The Washington Wizards (2-6) lost their fifth game in a row this season and second within that losing streak to the Miami Heat (6-1) last night in South Beach. As if things haven’t been going bad enough to start the 2009-10 season, you can add one more name to the Wizards injury list. Randy Foye sprained his right ankle last night as he attempted to deflect a pass from Michael Beasley (Cheverly, MD) in the 2nd quarter. The injury to Foye has the Wizards playing short handed once again this year, something they’ve been all to familiar with after playing shorthanded last season on their way to a franchise low 19 wins.
During this current losing streak the Wizards have lost Mike Miller (shoulder), Randy Foye (ankle), and Mike James (hand) all due to injuries, coupling that with entering the season without Antawn Jamison (shoulder) and Javaris Crittenton (foot) and the Wizards are once again playing very shorthanded. Things nearly got even worse for the Wizards as it wasn’t until 15 minutes before tip-off that Gilbert Arenas (calf) declared himself healthy enough to play in the game versus the Heat.
In the end the Wizards lost 76-90 and allowed the Heat to overcome a double digit lead in the second half of last night’s game to come back and win the game, including outscoring the Wizards 49-17 in the second half. To make matters worse, Gilbert Arenas had a career high 12 turnovers last night, including 7 in the 3rd period leading to 11 points for the Heat. While it is worth noting that due to all of the mounting injuries for the Wizards, Arenas was left to play 42 minutes (season high) as he was the last remaining ball handler available for head coach Flip Saunders. Regardless, Gilbert Arenas has continued to be responsible for to many turnovers this season and has now lowered his assist to turnover ratio to 1.24 to 1 (a 2 to 1 ratio is considered “average” in the NBA for most point guards). Combine Gilbert’s high number of turnovers and 36% field goal shooting in the last five games and it’s no wonder why the Wizards are stuck in this current losing streak.
The good news for the Wizards is that they will have only one game in the next seven days, which should be enough time to hopefully get Jamison, Miller, and Foye back from injuries. However with good news always comes bad news and the bad news for the Wizards is that they will play Detroit, Cleveland, Oklahoma City, and San Antonio in their next four games. This season was supposed to be different from last season with the additions of a new head coach and several new players, yet eight games into the 2009-10 season it’s been déjà vu, with many of the Wizards best players wearing suits on the end of the bench.
The Wizards still have plenty of time to turn their season around, however if they continue to lose key players for extended periods of time due to injuries, added to the lack of chemistry this team had heading into the season, things could continue to get worse for the Wizards before they get better. Hopefully with the return on Jamison and Miller into the starting lineup, Arenas won’t feel as pressured to carry this team solely on his back and will have a better supporting cast to help shoulder the load. I still think this team has enough talent to make the playoffs, yet this team that seems to be “cursed” with bad luck will need to find some way to get healthy and stay healthy to live up to their high expectations this season or we might be talking about ping-pong balls in the draft lottery again.