Earl Barron. One of the biggest sparks of the late third quarter and fourth quarter run, Barron pulled out eight points, eigt boards, a steal and a block. Without him, the Wizards might have found themselves in a blowout that seemed to be imminent during a downward spiral of a second quarter and the beginning of a third quarter. He proved his spot on this roster after both Brian Cook and Shelvin Mack were waived. While the move to drop Mack was questionable, there’s no way he would have had this sort of impact on a game. As for Brian Cook, well, that certainly wasn’t questionable to begin with.
Kyrie Irving certainly didn’t disappoint for the Cavaliers with 29 points, six boards and three assists. He found ways to manipulate the Wizards defense, knocking three 3-pointers down as well as being a hassle in the paint, which sent him to the line going 4 of 5 on free throws. While he certainly wasn’t quiet, it would’ve been difficult to predict that he would have had this immense impact on the game.
Bradley Beal had his moments, but overall was not a significant impact in this game. WE were a little surprised at his starting spot for the season opener over Jordan Crawford (who ultimately had a better game coming off the bench) but for his first NBA regular season game, it could have been a lot worse. Pulling up for eight points, three boards, three assists and one steal, he was valuable in spurts. This is one of the reasons why he should probably come off the bench for a while until he gets his feet under him in this league.
The 3rd Quarter. I, (@mikeandrews89), tweeted after the second quarter that I had hoped that that quarter was just a “lull” and that they needed to come out shooting in the third. Well, they didn’t exactly come out red-hot, but as the quarter went on, led by Barron, they began to put on a run that made the season-opener a game again. As noted above, Earl Barron made his case for his spot on this team and the squad that ended the third quarter should honestly be considered when making up the starting lineup for Saturday’s game versus Boston. Barron made his case for the starting spot as well as Crawford and Webster. But all that will remain to be seen—I mean, it is only the first game of the season.
I know this is a Wizards website, but you have to give credit to Anderson Varejao (or “Verrre-Jao”, “Vara-jun”, “Varre-jyuo” if you were watching on TV) for having a career game. While only having 9 points, he racked up 23 rebounds (12 offesive, 11 defensive), nine assists, and was ultimately the demise of the Washington Wizards on Halloween Eve.
Randy Wittman. I really don’t get why Trevor Ariza gets the start over Martell Webster. Ariza seemed very disinterested during the preseason while Martell Webster knocked down nearly every chance he had at the hoop. Ariza and Webster had about the same type of game, which should show you something. Should Webster be given more minutes, he could be the difference between a win and a loss. Off the bench, he came out and scored nine points on 4 of 6 shooting, three boards, an assist and two steals. If he was a starting player, it has to be possible to believe his contributions could multiply and win this game for the Wizards. He earned this spot like Earl Barron did, so why not give these two a few more opportunities to further this team?
In second place would be Wittman not playing Cartier Martin. I don’t know how Martin doesn’t even touch the court during this game. Martin has proved time and time again that his energy level can change a game in an instant. I even think he’s capable of the starting small forward spot as well..but that’s for a different conversation. For a team that had such an even distribution in points (with all players sans Martin scoing between four and 11 points), it would have been nice to see what Cartier’s contributions could have contributed to in the end.
A.J. Price, despite having a standout training camp and preseason, did not perform to anyone’s expectations versus the Cavs. He went 2-13 in the game with his only two field goals being three pointers. He was disastrous nearly the whole game which led to Earl Barron getting the shot that he did. While I denounced Wittman for putting Ariza in over Webster, I ultimately applaud Wittman for keeping Price out when he knew that Price was not performing to an extent that would help the team in the late stages of the game.
Also a candidate for "ugly"—closing out. The Wizards seem to find a way more times than not to bring a game that appears to be a blowout within range of winning. They just cannot ultimately find a way to close it. It’s hard to place blame on one particular person, but they’ve got to find a way to close some of these games out and add a few more wins to their record to compete in the Eastern Conference.