October 30, 2018 | FedEx Forum | Memphis, TN
The Washington Wizards are 1-6, which is arguably a worse start than there 2-8 record to begin the 2016-17 season. They won 49 games that year, but this team doesn’t show any reason to believe that they will turn it around again. It was not necessarily rebounding and defense (at least not as glaring as past games), but the road team continued to be a let down early in the season.
Turnovers, turnovers, and more turnovers
The Wizards had 20 turnovers that the Grizzlies cashed in for 17 points. Washington had just four more assists than their double dime number of turnovers. Aside from the Kings game, the Wizards had been doing a decent job protecting the rock to start the season. Against a scrappy defensive team like Memphis, that was not the case. John Wall had nine turnovers alone, two shy of tying his career-worst. Marc Gasol was credited with five steals, unprecedented for a center, and slo-mo Kyle Anderson had four to his credit.
Horrendous start to second half
Before intermission, things were going alright for Washington. Sure, they trailed 46-45 but as long as they maintained their defensive effort, limited their 13 turnovers, and Bradley Beal wasn’t 1-of-7 from deep, one would think the Wizards would be just fine. Wrong. Memphis blitzed the heck out of Washington to the tune of an 18-1 run. Conley floater, Gasol three, Mack floater, Conley layup, Anderson floater, Conley three, Temple free throws, Gasol dunk. In the blink of an eye, the game was out of hand. The Wizards did not score a field goal until 5:42 into the second half. Behind Kelly Oubre’s 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting in the third quarter, Washington made a 21-8 run that got them to within six, but they would not get closer than four the rest of the game.
Same old story, until when?
Scott Brooks can say that the team just has to stick together (when in reality it may already be fractured beyond repair) and it is a long season all he wants, but the fact of the matter is the Washington Wizards are not a mature enough basketball team to night in and night out put forth the maximum amount of effort for a full 48 minutes to get the job done. In a season that Ted Leonsis deemed to have “no excuses”, there may be no excuse not to blow up the core that has been intact for more than a few years now in hopes of a rebuild or in following the Raptors model, a retool. Of course, John Wall’s four-year, $170 million contract hinders the flexibility available in all of that.
Our Josh Vinson was in Memphis to cover the game so you can check out the highlights of post-game availabilities from Scott Brooks, John Wall, and Bradley Beal below. After calling teammate(s) out earlier in the road trip, Wall and Beal mostly stuck to the PR approved talking points after another frustrating loss.
Next Game: The Wizards return home for a matchup with the Thunder on Friday night on ESPN (which means they will look like Eastern Conference contenders in an impressive win, amirite?)