Gilbert Arenas‘s comments in the locker room after last night’s disappointing loss to the Miami Heat were almost as deflating as his 12 turnovers. “I don’t know what the hell is going on around here,” he told reporters. “I don’t know if some old player put a curse on us back in the day. I have no idea.”
Yes, Washington is dealing with some disappointing injuries right now (including Randy Foye spraining his ankle in the first half last night), but they are clearly are feeling sorry for themselves and it’s turning into losses. Quickly. And if Gilbert and Caron Butler don’t put a stop to it ASAP, a once-promising season will be over before it even gets a chance to start.
The basketball issues are obvious – Washington was throwing the ball all over the gym last night. After starting off strong offensively (they shot a white-hot 69 percent from the field in the first quarter), they fell apart in the second half. They started to have some success getting back on track when the game was tight in the second half and the Wiz sowed it down to get Caron Butler some open looks off of screen-curls on the wing, but then inexplicably went away from the hot hand.
The other issues though are definitely more concerning. You can tighten up your offense and focus on taking care of the ball, but being beaten mentally from the jump? Not quite the easy fix. When Foye went out last night, taking yet another offensive weapon out of the Wizards’ mix, you could almost see the mental toll being exacted on the Wizards. With Antawn Jamison and Mike Miller already out with injuries, and the general feeling that their team is “cursed” because of the debilitating injury issues of the past several years, you could just see the air being let out of the Wizards’ team.
The “woe-is-me” vibe that they’re giving off is like blood in the water for opponents. After Washington’s hot shooting disappeared and the turnovers started piling up, you could almost see that everyone in the arena, including the Wizards, was waiting for Dwyane Wade to put the game away. And then the Wizards just let him do exactly that, allowing Wade to give them 40 for the second time in less than a week!
Absolutely unacceptable. Instead of feeling sorry for themselves and letting Dwyane run roughshod all over them, someone needed to step up and make a big shot, make a big stop, deliver a hard foul, something. Not so much. Easier said than done with Wade, I know, but more turnovers, more bad shots, more complaining to the refs is pretty much all that followed, while Wade delivered the death blow to a team that never really thought they were going to win the game, even though it was still relatively close with a few minutes to go.
Washington is due to get Jamison and Miller back any day now, but unless the general air about the team changes, I doubt that it will matter much. Jamison might be the guy to get them back on track, and I’m sure that he realizes that something needs to happen, and happen quickly, before the season’s a wrap in November.