Last night's game was the definition of a heartbreaker. The fans at the Verizon Center held their breath as Trevor Ariza released the potential game winning shot. I initially thought it looked good, the entire arena thought it looked good, and Steve Buckhantz DEFINITELY thought it was good. Buck was so sure it was good he shouted his infamous "DAGGER" call, but alas it was in fact not good. In fact it was actually an airball. And the Pistons once again found a way to stymie the Wizards.
The Wizards currently have four players averaging double digits in points per game and three of those players -- John Wall, Martell Webster and Nene -- failed to do that tonight.
Nene sat out this game and that seemed to be all she wrote for the Wiz. With Nene out none of the Wizards big men could do anything to slow down Greg Monroe, who finished with 26 points and 11 rebounds. John Wall struggled out of the gates and never found his rhythm while his fellow Kentucky Wildcat Brandon Knight had a great game. Knight had 18 points at the half on 7-for-9 shooting and stayed hot for the rest of the game, finishing with 32 points on 11-for-18 shooting. The Pistons were basically a two man show of Knight and Monroe. Only one other Piston hit double figures. Not that it mattered because the Wizards did not come out ready to play.
Despite the one point loss and a chance to win the game on the last shot, this game was not that close and the Wizards stunk tonight. Coach Witman summed it up best in his post game conference when he said “We got what we deserved tonight”.
Trevor Ariza started off the game hot, scoring 14 points in the 1st quarter. He cooled off considerably in the second, third and most of the fourth quarter but in the last minute of the game he went all Reggie Miller on the Pistons. With the Wizards down six and the game seemingly over, Ariza had eight points and a steal in the last minute of the game with a shot to win the game. Even though he came up way short on the #DaggerFail, that still doesn't erase his herculean effort.
John Wall: This was not one of John’s better games. He’s been in somewhat of a funk recently and it definitely carried over into this game. He played so bad at times that Randy Wittman chose to play A.J. Price for large portions of the game and the majority of the 4th quarter. Price and Wall finished with the same amount of minutes. That’s how bad he was.
Jose Calderon: Calderon must wish he could play the Wizards every night. After torching the Wiz for 24 points, five rebounds, and three assists in the game two weeks ago, he picked up right where he left off albeit a little differently. Tonight he was more the distributor than the scorer he was in the previous game. He had eight assists in the 1st quarter alone and never let up, finishing with 18 for the game. Calderon is a veteran who is the definition of a floor general and seems to relish taking John Wall to school.
After being nearly dealt at the trade deadline, Trevor Ariza could have sulked and mailed in like so many veterans do *cough* Rashard Lewis *cough*, but Ariza showed heart and effort on a night when the Wizards had none. In that last minute he looked like the Trevor Ariza he was with the Lakers.
The third quarter. The Wizards went into the half leading by four and ended the quarter down 14. Greg Monroe had 12 points in the quarter and Brandon Knight had 10. The entire Wizards squad had 13 and were outscored by 18 in the period.
John Wall had more turnovers (7) than points (6) or assists (4). That is all.