The Week in Wizards, the basketball ones — Jan. 13 to 19 | Truth About It.net

The Week in Wizards, the basketball ones — Jan. 13 to 19

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Updated: January 28, 2014

[Game 38 #WittmanFace: 'With my right hand I bring water to my lips, with my left I point to a winning box score--these are the simultaneous moments that quench a thirst ... for coaching.']

[Game 38 #WittmanFace: 'With my right hand I bring water to my lips, with my left I point to a winning box score--these are the simultaneous moments that quench a thirst ... for coaching.' -- via instagram.com/truthaboutit]

In continuing to catch up on how the Wizards have Wizard-ed this season, my colleague Rashad Mobley took a look back at Washington’s 2-5 start to 2014, which, after ending 2013 with a 14-14 record, pushed the Wiz Kids down three games below the vaunted .500 mark at 16-19.

This next post will recap Washington’s subsequent week of play, from January 13 to 19, in which they won three out of four games (nice!), but also one that they ended by falling to the Detroit Pistons at home in yet another disappointing #SoWizards loss that kept them from having their first winning record since 2009. But hey, that Miami win … at least the first quarter of it … will be timeless.

So as goes the saying about memory, history, and being doomed, let’s do the #SoWizards version with a drink to make you think about what you can understand, leaving you to cope with the results.

To the pixel factory!

 


Jan. 13 (Game 36): Wizards Beat Bulls in Chicago, 102-88: 8-Man Rotation Steadies Ship in Windy City.

 

Memorable Moments:

  • Nene returned to the starting lineup;
  • Wittman decided to shift his philosophy of the day to running a tight, eight-man rotation;
  • The Wizards became the second team to shoot over .500 against the Bulls in Chicago on the season;
  • Garrett Temple added 10 points off the bench, his first double-digit scoring game of the season, the 10th of his career with the Wizards, and the 17th of his 143 career NBA games.

TAI’s Kyle Weidie (via the D.C. Council):

Maybe Randy Wittman became jealous that Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau seems to get the most out of his players. Maybe Wittman started to feel “ramped up” pressure after starting 2014 with a 2-5 record.

Whatever it was, he strictly went with players that he trusted most on Monday night in Chicago, which meant moving Nene back into the starting lineup next to Wall, Beal, Ariza, and Gortat, and only playing three players off the bench: Martell Webster, Trevor Booker and Garrett Temple.

[...]

Otherwise, no, Wittman isn’t staunchly and stubbornly going to stick with an eight-man rotation from here on out. He’ll have to play more guys, he’ll have to look at matchups, and he’ll have to ensure that some main guys get rest. He will have to figure it out. But to get this one game against a very good defensive team in Chicago, Wittman had to do what he had to do.

Play of the Game:

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

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Jan. 15 (Game 37): Wizards Beat Heat in Washington, 114-97 Miami Vice, Coast-to-Coast.

 

Memorable Moments:

TAI’s Conor Dirks (via the D.C. Council):

After kissing the sky in the first half, the Wizards came down surely as the sun sets, while the Miami Heat rolled into the party like a slow, toxic fog of bandwagon mouthbreath. The Heat, again and again, depleted the Wizards’ lead to single digits.

With 4:45 remaining, LeBron James re-entered the game, and the Heat prepared to make their final run. Washington loyalists in Verizon Center tried their best to pretend their hearts weren’t inadvertently choking them from within their throats.

John Wall went on to control both the pace, and the scoring, of the crucial minutes that followed. He drew two consecutive fouls on Norris Cole, knocked down all of his free throws, found a baseline-cutting Martell Webster for a slam (after the game, Martell explained the paranormal synergy by saying “80 percent of communication is non-verbal! He didn’t have to say anything, I saw it in his eyes…”), zipped it to Nene for a vicious dunk over James, and finally capped it off with two jump shots of his own to put the Wizards up 112-95 with 54 seconds remaining. Who says this kid can’t manage a game?

Play of the Game:

Tweet of the Night (via Game Storify):

20140115-dcsportsbog-tweet

 


Jan. 17 (Game 38): Wizards Beat Bulls in Washington, 96-93: Ringmaster Wall Leads the D, Hits Circus Shot.

 

Memorable Moments:

  • It was truly a “gutty” win, as Randy Wittman would later say;
  • After mostly controlling the game, the Wizards got down eight points in the third quarter but fought back with four straight defensive stops;
  • John Wall hit an amazing circus shot (seen below);
  • Trevor Booker was cooking;
  • Nene sealed the game by blocking Jimmy Butler’s game-tying 3-point attempt at the buzzer;
  • Martell Webster did some more photobombing.

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

In a season marked by ups and downs, the Wizards were finally able to hold home court against a decent squad to improve their season record to .500 (19-19). Unfortunately, climbing back to even is never easy for these Wiz Kids.

Washington shot a high percentage for majority of the game, but their sloppy turnovers allowed the Bulls to stay close and eventually pull ahead by double-digits in the third quarter. Washington answered the Bulls’ 14-2 run with a 14-2 run of their own and set up a close battle down the stretch. Unlike the recent loss to the Rockets, the Wizards made the needed stops in crunch time to pull out the win. [Ed. Note: Houston has a Harden, Chicago has no Rose—but superstars. -Kyle W.]

The franchise came out with a promotional flyer at the game to hype a case for John Wall to be an All-Star. One of the headlines read: “Far From Average” in listing his season statistics. Ironically, the Wizards are now exactly average with same number of wins and losses.

Play of the Game:

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

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Jan. 18 (Game 39): Wizards Fall to Pistons in Washington, 98-104: Sisyphus Calls and Smoove Answers, Wizards Roll Back Down the Hill.

 

Memorable Moments:

  • Josh Smith made jumpers, can you believe it?;
  • John Wall yammed on Greg Monroe;
  • Detroit dominated the paint once again;
  • No other Wizard aside from Wall, with a dash of Martell Webster, played well, and those two Wizards in particular played a role in flubbing the game down the stretch; .500 dreams smashed once again.

TAI’s Conor Dirks (via the D.C. Council):

Unfortunately, this is too easy. How do you feel at the end of the day? Are you sad because you’re on your own? Usually, you get by with a little help from your friends. It would be reductive to here simply write that John Wall was A+ and every other Wizard was F (Martell Webster, for example, played exceedingly well minus the late-game strip by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and three other turnovers), but in this case the marks are appropriate enough to at least note that this award was not deliberated before moving on.

Wall was by-and-large incredible. He took 13 shots around the basket and converted 10 of them. He took two 3-pointers and made them both. He scored 34 points in 37 minutes of play and many of those points were spectacular.

Play of the Game:

Tweet of the Night (via Game Storify):

20140118-conorddirks-tweet

 


Up next: The Week(s) in Wizards between Jan. 20 and Jan. 29, 2014…