Nets Offer Reminders of Last Year
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
It would be somewhat of a stretch to label Sunday's 105-93 overtime loss to the New Jersey Nets as close because the Wizards were outplayed in the extra period, getting outscored, 18-6. But the nature of the defeat was similar to several gut-wrenching losses experienced by the Wizards last season.
Vince Carter's improbable tying three-pointer at the end of regulation Sunday night conjured up images of tough losses to Milwaukee, Miami, Chicago, Boston and New Orleans last season, when the Wizards were 3-2 in overtime games but only 10-18 in games decided by six points or fewer.
So far this season, the Wizards have suffered three-point road losses to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Orlando Magic as well as Sunday's loss, their first overtime contest. Not only did the Wizards fail to defend when only a three-pointer could hurt them Sunday night, they broke down in overtime when New Jersey's Jason Kidd picked them apart with basic pick-and-rolls.
Kidd, who finished with 18 assists, opened overtime by rolling off screens set by center Nenad Krstic and feeding Krstic and Bostjan Nachbar for open jump shots when the Wizards converged on Kidd. The inability to defend the pick-and-roll haunted the Wizards throughout last season.
"We wanted to double him on pick-and-rolls so he wouldn't get all of those great [assists] -- he had 18 assists -- and he has that vision to see the open guy," Wizards Coach Eddie Jordan said. "And then we started to switch so there wouldn't be an open guy but Krstic made some shots."
Jordan tried to get his team focused after Carter's amazing shot, which inexplicably stuck to the back of the rim before falling through the net, but the Wizards were clearly shaken and couldn't recover when overtime began.
"I said it when we came back to the huddle," Jordan said. "We tried to say: 'Let's play another five minutes. Let's get back. Get your head back in the game.' It's tough. There's a human element to this doggone game. We're not robots."
The Wizards (3-3) will get a chance to bounce back tomorrow night in New York against the Knicks. That game kicks off a stretch in which five of the next six games are on the road, where the Wizards are 0-2.
First-round draft pick Oleksiy Pecherov has been out with a bruised thigh and has not been a part of his team's 9-0 start in the Ukrainian Superleague. Pecherov, a 7-foot forward who was selected by the Wizards with the 18th pick last summer, is playing with BC Kiev after playing for Paris Basket Racing of the French Pro League last season.
Pecherov, who turns 21 in December, averaged 12.6 points and 7.6 rebounds in 28.6 minutes in summer league play for the Wizards, but the team and Pecherov decided that he would be better off playing in his native Ukraine instead of sitting on the bench with the Wizards or playing in the NBA's Development League this season.
Pecherov and second-round pick Vladimir Veremeenko, who is playing for BC Khimki in the Russian Superleague A, were only the third and fourth international players ever drafted by the Wizards. The team still holds the rights to 2002 second-round pick Juan Carlos Navaro, a Spaniard who is one of the top players in Europe.