Key Legislature: Wizards 113 vs Kings 97 — Take Me to Church | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Key Legislature: Wizards 113 vs Kings 97 — Take Me to Church

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Updated: March 15, 2015

Truth About It.net’s Key Legislature: a quick run-down and the game’s defining moment(s)
for Washington Wizards contest No. 66 versus the Kings in the Nation’s Capital.
via Adam Rubin (@LedellsPlace) from Virginia.

DC Council Key Legislature

by Adam Rubin.

It was not supposed to be like this. The Sacramento Kings arrived in Washington playing the second game of a back-to-back and the final game of a season-high eight-game road trip. When asked beforehand whether he thought his team would be able to focus on the night’s game and not look forward to finally getting home, Coach George Karl smiled slyly and said, “I hope so.”

Yet Sacramento showed no signs of fatigue to start. Even DeMarcus Cousins, who was less than 24 hours removed from a monstrous 39-point, 24-rebound effort in a loss to Philadelphia, played like he was fully rested. Cousins started the game with six points on three straight jumpers and looked to be on his way to another dominant performance. Luckily, he followed those three baskets with an early foul after biting on a Drew Gooden pump fake. That foul proved important because the refs were the only people on the court last night that could stop Cousins.

DeMarcus retreated to the bench with his second foul (a hack on Gortat) with five minutes left in the first quarter and Sacramento leading by one. When he returned with eight minutes remaining in the half the Kings had stretched their lead to five points thanks to Washington’s poor interior defense and general malaise. Cousins then went back to work, destroying all who dared get in his way. He easily shook DeJuan Blair on his way to the rim and shot jumpers over Marcin Gortat. He bullied his way to the line for five made free throws on five attempts. The exclamation (and his 21st) point came on a one-handed, buzzer-beating alley-oop dunk to give Sacramento a 64-46 half-time lead.

To be a fly on the Wizards locker room wall at halftime. Randy Wittman confessed after the game, “I told [the team] I have to go to church tomorrow because of some of the things that I said and thought at halftime so I’ll make sure I’ll do that tomorrow.”

In the opponent’s locker room, George Karl was making predictions of things to come, “At halftime, I said Wall is going to come after us, I think, because at the end of the second quarter, they were giving the ball to him.”

If only Karl knew how right he was.

The first five minutes of the second half were similar to the 24 that preceded them. Everything changed with 7:12 remaining in the third quarter and the Wizards trailing by 19. Maybe it was a delayed reaction to Wittman’s halftime sermon. Wall started the turnaround by driving to the rim off a pick-and-roll and drawing a controversial blocking foul on Cousins—his third of the game. Wall hit both free throws, which started a magnificent 26-8 Washington run during which Wall scored or assisted on all but two of those points. All thirteen of Wall’s own points during that span came from either the 3-point line (3-for-4 3FG) or the free throw line (4-for-4).

“I just got into a rhythm. I made one [3-pointer] and I threw it in from out of bounds. I made one off of the dribble in the corner. I was like, ‘This might be a game where I can make a couple,’ so I took more.”

Washington did not officially take the lead until the fourth quarter—they trailed 85-84 after the third period—but that was just a formality. The game was over after John Wall’s barrage of body blows in the third quarter. Like King Hippo with his pants down, the Kings were just waiting to get knocked out. Sacramento self-destructed in the fourth quarter and when the dust settled Washington had outscored the Kings by 34 points in the second half (67-33), a truly historic comeback.

But it might never have happened without that sneaky Drew Gooden pump fake early in the first quarter that set the stage for Cousin’s foul trouble. When he was on the court, Cousins was a human wrecking ball. He almost single-handedly disqualified Washington’s front court. Marcin Gortat and Kevin Seraphin had four and five fouls, respectively, before the end of the third quarter. DeMarcus racked up all 30 of his points (9-for-15 FG, 12-for-14 FT) before the fourth quarter even started. His only noteworthy contributions in his three minutes of playing time in the final period were two personal fouls (his 5th and 6th of the game), a technical foul and several angry reactions to non-calls when he was defended in the paint.

The Bullets.

  • In comparing Washington to Sacramento’s prior opponent (Philadelphia) George Karl described the Wizards as “like Philadelphia on steroids with All-Stars and a great point guard.”
  • Karl also said that Nene is one of the best “last two minute defenders” that he ever coached.
  • While asking Karl about Washington’s recent struggles, the Washington Post’s Michael Lee referred to Milwaukee’s dramatic collapse in the spring of 2002 when Karl was coaching the Bucks. Karl seemed genuinely unable to recall that happening. It is always interesting when you are reminded that fans and reporters often take sports more to heart than the players and coaches that live the games. Or maybe Coach Karl was just playing dumb.
  • John Wall donned a cherry blossom-themed ensemble after the game with matching shoes and shirt.

The Vines.

Adam Rubin on EmailAdam Rubin on Twitter
Adam Rubin
Reporter / Writer at TAI
Adam grew up in the D.C. area and has been a Washington Bullets fan for over 25 years. He will not refer to the franchise as anything other than the Bullets unless required to do so by Truth About It editorial standards. Adam spent many nights at the Capital Centre in the ‘90s where he witnessed such things as Michael Jordan’s “LaBradford Smith game,” the inexcusable under-usage of Gheorghe Muresan’s unstoppable post moves, and the basketball stylings of Ledell Eackles.