It didn’t seem like a winning night for the Washington Wizards as they prepared to face the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday. The movement of the team during warm-ups, the faces of the players, you could tell it was their fourth game in five nights. They weren’t exactly physically weary or mentally downtrodden in appearance, but the air of the team reflected the atmosphere in the Verizon Center, dead … like that oddly quiet elevator ride. Even Baltimore’s Carmelo Anthony being in town barely drew a response from fans, most electing to give him the Prokhorov treatment.
Toss out the box score from the game. The final was 120-109 Denver, but I could convince you otherwise. Washington led 56-46 in points in the paint, 32-8 in fastbreak points, they shot 51.2-percent from the field and made 23 of 27 free-throws. The Wizards were only out-rebounded by three (39-36), all in the defensive boards category, had the same amount of assists as Denver (23), and two less turnovers (15-13). Washington blocked nine shots, which may have contributed to the Nuggets’ 13-2 lead in second chance points, because both teams pulled seven offensive rebounds. Andray Blatche’s first quarter shot chart even looked like this:
Too bad after going 6-8 from the field in the first period, Blatche went 2-6 over the rest of the game (9-9 in free-throws on evening, though, for 25 total points).
The Wizards lost because they were the worse team. Denver was able to move around at will for the duration, earning themselves 12 made threes out of 23 attempts … essentially the difference. Washington only made two out of their 13 three-point attempts. The Nuggets always had the game in hand — winning the first quarter 33-26, the second 35-30 and the third 28-23 — because the Wizard were never really mentally around in the first place. Yi Jianlian and Nick Young each had ten points a piece in the fourth as Washington “won” that final period 30-24.
The numbers are convoluted, but the results are there in black and white.
In a related matter, sitting baseline for the game, I decided to shoot most of the photos I took in black & white … some Al Harrington/Heckler photos were clearly shot in color, capturing pretty much the only fan emotion on the night (aside from a collective disappointing utter from the crowd when two Nuggets on the bench did NOT get shown in jest on the Jumbotron Kiss Cam).
Sure, with a digital camera I could take every single photo in color and convert to B&W using Photoshop, but I preferred the forced nature of a monochromatic camera setting … as the Wizards will ultimately be judged by wins and losses.
A hotly contested Nick Young jumper.
John Wall glides to the basket.
Nick Young keeps flying after a dunk.
[photos: Kyle Weidie, Truth About It.net]