Key Legislature: Wizards 115 vs Bucks 86 — Wall-to-Wall Coverage | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Key Legislature: Wizards 115 vs Bucks 86 — Wall-to-Wall Coverage

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Updated: November 18, 2015

The Wizards were ahead 15-12 when John Wall checked out of the game and Greivis Vasquez checked into it.  Wall had just four points and two assists at the time, but he had the Wizards running at a quick pace and, more importantly, he’d kickstarted the Bradley Beal-less offense.

The upbeat Wizards starters were getting easy baskets both inside and out but Vasquez entered the game with the intent of imposing his own slower-paced will on the game, while helping to erase the Bucks’ deficit which had worked its way up to six points. Vasquez didn’t speed his way up and down the court, and he didn’t use any fancy behind-the-back dribbles to get where he wanted. Vasquez’s approach was that of a slow, deliberate, effective turtle. He’d back down Ramon Sessions in the lane, and depending on the reaction of the defense, he’d find teammates in the post, look for a wide-open shooters in the corner, or turn the corner for a midrange floater. If Jerryd Bayless decided to take over ball-handling duties, Vasquez would run to an open spot on the perimeter, wait for the ball, shoot a shot that seemingly took a lifetime to leave his hands, and he’d nail it. His 3-pointer with 1:07 left gave the Bucks a 26-24 lead and provoked one fan to quickly flash the Venezuelan flag.

Four minutes into the second quarter, despite the efforts of Sessions and Otto Porter who combined to score the first nine points for the Wizards, Vasquez was still controlling the tempo. He hadn’t just led the the Bucks to a four-point lead, but was also Milwaukee’s leading scorer (9 points) despite only having played a little over eight minutes. Not coincidentally, John Wall, the team’s best perimeter defender, had been on the bench during this same span of Vasquez domination—he must have been wondering when he would get his chance to take over. In fact, some of the bloggers covering the game (present company included) wondered aloud why Wall was on the bench for so long (it added up to almost 15 minutes, real time), considering the Wizards had not played since Saturday and would have the rest of the work week off before their next game in Detroit on Saturday.

Coach Wittman sent John Wall into the game at the 7:30 mark of the second quarter and he immediately proceeded to show Vasquez, the Bucks, the bloggers, and the Verizon Crowd exactly “what it was,” as Jordan Crawford once said.

As soon as Wall checked into the game, as if he was setting the tone for the remainder of the quarter, he fought through a Johnny O’Bryant screen and contested a missed corner 3 by Vasquez. On the very next possession, Wall slowly dribbled to the right, then quickly crossed over to the left, drove by Vasquez, drew the foul, and made one of two free throws. Wall then proceeded to assist or score on 20 of the Wizards’ next 27 points.

First he threw a one-handed cross-court pass to Otto Porter who pulled-up for a jumper. He then threw a much easier pass to Garrett Temple with just five seconds elapsed in the 24-second clock for a bucket. After an official timeout, he got the ball to Jared Dudley who found his rhythm with five quick points. Vasquez checked out the game with the Bucks down 40-42. Michael Carter-Williams and Bayless checked in, but they were powerless in the face of Wall’s dominance. In all, Wall (5 points and 6 assists in the quarter) led the Wizards on a 28-8 run to nab a 64-46 lead by the end of the second quarter.

After the halftime break, however, Washington was careless with the ball and let up on defense, which allowed the Bucks to trim the Wizards’ lead from 20 points to six in four minutes. But then Wall—who else?—seized control by finding Porter for a 19-footer and then hitting a 3-pointer of his own to bring the lead up to 15 points. The Wizards led by at least 15 points for the remainder of the game.

As Coach Wittman remarked after the game, the Bucks (especially Vasquez) prefer a slower pace, and Wall, on offense and defense, saw to it that the game was the exact opposite. Wall pushed the ball down the court even after the Bucks made baskets, played on-the-ball pressure defense on the Bucks’ guards, and, as fellow TAI colleague Adam McGinnis remarked, “Wall was the best player on the court.”

That’s why they brought (and keep) him here.

Bullets.

  • Kelly Oubre scored all of his seven points during the 4:34 he played in the fourth quarter, which included an easy 3-pointer. But Oubre was even more impressive in the locker room after the game. First, he ignored Georgetown alum Otto Porter and other members of the Wizards media who were trying to watch Maryland game, and boldly requested (along with Drew Gooden) to watch the Kansas vs. Michigan State tilt. Unfortunately for Oubre, that game did not start for another 20 minutes. Second, he nearly hounded the Wizards video staffer for a copy of the game tape, so he could analyze the contest. The staffer told him to relax and enjoy his Wednesday off, but Oubre insisted that he get that he get his hands on the tape during the day off. Gary Neal and Garrett Temple jumped in to encourage Oubre to enjoy his day off, which seemed enough pressure for Oubre to concede and wait till Thursday. Still, the fact that he was willing to learn more even after a victory is quite impressive.
  • Kris Humphries followed up his five 3-pointer shoulder shrug performance with nine points and four rebounds in 20 minutes of play. He went 1-for-2 from the 3-point line, but he still has the tendency to want to dribble-drive his way to the basket, which too often leads to turnovers.
  • The Wizards are 3-0 on the season when holding opponents to under 100 points. A lot has been made about the Wizards’ evolving offense, but defense has been the bread and butter of this team’s success over the last two seasons. The Magic came into last Saturday night’s game having won five of their last seven with an offensive rating of 101.3 in those games.
  • The Wizards allowed the Bucks to score 20 points in the first nine minutes of the third quarter, but then only allowed 20 points for remaining 15 minutes of the game. They are still prone to lapses on the perimeter, but on Tuesday night their pressure defense (at times, the team even deployed a full court press) successfully threw the Bucks off their rhythm. When asked about the increased ball pressure, Coach Wittman joked, “We weren’t running a 1-2-1-1, 3-4 zone or anything, it wasn’t real complicated. We did make it [the defense] simpler, and we’ve won two in a row since doing it so I think it’s helping.”
  • Martell Webster was his usual animated self both during and after the game.  However, the Washington Post‘s Jorge Castillo reported this morning that Webster will have season-ending hip surgery on Friday.

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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.