What Went Wrong When Oklahoma City Came To Washington, DC | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

What Went Wrong When Oklahoma City Came To Washington, DC

Updated: December 31, 2009

With the Washington Wizards, I could point to a ton of self-induced actions that don’t go right during the course of a game. It boils down to a team that’s lacking focus, fundamentals, and a commitment to each other.

One specific time period that highlights much of the Wizards’ woes came over a three-minute span in the fourth quarter against Oklahoma City on Tuesday. From the start of the quarter, when the game was tied at 76, to around the 7:30 mark, the Wizards and Thunder traded baskets. A Gilbert Arenas three-pointer put the Wizards up 90-89 at the 7:43 mark.

Over the next 180 seconds or so, with breaks for two Flip Saunders timeouts, the Thunder went on an 11-2 run, effectively ending the game. Here’s how it happened.

{7:34 – 4th Q}

Eric Maynor splits Andray Blatche and Earl Boykins. Andray, you’re reaching instead of moving your feet to close the gap. Your feet were growing roots. Your argument is invalid.

Nick Young rushes over to help, so he kinda does his job. Antawn Jamison does not side over to cut off the lane, nor does he put his hands in the air, to either deflect a shot or pass attempt to Green in the right corner. Gilbert Arenas watches the action.

After he caught Maynor with a foul bump, while still allowing him to make the basket, even Nick Young looked in Blatche’s direction for a second, as if to say, “Dude!?

{91-90 Thunder}

{7:07 – 4th Q}

Option one on offense involves Arenas moving off the ball, starting at the right elbow through Butler/Jamison screening traffic, and then making an arcing cut to a Blatche screen on the left wing, curling around that. Arenas gets free for a second, but Boykins doesn’t get him the ball.

On the second option, Jamison sets a ball screen for Boykins at the top of the arc. Earl almost loses the ball (damn those tiny hands), recovers his dribble and kicks it back to Jamison at the top of the arc. Jamison pump fakes and drives, kicks it out to Boykins, who also fakes and drives, finding Jamison, who has planted himself in great position under the rim.

Antawn, in his old age, gets his shot blocked … by the 6’3″ Eric Maynor. Jamison was in a tough/awkward position to score, but he’s also used to shooting from a jam.

Who should get the loose ball rebound? Seems like it should Andray Blatche.

‘Dray sees the ball, looks to be putting a single hand out to get it …

Going after a rebound with one hand, are we Dray? Oh well, hope you get it.

Oh no Andray! When you finally went for the board (or Jamison loose ball blocked shot), with two hands, the ball appears just out of your grasp.

Maybe Andray was in a rush to get a shot back up with the shot-clock running down.

And maybe you just gotta want the ball a little bit more. Maybe you gotta go up and snag it with two hands.

In any case, OKC recovers the possession.

{7:00 – 4th Q}

Maynor lulls Boykins to sleep, making him think he’s going to use the double-screen being set up to the right. Instead, Maynor gives Boykins a hard cross to the left and drives.

Gilbert Arenas is neither in a passing lane, nor in position to help. Andray looks like he sees trouble and gets ready to step up. Also notice the placement of their hands.

Blatche steps up in good position, although again, you’d probably expect both him and Arenas to get their hands high, or active, like coach was talking about.

Arenas finds him in position to do absolutely nothing defensively. I mean seriously, what could Gil possibly do to help his team here? Nothing.

With Blatche helping, Maynor finds Green on the baseline right by the basket for an easy bucket.

{93-90 Thunder}

{6:43 – 4th Q}

Jamison sets a high off-ball screen for Arenas and then goes to set a ball screen on the right extended wing for Boykins. As Arenas cuts through past a Butler/Blatche double screen on the block. Boykins makes no progress on his ball screen … as-in he’s still dribbling around the three-point line. But maybe the idea is to get the rock to Gilbert with all of his off-the-ball action.

After receiving the ball, Arenas doesn’t have much. Gil reverses the ball to Boykins before it looks like Jamison can get over to set a ball screen for him.

At this point, with eight seconds on the shot clock, the Wizards have done nothing. Time to stand around and watch Boykins dribble … oh wait, Caron Butler is casually waiting for something. I guess he wants the ball. I guess it’s his “turn” to shoot.

Well c’mon there Caron, you’re just standing around, not really posting up. Durant’s not putting up that much of a fight. I know he’s taller, but aren’t you stronger Mr. Yoga, non-Mountain Dew drinking man?

Caron is not working for position. As a fan, this is a bullshit effort because you can guess what’s going to happen next.

Caron catches, faces up, and ends up much further away from the basket than where he started … as usual.

Caron kinda gives a half-hearted jab step and then pulls up because it’s so late in the shot clock.  He misses.

Seconds aren’t precious for this team. They tick away with a disregard of urgency. These are your Washington Wizards.

{6:21 – 4th Q}

Durant finds himself in an iso against Butler in the left corner. In this first frame, you’ll see that Caron is not exactly James Brown-ing into a defensive stance, you know, gettin’ down.

When Caron does get down, he reaches in. All things considered, I imagine that Caron, and the Wizards, are better served with him not reaching and just staying in front of Durant.

“You reach, I teach,” as the saying goes.

Uh oh, danger.

Is Andray going to step over? Is Antawn Jamison going to fill in front of Collison? Stay tuned …

Aww hell, there’s no way Andray will be able to cut off the lanky Durant from there.

“Move your damn feet son! Get your goddamn hands out of your fuggin’ pocket!!!,” a basketball coach resemblant of Col. Nathan Jessup just yelled from somewhere in America.

Kevin dunked all over the Wizards. Ever had a Durantula take a dump in your mouth?

{95-90 Thunder}

{Flip Saunders timeout}

This is Andray looking up to see what happened, this is Antawn shaking his head, and this is Caron post-taking a wadded up straw out of his mouth and angrily throwing it on the floor.

The Wizards are only down five with 6:16 left, but they already look defeated, epitomized by the distraught exhale of breath behind the bench by Wizards security guy/personality Jackie Miles.

{6:07 – 4th Q}

Randy Foye had good intentions on his drive, but he did so in a haphazard manner as if he were a guy with much more length. His shot got blocked with authority by Jeff Green. That happens a lot with Randy.

Last season, Foye lead the league, according to 82games.com, with 20% of his inside shots getting blocked. This year, his rate is down to 17%. I guess that’s improvement.

Green and Russell Westbrook even found a reason to smile as Haywood seemed to say something to them while helping Randy off the ground.

{6:02 – 4th Q}

On the reset, Foye & Haywood run a pick and roll, Haywood finds himself with the ball and decent paint position against Collison. Brendan displays improved footwork by not traveling, drop steps with his left foot as the other Thunder defenders stay home on their men, and hits a right-handed hook from the block.

Haywood will really show some chops when he starts hitting that baby off the glass, it should be the higher percentage shot.

{95-92 Thunder}

{5:48 – 4th Q}

Great play drawn up by Scott Brooks. The Wizards are so concerned about Durant. After KD goes right baseline to the middle off a Green screen, he reverses direction, and goes back to the right wing off another screen from Green and a double from Collison.

And here, Caron really does a great job keeping up with Durant. Haywood also puts his hand out in that passing lane. See how low he is? Good job boys.

But what do we have here? Collison keeps going and sets a down screen for Green, who can shoot from long distance.

Haywood takes too long to get back to Collison, or at least was delayed in making himself aware of what Collison was doing.

Jamison wasn’t exactly aware of what was happening either. He allowed too much space between him and Green and found himself caught up in Collison’s screen.

Jeff is wide open for a trey ball … nails it.

{98-92 Thunder}

{5:15 – 4th Q}

Once again the Wizards find themselves in the waning seconds of the shot clock. Gilbert drives, actually travels, probably knows it, and as he stumbles and the refs don’t blow the whistle, he throws up some weak sauce attempt that gets blocked by Collison.

See Randy Foye in the left corner? He’s the wide open bail-out guy.

The Thunder get the loose ball and Russell Westbrook goes the other way for a nasty, easy dunk.

{100-92 Thunder}

{Flip Saunders timeout}

I don’t know what happens here. Actually, I do.

Foye cuts up top from the baseline off a Jamison screen. Seems like the play is set up for Randy to receive the ball. So, Arenas fires the ball where he thinks Foye is going to be.

I can’t tell if the pass was too hard or not, and Randy looks to be too far away to catch, but also has a case of the alligator arms.

That ball sails out of bounds, Randy and Gilbert come up with shrugging shoulders and quizical looks, the remaining Wizards hang their heads, and Kevin Durant pumps a fist. Turnover.

{4:30 – 4th Q}

Ok, so Brendan Haywood gets switched on Durant, and the shot clock is running down. Durant is far from the basket.

For some reason, Randy Foye goes to double when he is the next pass away. Haywood has length, he can contest a Durant shot from out there, just not a drive. But will Durant drive with three seconds on the shot clock?

Nope. Durant swings it back to Westbrook.

Maybe Arenas is exactly where he’s supposed to be according to coaching instruction, but I’m still not sure what he can do defensively in that position. He can’t help on Westbrook, who, with so little time on the shot clock, probably isn’t passing the ball.

Westbrook nails the open three and holds his follow-through dagger in the air.

And that’s it folks.

Loss #20, gone in 180 seconds. Or wait, did it arrive in 180 seconds?

Does it even matter?

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Kyle Weidie
Founder / Editor / Reporter / Writer at TAI
Kyle founded TAI in 2007 and has been weaving in and out the world of Wizards ever since, ducking WittmanFaces, jumping over G-Wiz, and avoiding stints on the DNP-Conditioning list. He has covered the Washington pro basketball team as a member of the media since 2009. Kyle currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife, loves basketball, and has no pets.