Key Legislature: Wizards 108 vs Bucks 97 — Otto Protects His House | Wizards Blog Truth About

Key Legislature: Wizards 108 vs Bucks 97 — Otto Protects His House

Updated: November 2, 2014


Truth About’s Key Legislature: a quick run-down and the game’s defining moment for the Washington Wizards’ second win of the season, in their home opener against the Milwaukee Bucks. Rashad Mobley (@rashad20) reports from his seat in the Verizon Center.

DC Council Key Legislature

by Rashad Mobley.

Prior to the season, during Washington Wizards Media Day, Paul Pierce was asked if he would make it his business to be a leader. He explained that he did not consider himself to be very vocal–he preferred to lead by example–but that he would speak up only when the situation required his input. The one point he did stress was how the Wizards had to improve on their 22-19 home record from the previous season. One of Pierce’s teammates took note, Otto Porter.

Here’s what Porter had to say after hearing Pierce’s mission statement about winning at home:

“Today I heard him say, ‘Hey, we got to protect home court this year. Anybody who come up here, they’re going to get beaten up.’ I was like, ‘That’s what I’m talking about.’ I hadn’t heard that in here. I’m about that. That’s how it was at Georgetown. Protect home court, always. … That’s going to change.”

Saturday night was Washington’s home opener against the Milwaukee Bucks, and it was the first opportunity the team had to show they can take care of business at home. Randy Wittman made a point to mention the importance of protecting home court during his pregame speech, and the official Washington Wizards twitter account sent this out exactly at 7pm:

[via @washwizards]

[via @washwizards]

In the first quarter, the Wizards played like a team that took Pierce’s message to heart and then some. They shot 50 percent, held the Bucks to 35 percent, the ball movement was quick and precise, and eight of the 10 players who played scored at least one basket. It was 29-17 after one quarter.

The scoring was a little less diverse in the second quarter, as Nene and Gortat took turns and scored eight points apiece. It was Milwaukee’s turn to spread the ball around, and they too had eight players score, led by Brandon Knight’s eight points (apparently eight was the magic number). With 20 seconds left in the second period, the Wizards led 49-41. Coach Wittman had just called a 20 second timeout so they could run a set play. John Wall attempted to drive the lane, but the ball was knocked away by Jabari Parker, and it eventually ended up in the hands of Brandon Knight. Before Knight could gather any momentum and pass the ball up to a streaking Parker, Paul Pierce grabbed him, and the referees called a clear path foul, but went to the video replay to confirm it.

After nearly a three-minute delay, the refs confirmed that a clear path foul was indeed committed and Pierce was not happy. He was whistled for his first technical foul before Parker shot his first free throw, and he was called for his second technical just moments after Parker hit his last free throw. Pierce was promptly thrown out the game, but not before he attempted to plead his case to Wittman, who had this to say after the game:

“He lost his composure a little bit. I didn’t think he deserved the second (technical), I think that was too quick.  He deserved the first one.  I think he was trying to get one to be honest with you, and the second one was uncalled for.”

In what Jason Kidd would describe as a “next-man-up” moment after the game, Otto Porter started the second half in Pierce’s stead. Porter, who said, “I’m about that” when discussing Pierce’s Media Day proclamation about protecting home court, now had the opportunity to cast the first stone in that direction. He did not disappoint.

Three minutes into the third quarter Porter hit a 19-foot jumper to put the Wizards up 56-51, and on the very next possession, he dunked an alley-oop from John Wall. Later in the quarter, he found Nene for an assist, he hit a 3-point shot, and he had a steal, then two free throws. He led the Wizards with 10 points in the third quarter, and he helped extend the left from five to 14 points. Wall (nine points, three assists and four steals in the third quarter) and Garrett Temple (eight points) were just as instrumental in the Wizards’ play, but the moment belonged to Otto.

This was not just as simple as the next man up providing the Wizards a boost in Pierce’s absence, this was last year’s number three pick in the draft producing in the home opener, after doing next to nothing during his rookie year and flashing promise only in last year’s summer league. That third quarter felt like Porter took Pierce’s mission statement to heart, and decided to make a significant statement of his own in the process.

Porter’s confident play continued in the fourth quarter, and he scored eight points on 4-for-5 shooting. The Wizards led by as much as 17 points in the final period, but the Bucks, led by Jerryd Bayless’ 14 points in 12 minutes, mounted a series of mini-runs and pulled within eight points. Then Nene scored on a layup, Temple hit a 3-pointer, and Wall hit a pull-up jumper. The Wizards stretch their led to 13 points, and that effectively ended the game.

At one point in the quarter, Bayless tried to drive the lane and drew a shooting foul on Nene, but not before Porter cleanly blocked his shot out of bounds. Porter removed his glasses and looked back at Bayless as if to say “not in this house, sir.” Not even a minute later, the Verizon Center crowd rewarded Porter with this “Ot-To Por-Ter!” chant (courtesy of @HoopDistrictDC):


Porter (and Temple) played the entire second half. Otto finished with a career high 21 points (on 7-of-11 shooting), two steals and five rebounds for the game. (His previous career high was nine points.)  A little less than a year ago, Porter was making his NBA debut against these same Milwaukee Bucks, and he looked like a rookie who was just happy to be on the court:


On Saturday night, Porter proved that he belonged on the court, he won over the fans, he made everyone forget about Pierce’s lapse in judgment. Most importantly, he protected his house. Marcin Gortat had this to say about Porter’s performance after the game:

“Otto was great. Otto was outstanding. First of all like I said before, he is a bright person. He’s a very smart kid. He’s a hard working kid. He’s here every day early in the morning with me and Paul Pierce in the weight room working out and getting shots. At the end of the day this league is all about opportunity and he is just waiting patiently on his opportunity and he uses it. You can’t ask for more. The guy was just ready to play. He is full of energy, the extra three pounds he gained in the off-season. It looks like he’s beefing people around now.”

The Bullets.

  • Otto Porter was clearly Superman, but his Kryptonite was Giannis Antetokounmpo. Brandon Knight and Jerryd Bayless caught fire offensively, so Giannis was not a factor the entire night (four points in just 12 minutes). But when Giannis did have the ball against Otto, he drove past Porter, and got into the lane at will.
  • Last year, it was easy to poke fun at Garrett Temple’s lack of offense. He always played hard on defense, and prior to Andre Miller’s arrival (aka the Eric Maynor era), Temple played the role of backup point guard with mixed results. This season, no one has confused his skillset with Bradley Beal’s, but Temple had added a bit of diversity to his offensive game, and that combined with his willingness to play in-your-face defense has been a pleasant surprise. He played 37 minutes (he played the entire second half), and scored a career-high 18 points to go along with three steals. Said Randy Wittman after the game, “He’s done a great job. I told you he’s my utility infielder. He might start at first base tomorrow instead of third base, so he’s done a great job.  He stayed aggressive, he’s taking his opportunities offensively, he’s spacing the floor, he’s making good decisions, and obviously what he does defensively for us is his staple.”
  • John Wall had another strong game with 19 points, 10 assists, five steals and a block, and he was instrumental in the Wizards’ strong third quarter play. But just as Porter couldn’t stay in front of Giannis, Wall could not keep Brandon Knight out of the lane, and he repeatedly was off-balance on defense.  Here’s what SB Nation’s Mike Prada had to say: “Wizards are better than the Bucks, but don’t like how they have to hide Wall defensively because he can’t guard Knight.”
  • If Paul Pierce hadn’t gotten ejected, clearing the way for Otto Porter’s excellence, the story of the game would have been the internal dominance of Nene and Gortat. In the first half, they scored 30 of the Wizards’ 49 points they missed just two shots (one apiece). They frustrated rookie Jabari Barker, and Larry Sanders may as well have been sitting on the bench. Nene had three steals (two of which lead to fast break points) and four assists, while Gortat had three blocked shots. In 32 minutes (which is still a bit high), Nene scored 22 points with three steals and six rebounds, while Gortat had 20 points in 37 minutes with nine rebounds and three blocked shots.
  • ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith and Bucks Coach Jason Kidd talked for at least 30 minutes in the Bucks’ locker room after the game. I don’t have anything of intelligence to add, I just thought that was a noteworthy event to report.



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Rashad Mobley
Reporter/Writer at TAI
Rashad has been covering the NBA and the Washington Wizards since 2008—his first two years were spent at Hoops Addict before moving to Truth About It. Rashad has appeared on ESPN and college radio, SportsTalk on NewsChannel 8 in Washington D.C., and his articles have appeared on ESPN TrueHoop,, Complex Magazine, and the DCist. He considers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar a hero and he had the pleasure of interviewing him back in 2009.