Boxing Day KO in Brooklyn — Wizards at Nets, DC Council 28 | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Boxing Day KO in Brooklyn — Wizards at Nets, DC Council 28

By
Updated: December 27, 2015

The D.C. Council… TAI’s highlights, seen and heard, from each Washington Wizards game. Now: Wizards at Nets, Game 28, Dec. 26, 2015, via Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It).

M.V.P.

Marcin Gortat led the Wizards in plus/minus: plus-19. And while it can be a futile effort to assign who most helped secure a win—the M.V.P.—using game-by-game plus/minus, in this instance, a clock with a broken second hand is right 1,440 times per game.

A center like Gortat requires a point guard like John Wall, feudal teammate gasoline baron, to supply him with fuel for points. Wall needs a center who can run. That’s a catalyst for letting the 3-point line breathe and creating morphing lanes for Wall to attack. Against a slow-footed center like Brooklyn’s Brook Lopez, it pays even more to keep the motor charged, and that was Randy Wittman’s battle plan heading into a Saturday matinee versus the Nets. While Lionel Hollins’ team ran a take-turns offense to help set the tone in the first quarter, including setting up Lopez with a turnaround jumper versus Gortat on the game’s first play, Wittman and Wall fed the Polish Machine.

Gortat, 10-for-15 shooting with 25 points on the day, scored 10 points (5-7 FGs) in the first quarter. His first three buckets were assisted by Wall, and Gortat only gained confidence from there, unleashing a variety of midrange jumpers, even sharp trigger-finger turnaround faders over Lopez.

Prior to Washington’s four-game winning streak, 49 of Gortat’s 108 made field goals were assisted by Wall (45%). During the winning streak, Wall has assisted on 20 of Gortat’s 35 buckets (57%). In 2014-15, only 38.5 percent of Gortat’s makes were assisted by Wall; and 33.4 percent in 2013-14. Overall this season: 48 percent. With smaller lineups, Wall is targeting Gortat more than ever; and part of the drastic increase in heavy Wall-to-Gortat action results from the absence of other creators in Bradley Beal and Nene. But going into a new season and new style of play, the Wizards knew that the continued development of chemistry between Wall and Gortat was the primary cog in the machine. There have been various public differences in opinions over time between Wall and Gortat, Wittman and Wall, and Gortat and Wittman, but they’ve often been on the same page in terms of the end goal.

Run the Polish Machine, open the floor, get the big man engaged, and everyone becomes a willing passer—the plan. Establishing Gortat early in scoring leads to sharing like this later:

Gortat averages 13.8 points on the season, and 20.5 over the last four games, all wins. He is not a 20-point scorer on this team, but the nightly outputs must be much closer to that. He averages 5.2 points per first quarter, 7.8 over Washington’s longest winning streak of the season, and Wall has assisted on 50.8 percent of Gortat’s made shots during this run of early-game establishment. Even when Beal returns to the court, it must be Wall’s job (and Beal’s) to continue to invest in the entity of Gortat for the small ball, pace-and-space, 3-point evolutionary Wizards to truly live up to their potential.

L.V.P.(s)

Joe Johnson shot 3-for-10 from the field, 1-for-4 from deep, scored 9 points and had the best plus/minus amongst the Nets starters: minus-11. He unburied some veteran chops to take Kelly Oubre with a floater early in the second quarter, then missed his next three shots to end the half. Johnson also had a hot flash midway through the third quarter with a 3-pointer and step-back versus Temple two minutes later. But then he missed the three shots he took over the remainder of the game.

Andrea Bargnani: why he didn’t run away from the NBA like Jan Vesely is beyond me.

DeJuan Blair: tooted around on the court per usual.

X-Factor.

If Kelly Oubre doesn’t watch out, he’s going to be 2013-14 Trevor Ariza in about a year. Of course, the expectations, and consistency, he’s showing now only makes any rookie walls or sophomore slumps, as mini as they might be, even more disappointing. It’s a good problem to have. Let’s digest the versatility Oubre displayed in moving pixel form…

He’s learning how to finish … (although we appreciate recent attempts by Oubre to score from a standstill under the hoop against a flat-footed and arms-extended Marc Gasol only to get blocked):

He’s yanking the ball from Bojan Bogdanovic and showing nice footwork on the other end, turning down a 3-point shot, driving, and calmly dropping the dime to Marcin Gortat … (Oubre’s matchup versus Bogdanovic was fun):

He’s making his 3-pointers … (also note in the play below that the Wizards have also been running more action where Wall creates and above-the-break 3-pointer in the half court instead of a closer corner 3-pointer shot, helping counter other teams monitoring Wall’s corner 3 passing lanes):

Xtra X-Factors:

Jarell Eddie’s first NBA shot was a desperation, 72-foot heave. He missed. And then he made his next four 3-pointers in a row. People have raved about Eddie’s ability to shoot since the Wizards signed him up out of the D-League on December 23. I’ve heard from more than one close observer that Eddie can do little else besides shoot (I did once see a drive and dish to get the defense to move and some earnest attempts to play defense out of Eddie). But it might matter little with someone whose shot mechanics are so sharp, quick, and deadly. The motion of Eddie on his makes in Brooklyn, his NBA debut, reminded me a little bit of Kyle Korver’s. And that’s about all the getting ahead of ourselves that we’ll do.

Also, John Wall—because he can’t win every M.V.P.:

That Game Was …

The Wizards doing their part in the first D.C. ‘Zards, ‘Skins, Caps triple-play win effort since 1983. Playing first at 4 p.m. (with the Capitals at 7 and the Washington pro football team at 8:25), the pressure was on the local pro basketball team to get things started.

In the end, it was a walk in the park. The Wizards used a 20-4 run that started at the seven-minute mark of the fourth quarter to take a 21-point lead and tuck the game into its Saturday afternoon nap. But it wasn’t always easy.

Starting with a Joe Johnson 3-pointer at the 9:31 mark of the third quarter, the Nets went on an 18-6 run to the 3:10 mark of the third, mostly versus the Wizards’ starters, to turn a six-point deficit to a six-point advantage. But then a Wall pass to Kris Humphries for a dunk and a Kelly Oubre floater plugged the hole in the ship. A spark from Ramon Sessions and Otto Porter off the bench (inserted for Jared Dudley and John Wall), along with Oubre, Temple, and Kris Humphries, as well as good ball movement—displayed by the Wizards all day—kept Brooklyn at bay.

After Thaddeus Young hit a layup to keep Brooklyn up six points near the end of the third quarter, the Wizards answered with a 17-2 run, capped by a Ramon Sessions floater that led to a Nets timeout at the 9:38 mark of the fourth. The 17 points were scored on six shots due to five assists, putting the Wizards up nine points and never looking back.

To Conclude.

Kyle Weidie on EmailKyle Weidie on GoogleKyle Weidie on InstagramKyle Weidie on LinkedinKyle Weidie on TwitterKyle Weidie on Youtube
Kyle Weidie
Founder / Editor / Reporter / Writer at TAI
Kyle founded TAI in 2007 and has been weaving in and out the world of Wizards ever since, ducking WittmanFaces, jumping over G-Wiz, and avoiding stints on the DNP-Conditioning list. He has covered the Washington pro basketball team as a member of the media since 2009. Kyle lives in D.C. with his wife, loves basketball, and has no pets.