Wizards

Quick Links

Wizards' loss to Miami Heat was very uncharacteristic for how they have operated recently

Wizards' loss to Miami Heat was very uncharacteristic for how they have operated recently

It had been a long time since the Wizards lost one as bad as they did against the Miami Heat on Saturday night.

Their 27-point defeat was their most lopsided since Dec. 22 when they fell to the Nets by 35 points. It was their first loss of 20 points or more since the Hornets took them out by 24 back on Jan. 17.

Basically, this was their worst effort in months.

"It’s unacceptable that we came out with the effort that we did," head coach Scott Brooks said. "We have a lot of pride in our locker room, but we didn’t come out with it tonight."

PODCAST: TOMAS SATORANSKY GOES 1-ON-1

The Miami Heat are an offensively challenged team. They entered the matchup 28th in the NBA in points per game. Yet they had dropped a season-high 129 points on the Wizards.

The Heat had 103 points after three quarters despite averaging just 102 per game for the season. It was that bad.

Despite the fact the Heat were missing their star center Hassan Whiteside, the Wizards couldn't stop them down low. The Heat had a ridiculous 76 points in the paint compared to 42 for the Wizards. 

The Heat had a field day on offense. Eight different players reached double figures and Miami shot 59.1 percent as a team. It was their second-best shooting night of the season.

RELATED: FORMER WIZARDS JENNINGS IS BACK IN NBA

The Wizards couldn't stop the ball at the perimeter and once the Heat's wings got into the lane it was too late. And there appeared to be no communication for help defense to counter.

"They got whatever they wanted," guard Bradley Beal said. "Just a lack of effort and a lack of pride."

The Wizards esssentially fell back into all the bad habits that plagued them in December and January, right before they went on their recent surge since John Wall went down with a left knee injury. It was the second game of a back-to-back, as they beat the Pelicans the night before, but they even said that was no excuse.

They are still 11-7 since Wall went out, but what happened in Miami is something they had been able to avoid for nearly six weeks. While Wall has been sidelined, the Wizards have been in every game. They have won most of them and when they have lost, they have put up an admirable fight. That was not the case by any means on Saturday.

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS

The Wizards struggled on offense, too. Without Wall they have been drawn attention for their passing. In this game they had just 22 assists, their second-lowest total in their 18 games without Wall. They also had five turnovers in the first quarter, which helped the Heat take advantage early and never look back.

Wall is well on his way to returning, but has yet to practice. At this point his recovery timeline is still a matter of weeks, not days. The Wizards have proven they can compete without him, but in order to do so they have to do pretty much the opposite of what they did on Saturday night.

The schedule isn't letting up any time soon. Their next five opponents are currently holding playoff spots and that includes the Celtics, the No. 2 team in the East, and the Pacers who the Wizards would face if the playoffs begin today. They Wizards will also be playing Indiana for the season series and therefore the playoff tiebreaker.

They need to put this loss behind them and prove it was an aberration, not a reversion back to the problems that plagued them earlier this year.

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Quick Links

Wizards Tipoff podcast: John Wall goes 1-on-1 to talk Bryce Harper's future, celebrity softball and the Summer League

wallplayerscut.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

Wizards Tipoff podcast: John Wall goes 1-on-1 to talk Bryce Harper's future, celebrity softball and the Summer League

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, John Wall went 1-on-1 to talk Bryce Harper's future, the celebrity softball game and the Summer League.

Chase Hughes and Chris Miller broke down the parallels between Wall and Harper and why Wall has chosen to stay loyal to Washington in his own contract decisions. Plus, can the Wizards really tone down the talking this season?

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!

Quick Links

Kawhi Leonard going to the Raptors may actually be good news for the Wizards and the East

kawhileonard.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

Kawhi Leonard going to the Raptors may actually be good news for the Wizards and the East

Through nearly three weeks of NBA free agency and almost a month of trades, the Eastern Conference had remained eerily quiet. The Wizards had arguably been the most aggressive team in the East, as all the biggest moves had occurred in the West and, most notably, LeBron James changed coasts.

That all changed on Wednesday as the Toronto Raptors pulled off a trade with the San Antonio Spurs to land Kawhi Leonard, a two-time defensive player of the year. The full deal includes All-NBA guard DeMar DeRozan going to San Antonio along with big man Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 first round pick. The Raptors also get guard Danny Green, according to ESPN.

Here are some takeaways from the trade...

This is good, potentially great news for the Wizards

The worst-case scenario for the Wizards and most of the East would have been if Leonard got dealt to either the Sixers or Celtics, as the potential would have been there for a dominant team. The Sixers, in particular, could have conceivably traded for Leonard without giving up much in the way of pieces that can help them now. They would have teamed Leonard with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid and would probably be the favorites to reach the NBA Finals. Instead, the Sixers struck out and now face the prospect of taking a pretty big L on this offseason, given all the guys they were tied to going into it.

Leonard and the Raptors will be good and they may even be better than they were last season. Though the Raptors won 59 games in the regular season, they disappointed in the playoffs. Leonard could change that, but he won't have the help to make them an unstoppable force. Kyle Lowry is good, but he's an aging player and they don't have a third star, at least not yet. They have a lot of recent first round picks that could, in theory, make the leap.

This deal is good for the Wizards and could become great if Leonard leaves in free agency next summer. If he does, the Raptors will be in deep trouble.

What will the Lakers do?

When James signed with the Lakers, most assumed they would then add at least one star to run with him. But now that Leonard is going to Toronto, it's very possible they don't add one at all. James might actually have to play with Lonzo Ball in addition to Lance Stephenson, Rajon Rondo and JaVale McGee. Sure, they can sign Leonard next summer or find another star then, but this is shaping up as of now to be a lost year for James.

As consistitued, they aren't winning anything of substance. It's just so surprising James would be cool with this level of talent around him considering what he could have done this season if he signed with Philly or some other team.

People are looking at the wrong contract

Much of the instant reaction to the Leonard trade was praise for the Raptors in ridding themselves of DeRozan's deal. That's a headscratcher. DeRozan is set to make over $27 million in the next three years, the third being a player option, but he's an All-NBA player who turns 29 next month. In the context of NBA contracts, that isn't too bad.

Lowry's contract, on the other hand, is borderline awful. He's 32 with his numbers heading in the wrong direction and he's due to make $31 million next season and $33.3 million the year after. It's not like the Raptors freed themselves of their worst deal.

Masai is making moves

This is a risk for the Raptors and you have to respect it. Their general manager, Masai Ujiri, had seen enough of the DeRozan-Lowry duo falling short in the playoffs. He fired head coach Dwane Casey and pulled off a trade for Leonard, who at his best is one of the premier players in the NBA.

There is considerable risk in this move with Leonard having missed 73 games last season with a quadriceps injury and given the fact he can opt to test free agency next summer. If he really does want to join the Lakers, he could leave the Raptors empty-handed.

But it's a risk that is probably worth taking. Everyone assumed the same future for Paul George and he ended up staying in Oklahoma City. It's not a guarantee Leonard leaves and now the Raptors have a year to convince him to stay. Ujiri should get praise for this deal because it's bold and he did one of the hardest things a GM can do in finding a top-5 talent for his team.

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!