Oct 28, 2010

Game 1: Train Wreck

The Wizards played the Magic tonight. None of our players died, or were seriously injured. Also, TNT replaced Reggie Miller with Steve Kerr, so the English language came out a clear winner.

So tempting to end the recap there. But we press on.

In what has to be one of the worst season openers in franchise history (turns out, it was the second worst), the Magic gave it to the Wizards for 48 straight minutes. Every hope the Wiz were harboring was dashed, every fear confirmed.

Under the bright lights, evidence of Andray Blatche's growth as a player last season was nowhere to be found. Refusing to attack off the dribble, tentative with his jumper, Blatche was maybe the worst of the bunch.

The Magic treated the wunderkind, John Wall, with a shocking lack of respect, exposing a dirty little secret in the process. All that speed is useless if your defender can sag five feet without fear.

Javale Mcgee, after spending his summer earning rave reviews from Team USA, looked exactly the same. Accident prone and extremely bouncy. He's like Tigger, if Tigger pouted every time Flip Saunders yelled at him about a blown rotation.

In general, the Wizards were completely outmatched. The only exception was in transition, where John Wall lived up to his billing and filled multiple defenders with the sinking feeling that they were about to be part of an unflattering replay. Other than that, the Wizards made basketball look very, very hard. TNT's analysts repeatedly ripped the Wiz Kids for playing selfish basketball and taking undisciplined shots. But that might be an optimistic diagnosis.

It didn't seem like the Wizards were taking selfish shots. It seemed like they were taking turns trying to create shots against superior players. Maybe that's the players' fault, if there are better shots to be found within the flow of the offense. Maybe it's Flip's fault, if his system doesn't contain better looks. Or maybe it's just what happens when you're not that talented.

In any event, the Wiz have to do this 81 more times this year. At the moment, that seems overwhelmingly depressing. But we won't play Orlando every night. John Wall has to improve (right?). And Gilbert should come back soon, which, if nothing else, will do something about the talent gap.

In case you're wondering, that's the sound of straws being grasped. Tonight was rough.

1 comment:

  1. Welllll wait a minute. I believe last season the Wizards opened with a stupendous victory IN Dallas!... and then went on to achieve a somewhat deplorable 26 n 56 record.
    It is quite clear that this year's Wizawds have taken a different approach to the '10-'11 season. By my logic, the only logic that really matters, the Zalards have but one direction to go in now. UP. And I think its safe to say that, this year, they will attain a more salubrious 56 n 26 record, allowing us to say 'So long Wizturds of bygone days! Hello merciless Wizmurd(erer)s of future championships!' Yep.