Key Legislature: Wizards 110 vs Hornets 107 — Double Efforttime | Wizards Blog Truth About

Key Legislature: Wizards 110 vs Hornets 107 — Double Efforttime

Updated: March 28, 2015

Truth About’s Key Legislature: a quick run-down and the game’s defining moment(s)
for Washington Wizards contest No. 73 versus the Hornets in D.C.
via Bryan Frantz (@BFrantz202), covering the action live from Bloggers’ Row.

DC Council Key Legislature

by Bryan Frantz.

With 50 seconds on the clock in regulation, John Wall split a pair of free throws.

With 20 seconds on the clock, Wall threw the ball away, trying to thread a collapsing needle.

With 14 seconds on the clock, Kemba Walker hit a pair of free throws. The Charlotte Hornets had a 95-91 lead on the Washington Wizards, and on a night in which the Wizards had managed just 32 second-half points on 45 shots thus far, things looked bleak.

Fans streamed toward the exits. Hundreds of paying customers poured out of the Verizon Center in disgust—the Wizards had let yet another easily winnable game get away.

With 11 seconds on the clock, Rasual Butler took a 3 that would determine the Wizards’ fate—never a good sign. He drained it.

With 10 seconds on the clock, Jeff Taylor, who, as a career 65.7 percent shooter from the stripe, was likely as surprised as everyone else that Steve Clifford threw him into the game. He split a pair of free throws.

With three seconds on the clock, Wall, who has singlehandedly kept the Wizards afloat this season as every other asset melted down under that too-hot spotlight in a dark two months, put the team on his back.

Like he did just two nights earlier, Wall came through to bring his team level, this time in the form of a midrange jumper from the right elbow, his favorite spot on the floor.

However, for the second game in a row, he also gave the opposition another chance. He left 11 seconds on the clock after his deep 3 against Indiana on Wednesday, but this time he left the Hornets just three seconds to one-up his heroics.

George Hill was nowhere to be found, and the Hornets ran a last-second play that looked like something off Randy Wittman’s own dry-erase board. For the record, the lineup Witt trotted out on defense for the final play of regulation was Wall-Beal-Butler-Webster-Gortat. If Charlotte had scored on that play, the Effort King would have had some fun explaining why he removed Drew Gooden from the lineup for that play in favor of Martell Webster (109.1 DefRtg, the worst of any Wizard to play in more than five games this season) instead of Otto Porter (103.2 DefRtg), who received a DNP-CD.

What’s the opposite of a shootout? Like when you get to the penultimate scene of a James Bond movie, and there’s that battle with explosions and shooting and Bond kills a few dozen henchmen without ever taking a bullet himself, saves the world, and then makes love to a gorgeous woman as the credits roll?

Picture that scene, but before any of it ever happens, Bond’s Walther PPK jams. And so do all weapons of all henchmen. That was basically the first overtime.

The Wizards went 2-for-13 from the field and managed just five points—coming off a series in regulation where they scored five points in eight seconds—while the Hornets got their five on 2-for-6 shooting thanks to three turnovers.

Imagine if three or four months ago, I had told you that Butler and Gooden would play the entire fourth quarter (except the final 3.3 seconds, when Webster replaced Gooden) and both overtime periods instead of a healthy Paul Pierce and Nene. Neither The Truth nor The Big Brazilian was in foul trouble, though Marcin Gortat picked up his fifth foul with more than four minutes left in regulation and never came out (who saw that coming?).

You’d ask, what? Why?

This isn’t to take anything away from Gooden, who played his ass off, had a game-high 17 rebounds and put up more minutes, points and rebounds in the game than he did in the entire month of January. When I talked to him in the locker room after the game, I asked if he could do it again tomorrow night if needed, and with two bags of ice on each leg, he responded “I could do it again tonight.”

But Rasual Butler over Paul Pierce? Methinks we will sooner find extraterrestrial life than explain the mysteries behind that decision. Unless, of course, it’s as simple as being results-oriented on the night: Pierce was 2-for-9, and missed badly on several attempts. Yet Butler’s contributions late amounted to the one big shot and a block, and it’s hard to justify rolling with him over the future Hall of Famer who has made countless big shots in his career.

Washington had a chance to take the lead as the clock wound down in the first overtime, but Wittman once again employed his strategy of “If it worked once, it should work every time!” This is likely the same strategy that justified playing Butler instead of Pierce. The Wizards ran a familiar play: Wall ran the clock down then fired up a midrange jumper from the right side that, probably due to math or physics, did not have the same result as the first time.

The Hornets couldn’t take advantage of the few seconds left on the clock, because—and this part is crucial before Wizards fans get too excited—the Hornets were awful in this game. Truly terrible in just about every aspect of their play. They missed open shots throughout the game and finished below 35 percent from the field, including a combined 11-for-43 by Kemba Walker and Mo Williams, and their defense was hardly better.

Second overtime arrived, and despite being a few hundred fans skimpier than it was an hour earlier, the Verizon Center crowd quickly grew louder than it had all game—with the exception of when chicken sammiches were on the line. The District loves chicken sammiches.

Finally, as if Wall skimmed Twitter between the first and second overtimes, the 24-year-old kid out of Raleigh, NC, took over. He’s not the only player on the team who can score, but damned if he wasn’t the only one getting buckets when it counted (except for Casual Rasual’s 3-ball earlier, of course).

Wall took six of the Wizards’ nine shots in the second overtime and scored seven of their nine points; Charlotte scored just six in that time.

With 10 seconds on the clock, Wall knocked down a midrange pull-up to set the final margin.

With four seconds on the clock, Wall enveloped Al Jefferson in a bear hug to give a foul.

With a half-second on the clock, Jefferson missed a desperation 3.

With zero seconds on the clock, Wall could finally exhale.


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Bryan Frantz
Reporter / Writer at TAI
Bryan is a D.C. native with a degree in something or other from UNC. He has important, interesting hobbies, but mostly he just weeps over D.C. sports teams. You can find him on the Metro, inevitably complaining about Red Line delays.