After ending the first half of the season with another disappointing loss, Wizards Point Guard John Wall hoped that the team would spend the All-Star break clearing their heads and starting the second half more competitive than their lowly 7-27 first-half record would suggest.
Well it’s still more of the same. After losing a nail-biter in Milwaukee, it wasn’t close as the Wizards let another game slip away tonight in a 95-102 loss to the Orlando Magic.
After their loss in Milwaukee, Wizards coach Randy Wittman said he was done playing the young guys. He re-asserted a point he made in his first press conference as a head coach that the younger players would not play just because they are the “future”- they will have to earn their minutes.
Fed up with the knucklehead antics of JaVale McGee and Nick Young, Wittman benched both players in the second half of the Milwaukee game and both did not start against the Orlando. Kevin Seraphin and Jordan Crawford started in their place.
However the benching did not result in a more competitive team. Both players came off the bench after the Wizards quickly fell into a 4-13 deficit. Washington caught up ending the first half down 41-46. By the end of the third quarter the Wizards trailed the Magic 70-71.
The Magic finally pulled away in the final quarter thanks to the team’s long-range shooting. The team ended the night shooting 15-36 from three-point range and proved to be
“It’s pick your poison,” Coach Randy Wittman said after the game, “[Orlando] shoots more threes than anybody in the league- they make more threes than anybody in the league.”
The other choice Wittman was referring to was Orlando Center Dwight Howard. Because Orlando dominated downtown, Howard ended the night with only 14 points and 12 rebounds. Solid numbers, but far from “Superman”. Ryan Anderson led the Magic with 23 points including 4 three-pointers.
The Wizards wouldn’t go down without a fight though- literally.
Late in the game Trevor Booker caught a rebound and in the action pushed Orlando guard Jason Richardson to the ground. The two almost came to blows but were restrained and issued technical fouls.
On the Wizards side of the ball, John Wall led Washington with 33 points and Jordan Crawford remains hot scoring 18.
The Wizards have now lost six in a row and will look to break out of their latest losing streak when Kyrie Irving and the Cleveland Cavaliers come into town Saturday night. The team still has a long way to go though before we can feel confident that the team can win. Despite the benching, McGee told reporters after the game he doesn’t really know the message Wittman is trying to send.