The Wizards Go Down in Georgia | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

The Wizards Go Down in Georgia

By
Updated: May 6, 2015

20150505_210634

[This happened to my friend’s bobble head over the weekend. It was a non-contact injury. Bad omen.]

In the break between the first and second quarters, David Aldridge prefaced his question to Randy Wittman by saying “I know it’s a different team without John Wall,” then asked how the game plan changes. Wittman — never one to acknowledge the obvious — stated flatly, “We play the same way, that’s my message for them.”

Then the camera panned out and Washington had a lineup of Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Garrett Temple, Nene and Drew Gooden on the floor. Wait, what? That 5-man unit has never played together this season. Only one guy was injured yet Wittman decided to blow up the rotations. Want to see a no-point guard lineup? You got it.

The second and fourth quarters were a who’s who of Wizards lineup combinations involving everyone except (you guessed it) Kris Humphries. Wittman channeled his inner Eddie Jordan and stubbornly rolled out Nene and a hodge-podge of ill-equipped defenders (Otto Porter, Drew Gooden, Paul Pierce, and Marcin Gortat) against Millsap. He refused to play the only player on the roster who has the upper body strength and lateral quickness to stay with Millsap. The only explanation at this point (Humphries has only received garbage time minutes after serving as the sixth man for much of the year) is that Wittman is on Team Kardashian.

Wittman’s reliance on Nene is not quite at Scott Brooks/Kendrick Perkins-level, but it’s getting there. Maybe the three-day layoff before Game 3 will allow the coaching staff to watch some film and clean up the rotations.

That’s the kind of night it was. Once it was announced that Wall was out, the game took on a different feel. It seemed like Atlanta lost its edge. They started the game without any focus. There was plenty of free-flowing basketball with all of the trappings: cherry-picking, transition baskets, unconscionable turnovers, poor rotations and missed jumpers. Sure, the Hawks scored, but Teague looked like he was playing a pick-up game. He turned down open layups. He barely paid attention to Ramon Sessions on defense. The Hawks acted like the win was a foregone conclusion. The result: Washington hung around all night and gave the home crowd a good scare before Atlanta finally closed it out in the fourth quarter.

Brent Barry mentioned after the final buzzer that Wizards fans should feel good about the team’s effort and bench contributions. That’s true, I guess. The game was sloppy and Washington failed to get back on defense on numerous possessions but the Wizards were resilient. They pushed Atlanta to the edge in a game they had no business winning. The Wizards players should return to D.C. knowing that they are better off than when they left and—health permitting—they will be in good shape when the series returns to the Verizon Center for Game 3 on Saturday.

 

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.