There’s no “me” in Wizards.
Go with me on this one, I had to change up the adage a little bit.
After half-time the Wizards went back onto the floor trailing the Atlanta Hawks 52-46. Over the course of the second half the Wizards managed to catch back up to within striking distance but didn’t have enough juice in the final quarter and fell short 92-99. The key difference was in their free throw shooting where they went 8-18, compared to 26-35 from the Hawks. Doesn’t matter if you criticize the FT% or the free throw attempts, it’s still a terrible number.
On the surface the team didn’t do too bad: the players shot 50%, Nick Young had another solid night with 21 points (and a new fro), and Al Thornton had a dunk that is already being called “Dunk of the Year.
The problem is the team isn’t performing to the true sum of the parts. Everybody is trying to one the game on their own, not as a team.
“We get at times where we play very individualistic and in the key part of the game, as I told Nick, it’s like playstation,” remarked Coach Flip Saunders after the game. He’s absolutely right. Whether it Blatche trying to force the ball in traffic or Young holding on to the ball when perhaps he shouldn’t, the each player is trying to win the game on their own when they should instead be looking for the best person to score.
“In the heat of the battle you usually revert back to what you are most comfortable doing,” Saunders remarked post-game, “we have some guys that their most comfortable thing they want to do is to score in one-on-one situations, that’s not what’s going to get you success as a team.”
The Hawks had no problem keeping pace with Josh Smith (29) and Joe Johnson (21) reaching the 20-point plateau. While the Wizards couldn’t really stop the Atlanta offense, they had a chance to outshoot them.
They just need to drop the late quarter hero act and work as a team.
Would you rather have a win or a loss and this highlight of a dunk?
- If JaVale McGee isn’t running into early foul trouble, he’s getting winded before the end of the first quarter. Why can’t he start and actually stay on the floor?
- The Wizards welcomed back Hamady Ndiaye who was recalled from the D-League. Earlier last week Mustafa Shakur’s 10-day contract expired, the Wizards look to resign him after he recovers from a right ankle injury.
- Talking about ankles, Jianlian Yi took a spill and sprained his left ankle in the game. More details will be known when the team returns to practice on Monday.
- Trevor Booker has been showing some skills as of late, Coach Saunders hopes to fit him in the scene some more by moving him to small forward.