It’s hard to pin-point exactly where the Wizards lost road game number 20 to the Milwaukee Bucks. They came out with a very strong first quarter … that was the easy part. The Bucks hit a couple jumpers and the Wizards didn’t score until three minutes had gone by in the game, but once they got going, they really got going. When all was said and done, John Wall had seven assists to zero turnovers and the Wizards had a 27-19 lead.
The second quarter … not so good, but the Wizards held it down. They went into the half with a 49-47 lead, whittled into by the old bones of Earl Boykins and Corey Maggette — those two combined for 23 points in the first half. Add in what Keyon Dooling offered and you have 32 points from an unlikely Milwaukee trio.
The Wizards started and ended the third quarter poorly. Usually coaches have a saying along the lines of beginning and ending all quarters well — maybe even Flip Saunders has cited that crafty philosophy before (I’m sure of it) — but these young Wizards are not yet in the position to do much less than the opposite at crucial points of the game away from home. The Wizards were out-scored 28-17 in the third and scored 13 of those points in a four-minute span from around the nine minute mark to the four minute mark of the period. Otherwise, not much doing.
But give the Wizards credit, after Andrew Bogut scored back-to-back baskets on the foul-plagued JaVale McGee in the fourth — the first score a back-down hook shot that, for some reason, caused Kirk Hinrich to exasperatingly throw up his arms in disgust (when he said he was going to avoid such actions), the second of which was a tip in — giving the Bucks 16 point lead with 5:47 left (88-72), they fought back, working tooth and nail to make it just a seven point Bucks advantage with 2:32 left (90-83).
But the Wiz Kids ultimately failed, letting the triumvirate of Boykins, Dooling and Maggette combine to push the Bucks lead back to 15 in less than 60 seconds at the 1:35 mark. Game over with Earl, Keyon and Corey totaling 63 points to go along with their 93 total years of age and their 1,993 combined games of NBA experience. Guess there’s a rookie salary scale for a reason.
And there’s a reason why Andray Blatche, despite nice effort all night long — getting his hands active in the passing lanes often, and smartly so — might never stop showing that he’s Andray Blatche, or at least that he has a long way to go before he stops being Andray Blatche.
A stat line of 23 points on 10-17 shooting with seven rebounds, four steals, two assists and foul turnovers errs on the side of ‘comes from minutes’ rather that ‘feels adequate’, especially in a loss. The ‘oh brother’ moment didn’t come right after the Wizards amazingly chopped Milwaukee down to seven points with just over 150 seconds left in the game, but rather after their 7-2 run in 67 seconds that cut Milwaukee’s lead to 11 with 4:07 left in the game. The Wizards forced Drew Gooden into a miss and on the other end … Blatche tried, in earnest, to pass the ball off a drive, but Gooden was right there to draw an offensive foul on him.
It seems that Blatche predictably wanted to be unselfish, an intention not lost on Gooden when he drew the charge on Andray’s pass. Whether it be Blatche not knowing how susceptible him jumping to create is around a veteran like Gooden, former Wizard, or that those fake basketball gods were up to something again, the charge turnover drew the facial reactions you see above. And that’s when you knew the game was officially over before it was over, if that wasn’t the case already. The Wizards were so close to being able to, at least, denote a 100-87 road loss to Milwaukee as a ‘moral victory’, but fell just short from claiming an imaginary etch in a column that doesn’t exist. Essentially, the loss would be more acceptable if it weren’t for what had happened in all previous road losses … spawning the question, while it’s expected that players quickly forget the past, should followers of the team find themselves yearning to cite the season-long tally in judgment?
And then there’s this: Gooden may have gotten the win, but Andray immortalized him on the Internet because he made him slip with a slick move in the waning seconds. The Internet exists in spite of winning. The Wizards are 0-20 on the road. These are the facts we know. It’s hard to pin-point exactly where the Wizards lost road game number 20, but watching it happen was sickenin’ like Rod Strickland, especially because “sickenin’” doesn’t rhyme with “Gooden.”
[Video grab courtesy of TAI's John Townsend.]