Determined to make last year's 0-8 start look like child's play, the Wizards fell 96-89 last night to the Indiana Pacers to fall to 0-9, with no end in sight to a season that is only a couple of weeks old, but already a complete nightmare.
The Wizards went on the road to Indianapolis tonight and promptly dug themselves a big hole, falling behind by 15 points by the end of the first quarter. Once again, the starters were terrible, with QF Trevor Ariza compiling a truly amazing -22 court ratio in a mere 13 minutes. The starters hit 8 of 37 shots, or under 22% from the field. C Emeka Okafor played only nine minutes, missed all four shots he took, scored no points and grabbed one rebound. Washington's starting guards of AJ Price and Jordan Crawford combined to miss 16 of 20 shots and Price, the starting shooting guard, somehow managed to record zero assists in 24 minutes.
This is a recurring theme with the Wizards, who get virtually no production from the starters, fall behind early and then depend on the reserves to get them back in the game. The reserves did that tonight, cutting the Pacers lead to three points twice in the fourth quarter, but, as always, they could not finish the job and the result is yet another loss in this truly embarrassing season. Inserting PF Jan Vesely and SG Jordan Crawford into the starting lineup does not seem to have helped.
As a team the Wizards shot 35.6% from the field and missed 13 of 17 from three point range.
Jordan Crawford couldn't help the Wizards tonight [AP Photo/Darron Cummings]
David West destroyed Vesely and anyone else put on him by scoring 30 points on 10-14 shooting and a perfect 10 for 10 from the line. C Roy Hibbert battered the Wiz again, adding 20 points on 8 of 10 shooting, 12 rebounds and a +21 court ratio. Nobody else on the Pacers did much of anything, but their two big men were enough, as they completely dominated their counterparts on Washington all evening.
Perhaps finally giving up on Okafor, Head Coach Randy Wittman started C Kevin Seraphin to begin the second half, but the young big man struggled with foul trouble, ending the game with five fouls. He scored 13 points on 11 shots in 25 minutes. Rookie guard Bradley Beal, who was demoted from the starting lineup, led the Wizards with 18 points, but he missed 8 of 12 shots from the field. New backup point guard Shaun Livingston led the comeback with 10 points on 12 shots and four assists, no turnovers and a +9 court ratio.
If it was me, I'd bench AJ Price, who is terrible and bears much of the responsibility for the team's consistently slow starts in games, and just start Livingston in his place. Is Livingston truly ready to start for a team he just joined? Probably not, but he's still better than Price, who can't shoot, keeps shooting and does not distribute the ball well either.
The Wizards are terrible and there is no sign of improvement on the horizon. Peraps they will be a much different team when F/C Nene and PG John Wall return to the lineup, but no one knows when that will be. In the mean time, Wizards fans -- and, miraculously, some do remain -- must suffer by watching perhaps the worst team in franchise history.
And that's really saying something.