For a team that entered the season thinking it was ready to win 50 games and reach the Eastern Conference finals Jonathan Allen Jersey Elite , John Wall’s Washington Wizards sure did lose a lot of games against teams that didn’t even make the playoffs.
And everything revealed by those defeats against the likes of the Hawks and Magic, or the Mavericks and Suns, or the Nets and Bulls – a lack of consistency, for example, or an inability to close out opponents – were the same sorts of problems that failed the Wizards in their first-round exit as the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference.
”We had some great moments. Then we showed bad moments,” Wall said Saturday, the day after a 102-92 loss in Game 6 against the No. 1 seed Toronto Raptors ended Washington’s season. ”Just kind of not respecting some of the opponents that we went against.”
Asked why that happened, forward Markieff Morris said: ”Sometimes it felt like it was immaturity. … Not coming in and doing our job.”
The issue might have been as much a detriment as missing Wall for 41 regular-season games because of health problems – they were 23-18 with him, 20-21 without – or a mediocre reserve unit.
”I guess the one thing about the Wizards (is) you never know who you’re going to expect today,” center Marcin Gortat said. ”You might get a team that’s going to lose to the worst team in the league – or can beat the best team in the league.”
Shooting guard Bradley Beal, who joined Wall as an All-Star for the first time, agreed with others that the Wizards had a problem taking for granted games against foes with losing records.
”There were a lot of times that we would just show up and think we were just going to win the game Cheap Jaire Alexander Jersey ,” Beal said. ”You can’t do that. You have to respect everybody.”
Wall and Beal – the two leading scorers – are both playing under long-term, maximum-money contracts, as is third option Otto Porter Jr.
And coach Scott Brooks has three years left on his deal.
So the assumption is that this will be the core moving forward. Wall said it’s clear that Washington needs some new parts, more than once describing what’s lacking are players ”that really want to be here.”
Now the question becomes whether that trio of players and their coach can finally take a step forward next year. Wall and Beal have yet to get past the second round of the playoffs.
”Going into the season,” Brooks said, ”we definitely had some high expectations.”
They weren’t met.
Here are other things to know about the Wizards as their offseason begins:
There was a lot of speculation about whether there was shaky locker room chemistry, and while reserve Mike Scott and Gortat were eager to dismiss that notion, others weren’t so clear that it was a non-factor.
”I feel like we might not have identified the real issues,” backup center Ian Mahinmi said. ”Unless we can honestly and genuinely talk and find solution, we (are) going to continue the trend that’s going right now.”
He mentioned ”miscommunication” and added: ”I don’t think we had a genuine approach with everything.”
Said Wall: ”When things are going well, everybody’s happy, everybody wants to be here. But when things get rough Youth Oren Burks Jersey , that’s when you really figure out who’s your brother.”
WALL AND BEAL
Beal carried the club while Wall was out and played in all 82 games for the first time. As for chatter about breaking up the duo, Beal says he’s not interested. ”They have trusted us, to build around us,” Beal said. ”I’m not really a fan of change and starting over again. Hopefully (owner Ted Leonsis and team president Ernie Grunfeld) won’t give me the boot – or give either of us the boot.”
With two back-to-the-basket and screen-setting centers in Gortat and Mahinmi, the Wizards could try to figure out a way to make a change to that part of the roster.
”We don’t really have an athletic big. I mean, Ian is older. (Gortat) is older,” Wall said. ”They’re not athletic guys, but they do the little things that permit their game to help as much as possible.”
Brooks would love his big men to shoot 3s, but Gortat flatly ruled out trying to work on that aspect of his game.
”I hate small ball,” Gortat said. ”Small ball basketball in this league is just trash.”
Auston Matthews got the go-ahead goal in the second period, Patrick Marleau scored twice, and the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Boston Bruins 4-2 on Monday night in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference first-round series.
James van Riemsdyk also scored and Mitch Marner and Morgan Rielly added two assists each ti help Toronto pull to 2-1 in the best-of-seven set. Frederik Andersen stopped 40 shots.
Adam McQuaid and Zdeno Chara had the goals for Boston Ravens Cheap Jerseys , Sean Kuraly had two assists, and Tuukka Rask finished with 26 saves.
The Maple Leafs will look to even the series at home in Game 4 on Thursday night.
DEVILS 5, LIGHTNING 2
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) – Taylor Hall had a goal and two assists, setting up Stefan Noesen’s game-winner with 7:05 play, and New Jersey scored four times in the third to beat Tampa Bay in Game 3.
Rookie Will Butcher had a power-play goal earlier in the third to tie the score 2-all, and Blake Coleman and Ben Lovejoy added empty net goals late. Cory Schneider made 34 saves while starting in place of Keith Kinkaid.
Schneider, who seemed to hurt his groin in a collision with Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh midway through the final period, survived a late power play to nail down the win and pul;l the Devils to 2-1 in the best-of-seven first-round series.
Alex Killorn and Steven Stamkos each had a power-play goal and an assist for the Lightning. Nikita Kucherov added two assists, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 36 saves.
Game 4 is Wednesday night at the Prudential Center.
SHARKS 8, DUCKS 1
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) – Joonas Donskoi scored one goal and set up another to start a four-goal barrage in the second period and San Jose raced past Anaheim for the third straight game to take a 3-0 series lead.
Donskoi scored and then set up Marcus Sorensen in the opening four minutes of the second period to seize control of the game and series.
Eric Fehr and Tomas Hertl added goals later in the second to turn this all-California series into a rout. Logan Couture had a goal and two assists http://www.buccaneersauthorizedshops.com/authentic-m.j.-stewart-jersey , Joe Pavelski, Evander Kane and Timo Meier scored power-play goals in the third period, for the Sharks, who have outscored the Ducks 14-3 through the first three games of the first-round series.
Martin Jones made 45 saves, the most for a Sharks goalie in a regulation playoff game.
San Jose will look to complete the sweep in Game 4 at home Wednesday night.
Rickard Rakell scored a power-play goal for Anaheim, which has scored three goals all series – including just one at even strength.
AVALANCHE 5, PREDATORS 3
DENVER (AP) – Nathan MacKinnon scored twice, including one as part of a three-goal first period and another to chase Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne from the game, and Colorado pulled to 2-1 in the first-round series.
Blake Comeau and Gabriel Bourque also scored in a furious opening period that revved up a pom-pom waving capacity crowd. Gabriel Landeskog was credited with an empty-net goal for the Avalanche, who snapped a 12-game skid against the Predators.
Game 4 is Wednesday in Denver.
MacKinnon’s goal at 4:25 of the second period gave Colorado a 4-0 lead and prompted the Predators to pull Rinne in favor of backup Juuse Saros. Rinne allowed four goals on 15 shots.
Jonathan Bernier stopped 29 shots on a night when the Avalanche finished 0 for 5 on the power play. Ryan Johansen had a second-period goal and Colton Sissons scored another in the third to make it 4-2.