Key Legislature: Wizards 114 at Mavericks 111 — Race, Rest, and a Recovery in Big D | Wizards Blog Truth About

Key Legislature: Wizards 114 at Mavericks 111 — Race, Rest, and a Recovery in Big D

Updated: December 14, 2015

TAI’s Key Legislature… The game’s defining moment, its critical event, the wildest basketball thing you ever saw, or just stuff that happened. Wizards vs Mavericks, Regular Season Game 22, Dec. 12, 2015, by Adam McGinnis (@adammcginnis). Photo: Monumental Sports.

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A topic that I often explore on the Pixel-and-Roll podcast show (shameless plug) is trying to peg the identity of these 2015-16 Washington Wizards. The general consensus is to wait until 20 games (about a quarter of the season) have been played before attempting to fairly assess a squad. With the quarter-season mark recently passed, the Wizards’ current identity might be this: consistently inconsistent. They were blown out in Boston, twice, but have topped the Spurs. They’ve played poorly at home (4-7), even losing to the lowly Los Angeles Lakers, but have won in Miami and Cleveland.

Saturday night’s game in Dallas is a prime example of their unpredictability. Washington lost a tough one in New Orleans on Friday evening, while the Mavs were well-rested with two days off. Dallas had won comfortably in D.C. just six days prior, and the Wizards came into the game missing their leading scorer in Bradley Beal. The Mavs were justifiably 6.5-point favorites, but the Wizards pulled out a much needed victory, 114-111.

John Wall was sensational. The franchise point guard pushed the ball relentlessly, finished at the rim, hit jumpers, and found shooters. He carved up the Mavs defense for a season-high 16 assists. Making amends for his free throw misses in the loss to Toronto, Wall made two clutch free throws in the final seconds.

The difference maker, however, was Otto Porter. Young Simba balled out of his mind, finishing with a career-high 28 points on 11-for-18 shooting. He knocked down shots from all over the court, and his confidence grew with each successful jumper. There was even an Otto heat check.

The key stretch came in the third quarter. The Wizards, outscoring Dallas 39-22, built a 21-point lead and applied tremendous pressure with their new “pace and space” offense. Washington continually got open looks in transition. Marcin Gortat cleaned up on the boards and threw effective outlet passes. Jared Dudley may have played his best ball of the season, and his high basketball IQ was often on display. Gary Neal continued to be a vital part of the second unit. Ramon Sessions actually made some layups! Mavs blogger Kirk Henderson relayed in my game preview that Dallas struggles with energy levels and, in this quarter, they were wrecked.

In accordance with their swings of play between powerful and putrid, Washington collapsed in the final period. New Wizards killer Wes Matthews found his outside shooting touch again. Reserve guard J.J. Barrea became unstoppable, and Washington’s awful perimeter defense was in full force. Randy Wittman started losing his mind on the sidelines. But, moments before the end-of-game buzzer, Dirk’s Nowitzki’s tying 3-point attempt missed. With that, Washington held off a late rally by Dallas—no complete choke job … on this night, at least.

When trying to explain game outcomes, Wittman often says the NBA is a “make-or-miss” league. On Saturday, the Wizards made six more shots than Dallas. And that was enough for Washington’s tenth win.

What should we expect out of this team to wrap up the four-game road trip in Memphis and San Antonio? I consistently have no idea.


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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.