Washington improved to a second best in the East 11-5 Monday night after a comfortable, impressive win over the Miami Heat. After the game Washington coach Randy Wittman said it was the best his team has played all year, Rasual Butler was scoring and John Wall was doing a little bit of everything.
So just how good are the Wizards?
Chris Bosh has had a front row seat for some pretty good teams the past couple seasons, plus he got a good look at the Wizards up close Monday — and he likes what he sees, he told Ben Standig of CSNWashington.com.
“Whether it’s the schemes, whether it’s one-on-one, they picked us apart. This is a team that has a steady menu of everything. They’ve got cross screens, they’ve got duck-ins, they’ve got pin downs. They’ve got high screens. …It’s tough. We knew that.”
So where does he see the Wizards moving up the Eastern Conference pecking order? Too early to say.
“You don’t know how a team is mentally until they’re doing extremely bad,” Bosh said following Monday’s game when I asked about the Wizards’ mental toughness this season. “That’s when you find things out. They probably won’t find that about themselves until the playoffs, when they’re down [and] see if they can recover.”
Bosh is right. He’s been there before and gets it, it takes some adversity and testing for teams to truly find themselves. The Wizards are still trying to figure some of that out.
But what should really concern Bosh is the Wizards are a better team than Miami right now. Tested or not.
People care about whether LeBron James throws chalk into the air pregame. They just do. In the past week at PBT the story that LeBron has stopped doing the pregame ritual is the sixth most viewed story on this site. It’s become part of his iconography. People care.
LeBron knows they care — before the season he asked fans on twitter if he should resume the ritual. Fans overwhelmingly voted yes.
LeBron hasn’t done the chalk toss in at least four games, but he wants you to know he hasn’t abandoned the ritual. Apparently it’s just on hiatus, taking a winter break like some network television series during the holidays. From Dave McMenamin of ESPN:
LeBron also said he’s just confused as to why there is such “a fuss” about this and how it became a story in the first place.
Why? Explaining the move’s popularity is like explaining why cat videos own YouTube. People gravitate toward that and nobody really accurately explains the taste of some segments of the American public.
But LeBron, you helped feed this.
You asked fans before the season if you should start doing it again, they said yes. They wanted to see it. Then you stopped. The Cavs have played their best ball the last few games, maybe LeBron is just respecting the streak. Fans can get behind that.
But you helped fuel this, Nike helped fuel this, don’t pretend you’re shocked it’s a story.
There was no intent to injure in that play, Denver’s Arron Afflalo was trying to make a play on the ball. But intent only goes so far — he hit the head hard of an airborne player, Utah’s Alec Burks. That is a dangerous play. Fortunately Burks was okay and continued playing, but Afflalo was rightfully ejected from the game for it.
Tuesday the NBA added a $15,000 fine for the foul.
There was no suspension, which seems fair based on the intent. After the game Afflalo said:
“I’m not trying to be a tough guy, not trying to commit a hard foul. Things that ensue after that is all verbal in front of the refs and a lot of people. To me that means nothing. Honestly I just thought I committed a hard foul and he finished the game so he was OK.”
It was a hard foul. And also a dangerous one. The play may not have been dirty but there is a price to pay for the Nuggets guard. He knows it.