Wizards Report January 4Posted on January 14, 2013 by DJ-WizardsRadio
By Dave Johnson
The pattern at the start of games for the Washington Wizards has been hard to break and just as difficult to understand. As the Wizards prepare to host the Brooklyn Nets tonight at Verizon Center, they have resume that includes bad first quarters in almost half their games.
Here is today’s Wizards Report:
Coverage of the Wizards and Brooklyn Nets begins at 6:45 PM on the Washington Wizards Radio Network.
On Wednesday the Wizards trailed the Indiana Pacers 24-7 just six minutes into the game. It marked the 13th time in 30 games this season the Wizards have had to deal with a double-digit deficit in the first quarter. The consistently slow starts have occurred despite the use of 12 different starting lineups.
To be sure the Wizards have had other bad quarters, but it has been the first quarters of games where the deficits have been most dramatic. Six of the thirteen first quarter double-digit deficits were between 15 and 20 points. In the natural flow of basketball teams can be expected to go on runs, but they rarely turn in to huge leads in the first quarter.
Jordan Crawford on starts:
“Forces us to use up a lot of energy. We’re letting the other team get too much confidence. We’re not playing the whole 48 minutes. It’s pure and simple as that. It’s the same old story. We need to be a team that comes out with more energy.”
After Wednesday’s loss to Indiana Wizards’ head coach Randy Wittman talked about the importance of making the necessary stops to get control back. In an odd twist to the Wizards dilemma of defensive meltdowns in first quarters, they have become a good defensive team this season.
The Wizards are ranked tenth overall in the NBA in points allowed at 96.5 per-game. In addition in field goal defense the Wizards are tied for eighth at .439 percent with the San Antonio Spurs. The Pacers defeated the Wizards on Wednesday despite shooting only 37 percent from the field.
“Washington, despite their record, they are a tough team defensively. They really get after it. We had to take care of the ball, really execute and find guys offensively. They play all out with nothing to lose. Sometimes that’s all it takes–for guys to go out there and be fearless. They just pay tenacious defense. “Paul George of the Pacers on the Wizards defense.
A record of 14-14 was not good enough to save Avery Johnson as head coach of the Nets. P,J. Carlesimo has been elevated to interim coach and has guided the Nets to a 2-1 record including a 110-93 win over the Oklahoma City.
That is not to suggest all is well now with Nets. The changing of coaches in season is never easy on a team. Point guard Deron Williams numbers are down this season and he was particularly frustrated in a recent loss to San Antonio when he only had 8 points and 1 assist. Williams did recover with 19 points and 13 assists against the Thunder.
Still Williams is an elite point guard and he is partnered in a back court with perennial All-Star Joe Johnson. On the inside Brook Lopez is leading the team in scoring and Gerald Wallace and Reggie Evans add to the team’s physical presence. As a sub former Wizards player Andray Blatche has been solid and averaging close to 11 points per-game.
After playing Tuesday and Wednesday night, the Wizards held practice on Thursday afternoon at Verizon Center to get ready for a tough three game stretch coming up against the Nets, Heat and Thunder.