The Reaction: Wizards Let A Win Fly Away, Again – Washington 92, Atlanta 95 | Truth About It.net

The Reaction: Wizards Let A Win Fly Away, Again – Washington 92, Atlanta 95

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Updated: March 24, 2012

With coverage of the Washington Wizards’ 95-92 loss to the Atlanta Hawks from the Verizon Center on Saturday night, Kyle Weidie and John Converse Townsend provide their reaction…

First, a good moment…

Defining Moment.

-Kyle Weidie

By halftime, Atlanta’s Joe Johnson had attempted just five shots, making two of them; he had four total points and his Hawks were down 52-41. Johnson didn’t do much in the third, either. He scored a transition 3-pointer 24 seconds into the second half thanks to Jeff Teague quickness and creation. Otherwise, Johnson missed his other two third quarter attempts. Chris Singleton was making up for a lack of lateral quickness with physicality, making it especially tough when Johnson tried to post him. Atlanta’s leading scorer entered the final period with seven points on 3-for-8 shooting, and he hadn’t attempted one free throw either. Johnson checked back into the game for Willie Green with 5:41 left in the night, his Hawks down 87-83. At the 4:16 mark, he easily got into the paint against Singleton for a running jumper. Was he heating up? Was it a sign that the Wizards needed to double? Not a minute later, Johnson gave Singleton a slow, deliberate jab step from 19 feet away on the left wing. Singleton gave him just enough space and didn’t close the gap. “It’s over,” I turned and said to TAI cohort John Converse Townsend; Johnson then nailed the jumper. It was merely elementary when Johnson hit a 3-pointer against scrambling Wizards defense to put the Hawks up 93-92 with 46 seconds left, he already found the glimmer of rhythm he needed to get going.

M.V.P.

-John Converse Townsend

Nene was the rare MVP in a losing effort, recording his 80th career double-double. The Brazilian big man set the tone early, finishing two and-1s in the opening quarter, on his way to 14 points and eight rebounds and an 11-point lead at the half. Nene finished the game 21 points, 11 rebounds, three blocks, and two assists.

L.V.P.

-John Converse Townsend

John Wall was held in check by a stingy Atlanta Hawks defense that was committed to slowing Washington’s transition offense. Wall made his only basket of the game just before halftime, having cut into the paint for a easy layup, courtesy of a perfectly timed pass from Nene. He finished the game with eight points on 1-for-10 shooting, two rebounds, three assists, two steals, and two turnovers. Wall also missed a potential tying 3-pointer as the clock expired. The Game Changer is now 2-for-27 from 3-point range this season.

X-FACTOR.

-John Converse Townsend

Rookie Chris Singleton was a real handcuff for the first three quarters against Joe Johnson, but in the clutch, the six-time All-Star broke loose. Johnson scored nine points on just four shots in the final 4:16, including a 3-pointer that gave the Hawks their first lead since the first quarter at 93-92. Moments later, Johnson found himself at the free throw line where he swished home two, increasing Atlanta’s lead to three points with just 12 seconds to play. He finished the night with 16 points on 6-for-12 shooting, 2-for-4 from 3-point range, with five rebounds and three assists. Were his big moments by design? I asked Hawks Head Coach Larry Drew if the gameplan was to attack Wizards rookie Chris Singleton down the stretch. “There was no plan to attack him,” said Drew. “We had a couple plays designed just to get an execution out of it.” Josh Smith, when asked the same question, replied:

“He’s an All-Star. He’s an All-Star. We’re going to give him the ball down the stretch, and he produces nine times out of 10.”

That was….. tough, but…

-Kyle Weidie

It was tough for the Wizards to lose, again, blowing a lead on their home court against a quality playoff squad. They came out hitting hard with aggressive offensive rebounds against a sluggish Hawks team (Booker and Nene tallied three offensive boards each in the game’s first 4.5 minutes). But in the end, Washington had less offensive weapons (5-for-17 on FGs as team in the fourth quarter), and furthermore, that was compounded by poor decisions making by the offensive weapons they have (see: bad shots by Crawford and Wall down the stretch). Still, not one person around this franchise, watching or participating, doesn’t feel this team has made measurable progress since the trade. Lessons will pay off in wins eventually, but also, for the future, the Wizards don’t want to win too many contests over the last 20 of this lockout-shortened season. After all, there are the usual draft lottery concerns to think about in the District. I’ll let Randy Wittman take the ending away…



  • Alex

    Maybe my perception on this is skewed because I’ve never been remotely good at basketball, but how does Wall not know that little jumper off the curl with 16 seconds left on the shot clock is a terrible shot, how does Crawford not know a fadeaway 3-pointer after five seconds of aimless dribbling is a terrible shot? Can they really not fight the temptation to be a hero? Sure these players are young, but they should be well-versed enough in their own games, at least, to know what they can and cannot do. Poor shot selection never ceases to amaze me.

  • http://www.truthaboutit.net/ Kyle Weidie

    It’s hard to put our minds into that of someone whose job depends on confidence. Sure, we all require that to some extent, but there’s not a clock ticking, thousands watching, defense encroaching, and millions on the line. These are professional athletes, and young ones at that. So, it’s hard for us to put ourselves in their shoes and understand why they think they can make a shot so badly that selfishness, sometimes, is not even considered… and it’s totally natural (of them to do such).

    Problem is, we expect more from professionals. And these guys have been playing basketball long enough to know better. Jordan Crawford especially, but also Wall, needs to realize quickly that previously selfish decisions are sticking out more now that others are gone.

  • Michael

    I gotta admit in the couple Wizards game I’ve seen as of late, Kevin Seraphin looks like an NBA player. Like he has definitely improved, which seems kind of rare for a Wizard.

    I think that Josh Smith quote regarding Joe Johnson is pretty telling. Wizards don’t have anyone like that on their roster who can get it done late in games.