Pretenders And Contenders From Washington To Miami
I was in the midst of watching the Washington Wizards put on an impressive display of first quarter basketball against the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday when Tweet Deck displayed a new tweet from ESPN’s Ric Bucher. Given that the trading deadline was less than 24 hours away, and given that Bucher is one of the few NBA insiders who is really plugged into what could be happening, I figured I should check it out right away.
I clicked on his tweet and discovered no upcoming trade information, nor were unnamed sources tipping him off. Instead, Bucher offered some insight as to what fans, writers and even other players could expect over the remainder of the NBA regular season:
“NBA comp going up another notch, as it always does, post-All Star weekend. Separation of men from boys, pros from pretenders, begins now.”
I closed out of his tweet, mentally processed what he said and then went back to watching the Sixers/Wizards tilt. By that time, the Wizards’ first-quarter dominance had morphed into second quarter incompetence (and third, and fourth), and they were eventually blown out 117-94, just one night after being blown out by the Indiana Pacers at home 113-96. Afterward, John Wall was upset about the lack of effort his teammates displayed — further evidence that the Wizards are in the boys/pretenders group of NBA teams:
“I haven’t lost this many games, and it ain’t just about the losing, I’m listening to my coaching and development, and they don’t want me to get in no losing mind set. But it’s just so frustrating to see that certain guys seem like they don’t have the effort to be out there, like they don’t care. That’s the toughest thing for me … no matter if I’m having a bad game or good game, I might show frustration in my face, but I’m going to compete. That’s one thing I’ve always did my whole life is compete, and that’s all we asking for from everybody.”
Meanwhile, on the other side of the spectrum, the Miami Heat, who the Wizards take on tonight in South Beach, started off strong in their two post-All-Star performances. First, they blew out the lowly Sacramento Kings by 20, then they lost a hard-fought battle to the Chicago Bulls last night, 93-89. There were no complaints about effort coming from the Heat locker room in either game because a) they are fully aware that they are playoff-bound, and b) the mental notes made after every loss will surely benefit them come playoff time.
I then thought back to something Dwyane Wade said after the All-Star game last Sunday, and it served as one of many reminders as to why the Heat are contenders. Wade was asked about his approach to the second half of the season, and his answers were exactly what you would expect from a man with a championship ring:
Now, it is entirely possibly that the newly acquired Mike Bibby, Maurice Evans and Jordan Crawford can provide that energy and passion that the Wizards have been lacking the past two games. It is also possible that Wall’s teammates heard his harsh words and have collectively decided to step their game up and give more than 100-percent. Unfortunately, it is also possible that the Heat will be hungry and angry after last night’s loss to Chicago, and look to put the game away quickly regardless of the Wizards’ effort.
Of course, the best case scenario for Washington is a victory over a contender. But if they fall short of that goal, they can still look across the floor at the playoff-bound Heat and make some mental notes for the future. Because that’s all NBA pretenders can do at this point.
- D.C. Council Game 61: Wizards 104 vs Jazz 91: AARP #WizVets Chase Jazz Off Capitol Lawn
- John Wall is… Fast? Paced? Randy Wittman, Tyrone Corbin & Richard Jefferson Speak On It
- D.C. Council Game 60: Wizards 104 vs Grizzlies 110: Memphis Advances to Victory via Points Statistics
- D.C. Council Opening Statements: Grizzlies vs Wizards, Game 60
- D.C. Council Game 59: Wizards 122 at 76ers 103: Bubba Chuck’s Night Stolen by Hookah Arms Ariza
- D.C. Council: Wizards 134 at Raptors 129: Wiz Kids (and #WizVets) Dig Triple-OT Deep, Score Dino-Sized Bones
- Portraits, Vignettes & Instagrams from 2014 NBA All-Star Weekend in New Orleans
- D.C. Council Game 57: Wizards 115 vs Magic 106: Splash of Class Helps Magic Sugar Pill Go Down
Recent TAI Posts
- Wizards at Bucks: the Game 62 Story via Twitter: Gooden Revenge Game Rescued by Beal March 9, 2014
- D.C. Council Opening Statements: Wizards at Bucks, Game 62 March 8, 2014
- Richard Jefferson on Gilbert Arenas, Just Because March 8, 2014
- D.C. Council Game 61: Wizards 104 vs Jazz 91: AARP #WizVets Chase Jazz Off Capitol Lawn March 6, 2014
- Ariza, Bruh: A Chill Life From Beyond the Arc Speaks After Playing Jazz March 6, 2014
- When Steve Buckhantz Was Given a Twitter Lesson by The WizzNutzz March 6, 2014
- Wizards vs Jazz: the Game 61 Story via Twitter: #WizVets Get Band Back Together March 6, 2014
- John Wall is… Fast? Paced? Randy Wittman, Tyrone Corbin & Richard Jefferson Speak On It March 5, 2014