Last night was a truly awful night for D.C. sports, with the Caps and Wizards delivering poor performances. Perhaps the most disappointing aspect is that the worst performances came from the two most recognizable players: John Wall and Alex Ovechkin. Both guys stunk up the joint. No way around it. We’ll start with the Wizards, who fell to the Pistons by the slimmest of margins. This team opened the game with little attention to detail, basically allowing the Pistons to have free layups on every possession. They only kept it close thanks to Bradley Beal’s hot start from the field. The second unit came on and performed quite well, sparking the Wizards to a lead. A.J. Price was miles better than John Wall in this game, which is a bad thing for the Wizards. Kevin Seraphin had a nice game, just a few days removed from getting his first DNP-CD of the season. He was active on the glass and didn’t settle for long jumpers. He actually played like the bruising big man that he is.
And, of course, Trevor Ariza was sensational off the bench. He led the team in scoring on the night, pitching in 22 points. Ariza came into this season with a reputation as a gunner, prone to awful shot selection, but I honestly haven’t seen it. He’s been a perfect bench guy for this team, coming in and playing tremendous defense, knocking down timely shots and being a nice “glue guy.” Probably still not worth what he’s getting paid, but who is these days?
The Pistons opened up a big lead to start the fourth quarter, but the Wiz wouldn’t go away. They even had a chance to win it after an ill-advised clear path foul from the Pistons. Their last possession was a classic botch-job, as Bradley Beal’s inaccurate pass led to a rushed Ariza corner three that came up short. Buck and Phil thought the shot was good, however, leading to some awkward television. For the record, I’m a huge fan of both of these guys. They’re the best in the business. Slip-ups happen sometimes. Keep on fighting the good fight, guys.
The story of this game, though, was the continued horrid play of John Wall. Wall was 3-9 from the field, with seven turnovers and a -11 while he was on the court (compare that to A.J. Price’s +12). His jump shots were typically atrocious, his driving game was forced and resulted in a lot of bad shots, he was lazy on defense and didn’t move to the basket to get rebounds. Basically, he was as bad as you can be. And then he had the nerve to blame his teammates for his turnovers after the game.
I’m getting really sick of this act from Wall. It just comes off as immature from a guy who is supposed to be the face of this franchise. I think part of what drives me crazy about Wall’s game is that there is such a high degree of difficulty on all of his shots, because he can’t make a simple, wide-open 18-foot jump shot. He’s forced to get his points by driving into the lane, contorting his body around three defenders and putting up some wild shot (which DOES, occasionally, go in, it should be noted). Star players shouldn’t have to work so hard for their points. And Wall wouldn’t have to either if he could just make a jump shot.
In short, grow up John Wall. There’s real talent on this team for once, and the team is winning IN SPITE of your performance (despite what the simplified narrative may tell you). It’s time to improve your game and stop pouting after bad performances like a five-year-old.
- Bullets Forever recap
- Standings Update: Wizards are back to the third-worst record in the league, ahead of only Charlotte and Orlando
- Next game: Friday vs. Knicks 7 PM ET/ 6 PM CT
Capitals: At leas the Wizards put up a fight. The Caps looked completely disinterested from the start last night, losing to the Flyers in embarrassing fashion. True, this was the second game of a back-to-back set, but this team had no spark or drive of any sort. And with the Caps being in last place in the Eastern Conference, they can’t really afford those types of lapses.
The only players who looked like they MIGHT be interested in playing hockey last night were Joel Ward, Braden Holtby and Philipp Grubauer. Ward had the team’s only goal, Holtby was unfortunately pulled in the second period after his teammates utterly abandoned him and Grubauer made a couple of nifty saves in his NHL debut, after replacing Holtby. If there is any sliver of silver lining to this game, it’s the play of Grubauer who showed why there is so much faith in him in the organization and that the Caps continue to develop quality, young goaltenders.
But that’s about where the “good” from this game stops. Alex Ovechkin was wandering around the ice, putting forth little effort and tripping over himself when he was trying. As you might have expected, Mike Milbury loved this opportunity to rip into Ovechkin.
Look, Milbury is a troll and a dick. He’s also got a terrible track record of success in the NHL. So I don’t know why we have to treat him as an expert. That being said, he raised a lot of valid points last night. For the first time in a long time (ever?), I actually agreed with Milbury’s ripping of Ovechkin (this isn’t his first foray into the subject matter). Ovechkin’s performance was dreadful last night. At least he didn’t blame his teammates after the game (the search for silver linings is the theme of this post).
- Recap: RMNB
- Standings: Caps are tied with Buffalo for the worst record in the Eastern Conference
- Next game: Saturday @ Winnipeg 3 PM ET/ 2 PM CT
Nationals: The Nats lost 5-1 to the Marlins in spring training. Some notes from reading the box score:
- Lots of regulars in the lineup. Not a lot of hits to show for it. It’s early.
- Tanner Roark gave up 4 runs in 1 1/3 innings. He’s probably in the same area as Ryan Perry (who got lit up the day before) in the No. 8-11 starter range. C’mon Chris Young!
- Drew Storen with a scoreless inning at the end. Good for Drew!