip to make a change in the rotation.
Count your blessings, coach Saunders. These injuries may have saved your job.
The fans got their wish. Singleton and Booker started for the second consecutive game last night and their presence on the court has noticeably changed the pace of the game. If Flip is smart, he’ll stick with this current rotation, even when Lewis and Blatche heal.
The Wizards played well for about 44 minutes last night until the Bulls began to pull away, forcing the Wizards to go back to old habits down the stretch.
Poor shot selection and a lack of hustle, which lead to six, yes SIX offensive rebounds for Chicago in the final minutes sealed the deal for the Bulls.
The Wizards now face a back-to-back stretch against the 76ers, followed by Denver, Houston and Oklahoma City.