Photo courtesy John Powell
You look at the roster of the Phoenix Suns and there are a few familiar names: Steve Nash, Grant Hill, Vince Carter. Combined the three have 41 years of NBA experience. Of course there are older teams in the league (tonight the Wizards take on the Celtics) but the point is that the Wizards are a very young team and their inexperienced showed in last night’s 109-91 loss to the Phoenix Suns.
The game started off quite well for the Wizards. Washington got up 33-22 after the first quarter and John Wall already got himself nine assists. The Wizards looked dominant as the press raced to the record books to see if Wall was on a record pace in single game assists.
However the second quarter was a different story. The team was unable to keep the pace they set in the beginning and the Wizards let the Suns catch up and get ahead with the help of Channing Frye, who led the team with 25 points including a 7-11 effort at the 3-point line.
“Frye makes a living as far as he’s been knocking down shots,” Coach Saunders said after the game, “We told our guys, ‘Just don’t leave Frye- keep your eye on the ball,’ and we loss some concentration- that’s the difference between veteran and younger players.”
The difference in experience was clear in just watching the point guard match-up between Steve Nash and John Wall. Both ended the night with 14 assists (Nash racked up 17 points while Wall barely made double-double status by reaching 11 in garbage time), but you could see the difference in how they reached those numbers. Nash’s passing was impressive all night with several no-look, behind the back throws. After Wall’s assist explosion in the first quarter he continued to distribute but the Wizards stopped making the shots and clearly got frustrated.
“Offensively [The Suns] make shots, and our heads go down and forget how to play offensively…instead of just staying with the system,” Saunders remarked. Attitude and frustration has been a hot topic when it was revealed that John Wall will pay $50 fines every-time he displays frustration on the court.
Veterans posses perseverance in the face of challenge, something this Wizards team will need to learn as they continue to grow.
Last night’s match against the Suns starts a more challenging stretch of games which include a game tonight against Boston followed by matches against the New York Knicks, Denver Nuggets, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Dallas Mavericks.
It’s time for the Wizards to keep their heads up, take it game one a time, and remember that it’s called a rebuilding year for a reason.
- Nick Young continues to power the offense with a 25-point night and looked really good in that explosive first quarter.
- Kurt Hinrich had X-rays taken in the 3rd quarter after he thought he dislocated his shoulder. Hopefully he’ll be able to play in tonight’s game against Boston.
- Vince Carter went 5-17 in the field and his limp when 1-1 on the free throw line. Seriously this guy always looks injured.
- Talking about free throws, the Wizards continue to let personal fouls keep the door opening for opposing teams. The Suns went 16-19 at the charity line.
- Today the Wizards call up Mustafa Shakur from the D-League’s Rio Grande Valley Vipers. He was called up on a 10-day contract and will be available to play in tonight’s game.