Even if you know nothing about sports, this blog the past few days is a good indication of the sorry state of Washington sports at least in football, and the dangerous future of baseball. The Wizards are in many ways just as hopeless as the Redskins. At least they’ve finally cut ties with Gilbert Arenas (traded to Orlando today).
Today they played the Heat, who admittedly do have 3 of the top 20 players in the league. Yet, Washington led the entire second half… until 7.9 seconds remaining, when Dwyane Wade made both free throws to give Miami a 95-94 lead, which held as the final score. This came after the Wizards missed 3 of their last 6 free throw attempts, Chris Bosh made his whopping third three-pointer of the season, and the Wizards turned the ball over with a 93-91 lead. And of course, throughout the second half of the fourth quarter a strong dose of “officiating assistance,” including a no-call on the last play of the game. In short, it was a typical Wizards game.
It hurts more because it occurred at home, the only place the Wizards can win. This is no exaggeration at this point in the season: Washington is a whopping 0-13 away from their home arena this year.
One additional thing irked me about this game, and it involved the coaching. The Wizards have two talented power forward/center-type players on the team, Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee. But their talents lie in different areas: Blatche is very good offensively but a poor and often lazy defender, while McGee’s offensive game needs work but he can rebound, defend, and block like a madman. And yet, as the Wizards held a slim lead in the final minutes and seconds–when they needed to be stronger on defense–it was Blatche in the game, not McGee. Blatche did have 9 defensive rebounds and 4 steals, but McGee had 8 defensive rebounds and 4 blocks, plus it’s well known that he’s a better defender in general. It seemed very odd to have Blatche in when they needed defense.
Other than rookie John Wall and perhaps Blatche and McGee, there isn’t much to build on with this Wizards team. (Nick Young, a guard, may be okay too, and he did pour in 30 points on 13 of 23 shooting tonight.) Fortunately, they are in a league where one star is enough for success, and assuming Wall’s career isn’t derailed by knee injuries (he’s missed a lot of games this year with bruises and such, including tonight’s) perhaps he can consistently carry them to 40-45 win seasons, which make the bottom half of the playoffs most years in Washington’s conference. Which is where they were in the middle part of the decade, and isn’t much solace for a team that hasn’t won a championship in over 30 years.
But I actually think they’ve got a better future ahead of them than the Redskins do.