Key Legislature: Wizards 98 vs Magic 93 — Bench Provides Tinder for Humphries' Date Night Spark | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Key Legislature: Wizards 98 vs Magic 93 — Bench Provides Tinder for Humphries’ Date Night Spark

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Updated: November 16, 2014

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[picture via Monumental Sports]

Truth About It.net’s Key Legislature: a quick run-down and the game’s defining moment for the Washington Wizards’ seventh win of the season, a 98-93 grinder against the Orlando Magic, from Adam McGinnis (@AdamMcGinnis).

DC Council Key Legislature

by Adam McGinnis

There has been a constant format throughout the first few weeks of the season for the Washington Wizards: an eventually close contest in which the starters make just enough plays to edge out mediocre competition. A new theme emerged on Saturday night at the Verizon Center: bench domination.

The Wizards reserves propelled Washington to a 98-93 victory over the Orlando Magic. The bench unit combined for 48 points, outscoring their Orlando counterparts by 30. Kris Humphries was a difference maker, finishing with 16 points and six rebounds. Rasual Butler continued his torrid shooting from the Pistons game by going 4-for-5 from the field. Otto Porter chipped in with 13 points, all coming in second half. This performance truly was the overwrought sports cliché of a “total team effort” that helped Washington match its best start of a season since 1974.

John Wall took note of the bench’s production in the locker room:

“That’s the key. You want to get as much rest as possible but when those guys are playing well we don’t mind sitting back and letting them run the show. When we are doing well and they’re not doing great, they sit back and let us do our thing. When we’re clicking on the same page we are a pretty tough team to beat, [especially] when we play defense like we did tonight.”

The Wizards’ D suffocated the Magic in the first half, holding them to 35 percent shooting and built a 10-point lead by the halftime intermission. Wall was sensational early, tallying 10 points, four rebounds and two assists in the opening period. Orlando’s interior defense was subpar and Washington attacked the basket with little resistance. The Wizards shared the basketball well.

“Anytime you have 31 assists compared to 11 turnovers you have done well,” said Coach Wittman. “It’s efficient, and even though we had eight turnovers at halftime, if you get a shot each time down the floor you have a pretty good chance to win.”

Nene, who was questionable with a sore shoulder, showed little effects of his ailment and rolled in several key buckets to halt any Magic run in the second half.

But this night belonged to the Washington reserves. Humphries dropped in an array of open jumpers and put-backs, and was a man possessed on loose balls. The Verizon crowd gave him several standing ovations. Porter, another Phone Booth favorite, caught fire from mid-range and looks like a completely different player from last season. Butler went from a barely making the team to a key contributor. He is playing much better defense than Martell Webster did last year. Even old man Andre Miller took Magic rookie Elfrid Payton to school repeatedly.

Humphries, whose choice of double-breasted suit prompted Wall to joke that it was “Date night for Humph,” alluded afterwards that the bench’s high level of play is showing up in practice:

“We joke around that when the White team, which is the bench team, beats the starters in practice, we carry it on over to the game. You can thank the starters for the way we (the bench) has been playing. We’ve been putting it on them (starters) lately. They might not admit to it, so don’t bring that back to them. They get a little sensitive.”

Coach Wittman decided to finish the game with Humphries, Butler, Porter, Nene, and Wall. Closing out with only two starters in crunch time was a first and it shows there is legitimate depth on this team. Team President’s Ernie Grunfeld’s off-season moves are finally showing some dividends.

Washington has taken care of its business up to this point, but the easy part of Wizards schedule has concluded. Next week brings the Dallas Mavericks and Cleveland Cavaliers to town. We will soon find out if this team deserves to be a member of the NBA’s elite.

The Bullets.

  • It was Magic guard Victor Oladipo’s second game back from injury. The second year player hails from the D.C. area, having grown up in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. He attended Dematha High School. He had 14 tickets for friends and family. Before the game, I asked him who was his favorite Wizards player growing up. “Gilbert Arenas,” he said. “No question.”
  • Magic rookie Devyn Marble had a pink minnie mouse backpack in his locker that veteran Channing Frye makes him wear.
  • Kevin Seraphin still has some lightning bolt design in his hair. The Magic’s Evan Fournier sports a mini pony tail. Both have been teammates on Team France. Make your own conclusions.
  • Orlando coach Jacque Vaughn was terse in his post game media availability. He answers were short and negative. Vaughn was not happy with all of his team’s mistakes.
  • There was a marriage proposal at a timeout during the second quarter. A fan near me yelled, “Say no,” but alas, the girl, who was wearing a helmet and harness, said yes.
  • This is year five in the NBA for Kevin Seraphin and it is frustrating to watch the same glaring flaws appear. Perfect example: Seraphin had Tobias Harris pinned on the block. Instead of keeping his advantage after receiving a post pass, he came out to the meet the ball away from the hoop and then shot an errant, fading hook shot in the lane. The Wizards need their first big off the bench to rebound and play tough defense and Seraphin does neither of these things well. His spot in the rotation should be given to another bench player.
  • Washington remains undefeated (4-0) at home.
  • Fans are “raising the roof” during the T-shirt toss. A vocal #Wizards supporter kept yelling at players during the pre-game warm ups to “raise the roof,” and Nene obliged with the hand motion.
  • Washington did not cover their nine-point favorite spread. They are now 4-5 ATS on the season. 
  • The Wizards backpack game was strong. John Wall left the arena wearing a “Game Over” Nintendo back pack and Andre Miller had a Utah Utes bag, his alma mater.
  • There is now a #WizKids routine of young dancers and it is a nice addition to the in-game entertainment.

 

 

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Adam McGinnis
Reporter / Writer / Media at TAI
Adam is a bro from the Midwest who's been bopping around the District of Columbia for years. He's down with a range of sports, etc. and has covered the Washington Wizards for TAI since 2010.