Key Legislature: Wizards 119 at 76ers 90 — Defining Moments in a Good Win vs a Bad Team | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Key Legislature: Wizards 119 at 76ers 90 — Defining Moments in a Good Win vs a Bad Team

By
Updated: April 8, 2015

Truth About It.net’s Key Legislature: a quick run-down and the game’s defining moment(s)
for Washington Wizards contest No. 78 versus the 76ers in Philadelphia 
via Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It), from the District of Columbia.

DC Council Key Legislature

by Kyle Weidie.

The game’s defining moment was when John Wall decided to rest (or maybe he was forced to rest, or maybe it was a mutual decision) after playing in 208 consecutive games for his Washington Wizards (per ESPN Stats & Info). And so Wall had a chance to bust out his “street” clothes, or his dress code clothes, which meant his bowtie. He also busted out a clipboard, and his instructional voice, and his standing up legs. I wonder how much ‘rest’ Player-Coach Wall really got? Because, as Lionel Hollins believes, resting versus the Sixers, or any team, won’t prolong Wall’s career by one minute … but the minimization of risk is immeasurable.

Also, Wall consumed popcorn on the bench, apparently. Also, Wall has no leadership chill, apparently.

2015-04-08-coach-john-wall-bow-tie

The game’s defining moment was when Ramon Sessions filled in for John Wall. It wasn’t Ramon’s ‘big’ chance, but it was a pretty good chance. He’d been playing well since a semi-rocky start (but understandably so), since getting traded to Washington from Sacramento (where he was playing well below expectations). Randy Wittman is semi-technically Session’s fourth head coach this season, although Sessions played his last game as a King on February 11. George Karl was hired on the 12th and Sessions was sent to D.C. on the 19th. He started seven games for Sacramento and started his first for Washington on Wednesday night in Philadelphia.

Sessions scored 19 points (got to the free throw line and went 7-9) to go with seven assists and four turnovers. Eight points, four assists, and one turnover came in the first quarter, as Sessions set the proverbial tone by attacking the basket and passing at the right times. His first assist of the period allowed Paul Pierce to make a three-foot shot, Sessions’ next three assists all came via Marcin Gortat over a span of 70 seconds midway through the quarter. Comcast’s Phil Chenier astutely observed that Sessions doesn’t waste a lot of movement, action, what-have-you—it mostly means that he doesn’t dribble the air out of the ball, which seems to be a unique trait amongst small-ish, quick-ish guards. More on Sessions to come soon in a TAI feature piece…

 

The game’s defining moment was Marcin Gortat receiving passes. He went 6-for-6 in the first quarter by rolling and cutting to the basket like he may or may not always do, according to him, or Wittman, or Wall, or whomever owns the night. Darkman, probably.

Gortat went 8-for-9 on the game (all eight makes were assisted). He added two points on two free throw attempts and even matched his career-high in assists with six (first set as a Wizard in December of 2013). Pass the Pole the ball and he’ll pass it back, like Gortat has also shown the ability to do time and time again; he’s especially adept at catching the ball and passing on the move (give Gortat’s hands more credit than you normally do). Sure, Philadelphia made it easy for Marc(h) to march in the first half, often letting him cut, roam, and download all the streaming video his heart desired, for free. As Gortat continues to get into the ‘right’ offensive rhythm, remember this: his key to the game was really the patient, disciplined defense he played, especially in the second half. Gortat often held good position against Nerlens Noel (arguably the rookie of the year), and his movement was well-timed. Such a thing as defensive rhythm, for an individual, does exist. So key.

 

The game’s defining moment was Bradley Beal. Remember him? We’re starting to.

Here’s the curious thing. Over Beal’s last 13 games, using the March 14 win over the Kings in Washington as the starting point, which was Beal’s sixth game back from a stress reaction that caused him to miss eight straight games, 24.1 percent of his field goal attempts have come within eight feet of the basket.

In Beal’s 47 games prior, a higher percent of his overall shot attempts (28.7%) came within eight feet. The turning point is that over those games, Beal hit just 51.7 percent of those shots. Over his last 13 games, Beal has hit 75.6 percent of his attempts within eight feet. Will he continue finishing with confidence? That’s the potentially season-saving ideal.

So against Philly and more abundant driving lanes, Beal attacked and made 2-of-3 attempts at the basket, and he also selfishly but necessarily took some 3-point shots, and by damn, made all three 3 attempts he hoisted—popping them with feet set off screens almost like Stephen Curry. Beal also got some quality pick-and-roll reps with Gortat, and, as imperfection exists, committed three turnovers. All three came in the first six minutes of the third quarter when the Wizards got off a slow start; Beal even allowed himself to get trapped once. Oh well, basketball happens—and that can’t take away from other basketball that happens, such as Beal scoring 21 points on a mere nine attempts (4-5 on free throws). Now let’s… OH MY GOD BEAL TUMBLED AGAIN… Oh, he’s OK.

 

The game’s defining moment was when Jason Richardson went 4-for-5 on 3-pointers (17 total points) and when Robert Covington went 4-for-6 on 3-pointers (27 total points), both equaling the amount of Washington’s 3-point makes on the night (8-for-15). The Wizards still won by 29 points, shooting a franchise-high .653 from the field and scoring a season-high 70 points in the first half. Randy Wittman’s team so happened to go 12-for-21 (57.1%) on 2-pointers outside of the paint compared to the 34.9 percent they shoot on those shots for the season (4.7% below the league average).

 

The game’s defining moment was Paul Pierce displaying his best regular man’s old man’s game adapted for the NBA after three games off for rest. (I do like how Pierce held an “Easter Elegance” party on Sunday, went to the White House Easter egg roll on Monday, and then missed practice that afternoon with what Randy Wittman called “under the weather”—such a Hall of Famer.) Pierce barely cracked double-figures in scoring (4-7 FGs, 2-4 3Ps) and grabbed three each of rebounds and assists in 22 minutes, meaning, the Truth is not the engine, but he’s like the gas pedal and the fancy shoe that presses it.

I think I saw something in my Twitter feed before the game. It was a linked, shared tweet and it pertained to an Internet “clickhole,” which is a branded term sponsored by some Web property in order to get you, via social media, to press an area on your computer keyboard or mobile device screen in order to channel yourself to a website. This particular clickhole, if I am remembering correctly, asked: Is old man Paul Pierce better than no (man) Paul Pierce? And the answer is: screw you, clickhole, and your inane rhetorical question-asking/baiting.

And so the Wizards dicked around with the ball midway through the third quarter, tried some ‘too cute’ passes (mostly via Big Panda), and the 76ers went 10-0 run to cut Washington’s lead to 11 points, 82-71, with 5:30 left in the period. Then the Wizards hit three 3s over the next 90 or so seconds—Sessions assisted by Beal, Beal assisted by Gortat, and Pierce assisted by Sessions—to give Washington a 20-point lead, sending all to the bench for a timeout to contemplate what they had done. It is at this point that Pierce got extra hype, lit fires under asses, and both appreciated Marcin Gortat while seemingly driving home a point which we can only assume: Ball movement, muther f-‘er.

 

The game’s defining moment was the Wizards playing Philadelphia and using the confidence which one can more easily build against such a team. Yes, Philly started the season 0-17. Yes, they somehow have won 18 games. Yes, they currently have the 12th-best Defensive Rating in the NBA. Yes, the Philadelphia 76ers are still a quite terribly-assembled basketball franchise in terms of competitive ceiling this season. Quite terribly. Imagine if you could tank in real life for the sake of increasing your life’s odds while also calling such “development”—I’m sure there are real life examples, go think of them. Otherwise, c’mon my dude, the turning point of the game was the fact that Drew Gooden was hitting step back long 2s from the deep left corner and the fact that the same Drew Gooden once ran a full-court fastbreak and found Sessions for a finish at the rim.

Washington won’t be facing Houston (or a team like them; Atlanta, maybe, but still: James Harden) in the playoffs any time soon, so the turning point in disguised blessings is the quality of opponent the Wizards have seen in winning five of their last six games—Charlotte, Philly, New York, a bummed-out Memphis team, and Philly. Lower-quality opponents and using them as an opportunity for playoff preparation, versus developing competitive confidence by beating upper echelon opponents (OK, the Grizzlies!), could better prepare the Wizards for impending matchup against the same opponent over an entire series—Toronto or Chicago.

The game’s defining moment was moving on to the next one. Brooklyn, Friday. Four regular season contests left.

Kyle Weidie on EmailKyle Weidie on GoogleKyle Weidie on InstagramKyle Weidie on LinkedinKyle Weidie on TwitterKyle Weidie on Youtube
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 currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife, loves basketball, and has no pets.