Finding New Ways to Choke – Wizards Game 37 vs. Milwaukee Bucks Recap
Some will tell you that Michael Redd killed the Wizards with his All-Star play, especially that huge three he hit to put the Bucks up 93-89 with 1:20 left (Dominic McGuire got caught on a screen and Andray Blatche didn’t help like he was supposed to).
Some will tell you that Andrew Bogut was a heavy-weight in the paint with 18 points and 10 boards (sure he was trouble, but at times, the Wizards guards focused on him too much, losing sight of perimeter assignments).
I will tell you that the #1 problem in my book was one which has consistently plagued the Wizards’ defensive efforts for years: backcourt defense. During crucial moments of the game, it seemed that either Luke Ridnour or Ramon Sessions were getting their way against the likes of Javaris Crittenton and Mike James.
The ball handling duo for the Bucks combined for 14 assists and only 2 turnovers (both on Ridnour, who had 10 of the assists). The quick offensive movement they spawned was contagious to their teammates…..and it was the poor down-the-stretch defense of the Wizards which helped thwart any easy chances to be had on offense.
But in reality, one could point to a number of reasons and be correct. They all add up to a choking mentality, and that’s the tragedy with which this Wizards team is faced. It’s not the way they play, it’s the way they think.
Game Blog on Bullets Forever:
Wizards Game 37 Blog vs. Milwaukee Bucks: Calling Bill Murray
Same old, same old folks. The Wizards played well enough to be in the game throughout and even held a five point lead entering the fourth but couldn’t finish. The killer came from Michael Redd who curled around a screen and drained a three-pointer to give the Bucks a 93-89 lead with 1:20 to go.
[Tapscott] has tried everything from juggling his lineup to posting motivational quotes from such people as Aristotle and John Wooden in the team’s locker room. After his team’s latest letdown, Tapscott referenced Thomas Paine (“These are the times that try men’s souls”) and likened his team to a frustrated author, one who evidently can’t pen a bestseller to save his life.
These are the two most common types of Wizards losses: The one where they trail all game then make a rally, pull even or take a brief fourth-quarter lead and then they run out of gas. OR, they lead at halftime, lead in the third and fourth quarters and then blow it once again in the clutch.
The latter happened tonight as the Wizards held an 11-point halftime lead, twice led by 12 in the third quarter and then fizzled, overcome in the fourth quarter and splat.
It’s a tired, old theme and it’s wearing on the Wizards. After the game, Antawn Jamison just sat in his locker for a good little while, entranced and racking his brain for answers.
Ed Tapscott has harked on it a lot recently, but it’s true: Settling for jumpshots is a good way to get real cold real quick. Here’s a breakdown of the Wizards possessions for the first seven minutes of the 4th Quarter:
- 6 shots taken from between 15 and 20 feet. The Wizards only made one of those shots.
- 1 shot taken within 15 feet. It was made.
- 1 missed three point attempt.
- 1 trip to the foul line.
- 2 turnovers on traveling calls.
- 1 turnover on an offensive foul.
“My teammates were giving me the ball and cheering me on. I had confidence out there, felt like the rims were bigger. I just wanted to get a win tonight,” [Nick] Young said shaking his head. “I don’t even know. It’s been this way the whole season. I don’t know if we’re thinking too much or what. We’re worrying too much when it comes to the fourth quarter.”
Tonight Blatche was quiet on both ends of the floor, but one particular play of his influenced the whole landscape of the game. With 8:19 left in the third quarter, Blatche picked up an offensive foul and a defensive foul in a seven second span. After the picked up the second foul, Blatche ”big timed” the referee, and he was hit with technical foul. At that point, the Wizards were leading 61-49. From that point on, the Wizards lost momentum and were outscored 48-30. Blatche played 12 more minutes after that but did not score a single point.
[Washington Wizards Blog]
….we’ve started mentioning Javaris Crittenton’s name a little more and once again he had a solid performance off the bench, he grabbed five rebounds to go along with four assists and four points and had 0 turnovers. Since the new year when his minutes have increased he has a 18 to 6 assist to turnover ratio. Its a small sample but just to give you an idea only 11 guys in the NBA have an assist to turnover ratio over 3. (included in that list are names like Paul, Calderon, Kidd, Bibby, Billups,)
[DC Sports Bog]
Caron Butler: “It’s hard to forget, because this is my life. You know? This is what I do, this is my life. You know, you’re not supposed to take your work home, but I take my work home with me.”
Redd did not lead the way. He did basically what’s he’s been doing for two years now. He played his man to a virtual standstill, therefore his productive contribution made it only slightly more likely that the Bucks would win.
Charlie Villanueva. Ridnour (13 pts, 10 dimes) also deserves mention, but Villanueva helped bring the Bucks back into the game late in the third. With the Bucks down 12, Villanueva’s nine points in the final 3:30 of the period brought Milwaukee back to within five going into the fourth. Overall he scored 12 of his 16 (6/12 fg) in the second half and trailed only Bogut with a +13 rating.
[photo source: flickr/ahhyeah]