Key Legislature: Wizards 109 at Clippers 114 — California Dreaming of Fat Ladies Singing | Wizards Blog Truth About

Key Legislature: Wizards 109 at Clippers 114 — California Dreaming of Fat Ladies Singing

Updated: April 5, 2016

TAI’s Key Legislature… The game’s defining moment, its critical event, the wildest basketball thing you ever saw, or just stuff that happened. Wizards at Clippers, Regular Season Game 77, April 3, 2016, by Troy Haliburton (@TroyHalibur).

I must have been punch-drunk with disappointment, or at the very least dehydrated, from the previous night’s Final Four-watching fellowship. As the final seconds waned in the Wizards’ defeat on Sunday, I could only squint my eyes to the distance to discern what appeared to be a voluptuous woman belting at the top of her lungs.

OK, so maybe that was just a fever dream, but at this point my version of denial plausibility has to be more believable than Wizards players who are just in full-blown denial. For Bradley Beal to say that “The fat lady hasn’t started singing yet” in reference to the Wizards’ playoff chances is cute, but for those of us who live in the real world, missing the playoffs this season after two straight trips to the Eastern Conference Semi-finals is a mere formality. (And disappointing, for sure.)

Beal’s post-game optimism may seem endearing to some, but for a guy who seemingly ripped his teammates for not having a sense of urgency after last week’s loss to the Sacramento Kings, it would have been a hell of a lot better if he would have put his play where his mouth is. The Clippers dominated for a large stretch of Sunday’s matinee game, and for the most part, Beal was nowhere to be found. He finished the contest with just eight points on 2-for-16 shooting from the field. Combine that with John Wall’s disappointing 5-for-14 shooting from the field and what you have is a straight up miracle that the Wizards even found themselves staying competitive through the final minute.

Wall found himself outmatched against one of the point guards that I don’t think anyone can deny is on another level than the #WallStar movement. Chris Paul. He was masterful in this contest, even in the midst of his constant whining and complaining. Paul put on a clinic for Wall on how to run an efficient NBA offense by getting others involved to the tune of 12 assists, protecting the ball with only two turnovers, and also picking and choosing his spots to dominate with his array of crossover dribbles that seemingly always lead to pull-up jumpers from his hot-spots on the floor. Wall, on the other hand, struggled to get into a rhythm with his own jumper, and he failed to hit a big shot until the Wizards were making their desperate fourth-quarter rally. That made 3 from the top of the arc ultimately proved to be the tease that this entire Wizards season has been in general.

No, Wall and Beal did not bring their A-games to Sunday’s contest, but they are not the only two Wizards players to collect checks. The Clippers’ bench is well known throughout NBA circles for blowing leads at the drop of a hat, but you’d better catch them on an off night for former Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford (averaging 14 points per game this year). The Wizards were not so lucky. Crawford poured in 19 points and was the second leading scorer for the Clippers (after Paul). The thing that is so amazing about Crawford is that no matter how good the defense is on him, he just has a knack for hitting tough, contested shots. He shot 4-for-7 on 3-point attempts and every last one of them could be categorized as the circus variety. It was just one of those days for Washington.

Heading into Sunday’s game, there was a narrative that would have led Wizards fans into believing that they actually had a chance to steal a much-needed contest on the road. Former All-Star Blake Griffin was making his not-so-triumphant return to the Clippers lineup, after not playing since Christmas day due to a torn quad muscle and a broken hand that he received from beating down a Clippers staff member outside of a Toronto establishment. It was conceivable that Griffin’s presence could have possibly thrown off the chemistry that has been built up by his teammates in his absence, but despite Griffin looking nothing like the supernova athlete that we are used to seeing from him, he was still able to show all of his other basketball nuances that make him one of the elite players in the game. Griffin finished with a game high plus/minus of plus-22 in just 25 minutes of action on a modest stat line of 6 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists. The reason why he had so much success on the court was because of his ability to not force the issue; he let the game flow through him while he was on the court. His Wizards counterpart, Markieff Morris, had himself a decent outing as well, finishing with 18 points, but Griffin was able to give Markieff a a tough matchup defensively in the fourth quarter, after Keef exploded for 10 points in the third.

So where does this loss leave the Wizards? FiveThirtyEight gives the Wizards just a seven percent chance to make the playoffs, and that honestly seems kind of generous at this point. The Wizards are four games back of the number eight seed with only five games to go, so to say that they need a little help would be an understatement. Washington would essentially need the Pistons or Pacers to lose all of their games, and they would need to win all of theirs to miraculously make the postseason. The Wizards are living on a prayer, and there isn’t much evaluation to be done of the current roster to determine much going forward since this team is dead set on having major roster turnover heading into next year. The season isn’t quite over just yet, technically speaking, but there is some fat lady, somewhere, getting her pitch ready in honor of the 2015-16 Wizards.

Troy Haliburton on Twitter
Troy Haliburton
Troy Haliburton is a native Washingtonian, and graduate of Gonzaga College High School and Morehouse College. Bylines on bylines on bylines.

Will write for food.