The Week in Wizards, the basketball ones — Nov. 18 to 25
The week that was and the week that will be in Washington Wizards, #SoWizards, and pixels otherwise—mostly to do with basketball.One week at a time.
Evidently that’s good to keep in mind with the Wizards. So, great news, Wizards fans, last week was just swell. The team went 4-1, John Wall won some award (in the Leastern Conference), a puppy was born, and Kevin Seraphin popped more Instagrams than court minutes (9-to-7). Chris Singleton and Otto Porter were also rumored to have taken part in practice for the first time this season (on Monday), and a tree probably feel somewhere in the woods while not making a sound.
The 2-7 Wizards started last week by giving up 15 points to Kevin Love and 34 points to all Timberwolves in the first quarter on Tuesday. Washington—Nene and to a small extent Jan Vesely—then took defending Love’s perimeter game more seriously; Bradley Beal and John Wall stepped up on defense (Beal helped handcuff Kevin Martin to 4-for-17 field goals); Love only scored 10 points the rest of the way; and the Timberwolves were held to 37 points in the second half. This particular 104-100 win was brought to you by Washington’s painstaking efforts to shift the franchine culture (they are now capable of displaying game-changing maturity, sometimes), and also by Wall’s jets—the Wizards outscored the Wolves 33-9 on the run.
The next day Washington visited Cleveland, land of a once-distant rivalry. Not much has gone right for the 4-10 Cavaliers this season. Beating the Wizards in an overtime Kyrie Irving takeover game last week is their only win in the past seven games. With revenge in mind for a meeting days later, the Wizards were the best Wizards that could wizard when they started walloping the Cavs on their own court with a 27-point lead. But, as goes the NBA, especially when you have an offensive star like Irving, a team will come back. The Wizards helped the Cavs’ comeback effort by going into ‘we’re up by a lot so I’m going to get mine’ mode. Nonetheless, Nene’s prayers were answered when the Wizards finished the 98-91 win by knocking down free throws, garnering them a 4-7 record.
With a day off in between games, the Wizards travelled to Canada for a Friday night meeting with the Raptors. The long and short of it is that Toronto’s bigs were more physical—Jonas Valanciunas, Amir Johnson, and even Tyler Hansbrough. Meanwhile, Washington’s bigs faced step-slow foul trouble and, in Nene’s case, not being blessed with just a little more hops. Rudy Gay also managed to stay relevant in the ‘Wizards are totally going to overpay him’ next summer conversation. Wall, with little help from teammates, was able to take over during a particular amazing stretch in the third quarter. The Wizards even took a lead behind Wall’s 18 points in the period (37 total points) after being down 51-38 after the first half. But ultimately, the Wiz Kids couldn’t hang with Toronto’s 50 points in the paint (to 36 of their own) and lost 96-88. Also, Marcin Gortat ripped a towel in half.
The Saturday night Knicks game was clearly a self-conflicted battle between two teams with struggling mentalities. New York is a basket case, most accented by the absence of Tyson Chandler. Even a semi-retro effort by Amar’e Stoudemire couldn’t keep Gortat from calling the Knicks’ bigs, including Andrea Bargnani and Kenyon Martin, a bunch of puppies. John Wall made more plays for his team than Carmelo Anthony did, but Melo is not really the type of star who is capable of making plays for teammates on a consistent basis anyway. And with that, the Wizards won 98-89 and pulled to a respectable (in the East) 5-8 record.
And that was your week in Wizards. Wall shot 50 percent from the field (36-72), Beal continued to rain 3s at a nice clip, and Nene … well, Nene stayed alive. And the Wizards also made free throws, a nice way to go into this week where they will face Nick Young and the Lakers in D.C. on Tuesday, Caron Butler and the Bucks in Milwaukee on Wednesday, the conference-best Pacers in Indiana on Friday, and finally the returns of Shelvin Mack and Cartier Martin with the Atlanta Hawks in the District next Saturday.
Not so fast. Barely able to digest a decent seven days, the Wizards were hit with uncertain but bad news late Monday night as Washington’s pro football team put on a minor league display. (Cue the ‘this is why Wizards can’t have nice things’ jokes.)
It started with a tweet from Bill Simmons with curious timing that was initially perceived, by me at least, to be an ill-conceived joke that paired well like stinky cheese with Redskins wine. It wasn’t. Reports would soon surface to appease panicked Wizards fans, but not so much. The case: Bradley Beal was experiencing soreness in the very same leg that was previously affected by a stress injury. Team reports indicate that Beal received some “tests” and that the Wizards would “know more” on Tuesday. But in this day and age, such tests don’t take overnight. The Wizards were simply trying to buy borrowed and already-spent time before inevitably releasing obscure news with obscure timelines indicating that the medical monitoring of such will also be obscure.
It will be, #SoWizards.
Or, rather, it IS so Wizards. Per official team report on Monday morning, Beal has been declared out for two weeks with a “stress injury to his proximal right fibula.” After those two weeks, Beal will be reevaluated, at which point he will likely be declared out for a longer, indeterminate amount of time. On April 3 of this year, Beal was declared out for around six weeks with a “stress injury in his right fibula,” but ended up being away from basketball action for significantly longer (until August).
So #BealWithIt, #HealWithIt, hope for the best, and prepare for the worst… Have you hugged a Wizard today?
Plays of the Week
— HELLO my name is (@JohnCTownsend) November 20, 2013
— Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It) November 21, 2013
— Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It) November 23, 2013
vs New York…
— Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It) November 24, 2013
- Crossed Up and Shot Down in LA — Wizards at Clippers, DC Council 77
- Gortat on the Season, the Offseason, and Driving Taxis — Dispatches from Poland
- Key Legislature: Wizards 109 at Clippers 114 — California Dreaming of Fat Ladies Singing
- Key Legislature: Wizards 106 at Suns 99 — Making Good on Meaningless Promises