[Kobe Bryant looks to discover more about Sam Cassell - photo: Adam McGinnis]
How does one evaluate a performance like the Washington Wizards gave in a 103-89 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night? They didn’t play their worst, but weren’t even in sight of the perfect game they would have needed to beat the reigning champs. Washington did their best to fight, but continued to make the same exact mistakes that fans should sadly be becoming immune to now. Each key defensive gaffe became mundane, blending in with the others.
Already severely out-manned with no Andray Blatche, John Wall and Josh Howard, Yi Jianlian went down about five minutes into the game with just about the same injury to the same knee. That’s when the Washington Post’s Michael Lee invoked the ‘Curse O’ Les Boulez’ on Twitter. Great.
Lesser than a tale of two halves, it was a tale of two quarters, the first and the second. The Wizards “hung around” in the first quarter, moving the ball well (7 assists, 11 field-goals, 0 turnovers) and playing aggressive defense. Of course, that aggressiveness combined with the aura of a champion that seems to possess referees pinned the Wizards for 10 fouls — although some of those should certainly be credited to bad defensive positioning. After the game, Al Thornton also denoted a couple early call against him as “cheap.” Pretty much what you can expect when you have to guard Kobe Bryant and his ability to draw fouls. Watching the referees pay meticulous attention to Kobe’s presence with their whistles is akin to walking by a construction site behind of bevy of Hooters waitresses.