Got A Way To Lose? The Wizards Will Take It: Washington Falls To Boston 99-88 | Truth About It.net

Got A Way To Lose? The Wizards Will Take It: Washington Falls To Boston 99-88

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Updated: February 2, 2010

{Sam Cassell measures Earl Boykins next to a kid}

The Wizards have found a lot of ways to lose games this season. Monday’s 99-88 loss to the Boston Celtics wasn’t as disheartening as most of them. So, I guess you can chalk up another moral victory on the penitentiary walls of your Washington Wizards basketball fandom. Congrats.

Most fingers are pointing toward the fourth quarter and justifiably citing it as the main culprit. In the period, the Wizards only mustered 10 points to the 25 of the Celtics. Rasheed Wallace scored eight points by himself, and combined with Tony Allen, the duo put up 14 points and seven rebounds in the final period. Starters Paul Pierce (ankle injury) and Kendrick Perkins didn’t play in the last 12 minutes and Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett only played six minutes apiece in the fourth.

The Celtics bench came alive to save the day. Otherwise, Boston looked sloppy and old. Cherish that 2008 championship Celtics fans, it will be the only title you see from your current squad.

Meanwhile, the Wizards managed just one assist while making only two their last 18 shots of the game.  Of course, they just had one assist to eight made field-goals in the third quarter. At halftime the Wizards had 13 assists on 18 made field-goals. So, if you don’t feel like doing math, they only had two assists to 10 made FGs in the entire second half and 15 assists to 28 FGs for the game.

Flip Saunders has 99 problems and a point guard is definitely one. Randy Foye was rendered ineffective in Saunders’ mind, not necessarily his, and it was mostly due to his inability to contain Rondo early.

In stepped Earl Boykins, whose 14 points off the bench was appreciated, but his three assists in over 30 minutes of action should be frowned upon. Others may see things differently than I do, but Boykins, in playing the entire fourth quarter, did not run an efficient offensive ship. He usually doesn’t.

Earl may look like he’s doing a lot, darting around on the court, but his over-dribbling only seems to confuse teammates. Boykins is a scorer, not a creator. However, this is not to say Foye would have been the answer down the stretch either.

Let’s talk about Foye for a second. Prior to the Dallas game on January 20th, in his seven games filling in as the Wizards’ starting point guard, Foye averaged 17.3 points, 6.7 assists and only 1.7 turnovers per 36 minutes. I bragged about how he was progressing.

In the seven games since, Foye is averaging 14.8 points, 4.3 assists and 2.1 turnovers per 36 minutes. Not an absolutely dramatic difference, but still, a drop-off nonetheless.

Or, to put it more drastically, Foye’s Assist-Percentage (percentage of teammate field goals a player assisted while he was on on the floor), climbed to 31.8% over the seven games from January 8th to 18th. Over the last seven games it has dropped to 20.9%.

Does any of this make a difference? Probably not. The Wizards are still a bad team. They’ve only won two out of the last seven games and only three out of the previous seven games. And people say the Wizards are better off without Gilbert Arenas. I scoff at those set in their assumptions who have lazily called Arenas a shot jacker this season.

Throwing out ’08-09 and ’07-08 when Arenas only appeared in two games and 13 games respectively, his 36.4 AST% through 32 games in ’09-10 was on pace to be his career-high by far. Gilbert’s AST% through his first four seasons in D.C. stands at 25.5%, 22.9%, 27.0% and 27.2% respectively. The guy was getting better at passing the ball to teammates folks. To give this a tad more perspective, a 36.4 AST% would rank as second best in Chauncey Billups‘ career.

Ok, I’ve somewhat digressed. In summation, the Wizards are still trying, sorta, but lack a good point guard … among countless other issues.

Another so-called star, Caron Butler, has become a ball stopping, turnover machine (six against the Celtics). Sure, he’s trying to rebound more and take more shots closer to the hoop, but is still picking up traveling and charging calls in mass quantities. This reeks of a player lacking confidence.

Antawn Jamison continues to work hard, but is placing way too much on his shoulders. He’s also starting to pick up nagging injuries which increase the urgency to trade him. At one point during the game, Jamison had to retreat to the locker room for medical treatment. Afterward, Antawn said his knee stiffened up on him to the point where he had trouble running, pushing off, and bending it, but was persistently hesitant to using it as a reason why he went 2-17 on field-goals against Boston.

The rest of the players are just trying to get in where they fit in. Aside from Brendan Haywood, the play of others, especially the youth, is wrought with inconsistency in the style of ‘let me just play this game so I can pick up a paycheck’.

The Wizards have little player leadership, pieces that are faintly promising, and a fan-base that is rapidly dwindling.

One might think there is no where to go but up, but hold that thought because there’s still 35 games left, thousands of likely-to-be unfulfilled wishes of NBA draft lottery luck, and years before the Larry O’Brien trophy becomes any sort of reality past the fact that Jamison has a framed picture of it in the back of his locker.

These are your Washington Wizards.

And now, a video of the players after losing to the Celtics:


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