NEW YORK — The New York Knicks are off to one of their best starts, the Washington Wizards are amid one of their worst and the teams played accordingly Friday night.
While they’ve had success in previous years, the Boston Celtics haven’t been the same team this season without their All-Star point guard.
Yep, that just happened.
WASHINGTON — Jordan Crawford scored 19 points, and Emeka Okafor sank two free throws with 39 seconds left as the Washington Wizards snapped their 12-game, season-opening losing streak, edging the Portland Trail Blazers 84-82 Wednesday night.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Washington Wizards earned their first victory after starting the season with 12 straight losses, getting 19 points from Jordan Crawford in an 84-82 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night.
The Washington Wizards remain winless. Perhaps the league’s most unsympathetic player was actually defended by some on Tuesday for taking pot-shots at the squad (a team that still sends him checks, it should be noted), and the cover of Wednesday’s Washington Post featured a Wizards story with a picture of three fans with their weeping faces covered in weeping paper bags. Hopeful star guard John Wall is a week or two away from returning, and perhaps a month away from playing at his usual speed, and the team has taken to basically conceding games before tip-off against great teams by sitting important rotation players (as was the case with center Nene, and guard Shawn Livingston against San Antonio on Monday) in order for some much-needed injury rehab.
Things aren’t going well. At least the team’s players and coaches are talking, though, and not throwing chairs.
The Washington Post’s Michael Lee detailed a players-led meeting that coach Randy Wittman encouraged before practice on Tuesday, with veterans and youngsters (even rookies) alike being allowed to air their frustrations at a season gone terribly wrong. Here’s Lee’s story :
“He came in the locker room and began talking and said, ‘What do you guys feel?’ ” rookie shooting guard Bradley Beal recalled.
With the floor opened up, Martell Webster was the first player to stand and Beal said he told Wittman, “You can’t take responsibility for everything because you’re not the one playing.”
When the Washington Wizards drafted Andray Blatche in 2005, there were whispers amongst Wiz fans that this could be the guy. That Andray could be the one to put this team over the top, this potent Washington squad coming off of its first second round appearance in 23 years. Three years of steady growth and sometimes potent play had some on Wizards message boards wondering if they had a Kevin Garnett-type on their hands, a player that only didn’t seem to find much playing time due to his young age and status on a loaded Wizards squad. It was Blatche’s potential for bust-out play in his late 20s that made it easier for Ernie Grunfeld to throw $166 million at Gilbert Arenas and Antawn Jamison in the summer of 2008, even as they approached their declining years.
We know what happened next. With greater minutes, and a newfound legal ability to enter clubs following games featuring those increased minutes, Blatche put together some astoundingly bad basketball while the other Wizards around him fell apart. Grunfeld (who cluelessly signed Blatche to a five-year, $28 million deal in 2010) kept trying to add veterans and keep his team relevant, but he was failing as badly as Blatche. Blatche, setting new standards for his poor conditioning, bottomed out during the disastrous lockout season of 2011-12. By the time the Wizards decided to dump Blatche’s salary with the amnesty clause last summer, instead of Rashard Lewis’ deal that costs three times as much in 2012-13, no Wizards fan balked as they said “bye” to ” Baltche .”
Blatche, years after he should have, shaped up on his own time for once and signed with Brooklyn. He’s played well with the Nets, at times, and is now part of a team that rests atop the Atlantic division after a stirring win over their intra-city rival New York Knicks. And, in spite of all this, all Andray Blatche can think about is the Washington Wizards. Because he’s that sort of guy.
Before the contest, in a way that reporters would overhear , Blatche was heard asking nobody in particular if they’d “seen how the Wizards are doing,” referring to the team’s 0-11 start. With another Wizard loss in the books , dropping them to 0-12 and wrapping up just before Blatche’s Nets took down New York , Andray decided to troll so hard. From his Twitter account :
WASHINGTON (AP) — About 15 minutes after his San Antonio Spurs handed the Washington Wizards their 12th straight defeat, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich bumped into his Wizards counterpart, Randy Wittman in the hall. Popovich put his hand on Wittman’s shoulder and wished him luck.
Coach Randy Wittman remains optimistic while trying to find the answers to help the Washington Wizards end the worst start in franchise history.
In the year leading up to and the season following LeBron James’ insipid ‘Decision,’ the Cleveland Cavaliers went about things about as incorrectly as one franchise conceivably can. In the time since, luckily for northern Ohioans, the team is doing just about everything right. The wins aren’t there, of course, but that’s par for the course when you take chances in the draft and rebuild with youth. And while youngsters like Tristan Thompson, Tyler Zeller, and Dion Waiters have had their fair share of ups and downs during the lockout year and this season’s first month, star guard Kyrie Irving is helping the Cavaliers lead the league in drools per minute with his All-Star level play.
Of course, a day later, we know that Irving will miss up to a month with a fracture in his left hand . Though the second year guard was seen shooting around at practice on Tuesday while wearing a split on his injured hand, the team is likely to take its time (again, smartly) as they work their future franchise stud back into the lineup.
And that lineup, without Irving? It wasn’t pretty before with Kyrie off the court. And for the rest of November and a good chunk of December one of the league’s most entertaining teams will take a severe back seat without Irving’s offensive flash. Such is life on a rebuilding team without a star — suddenly, you’re the Washington Wizards .