I watched last night as the Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Danny Green, and Manu Ginobili-less San Antonio Spurs came a few smart plays short of defeating the star studded Miami Heat team, in Miami. So what does that have to do with the Wizards you ask? Plenty.
The Wizards have finally gotten the proverbial monkey off of their collective backs after squeaking out their first win verses the Portland Trailblazers on Wednesday. They have to realize that the win was secured with defense. Not by a destitute offense that mustered five measly points in the last 9:43 of the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s game against the Blazers.
I have faith, though waning, that this rag-tag group of role players can build upon their one, and only win, by catching the Knicks looking past them as most teams do. Hey, if the starless Spurs can come close to beating the NBA champs then the starless Wizards should have no problem with the Knicks, right?
So what do the Wizards have to do in order to defeat the Knicks and go on a season long, two game winning streak? Plenty. First they have to start off on the defensive end.
The Wizards can not allow role players to have a career day against them tonight. Steve Novak can’t break the record for number of 3-pointers in a game, Ronnie Brewer shouldn’t eclipse his career scoring high, and James White should not look like an All-Star after tonight’s game. Easier said than done when you’re playing in a Wizards jersey.
Carmelo Anthony will always be able to get off no matter who is defending him, all defensive efforts should be directed towards the rest of the team. Let Trevor Ariza go one on one and tell him, “Your best is all we are asking for.”
What about the offense?
The Wizard’s offense leaves a lot to be desired. Shooting is horrendous. Offensive rebounding is unheard of. Going to the free-throw line is wishful thinking unless the call is an obvious one. Every player has to play within their limited skill set and most importantly play together. During that third quarter stretch of Wednesday’s win, they moved the ball and manufactured easy buckets.
This is a team, the Wizards, that has to do everything right on the offensive end every time down the court. Their offense is the reason why they should be hanging their hat on the defensive end of the floor every night. Create those fast break opportunities and you don’t have to worry about setting up half court and Jordan Crawford shooting a jumper over two defenders with plenty of time left on the shot clock.
Tonight’s game will let us know how far the Wizards have come since earning their first victory a month into the season or how far they really have to go.