The Wiz-Grizz ‘Play of the Game’
comes courtesy of JaVale McGee.
The Washington Wizards found themselves ahead of the Memphis Grizzlies 82-79 with just over three minutes left in the fourth quarter.
The Wizards were on the offensive, but on this particular occasion, they faced a defense playing with a little more attitude. As the shot clock winded wound down — the Wiz just couldn’t find a good look at the basket — the ball found its way into the hands of JaVale McGee. About 20 feet from the basket. Passing the ball back to PG Kirk Hinrich (1) would have been too easy … so with about six seconds left on the shot clock, McGee decided it was “go time.”
McGee (5) tried to lose Zach Randolph (x4) with a hard crossover and a spin move. Z-Bo wouldn’t stand for this and punched the ball out. Mike “Million Dollar Man” Conley (x1) collected the loose ball and took off on the break.
Hinrich and Gilbert Arenas (2) got on their horses to cut off Conley, while Ovinton J’Anthony Mayo (x2) curled around Arenas to support the wing. McGee was in hot pursuit.
Both Arenas and Hinrich tried (unsuccessfully) to poke the ball out of Conley’s hands. Conley went up casually, assuming he had beaten the Wizards defense. Not so fast, my friend.
Al Thornton (3) easily recovered the freshly blocked rock, handed it to Hinrich, and the Wizards raced back the other way. Andray Blatche found himself in an isolation set on the left wing, where he gave Marc Gasol the business – bobbing, weaving, and leaving him virtually undressed — and took off toward the rim. Gasol, whose trousers were still around his ankles, was slow to react to Blatche’s aggressive drive and was forced to foul. Unfortunately for the Grizz, Blatche finished the play, kissing the ball softly off the glass. And he made his free throw. Three-point play, the conventional way.
With 2:53 left in the fourth quarter, the Wizards found themselves ahead 85-79. In the blink of an eye, Epic Vale went from Blunder to Wünder. His chase-down block was essentially worth three points — the margin of victory in tonight’s contest. THAT’S GREAT HUSTLE.
From the Voice of the Wizards:
Steve Buckhantz: “And again Phil, we really cannot overstate this: You look at the effort that McGee has been giving … It’s really impressive. There are some obvious deficiencies that he’s working on trying to correct but there’s nothing you can do to short anybody for their effort. He’s been giving it the last ten games.”
Phil Chenier: “And the extra effort really goes along with his strengths, because he’s long, but he’s quick and agile. So, he can recover after making a mistake.”