Key Legislature: Wizards 95 at Heat 107 — Bosh and Wade Remind the Wiz Who's Who | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Key Legislature: Wizards 95 at Heat 107 — Bosh and Wade Remind the Wiz Who’s Who

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Updated: October 30, 2014

Truth About It.net’s Key Legislature: a quick run-down and the game’s defining moment for Washington Wizards contest No. 1 versus the Miami Heat in Florida, via Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It) from the confines of the District of Columbia.

DC Council Key Legislature

by Kyle Weidie.

Luol Deng drove right, completely by Paul Pierce, only to have his attempt at the rim erased by Garrett Temple coming baseline from the weak side to help. But Chris Bosh swooped in, unimpeded by Marcin Gortat, disturbed the rebound, chased the loose ball to the far right corner, and slung a 3-point shot through the net near the end of the season’s first shot clock in Miami.

On the other end, moving off the ball around a Gortat screen, Pierce then set a high ball screen for John Wall and rolled to the left side of the floor. Wall, dribbling right and attracting the defense, found Pierce with a cross-court pass, setting up a post isolation against Shawne Williams. As Pierce pushed toward the middle, drawing defenders (and awkward spacing with Gortat), he made a kick-out pass back to Wall that was tipped by the defense. Wall recovered for a dribble drive as the shot clock ticked to single digits—but major Bosh help was in the path, making Drew Gooden the outlet for John Wall along the left baseline. Less than six seconds left. Gooden gave a courtesy pump fake and a less-than-honest attempt to dribble drive, knowing his limits while reading the rotating defense. Deng sagged a little too far off from Pierce, who was one pass away at the top of the arc. Gooden’s zipped pass caught Pierce in stride and he rattled home a 3-pointer as the season’s second shot clock in Miami neared its end. Tie game, 3-3. That’s how it all started.

The Miami Heat would take the season opener over the Washington Wizards by double digits, 107-95, but the night featured 16 lead changes and 16 ties between divisional foes now on a much more even plane—Miami without LeBron (and some others) for good, and Washington without Bradley Beal due to injury and also without Nene and DeJuan Blair due to suspension. Glen Rice was active but did not play. His ankle injury is improving but ended up being worse than the team initially expected it to be. Wall paced his Wizards with 11 assists, but six turnovers, and 16 points, fourth-most amongst five Wiz in double-figures—no one cracked 20 points. Wall made some brilliant passes, and in most cases Randy Wittman’s entire team was patient and willing to share the ball on offense. Miami had the same exact assist-to-turnover ratio as Washington, and both teams posted 20 assists, but the Wizards only scored nine points off Heat giveaways while Miami scored 12 points. Washington could also stand to shoot better than 70.8 percent (17-24) from the free throw line. Otto Porter missed two freebies and Gooden missed three.

Post-LeBron Bosh was a revelation. And why shouldn’t he be? He’s 30 years old, has a max contract to support with his play, has made nine straight All-Star game appearances, and is the starting stretch-5 for the Heat. That poses an issue not only for the Wizards (even with Nene and Blair available) but also for many teams. Bosh can guard Joakim Noah and to close extents Gortat, but then stretches those guys away from the rim on the other end, bringing devastation with his quickness, especially since LeBron is no longer crowding the court. Defenses must get creative against Bosh or switch. Gooden guarding Bosh one-on-one is a tough matchup. Bosh scored a game-high 26 points on 9-for-18 FGs, 3-for-4 3-pointers, and 5-for-5 free throws to go with 15 rebounds (4 offensive) and four assists. He, of course, had help from Dwyane Wade (21 points) and Norris Cole (23 points). Cole came in for Chalmers and hit a 3 with 2:40 left to give Miami a seven-point lead. Wade checked back into the game with six minutes left and an 84-81 Heat lead; he proceeded to score 12 points over the latter half of the fourth quarter. Daggers came with about two minutes left (99-92, Miami) and one minute left (104-83, Miami), but the twist, and perhaps the moment that shall define the game, came with about three seconds left. Wade, for good measure, hit a shot in the grill of a contesting John Wall. It was all love, though, as the players went up to each other for well wishes after the buzzer. Wall knew that a pro—a pro in Wade who went to the locker room during the game to address a calf injury and later came back—had just given him and his Wizards the business.

Wittman turned to 12 different lineups versus the Heat, half of them saw less than two minutes. The starters of Wall, Temple, Pierce, Gooden, and Gortat played 24 minutes and finished minus-1 against Miami, but shot a healthy 21-for-38 (55.3%) from the field and 3-for-8 (37.5%) from beyond the arc. The Wizards, as a team, shot 48 percent and 31.6 percent from those areas. The main second unit—Andre Miller, Porter, Rasual Butler, Kris Humphries, and Kevin Seraphin—played seven minutes together and sputtered with a plus-minus of minus-13. Disastrous could at best describe the interior combo of Seraphin, perhaps appropriately nicknamed “Autobahn” for his constant high mental speed, and Humphries, back from a hand injury in his first game since the first preseason contest; he played rather uncouth. But that’s not to remove any defensive blame from Porter’s adjustment to guarding down (sometimes Dwyane Wade)—a work-in-progress—and Miller’s adjustment to father time. Interior duos fared as follows in the plus-minus department: Gortat and Gooden (34 mins, minus-2); Gortat and Humphries (6 mins, plus-6); and Humphries and Seraphin (8 mins, minus-15). A small-ball unit of Wall, Porter, Pierce, Rasual Butler, and Gortat was used for just one minute. The two other similar lineups each played less than a minute.

The season opening loss should not be much of a deflator for these Wizards—they will play two more games in the next three nights, including tonight in Orlando. And contrary to this writer’s general offseason thoughts, perhaps the demise of the Miami Heat (and Bosh) had been exaggerated, if not greatly then to a medium extent. Miami is good, they still have experience—although, how many Wade injury trips to the locker room can the team endure? Bosh is ready to act like a max player, again, but all max players need sidekicks, and Luol Deng ain’t the one (and even appeared to be an inadequate third banana).

For Washington, most problems are correctable with time. The offense, averaging 104.3 points per 100 possessions in the opening game (1.7 below last years OffRtg), was mostly patient and they executed well. Again, turnovers should be the easily correctable action here. The defense probably kept Wittman up on Wednesday night—his Wizards allowed 35 fourth-quarter points (scoring 25). Miami went on runs of 8-0, 6-0, and 13-5 in the fourth, the latter ending the game. All 10 men Wittman used on the night saw action in the final period and each played at least three minutes. Short-handed, the coach searched for the right combinations and learned some lessons in the process. The loss can’t be chopped up to a moral victory—those should be relics in D.C. unless Wittman pulls a Gregg Popovich at some point and rests several key players—but the Wizards can certainly move on to the next one with something to build on, while hopefully remaining unsatisfied from an attainable win on the road.

[An opening night pre-game smile from Randy #WittmanFace]

[An opening night pre-game smile from Randy #WittmanFace]

The Bullets.

  • “Every penny,” said the wifey as Paul Pierce made a smooth shot midway through the first quarter giving him seven early points. Twenty-four seconds later, Pierce was missing a 3-point shot. It was part heat-check, part he was open. If Pierce were to make that shot, putting him on pace for, oh, 70 points, hype would have set in for the watching Wizards fan. If the shot could be, in fact, defined as a heat-check for Pierce, versus any empirical evidence decrying the opportunity otherwise, aren’t such attempts a fun part of why we watch the game? Plus he was open.
  • That opening block was Garrett Temple‘s peak as season-opening starting 2 guard. For the rest of the night he was digging himself out of a hole. Which he did nicely, recovering from missed shots (2-8 FGs but hit a nice 3 before half) and defensive lapses that weren’t so much a result of him not playing right (Temple added seven rebounds, but three turnovers in his 31 minutes). Coaches love to see the ability to bounce back from bad plays. What is clear, however, is that Temple is not a guy you want to have play for an extended period of time and that overall guard depth will continue to be a concern.
  • Otto Porter vs. Dwyane Wade happened. Don’t know for how long and don’t know the statistical results, but it happened. Good practice for Otto, he needs to do a much better job at keeping up and realizing space, two basics.
  • Holy “Drizzle” Drew Gooden! His jumper is still on–he went 8-for-11 from the field, 1-for-2 from deep, 4-for-5 from midrange, and 3-for-4 closer to the rim. He made all three of his shots right at the basket and two of them came slickly after offensive rebounds.
  • R.I.P, Rasual Butler.

End Vine.

Pierce got a dunk running the floor.

Cuts from Otto.

John Wall run.

 

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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.