The Wizards lost in typical Wizards fashion on Friday against the Chicago Bulls. Through three quarters, they fought hard against a team with playoff urgency … well, actually, the Bulls never really looked like a playoff team. But still, it wasn’t too shabby for the Wiz to be down just 76-75 after three quarters to a team 14 better in the win column.
Then the fourth quarter came. Before it started, Washington had 19 assists to nine turnovers and out-scored Chicago 40-32 in the paint as well as 19-10 on second chance points.
But in the final period, the Wizards didn’t score until the 8:29 mark when Fabrico Oberto hit a couple free-throws, and only scored two points on a couple free-throws after the 4:26 mark. Overall, Washington only made two field-goals and were out-scored 19-12 by Chicago to close out the game 95-87.
So what was the problem?
Flip Saunders ran the gambit of reasons after the game … the Wizards got tired, the Bulls did a good job of protecting the basket, etc.. But the most damning accusation handed down by the coach is the fact that his team became selfish.
Click below to hear a clip of Saunders talking about his team after the Bulls game.
From the players’ perspective, there probably isn’t a better person to speak with about the offensive problems than the starting point guard, Shaun Livingston.
After the game I asked Livingston what the Wizards didn’t do, or what the Bulls did do, which lead to the stalling offense in the fourth quarter. Shaun hit the nail on the head, indicating with his words that concise execution is a problem with this team. Guys play hard some games (such as in New Orleans) and in others they severely lack intensity.
Here’s what Livingston said:
Yea, jogging to spots when trying to run an offense sounds like some guys on the team aren’t giving a full effort. Now part of this has to do with fatigue, but that is also a direct result of mental toughness.
Some issues with these Wizards are unavoidable. And that’s okay. They are young, they are inexperienced and they don’t have a whole lot of chemistry developed together.
However, adding selfishness to the mix is highly disappointing. Such factors more controlled by individuals and not so much because the team hasn’t spent a lot of time together will undoubtedly come into consideration this summer when the hammer and nails reconstruction begins.
Just because some guys like Andray Blatche, Nick Young and JaVale McGee are under contract for next season, don’t assume their standing with the franchise is safe.
As an aside, and because I’m a blogger and I can, I’ll say that Shaun Livingston has become my favorite Washington Wizard. Yes, as Flip said after the Bulls game when I asked about if he looks to Livingston, or another point guard, to better keep the offense in check, Livingston is young and he is trying to come back. But he, unlike others, makes acceptable mistakes.
Listen to what Saunders said about Livingston on Friday below:
But as both a player and a person, you can tell Livingston has composed intelligence. If he’s not with the team next season, and for a reason which the Wizards’ front-office has screwed up, a la Alonzo Gee, then criticism will be readily abundant.
For more on Livingston and the first time he’s ever played against fellow Illinoisan Derrick Rose, check out, ‘An Illinois Reunion In D.C.’ by Rashad Mobley at Hoops Addict.
And now here are some Livingston pictures from site photographer Adam Douglas.
[Photo Credits: Adam Douglas - Truth About It.net]