Wizards Lack Offensive Spark In Opening Loss To Nets

David StatmanContributor IOctober 29, 2008

For the first time in what seemed like the longest time, the Washington Wizards opened their season at home. Should be easy, right? We're facing the Nets, the team that was picked by many to be the worst in the East, right? Well, the Wizards fell to the Nets Wednesday night, 95-85. The crowd didn't seem very into the game, and the Wizards certainly didn't as well.

Wednesday was supposed to be a night of homecomings, with Juan Dixon, a former Wizard and Maryland alum, returning to DC as a Wizard once more. Etan Thomas was to start at center, his first game since the 06-07 season, missing the 07-08 campaign with heart issues. But Juan was mostly ineffective, and while Thomas was very impressive, Andray Blatche ended up with more time off the bench.

Without Roger Mason Jr., the shooting guard who could light it up quickly with a hot streak and a few 3s who departed to San Antonio in the offseason, the Wizards didn't have an offensive spark on Wednesday night. The game was close the entire way, but the Wizards lacked any urgency at all, and were content with missing guarded jumpshots on offense. They didn't drive the lane well, and Andray Blatche shot almost every time he touched the basketball, and ended up with 13 points on 6-13 shooting.

How about Caron and Antawn? The Big Two of forwards, both All-Stars last year, combined for 27 points, and never got into a groove. Caron held the ball too much, it seemed, and Antawn missed several big 3s at the end of the game. DeShawn Stevenson hit 4 of 8 three-point tries, but like Jamison, failed to come up big at the end of the game. JaVale McGee, the first round pick out of Nevada, played nine minutes off the bench, but failed to score and missed several easy shots. He did look good rebounding with a pair of long arms, and had one thunderous block.

Both of the point guards, veteran Antonio Daniels and newcomer Dee Brown both played impressively, but didn't seem to touch the ball enough to get the team going, and at points it looked like Gilbert Arenas was playing, as the offense was standing in place and not moving and setting picks. Nick Young put up 10 impressive points, and second-year forward Dominic McGuire had 1 point in 6 minutes, and Darius Songaila was a nonfactor.

On the side of the New Jersey Nets, the team picked almost unanimously to be the worst in the East this year, former Wizard Jarvis Hayes returned to Washington, and had 14 critical points. The aging Vince Carter had 21 points, and new Net Yi Jianlian had 17, hitting his jumpshot all night.