REAX: Wizards Summer League Game 4 – Wire-to-Wire Wizardry | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

REAX: Wizards Summer League Game 4 – Wire-to-Wire Wizardry

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Updated: July 16, 2015

John Wall in the makeshift Summer League locker room[Photo Courtesy of Adam Rubin (@ledellsplace)]

John Wall in the makeshift Summer League locker room[Photo Courtesy of Adam Rubin (@ledellsplace)]

John Wall had to be sitting on the sidelines thinking, “Hey I’ve seen this story before.” The Wizards summer league team looked eerily similar to the real Wizards team back in the doldrums of winter—they even followed the exact same blueprint.

Washington jumped out to an early lead, thanks to team defense, hot shooting and the leadership of the starting point guard (Scott Machado). And then, in the second half, the hot shooting cooled, the defense slipped a bit, and the backups played more minutes because of the lopsided game. Struggle. The starters returned without any real momentum, the opposing team’s confidence was sky-high, but, ultimately, the stars came through with big-game performances late in the game to bail out the Wizards.

Despite the near collapse at the end of the game, there are plenty of positives to be gleaned from the close victory. The Wizards shot a summer league-best 65 percent from the field, thanks to Scott Machado, who masterfully managed to both find his offense and get everyone involved (17 points, eight assists, four other players in double-figures). Starting around the five-minute mark of the fourth quarter when Utah began to put together cohesive, offensive possessions, both Machado and Kelly Oubre (who was inconsistent all night) wanted the ball in their hands in those clutch moments. They hit free throws, grabbed offensive rebounds, and kept their team on the right side of the final score. Embarrassment avoided.

Let’s delve deeper, shall we?

Thumbs Up.

Scott Machado
28 mins | 17 pts | 5-8 FGs, 0-2 3Ps, 7-8 FTs | 8 asts | 5 rebs

Machado may not have the speed and quickness of John Wall, but against the Jazz he demonstrated his ability to do something else that Wall has mastered: control the game. He pushed the tempo when it was clear the Wizards had numbers and he embraced the secondary break the few times the Jazz actually got back on defense. He got fancy with an over-the-shoulder pass, he was feisty and competitive when Jazz point guard Bryce Cotton scored on him, and, sadly, when Machado was not in the game, the Wizards’ offense was stagnant.

And, in the last 1:54 of the fourth quarter, which is when a point guard should grab hold of the team, Machado had three defensive rebounds and five points. The ability to “manage a game” has a negative connotation at times, but Machado’s ability to do just that was the key to the Wizards’ victory over the Jazz.

Orlando Johnson
26 mins | 16 pts | 6-9 FGs, 1-4 3Ps, 3-5 FTs | 11 rebs | 1 TO

One game after going 1-for-5 from the field, and 0-for-3 from beyond the arc, Orlando Johnson bounced back with style and versatility—although he did most of his damage in the first three quarters. Johnson scored on layups, midrange jumpers, he hit one 3-point shot, and grabbed 11 rebounds. It was also his layup with five minutes left in the game that broke the Wizards’ five-minute long scoring drought and jumpstarted the offense. Perhaps the most impressive part of Johnson’s night came via the postgame interview when he snubbed his own offensive accomplishments and instead chose to praise his ability to pick up the defensive intensity in the fourth quarter as the game began to slip away.

Thumbs Down.

  • Jarrid Famous After averaging 15 points and 9.6 rebounds in this first three summer league games, Famous was a non-factor against the Jazz with four points (all from the free throw line), four rebounds and four fouls—two of which came in the first minute and a half of the game. During one particularly damning stretch, Jazz forward Trey Lyles missed consecutive shots in the front of the basket and Jack Cooley grabbed both rebounds right in front of Famous. The second missed rebound attempt for Famous was followed by a foul, which put Cooley on the line (he made both free throws).

Midrange.

  • Kelly Oubre’s nickname could easily be “A Tale of Two Cities,” because he definitely gave the Wizards the best and worst of times. On defense he correctly guessed in the passing lane and he continued to demonstrate that he knows exactly how best to use his freakishly long arms to pickpocket unsuspecting ballhandlers. But he does not always get back on defense in a timely fashion and, at times, as rookies are wont to do, he gets lulled into watching the ball over his man. Offensively, Oubre’s stroke looked smooth and confident to open the game in hitting a 3-pointer or when he caught an alley-oop from Machado. That was not nearly enough to offset the airballs, the dribbles through double-teams and the lack of confidence in driving the lane.
  • Aaron White’s nickname should be “Secret Weapon” in honor of the legendary Washington Bulles forward, Charles Jones. Save for the occasional rebound or assist, White spent most of his 15 minutes being a spectator on offense, a step slow on defense and not aggressive enough of the boards. Then out of nowhere he’d run the floor and do this:

Trending

  • Kelly Oubre was clearly frustrated with this offensive performance during the first half of the game, despite making some effective plays on the defensive end of the floor. Conversely, John Wall was having a grand time in the stands, signing autographs and covering his mouth while trying to have clandestine conversations with his boys. Wall could have kept right on sitting down as the Wizards began the second half, but instead he pulled Oubre aside and gave him a few pointers. Oubre’s play did not get better (or worse for that matter) in the second half, but that’s irrelevant. John Wall’s presence in the stands and his willingness to get in Oubre’s ear right away is proof that he is taking his post-Paul Pierce leadership responsibilities quite seriously. That is refreshing and, of course, trending.
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Rashad Mobley
Reporter/Writer at TAI
Rashad has been covering the NBA and the Washington Wizards since 2008—his first two years were spent at Hoops Addict before moving to Truth About It. Rashad has appeared on ESPN and college radio, SportsTalk on NewsChannel 8 in Washington D.C., and his articles have appeared on ESPN TrueHoop, USAToday.com, Complex Magazine, and the DCist. He considers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar a hero and he had the pleasure of interviewing him back in 2009.