The Week in Wizards, the basketball ones — The Strong End to 2013, from New York to Detroit | Truth About It.net

The Week in Wizards, the basketball ones — The Strong End to 2013, from New York to Detroit

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Updated: January 13, 2014

Remember the end of 2013? Everything was lovely for the Washington Wizards. After losing four games in a row in early-to-mid-December—three of them at home to the Bucks, Nuggets, and Clippers, and the other a tough loss at the buzzer in Atlanta—the Wizards fought back to win five out of their next six, ending the calendar year 2013 with an even 14-14 record.

With the TAI crew falling a bit behind on its Wizards Weekly Wrap, let’s take a look back and see what transpired at the end of last year. More look-backs for what we’ve seen in 2014 to come.

Dec. 16: Wizards Beat Knicks in New York, 102-101: No Timeouts in the City that Never Sleeps

Memorable Moments: Carmelo Anthony chucking a long, contested 3-point attempt at the buzzer to lose the game when the Knicks had timeouts; the Wizards blowing a 15-point lead on the road but holding on to win; and Bradley Beal returning to the court after a nine-game absence due to a stress injury.

Oh, the infamous Frank Isola of the New York Daily news also questioned John Wall’s intensity while he showed nice command of the game in leading his team to a win.

TAI’s Sean Fagan (via the D.C. Council):

Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good. Or rather, sometimes it is nice to watch another team strap the Acme rocket to their backs and go full speed into the side of a canyon wall a la Wile E. Coyote. The New York Knickerbockers imploded on Monday in an epic fashion that went beyond #SoWizards and instead disappeared into another dimension of terrible basketball decisions that almost broke the space/time continuum.

To set the scene: With 24 seconds left in the game the Wizards trailed by one point, having frittered away a 15-point lead, and were inbounding the ball. The Knicks had a foul to give, three timeouts remaining, and about 10 million different ways to play out the situation.

Here is how the situation played out in real time: Wall handed the ball off to Bradley Beal near the top of the 3-point line, who then blew by Beno Udrih for an uncontested layup to put the Wizards ahead 102-101. The Knicks then ran pellmell down the court and Carmelo Anthony heaved a desperation 3-pointer off the glass to give the Wizards the game.

Play of the Game:

Tweet of the Night (via Game Storify):

 


Dec. 18: Wizards Beat Nets in Brooklyn, 113-107: Wall Blocks, Beal Money Balls, Brooklyn Iced

Memorable Moments: John Wall’s clutch, game-saving block against Deron Williams; team play; a commitment to f*cking defense (for Randy).

TAI’s John Converse Townsend (via the D.C. Council):

The Wizards had an eight-point lead going into the fourth quarter, 85-77. But this team … see, this team always makes it harder than it needs to be. The Nets, led by Deron Williams and Paul Pierce, clawed their way back. Turnovers, blown defensive assignments, and poor execution in the half-court by the Wizards played a part. Wall was 1-for-6 and created very little for anybody, besides enough space for him to rise and fire contested 2-point jumpers.

With about two minutes left in the game, Washington’s lead had shrunk to one point. Then Wall let Bradley Beal take control, which was Wall’s best decision of the evening, because Beal, unlike Wall, was assertive, confident, and closed the door on the Nets’ comeback attempt with a 3-pointer. Then defense, rebounds, and made free throws in the final minute locked down the W.

Play of the Game (Wall’s block, duh):

Tweet of the Night (via Game Storify):

 


Dec. 21: Wizards Beat Celtics in Boston, 106-99: Wall and Ariza Overcome Steez, Carry Wiz in the Clutch

Memorable Moments: Jordan Crawford; the Wizards fell behind by 16 points after the first quarter (14-30); the Wizards took their first lead with less than three minutes to go in the game; the Wizards closed the game on a 22-7 run; Jordan Crawford.

TAI’s Adam McGinnis (via the D.C. Council):

The Wizards battled back throughout the game due to an incredible effort by Trevor Ariza and eventually broke through in the final stretch of the game. Celtics guard Avery Bradley had been giving them fits. Sullinger was a load down low. Our old buddy, Jordan Crawford, was running the point in a highly efficient manner.

But then Washington clamped down the vice grips on D. Wall started picking J-Craw’s pocket. Avery Bradley and Sullinger began to misfire. The Wizards came up with stop after stop, holding the Celtics to two field goals in the final six minutes of the contest. Washington ended the game on a 22-to-7 run.

The common thread in many Wizards losses has been the inability to finish. For the third straight road victory, they flipped the script. Sometimes it is as simple as the cliche: “Close out games.”

Play of the Game:

Tweet(s) of the Night (via Game Storify):

 


Dec. 27: Wizards Fall to Timberwolves in Minnesota, 98-120: Wittman Sees Wolf Fangs, Hears a Wizard Moan

Memorable Moments: John Wall scored 22 points in the first half, four points in the second half; the Timberwolves scored 39 points in the second quarter; Kevin Love was second in scoring with 25 points, then Nikola Pekovic dropped 18, then J.J. Barea dropped 17 off the bench; and Bradley Beal was carried off the court with a scary-looking knee injury that would later turn out to be just a bruise.

TAI’s John Converse Townsend (via the D.C. Council):

The big story: The Wizards, hunting for their longest road winning streak in almost six years, had a one-point lead after the first quarter, but then gave up 39 points to the Timberwolves in the second—a defensive collapse that all but ended their shot at .500.

The Wizards got smoked in the paint like a Christmas ham, losing that battle 48-34. They were outmuscled on the glass, 44-35, which led to a 16-7 second-chance point margin in favor of Minnesota. The Wizards got punished when they turned it over, which was often (13), giving up 19 points the other way. And they were so content to settle for outside shots that they didn’t bother to put the rock on the floor and attack the rim. The T-Wolves made more than twice as many free throws (31) than the Wizards (14) and attempted 38 total.

Play of the Game:

Tweet(s) of the Night (via Game Storify):

 


Dec. 28: Wizards Beat Pistons in Washington, 106-82: John Wall & Co. Slam on the Defensive Brakes

Memorable Moments: It was Nene bobbelehead night; one bobblehead ended up in Nene’s hands on the bench during a timeout and a picture of it was snapped by the owner’s son and the owner blogged about it being kosher in an explanatory manner the next day; Detroit ‘got close’ in the second quarter but John Wall and Bradley Beal combined to run off 14 straight points (10 points from Beal; four points and three assists from Wall) to end the period, effectively ending the game.

TAI’s Adam Rubin (via the D.C. Council):

Both teams entered the game on the second half of a back-to-back set after ugly road losses. Mo Cheeks talked before the game about the importance of bounce-back games. His team did not get the message. Detroit sleepwalked through the first six minutes of the game en route to a 19-8 deficit, punctuated by a Marcin Gortat bank shot with 5:42 left in the first quarter. Most importantly—and surprisingly—Washington did most of its damage against Detroit’s imposing front line with nine of its first 13 field goals coming within six feet of the rim. Tone effectively set. Detroit never got closer than five points the rest of the game.

Play of the Game:

Tweet of the Night (via Game Storify):

 


Dec. 30: Wizards Beat Pistons in Detroit, 106-99: John Wall & The Blue Moons Motor Past Detroit

Memorable Moments: The Wizards started the fourth quarter down seven points on the road and actually won; John Wall was super clutch after a sluggish start; Nene was lifted by the spirit.

TAI’s Rashad Mobley (via the D.C. Council):

Wall’s shot wasn’t falling with ease (7-of-15), he turned the ball over five times, and Brandon Jennings, while still turning the ball over frequently (six times), made sure his Pistons’ teammates were involved with 15 assists. But on a night when he really didn’t have “it,” Wall did what great scorers—something Wall really has not been known as in his four-year career—tend to do, and he found a way to manufacture points.

Wall went to the line 15 times and missed just once with 16.4 seconds left in the game, when the outcome of the game was no longer in doubt. Wall rested the first four and a half minutes of the fourth quarter, and when he entered the game, it was tied at 89. That last 7:36 of the quarter, Wall had a steal, two assists (which came within a 30-second span to Beal and Nene respectively), and nine points. He also helped hold Jennings to three points, an assist and two steals in that final quarter. Said CSN Washington’s Steve Buckhantz about Wall: “That young man had ice water in his veins.”

Play of the Game:

Tweet(s) of the Night (via Game Storify):

 

 


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