The Wizards' Road Issues Are Easy To Diagnose

This is your Morning Commute. Make the jump for the links of the day.

There are probably many sitting here wondering how a basketball team like the Washington Wizards can begin 0-19 on the road. To me, though, there's a very simple explanation. As we look for complicated solutions, the reality is that everything would be fixed if there was just more attention to detail.

Last night against Minnesota, the Wizards played in spurts. They fell behind in the first quarter, rallied in the second, fell behind again at halftime, rallied in the third quarter, allowed Minnesota to take a 10-point lead, rallied from that, and then, of course, got blitzed at the end. But to win on the road, you can't play that way, especially in the first quarter. The good road teams keep their opponents' within a certain margin for most of the game, then try to steal it at the end. The Wizards instead dug themselves an early hole and couldn't rally.

Why was that hole dug? Simple: the defensive communication just wasn't there at the start. JaVale McGee picked up two dumb fouls in less than two minutes, and that killed the team. Before that, he took a ball from half court to the rim, ignoring John Wall. He made the layup, but it's those kinds of things that really hurt you. In a basketball game, you establish your habits early, not late. The Wizards established bad habits and they came back to bite them late.

That explains why five of the nine Timberwolves field goals thereafter were in the paint. Attention to detail was lacking, which allowed too many open shots. Why do you think Kevin Love and the rest of the Timberwolves couldn't miss from long range late in the game? The answer is because they got confidence from hitting easy shots early in the game.

It's stunning how this keeps happening, but it does. Even a young team should be progressing in their ability to play the full 48 minutes on the road, but the Wizards aren't right now. That, combined with a relative lack of talent, equals an 0-19 road record.

Today's must-reads from around the SB Nation network:

 

  • Hogs Haven sits down with Bruce Allen and doesn't discuss Albert Haynesworth or Donovan McNabb. A good read that's different than what you might see elsewhere.
  • Testudo Times previews Saturday's Villanova-Maryland tilt.
  • Black and Red United recaps a good day for D.C. United at the MLS Superdraft.
  • Cam Newton has officially declared for the NFL Draft.
Today on SB Nation D.C.: SB Nation Radio on 106.7 The Fan returns with an awesome lineup for you. We'll be talking NFL Draft with John Keim of the Washington Examiner, the Wizards' woes with Chris Miller of Comcast SportsNet and the Caps' struggles with our own Adam Vingan. Be sure to follow the show on Twitter and Facebook, and also don't forget to follow SB Nation D.C. on Twitter and Facebook.

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