Washington’s Venison Feast — Wizards vs Bucks, DC Council 9 | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Washington’s Venison Feast — Wizards vs Bucks, DC Council 9

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Updated: November 19, 2015

john wall, washington wizards, milwaukee bucks, truth about it, adam mcginnis, 2015

M.V.P.

John Wall. When Washington’s All-Star point guard subbed back in at the 7:30 mark of the second quarter, Milwaukee led 38-36. The Wizards then proceeded to go on a 28-8 run to close out the first half and permanently take control of the contest. This was not a coincidence. Wall finished with a line of 19 points, nine assists, and six rebounds. He was clearly the best player on the court.

Wall drove at will, pushed the tempo by finding open shooters off misses and makes, and relentlessly harassed the Bucks’ guards. His jumper was shaky at beginning but he eventually knocked in a few 3-pointers. With his backcourt partner Bradley Beal out again, it was imperative for Wall to dominate the action—he did just that, finishing plus-30 in 31 minutes. Quite impressive.

L.V.P.

Kris Humphries was bound to come back to earth after his outstanding Saturday night performance against Orlando. But he propelled downward with a thud that has defined his season—growing pains. Kris was tentative with the ball in his hands, often dribbled to nowhere (which gave me JaVale McGee flashbacks), and finished with a plus/minus of minus-5. The Minnesota native still hustles, supports his teammates, and is trying hard to remake his outside game—all positives, which is why I am still willing to give him a pass in November for any glaring miscues.

X-Factor.

Jared Dudley. While the Humphries Stretch-4 Project is a work in progress, Dudley has a proven track record in the NBA that he can effectively fill this role. His excellent display on Tuesday night is why the front office brought in the former Boston College standout. Dudley splashed multiple momentum-swinging 3-balls, and while his drives are never sure things because of his subpar quickness, they are under control and he usually makes the correct pass. Dudley put up 13 points, corralled seven rebounds, dished two assists, and committed zero turnovers in 22 minutes. On defense, he stayed in front of his man and his rotations were formidable. If Dudley’s health can hold up, it is probably only a matter of time until he starts: simply put, Washington was and has been a superior squad with Dudley on the floor and his game high plus-34 versus Milwaukee bears this out.

That game was … a defensive vise grip.

After the game, both Randy Wittman and Wiz players emphasized that their new, simplified defensive approach was the key to the blowout victory. Their assessment was legitimate. Milwaukee’s final shooting numbers—43 percent on field goals and 47 percent on 3-pointers—masked how the Wizards gutted the Bucks like a butcher shop.

The Bucks scored two points in the final four minutes of the second quarter. They had zero buckets in the last five minutes of the third quarter. And during a nine-minute second half stretch, Milwaukee was held scoreless. Wall, Otto Porter, and Garrett Temple controlled the perimeter and eliminated any passing lanes with active hands. The deflections piled up, which led to advantageous offensive opportunities and, at the final buzzer, Washington had outscored the the Bucks 18-2 in fast break points. Sometimes that basketball cliché of “defense creates offense” actually proves true.

Three Things We Saw.

#1) In the meta matchup between former Georgetown Hoyas, Porter and Greg Monroe, Young Simba destroyed his elder classman. Otto easily could have been MVP or the X-factor in this contest. He slashed effectively, drilled jumpers. and wrecked havoc on defense. The artist formerly known as Slenderman compiled 19 points on just 11 shots and tallied a spectacular plus-32. His running, high-off-the-backboard shot is becoming a trademark move and continues to ease concerns that he would be unable to finish in traffic at this professional level. In sharp contrast, Monroe scored just four points and his minus-26 was the worst by any player in the game. Porter even swatted Monroe once. I asked Otto if he talked any smack about the block. He admitted that he didn’t because Monroe took a charge on him. (Such an Otto answer.)

#2) After three straight blowout defeats, this team’s identity was in flux. The offense was a mixed bag and their defensive was a complete mess. Wall conceded that they stopped trying to do complex stuff like icing or switching on D and focused on more standard principles, and Dudley credited the staff with extra film study to clean up their miscues. With two straight victories, it appears they’ve found a fix to their woes.

#3) Three weeks into the NBA season, Washington has a record of 5-4 (3-0 when holding opponents under 100) but due to a quirky early schedule with long layoffs, it is difficult for us gadfly commentators to properly appraise their play. Four of their victories have come against Milwaukee and Orlando, two teams which reside in the bottom half of the Eastern Conference. Starting Saturday in Detroit, the Wizards have five games in seven days, so there soon will be a better read on where things stand.

Clips.

Pictures.

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Video Compilation.

 

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Adam McGinnis
Reporter / Writer / Media at TAI
Adam is a bro from the Midwest who's been bopping around the District of Columbia for years. He's down with a range of sports, etc. and has covered the Washington Wizards for TAI since 2010.