I swear I saw four different Washington Wizards teams flash before eyes during their 112-91 loss to the New York Knicks tonight.
In the first quarter, I thought it was Spring 0f 2010, because Andray Blatche looked focused and assertive. He scored 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting, and he seemed to have both his inside and outside game working to perfection. John Wall was able to pick up an easy six assists, simply because Blatche was feeling it. Unfortunately, Blatche’s good fortune did not continue, as he only scored six points on 2-of-9 shooting the rest of the game. He also appeared to be a bit hobbled in the fourth quarter.
During the second and third quarters, the Wizards looked like the 2008-2009 team that finished with the futile record of 19-63. John Wall and Kirk Hinrich seemed to alternate turning the ball over and there were numerous defensive lapses that led to open shots and even more wide open dunks. Blatche reverted back to his immature days by picking up a silly technical foul, when he got tangled up with Ronny Turiaf, simply because he was upset he did not get a foul call. The Wizards watched their one point lead, turn into a 13-point deficit at one point in the quarter.
I’m not sure what Flip Saunders said at halftime, but the Wizards came out with a little more fire in the third quarter, and they resembled the inconsistent team they’ve been during the first four games of this season. Wall went up and down the court in a blur and made easy baskets, but he continued to turn the ball over. Al Thornton and JaVale McGee would make brilliant plays on one end of the floor, only to give it right back on the other end. Andray Blatche appeared to be out of shape, out of sync, and even further from his first quarter dominance. The Wizards were able to outscore the Knicks, but they still weren’t able to put a significant dent in that lead.
Gilbert Arenas, who was making his regular season debut, heated up in the fourth quarter, and took everyone back to the 2006-2007 season when this was his town, not John Wall’s. He stopped, he popped, he hit threes, he drove (tentatively) to the basket, and he single-handedly kept the Wizards in the game. At one point, he even appeared to wave Wall away when the young rookie attempted to get the ball to bring up the court. The lead shrank to six points, and it looked like Arenas was going to lead his team to a magical victory.
But unfortunately, Arenas cooled down, the 2010-2011 version of the Wizards reappeared once again, and the Wizards lost. The game ended with players like Lester Hudson, Trevor Booker and the hero from Thursday night, Cartier Martin, on the floor. After the game, Coach Saunders had the same I-didn’t-sign-up-for-this look on his face, that he had during the opening night loss to Orlando.
The inconsistent Wizards now have less than 24 hours to figure out who they are and who they should be, before the Cleveland Cavaliers come in town. When they take the floor and look down on the other end of the bench, they will see the last player who could be consistently counted on…Mr. Antawn Jamison.
More analysis will be forthcoming from Mr. Kyle Weidie, who was at Madison Square Garden on Friday night, to witness the Jekyll and Hyde Wizards