The Washington Wizards have gotten off to a fast start here in the 2014-2015 season. However, there is one aspect that they have failed miserably with. They struggle to defeat challenging opponents.
Last night, this theme continued, as they fell short to the Toronto Raptors in overtime by a score of 120-116. The Raptors overcame a near triple-double by John Wall and a late surge from this Washington team to overtake the Wizards in the standings by two and half games.
It has been a bit of a rough stretch for the Wiz, who have lost four out of their last six games and five out of their last nine. Most of their losses however, came to some of the elite teams in the NBA. Although most people would perceive that as being a good thing, it is the main issue with this year’s Wizards squad.
They do defeat all the weak opponents that they face, which is great, but that won’t take you too far in the postseason. The last four Wizards’ losses came to these teams: Oklahoma City Thunder, Portland Trail Blazers, Phoenix Suns, and the Toronto Raptors.
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Those are all worthy opponents and it is understandable that the Wizards would lose to such teams. However, in order to be a great team you have to beat the great teams. Until this team proves that they can consistently defeat clubs that are in the NBA’s elite stature, they can not be considered an elite team themselves.
I myself am not that worried. The Wizards have on of the best all-around rosters in the NBA, with a nice mixture of young talent and veteran leadership. While the youngsters will help keep this team on their feet, the veterans are what will put them over the top.
So far, 17th-year veteran Paul Pierce has done pretty well for himself here in the Nation’s Capital. The 37-year old has averaged 12.9 points and 4.5 rebounds per game, while shooting a solid 39 percent from downtown. One part of his game that has proved to be huge for the Wizards has been his clutch shooting.
He has knocked down a number of shots in late-game situations this season, which is something that Washington struggled with last season. They didn’t have that one guy that they could look to and take the last shot in clutch situations.
Pierce could be just what the Wizards to need to put them over the top. As for right now, they just need to rely on their young stars to lead the way. However, once the heat of the season overcomes this team, Pierce will pose as the X-factor.