Key Legislature: Wizards 108 at Cavs 113 — Meaning for the Meaningless | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Key Legislature: Wizards 108 at Cavs 113 — Meaning for the Meaningless

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Updated: April 16, 2015

Truth About It.net’s Key Legislature: a quick run-down and the game’s defining moment(s)
for Washington Wizards contest No. 82 versus the Cavaliers in Cleveland
via Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It) from Adams Morgan, and then again later from Columbia Heights.

DC Council Key Legislature

by Kyle Weidie.

No game is really meaningless. With the 2-seed locked up, Cleveland sat LeBron James and played other regular rotation players sparingly in an overtime win over Washington in game 82 on Wednesday night. With the 5-seed locked up, and having played a double-OT game (and losing) against Indiana the night before, Washington sat John Wall, Bradley Beal, Paul Pierce, and Nene. For those who did play, the game meant plenty. And for those watching, particularly a group of jovial and imbibed bloggers at a bar in Adams Morgan, D.C., it was much more entertaining than one would expect. That should be appreciated, so I went back later and re-watched that not-quite-meaningless game. It’s basketball, isn’t it?

The Wizards jumped to an early lead with good ol’ rebounding and running, perhaps not the staple of steak and ‘taters for Randy Wittman, probably just a damn good brunch to the coach. Kris Humphries and Marcin Gortat out-beefed Kevin Love and Timofey Mozgov (barely), and Ramon Sessions, a surprisingly calming presence in contrast to his speedy attack, even hit a 3-pointer. Cleveland countered by, actually, not really making 3s (2-8 in the first compared to D.C.’s 2-5) with some honey-dip J.R. Smith dribbles yoking Otto Porter a couple times. Washington led by as many as 15 points (23-8 with 4:33 left), but finished the first quarter up eight, 28-20.

The second quarter brought Will Bynum using screens and Kevin Seraphin selling dreams (eight points in the period, for each, and a stout five assists to zero turnovers for Bynum). “We’ve seen him do that before, just not as a Wizard,” chimed in Comcast’s Phil Chenier. Another key point: Will Bynum hit DeJuan Blair twice in a row for floaters; Will Bynum hit DeJuan Blair twice in a row for floaters.

But Cleveland was able to win the second quarter, 33-28, by catching fire from deep. Kevin Love, who missed his first 3-point attempt in the first quarter, proceeded to hit his next five in a row before halftime (3-3 while playing seven minutes during the game’s second 12 minutes). Matthew Dellavedova and James Jones added makes to Cleveland’s long-range attack. Seraphin, for his part, repelled teammates like the plague when he got the ball on the block for offense—meaning: no other Wizard let his man get in a good position to double-team the French/South American big man. Sometimes the hook shots were true, sometimes Kevin dribbled the ball out of bounds. But, reality: the Cavaliers got hot on 3s (6-7 in the 2nd), because their pick-and-roll game got going, and because Bynum and Martell Webster are less apt at stopping dribble penetration, and because the damned-if-you-do defensive presence of Seraphin in the middle.

Washington won the third quarter, barely, 23-21. Rasual Butler launched the memory of the period into a blur, going 4-for-8 from the field and 2-for-5 from deep. The only other takeaways, really, were that Porter sprained his ankle and exited early and that Steve Buckhantz commented on the Wizards new ‘primary logo’—“Clearly we’ve seen the last of the wizard guy, or whatever that was,” said a quizzical Buck. Chenier answered, clearly: “A wizard.”

The game’s key moment that you might have been looking for came in the fourth quarter (and not necessarily in the to-be-described later overtime session). Cleveland was already well on their way to building a nice lead when ex-Wizard Brendan Haywood checked into the game for the first time at the nine-minute mark of the fourth quarter. His midget-on-stilts game would later end Washington’s season, proving that everything must always be in good fun, or else impossible is nothing.

So it was written: Washington’s offense began the final stanza frazzled—yes, more Bynum (but not as good as the first quarter), and more Webster, who sometimes countered Cleveland’s barrage with his best game of 2014-15, scoring 20 points to top his previous season-high of six—his first 20-point game since December 2013. More Cavalier 3-pointers, and more—and this part is critical—Kevin Seraphin life. If the Seraphin versus Kendrick Perkins matchup in the fourth quarter didn’t define game 82 between these two would-be rivals, then what ever could?

“Go to work!” a teammate yelled out to Seraphin after, once again, spacing cleared for his brand of black hole offense (but it works more than you think!). Seraphin held the ball for what seemed like an eternity; his work this time involved a drive with no ground gained, and then he was pressured miss by a good defender in Perkins. This is after, mind you, Seraphin and Perkins combined forces to pick up double-technical fouls at the start of the fourth quarter. So Seraphin went at him again, travelled with the ball and turned it over.

Cleveland went up by 10 points on the other end with 6:36 left, at the time, in the season. That’s essentially when Bynum was subbed out and Sessions, who’d been in the game, took over. Sessions scored seven points in an 18-8 Washington run to end regulation. Seraphin, given another chance, decided just to pull up for a long wing jump shot against Perkins instead of fighting him closer to the basket. Of course he drained it. And very much to his credit, perhaps taking a note from Perkins’ own book, Seraphin twice played great pick-and-roll defense to help force Dellavedova into two tough misses in the game’s final 15 seconds. Somewhere in between, Sessions created a great opportunity for DeJuan Blair to tie the game at 101 with seven seconds left. Somewhere in the stratosphere, Blair and Perkins took part in a jump ball that would make George Costanza blush.

To overtime!, they said. You may think the game was won by Brendan Haywood, who probably thinks this song is about him. It’s true, Haywood went 1-for-2 from the free throw line with 34 seconds left to put Cleveland up 107-106 and then sank a seven-foot jump shot like a piece of machinery designed to drop dirt in a pickup truck for a commercial while splashing that dirt all over the friggin’ place. But also, the reins were handed back over to Bynum, and he went 1-for-5 from the field in overtime. He meant well, but could not help himself in the balance of being a past Wizards-killer and a current overzealous Wizard. The team Wizards, with the ball and 10 seconds left, would have (or would have had) a chance to win the game had they not been called for the quickest, most legitimate five-second call on the entire NBA season. Can referee central even review something so close to accurate yet swimming in subjective inconsistency and leniency? Whether it was a villainous yet merciful act of the referee to end an already-too-long game, we’ll never know. We just know that the season ended and off into the night we went, day-dreaming during the evening of playoffs, dinosaurs, suds, hoops, pandas, and game changers. Eighty-two finally down, four more at least to go.

Vine’d.

 

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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 lives in D.C. with his wife, loves basketball, and has no pets.