The Night That Brazil Imploded — Wizards at Hornets, DC Council 12 | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

The Night That Brazil Imploded — Wizards at Hornets, DC Council 12

By
Updated: November 27, 2015

The D.C. Council… TAI’s highlights, seen and heard, from each Washington Wizards game. Now: Wizards at Hornets, Game 12, Nov. 25, 2015 at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, via Sean Fagan (@McCarrick).

M.V.P.

The Hornets defense. How about that giant swarm of Hornets? Weirdest damn thing I ever did see.

Carrying a seven-point lead into the the fourth quarter it appeared that the Wizards had overcome their beatdown at the hands of the Indiana Pacers on the previous night. If not in the driver’s seat, they at least put themselves somewhere in the vicinity of control. Closing out the surprising Hornets on the road was not going to be the easiest task put forward to the Wizards, who had punted away easily winnable games against ‘lesser’ opponents earlier this season. Charlotte’s dismal offensive performance through three quarters (74 points after a 16-point third quarter) and Washington’s ability to convert baskets with some amount of efficiency could provide some amount of solace to those huddling in front of their TV the night before Thanksgiving.

Then the Wizards promptly went out and scored a grand total of six points in the fourth quarter.

This is record breaking in a number of ways. First, the Hornets set a franchise record for fewest points allowed in a quarter and closed the game with a 25-2 run over the hapless Wizards. The Wizards, for their part, couldn’t hit the ocean, going 0-for-17 from the field during a nearly 10-minute stretch. One night removed from a game in which the team was powerless to stop either Paul George or CJ Miles from converting at will, the Wizards zagged in an entirely opposite direction.

Following the game, the many players on the Hornets spoke to the team’s best defensive performance of the season and how they had shut down and elite offensive team. While the Hornets certainly did ratchet up the defensive intensity in the fourth quarter, equal blame can be placed at the feet of Randy Wittman’s substitution pattern and the complete and utter meltdown of several Wizards. In the space of just over five minutes, Nene manage to go 0-for-5 from the field, commit a turnover and three personal fouls, and miss two free throws. By the time the Brazilian was removed from the game, the Hornets had seized an 85-83 advantage.

Yet the misses kept coming. Gary Neal, who’d been on fire through three quarters (6-6 FGs, 14 points), went 1-for-7 in the fourth. John Wall took an ill-considered 3-pointer and went 0-for-3 in the period. Any semblance of offensive was lost as the Wizards began to desperately hurl the ball at the basket in a “chuck and pray” offense. The result: 15-for-52 (28.8%) on all uncontested field goal attempts for the night. When the smoke cleared, the final score stood at 101-87.

X-Factor.

Jeremy Lamb was supposed to be a historical footnote, the punchline to the ill-fated James Harden move from OKC to Houston. Instead, Lamb may have finally found a home on the formerly offensively-challenged Hornets. Lamb punished the Wizards from a multitude of angles, putting together an impressive line of 18 points, seven rebounds, and one resurrected career. The Wizards made him look like Paul George.

Lamb is never going to be the superstar Harden supposedly is in Houston (or George in Indiana, for that matter), and he probably is never going to to shoot as sweetly from behind the arc or get the line with as much efficiency. But he a great scoring option off the bench (like a proto-James Harden) and was acquired at a fraction of the cost. Charlotte got him from the Thunder in exchange for Luke Ridnour and a 2016 second round pick last June.

L.V.P.

Nene had perhaps the worst five minutes of the season, as he all but but single-handedly blew off the foot of the Wizards. Whether it was offensive stagnation, frustration, or sheer hubris, Nene refused to acknowledge that the basketball Gods were NOT going to let his (flat, tired) shot go through the net. Nene was blocked by Marvin Williams. Nene was blocked by Jeremy Lin. At one point it stopped being terrifying and simply became amusing as one man’s sheer cussedness undid three quarters worth of decent basketball.

That Game was … A pre-Thanksgiving tale of horror with a dollop of gravy.

Road games in Charlotte always turn into shambolic acts of suffering for the Wizards. Whether getting into a rock fight, yielding the floor to Kemba Walker, or just failing to show up—the ascetic art of basketball is lost. Only a psychologist could tell you if it is the failure of the players or Coach Randy Wittman to come prepared for games that are not considered ‘marquee’ to the schedule makers of the League.

Sean Fagan on FacebookSean Fagan on Twitter
Sean Fagan
Reporter / Writer/Gadfly at TAI
Based in Brooklyn, NY, Sean has contributed to TAI since the the dawn of Jan Vesely and has been on the Wizards beat since 2008. His work has been featured on ESPN, Yahoo and SI.com. He still believes that Mike Miller never got a fair shot.