Deja Vu All Over Again — Wizards at Hawks, DC Council 6 | Wizards Blog Truth About

Deja Vu All Over Again — Wizards at Hawks, DC Council 6

Updated: November 8, 2015


“Otto Porter, who is 22 years old, is putting on perhaps the finest offensive display we’ve ever seen from him, and we’re locked in a close battle with the top team in the conference who also happens to be the team that knocked us out of the playoffs. I’m sure the rest of my team, who hasn’t been able to muster much of anything on offense tonight, will be able to suddenly jump-start itself and get us a safe 15-point cushion for when the Hawks make their inevitable late-game run. Better get the young fella some rest.” —Randy Wittman at the start of the fourth quarter, probably.

At the end of three quarters, Porter had a career-high 23 points on 8-for-11 shooting (.727) and no turnovers. All other Wizards at that point had 55 points on 22-for-51 shooting (.431) and 17 turnovers John Wall was the only other Wizard in double-figures—he had 17 points on 6-for-14 shooting with four turnovers. Wall did have 11 assists, but six of them went to Porter.

OP had played a game-high 34 minutes to that point, six more minutes than any other player. Since the start of last season, a player has racked up at least 46 minutes in a regular season game 87 times. Only 12 times has the player been younger than Porter was in yesterday’s game, including Bradley Beal in last season’s double-overtime classic against the Boston Celtics.

So why does Wittman leave him on the bench nearly the entire first half of the fourth quarter? Tough to stay aggressive when you’re on the bench. Washington was up by three when the third period ended, and it still led by one when Porter checked back in with 6:35 on the clock, so on the surface, Wittman snuck in some good minutes of rest. Shortly after the former Georgetown Hoya re-entered the game, the Wizards completely fell apart. On the surface, the Wizards did just fine without Porter then crumbled when he checked back in.

Hindsight is 20-20 (*insert goggles joke*), and it’s easy to wonder how that game could have played out if Wittman had sent Porter back onto the floor to start the fourth, or even just rested him for two minutes, not six. Rest, even for our country’s youth, is important, but taking out a player having the best game of his life for half of the final quarter is a risky proposition. Perhaps if Porter were kept in to start the fourth, he could have continued on the roll he was on—the third quarter was his best of the game, with 10 points on just two shots, a steal, and an offensive rebound, though he did play all 12 minutes—and Washington could have built a bigger cushion.

Even if the Wiz Kids did go up by 10-15 points with Otto on the floor, they might not have been able to sustain it with how horribly the wheels fell off at the end of the game. What a shitshow. I don’t recall ever seeing a time in which John Wall seemed so disoriented, at least not since his first year or two on the Wizards, and it came at a horrible time. Oh yeah, and Bradley Beal is a broken panda, so it was really not a great evening.


I’m going to point you toward that top section there and have you read up on a “Wittman, Randy.”

Also, turnovers suck, but more on that to come in a moment.


Like right now! For the second night in a row, the Wizards set a new season high in turnovers. Tonight’s number was 26, or a) one fewer than the total assists Washington had on the evening and b) two more than the total number of 3s Washington took. On a smaller scale, the Wizards turned it over eight times in the fourth quarter, which led to 13 Atlanta points. Eight is also the number of field goals the Wizards made in the quarter. Not gonna win a whole lot of games with a 1:1 field goal to turnover ratio.

That Game Was … A Giant Middle Finger.

I’d say “this is why we can’t have nice things,” but I don’t really have a reason. So I’ll just say, “we can’t have nice things.” The Wizards started their season well, won a slew of games in the final seconds and lost one in a similarly close fashion, saw Beal turn into a man (worthy of a hefty sum of dollars) on the basketball court, and were finally showing promise with a modernized NBA offense.

Then, in the span of about 27 hours, the Wizards committed 50 turnovers, lost two games by a combined 35 points, rested Porter as he was having a career game, and turned Beal into the world’s punching bag, landing him on an X-ray table with an injured shoulder. Durant’s visit to D.C. on Tuesday will go swimmingly, I’m sure.

Three Things We Saw.

  1. Marcin Gortat needs to pay more attention before throwing outlet passes. He was not the only offender in the game, but he was a repeat offender. I counted at least three times in the game, two in the second half, that Gortat grabbed a rebound, turned, and threw the pass to Wall or Beal, looking to start a break. Generally, this is a good thing. Part of the strength of a fast-paced offense is keeping a defense on its toes at all times, and the more the Wizards (or, specifically, John Wall) run on a team, the more likely they are to get easy baskets. But Gortat has to pause for a split-second before he lets go of the ball to make sure no defenders are lingering, waiting to get a hand on a sloppy transition pass. The Hawks thrive on taking advantage of opponents’ mistakes, and the Wizards made it easy for them to do so.
  2. What’s the deal with the Wizards’ rebounding? It’s usually decent, if not great, and it has suffered an expected drop with the smaller lineups. But in Saturday’s game, there were a handful of times that nobody on the away team looked interested in securing a loose ball of any kind. Nenê seemed to be the most guilty party, as he needs to go after any rebound he has a chance at; instead, he looks as if he constantly assumes one of his teammates will find his way to the ball. That’s not the best strategy for the center to take, even if one of Nenê’s strengths in the past has been to increase the rebounding rates of his colleagues.
  3. I did really enjoy watching Jared Dudley play in this game. With four points, one rebound, and one block, he didn’t exactly fill up the stat sheet. But he made a lot of those hustle plays you hear too much about in cliché sports talk. He’s not a great defender, and he kind of moves in a Paul Pierce-like fashion where he looks slow and awkward until he’s doing something highly beneficial to your team. He’s still easing himself into the rotation and finding his place, but he’s going to be a player who will do a bit of everything for the Wizards this season, and he could easily supplant Kris Humphries sooner rather than later. See, we ended on a positive note. Fin.
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Bryan Frantz
Reporter / Writer at TAI
Bryan is a D.C. native with a degree in something or other from UNC. He has important, interesting hobbies, but mostly he just weeps over D.C. sports teams. You can find him on the Metro, inevitably complaining about Red Line delays.