After a month-long hiatus for the summer Olympics, the Washington Mystics and the rest of the WNBA returns to action this week with the locals playing at Indiana on Thursday. Depending on one's point of view, the break for the Mystics (4-14) was either: Much needed so the players and coaches could analyze and ponder how best to fix the woes of the first half, one that included three losing streaks of at least four games. Or...Poorly timed seeing as the Mystics closed the first half with a rousing 70-53 win at New York, their largest margin of victory on the season.Sure, you can point to the latter position with some legitimacy, but the overall ills during those initial 18 games cannot be denied. Slow starts were a repeat offender; Washington did not own a lead at the end of the first quarter until the 13th game of the season. Spotty point guard play certainly did not help generate consistent early offense.The one constant on offense and on the boardsremains forward Crystal Langhorne, who topped the team in points (16.6) and matched Michelle Snow with a team-high 6.7 rebounds. The former University of Maryland star combined with DC native Monique Currie for 40 points in the victory over New York and tallied 22 points and 13 rebounds in the Mystics stunning 67-66 win over the Fever (10-7) on June 15.Overall the Mystics offense has been stagnant and simply lacking, averaging a league-low 69 points per game. Currie (10.6) is the only other playing averaging double figures, Matee Ajavon (9.2) is averaging nearly five points a game fewer than she did last season, sinking only 32 percent of her shots. The real issue for coach Trudi Lacey's squad offensively comes with those directing traffic. Free agent signee Dominque Canty went from starting point guardto waived after only five games. Second-year guard and former first-round pick Jasmine Thomas is still transitioning into a floor leader role and the growing pains are evident at times.In-season pick-up Shannon Bobbitt became a 5-foot-3 sparkplug for a while, but she failed to tally a single point in four of her last five games. Natasha Lacy also received time, but nothing stuck. Even if the losses continue to mount, letting Thomas and 2012 first-rounder Natalie Novosel take control of the backcourt at some point could be Lacey's best path.Indiana, led by Olympic Gold medalist and small forward Tamika Catchings, ended the first half in second place behindEastern Conference leading Connecticut. Catchings paces the Fever in points (18.2), rebounds (7.4) and steals (2.0), though the do-everything star missed 10 of 14 shots in the June loss to the Mystics. The two sides square off three times over the final five-plus weeks of the regular season including twice in Indiana where the Fever are 6-3.Meanwhile the Mystics lost seven of eight road games with the win at New York representing the only triumph away from the Verizon Center. Seeing as they open the second half playing six of eight on the road, the Mystics better hope they remembered that winning formula.
Here is a guide to the area around Capital One Arena for restaurants and bars before and after Wizards games (or Caps games, Mystics games, Valor games or concerts). These recommendations were made on a special episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast. The full episode can be found below.
The quotes in this guide are from Jose Andrés, a world-renowned chef with restaurants in the area, Washington City Paper food editor Laura Hayes and yours truly, a sports reporter who spends a lot of his time at Capital One Arena... and bars.
Drink before the game
City Tap House of D.C. - 901 9th St. NW
Hayes: "Really relaxed. They have a bunch of flat screens in case there is a good game on... they have a good happy hour before weekday games... really comfortable environment with reasonable prices and it's walkable to the arena."
Daikaya - 705 6th St. NW
Andrés: "Katsuya Fukushima, who used to be a team member of mine, we worked many years together. Finally, when he moved away from D.C. and he came back, he opened Daikaya, which has some of the best ramen anywhere in the country. Then he opened Izakaya and Bantam King."
Nice place to get a drink and impress someone
Denson Liquor Bar - 600 F St. NW
Hayes: "Hard to find... so it's never crowded down there. It's really dark and kind of sultry with a beautiful design to it. The cocktails are usually dominated by the brown liquor classic cocktails... they have higher-end snacks."
Red Apron/The Partisan - 709 D. St. NW
Andrés: "They do amazing hot dogs to amazing burgers to amazing cocktails to amazing beer."
Hayes: "It's a really good time. Lots of good sour bears. It's a great hang."
Nice dinner for a date
Succotash - 915 F St. NW
Hayes: "A mix of southern cuisine... and then some touches from [the chef's] Korean heritage... it's southern food, but not like you know it. There's some cool twists."
Zaytinya - 701 9th St. NW
Andrés: "Zaytinya is an homage to Greece, to Turkey and to Lebanon... Mr. Ted Leonsis, I know, loves the place because he has a Greek background himself... it has become a favorite of Washingtonians."
China Chilcano - 418 7th St. NW
Andrés: "This one is my love for everything Asian and everything Latin... This is one of the most amazing melting pots. You can find Chinese, Japanese, and Peruvian cooking all in one country. Right here, I wanted to bring that story to everybody in Washington."
Best place to go out after a game and get hammered
Jackpot - 726 7th St. NW
Hayes: "It's good before and after games. No frills. You're not going to be packed in there like sardines. They have a really good beer selection... it's laid back, with cheap beer and you can still hear each other."
Irish Channel - 500 H St. NW
Hughes: "A favorite of sportswriters. Live music, open late with a late night menu (important)."
Free State - 501b G St. NW
Hayes: "They have $10-12 cocktails. It's very relaxed. They have the orange crush, the signature cocktail of the Eastern Shore. They have a huge slate of local beers."
On Rye - 740 6th St. NW
Hayes: "It's a new Jewish deli that opened on sixth street. It's extremely close."
Chinese food in Chinatown
Full Kee - 509 H St. NW
Hayes: "It's reliable. I spend most of my time interviewing chefs and whenever I ask what their dirty little secret is, they say Full Kee."
Cava - 707 H St. NW
Hayes: "I still can't get enough of it... you can usually get in and out there very fast. I personally love the lamb sliders."
Honeygrow - 716 7th St. NW
Hayes: "It's more healthy. You can build your own salad or stir fry noodles."
Grand Trunk - 641 Indiana Ave. NW
Hayes: "They stick two patties that are spiced with ginger, cumin, green chiles, onion and cilantro and they put them inside some grilled naan. Then, it's smeared with some kind of an amazing sauce and it comes with dippers like a creamy yogurt sauce and tamarind. It's just a messy, messy good time."
The Smith - 901 F St. NW
Hayes: "They have a nice, big, fat burger deluxe for $17 that is just loaded with everything you can imagine."
Red Apron/The Partisan - 709 D. St. NW
Hughes: "Burgers are awesome. Beers are awesome. Awesome."
Graffiato - 707 6th St. NW
Hayes: "It's a Mike Isabella restaurant and he spent a lot of time growing up on the Jersey Shore. So, he has a Jersey Shore pizza that has fried calamari on top with tomato, provolone and then this really zesty cherry pepper aioli. It's not your normal margherita or pepperoni, but they have some really good pizza that they're cranking out there."
Best family spot
Nando's Peri-Peri - 819 7th St. NW
Hayes: "They have five different options for kid's meals. They have grilled chicken strips, grilled cheese; they all come with a side... everything a kid would like."
Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, October 17, six days before the Washington Redskins visit the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night football.
Today’s schedule: No media availability
—Cowboys @ Redskins (10/29) 12
—Redskins @ Seahawks (11/5) 19
—Giants @ Redskins Thanksgiving (11/23) 37
Last look at Redskins vs. 49ers
—It’s gotten to a point where a Kirk Cousins game where he completes 67 percent of his passes for 330 yards, 8.9 yards per attempt, and two touchdowns as he did against the 49ers and it’s just another day, not worthy of any special note. But since 1990, a Redskins quarterback has had a line of at least 67 percent completions for 330 yards or more, 8.9 yards or more per attempt, and two or more touchdown passes just four times. Cousins did it earlier this year against the Raiders and he did it against the Packers last year. Brad Johnson also did it in 1999 against the 49ers. Add in the fact that Cousins led a fourth-quarter rally with two drives that produced 10 fourth-quarter points and that he scored the touchdown himself on a seven-yard read option run and you have a very good game that flew under the radar.
—The 49ers came into the game ranked 31st in third-down conversions on offense and on defense. The Redskins ensured that they will stay near the bottom. Washington hit on 50 percent of its third downs, converting seven of 14. Opponents had success on 47.4 percent coming into the game. Defensively the Redskins allowed six of 17, a 35.3 percent success rate, a little better than the 29.7 percent the Niners offense had going in. The 49ers converted just one of their first eight but after C.J. Beathard came in at quarterback they got rolling, converting five of their last nine.
—I thought that Mack Brown might be more of a chance to run the ball with Rob Kelley out but that was before we knew that Chris Thompson was going to be the featured back. In fact, Thompson said that he didn’t know that his workload would go up until the night before the game. Back to Brown, he got two yards on two carries. He came in for a handoff on third and one in the second quarter. Perhaps he would have had a chance to do something but he got no blocking on the right side, particularly from tight ends Vernon Davis and Jordan Reed. His chance will have to wait for another day.
—Reed had a quiet day receiving with four catches for 37 yards. He confessed to not being 100 percent last week and his average of 7.9 yards per catch on the season speaks to something not being quite right. He did make a couple of key catches, though. After Thompson got tackled for a loss of nine yards on first down, Reed kept the drive alive with receptions good for 10 and 14 yards. That drive ended with Samaje Perine scoring on a three-yard pass reception for a touchdown to put the Redskins up 14-0. Still, it would be good to see Reed have a breakout game with something like seven receptions for 95 yards and a couple of touchdowns.
Tandler on Twitter
I’m old enough to remember the handwringing over #Redskins slow starts during preseason. They have outscored opp. 27-7 in Q1 and 74-40 in 1H— Rich Tandler (@TandlerNBCS) October 16, 2017
In their last 4 games WAS has scored double digits before the opp scored a single point. Remember this next August (spolier: you won’t)— Rich Tandler (@TandlerNBCS) October 16, 2017
In case you missed it
- Why can't the Redskins hold a lead?
- Injury to Allen a Tough Pill to Swallow
- Injury news not all bad
- 2017 NFL Power rankings, updated after Week 6
- 5 overlooked stories from the Redskins-49ers game
- Breaking down Redskins' most important plays vs. 49ers