Two of the worst teams in professional basketball dueled on Tuesday night when the Washington Wizards traveled to the Big Easy in a game that saw the return of rookie sensation Anthony Davis from injury.
Washington came into the game having only recently dug themselves out of a horrific 0-12 start to the year climbing to 2-15. The Hornets, on the other hand, have been plagued by injuries to key players and came in having slipped to a 5-14 record. Considering the pedigree of these two sides, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the game ended in an atrocious 77-70 victory for the Wizards.
The Wizards are the lowest scoring team in the NBA and considering that they came into this one completely void of a true point guard, I suppose it should be considered a miracle they managed more points than your average college team. In the first half, however, it didn’t look much like they had a shot at doing that.
The Hornets came out playing solid defense with Davis back in the lineup and held the Wizards to just 36 points at halftime. New Orleans only went in with a six point lead at the half, however, giving Washington a window of hope if they could solve their shooting woes. They would get better, but finished 33 percent from the field on the night.
New Orleans’ early boost was provided by sharp shooting from Ryan Anderson who went into halftime having gone 7-of-12 from the field, but he would come out of the second half failing to hit a shot and ending his night with 17 points. The struggles spread throughout the team as the Hornets scored a mere 10 points in the fourth quarter.
Normal statistics don’t apply the way they ordinarily would when you’re applying them to two teams that are this bad. In most statistical categories, the Wizards and Hornets rank in the bottom 10 of the NBA and did little to help their cases on Tuesday night.
TRY TO LOOK AT THE BRIGHT SIDES
Truthfully these two teams have a lot to be ashamed of when it comes to their ability to the ball in the hoop and the quality of the schemes they’re running, but there were at least a few good things for each to take away from this game, regardless of how difficult it was to watch.
It really was a rare night for the Wizards who got a double-double (10 points, 10 boards) from Nene. He was one of three players on the night to reach double figures in scoring for Washington, the other two being Jordan Crawford (26) and Bradley Beal (15).
The victory is Washington’s third of the season and their first road win of the year. Randy Wittman’s team may not have a true point guard to lead its offense as they wait for John Wall and AJ Price to return from injury, but the Wizards stepped up their offensive effort enough to compensate for a pathetic eleven point first quarter and stepped up their defense enough to hold New Orleans to 32.5 percent shooting.
For the Hornets, they were strong getting out on the break outscoring Washington 15-5 in fast break points. One of the few areas Washington excels in is defending the fast break, but New Orleans generally doesn’t do well getting out and running so they can consider that a small victory.
The Hornets’ big men did all the right things to help them win, out rebounding the Wizards 54-49 and winning the battle in the paint 30-28. A rare off day (5 points, 5 assists) for starting point guard Greivis Vasquez undoubtedly cost the Hornets, but Austin Rivers did provide reason for optimism with 11 points and 3 assists in the two guard position expected to be filled by Eric Gordon when he returns from injury. Rivers is slowly beginning to look like the player they hoped he would be.
Most importantly for Hornets fans, the No. 1 pick in last spring’s draft, Anthony Davis, returned to the tune of 13 points and 8 rebounds in just 24 minutes. Doctors were happy with the way he has rehabbed and saw good movement from him on Tuesday. Hopefully, this is the end of his injury troubles.
In the end, these are two teams staring at another draft lottery. New Orleans won last years and took Davis, Washington won it 2010 and took Wall. This game didn’t contain a whole lot of those franchise players, something that is sure to change the next time they meet. Luckily for NBA fans, they don’t come face to face too many more times.