The hawk-eyed Sherlock Holmes once said, “There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.” While I can appreciate that bit of wisdom, the Wizards’ spit-roasting at the hands of the Golden State Warriors was no Boscombe Valley Mystery. The Wizards simply weren’t prepared to play — a truth so plain that even Mr. Lestrade wouldn’t miss it.
Precisely when the game was lost, however, is up for debate. I would point to the 12-2 run the Warriors made to end the first quarter, capped off by Monta Ellis’ 36-foot 3-pointer that ripped through the net at the buzzer. That 3-ball gave the Dubs a 41-24 lead, one they would never come close to surrendering.
But Randy Wittman, Flip Saunders’ stand-in, revealed that the game had been all but decided before tip off. In fact, his Wizards may have lost it in the locker room hours before the game.
“It was a vibe that I got from my team that didn’t sit well with me before we even hit the court tonight,” Wittman said in a postgame presser. “We didn’t look like we were ready to play, and that’s my job to have my team prepared to play.
“This shouldn’t happen again. We were in a good position to get back-to-back wins. We just didn’t come in with any effort to win the game. Once again this is inexcusable and it’s on me. I will clean that up. I apologize to everyone that had to watch it and come here tonight.”
Apology accepted, I suppose, if totally unwarranted from the coach.
Motivation is a two-way street. Without that understanding, even the most talented prospects, projects and players will waste away in mediocrity or worse — and Holmes, the world’s most talented fictional detective, would have been nothing more than a listless tinkerer with a cocaine problem.
In any case, the Warriors picked up their 100th win over the Wizards in a performance that was as impressive as it was dull.
Here we are, left with nothing if not three minutes of quoteables (plus a video of Sam Cassell’s pre-game bounce-pass alley-oop to John Wall):