The start of the 2013-14 season was a sour week for the Washington Wizards, as poor play and bad defense reminded Wizards fans how quickly promise and potential can turn into disaster.
Oct. 30—Detroit Pistons Defeat Washington 113-102
Washington opened the season on the road against the Detroit Pistons on Oct. 30 but the talent difference between the two teams was obvious in a 113-102 defeat for Washington. The Pistons’ towering duo of power forward Greg Monroe and center Andre Drummond shredded Washington’s interior defense for a combined 36 points and 24 rebounds. Newly-acquired Piston Josh Smith added 19 points and five rebounds along the way.
Washington’s front court of Nene (12 points, three rebounds) and Marcin Gortat (nine points, nine rebounds in his Wizards debut) couldn’t match Detroit’s bigs. Drummond slammed offensive rebounds home and Monroe schooled Washington defenders in the low post, and the Wizards’ defense simply collapsed down the middle. John Wall led the team in scoring with 21 points, but was never truly effective as both he and backcourt partner Bradley Beal (17 points) struggled with their shots.
Nov.1—Philadelphia 76ers Defeat Washington 109-102
Better times were expected for the Wizards’ home opener against the Philadelphia 76ers on Nov. 1. But fresh off of their upset of the Miami Heat the previous night, Philadelphia shook off an early double-digit deficit to spoil the Wizards’ home debut and hand them a 109-102 loss in front of a frustrated crowd. Fans punched walls and shook their heads in disgust upon leaving the Verizon Center, perhaps fed up with Washington’s fourth consecutive 0-2 start or upset at their team for blowing 12-point third quarter lead. Wall led the Wizards with 26 points but did little in the second half after scoring 23 in the opening two quarters. As Philadelphia hung around and narrowed the gap, the crowd grew uneasy; once the 76ers evened the score at 74-74 at the end of the third quarter, Wizards fans knew how the story would end.
Despite talk during the summer of Washington possibly returning to the playoffs, the new season has brought another slow start for the team—a scenario that the Wizards or their management can ill afford.