The Reaction: Wizards Empty Cleveland's Tank, 96-85
Nineteen wins, people. With a 95-86 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Washington Wizards have now matched their win total of three seasons ago, 2008-09, the first season they did not make the playoffs after making four post-seasons in a row. Meaninglessly meaningful, totally. While you were likely watching Capitals playoff hockey, Adam McGinnis (@adammcginnis), John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend) and Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It) have your Wizards-Cavs reaction…
-John Converse Townsend
John Wall is the obvious MVP, having recorded his fourth consecutive double-double, the longest streak of his career, with 21 points (7-for-16 FGs), 13 assists, seven rebounds, and seven steals. Wall’s second half was extra special. He played a role in 24 of Washington’s 28 third-quarter points, opening a 14-point lead for the Wizards which proved to be too much for the Cavaliers to overcome. Impressive, right? But consider this: since 1985-86, only three other players have put up a 21-13-7-7 line—Steph Curry in 2010, Chris Paul in 2009 and Denver’s Fat Lever back in 1987. Wall is still young and has plenty of room to grow as a player — he still overestimates his athleticism on the defensive end, particularly when defending away from the ball — but he has clearly matured into a point guard who understands how to create for others in just about every situation.
Several candidates to chose from for this category as Shelvin Mack logged key minutes, Seraphin recorded his 15th straight game in double figure points, and Nenê was once again a powerful force off the bench. My X-factor versus Cleveland was Jan Vesely, who finished with seven points, a season-high 12 rebounds (seven offensive), and a game-leading plus/minus of plus-16. Jan’s pretty and-1 finish off a sensational behind-the-back pass from Wall should be atop most highlight packages. I have objections to some of the choices made by Ted Leonsis in running the Wizards (Seriously, an EXTENSION for Grunfeld???), but his description of Vesely’s attributes is spot on. No doubt, the young Czech displays much promise.
That was… Basketball(ish).
We all know this five-game winning streak is meaningless. And we know that five players off Cleveland’s bench each played more minutes than each of Cleveland’s starters. And we know that New Orleans’ victory over Golden State on Tuesday night means that Washington clinched the second-worst record in the NBA. They could do no wrong in this game, it was an imperfect storm. However, knowing Randy Wittman’s style, we know the Washington Wizards played some damn basketball on Wednesday night, regardless of the over-blown issues people may have with the circumstance. It’s still NBA basketball, whomever was playing was competing, at least on this night. John Wall was a jet, Jan Vesely was a shark, and both Nenê and Kevin Seraphin* together made sweet roundball music fit for a stage.
When you’re a Wizard,
You’re a Wizard all the way
From your first cigarette
To your last dyin’ day.
… Except Randy Wittman’s gang has been smoking a lot less lately. And besides, ‘Wizard’ doesn’t rhyme with ‘cigarette’ …
*Take note of the Kevin Seraphin Struggle Face in the top image.