Washington Survives Dallas Rally — Wizards at Mavericks, DC Council 22 | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Washington Survives Dallas Rally — Wizards at Mavericks, DC Council 22

By
Updated: December 14, 2015

The D.C. Council… TAI’s highlights, seen and heard, from each Washington Wizards game. Now: Wizards vs Mavericks, Game 22, Dec. 12, 2015, via Troy Haliburton (@TroyHalibur).

M.V.P.

With Bradley Beal missing at least two weeks with yet another stress reaction in his lower right leg, the onus has fallen on Otto Porter to step up as the second wing scorer in Beal’s absence. Porter has done an admirable job, averaging 20 points per game in the five contests Beal has missed and posting a career-high 28 points against the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday night. The Wizards needed every bit of that output from Porter to snap their 11-game losing streak to Mavs.

Maybe Beal’s injury will act as a catalyst to get Yung Limbs going this season. Otto has been struggling mightily with his shooting stroke in the month of December, shooting a dismal 26.7 percent from deep. That all changed on Saturday night. Porter caught fire from all over the floor, as noted by his game shot chart illustrated below:

Porter not only hit four of his eight shots from 3-point range, but was also able to find his sweet spots inside the arc, going 3-for-3 from the left elbow/foul line extended. A factor that definitely led to Porter’s offensive outburst was his reduced role defensively this time around against the Mavs. A week ago, in the loss to Dallas in the Verizon Center, Porter expended a lot of energy as the primary defender on Dirk Nowitzki, but Jared Dudley drew that tough assignment on Saturday night. Dudley was able to hold his own against the future Hall of Famer, leaving Porter free to roam the court and focus on finding his shot.

L.V.P.

Team rebounding has been a major issue for the Wizards over the last few weeks, and this team needs to get a better rebounding effort from everyone on the court if they want to turn this season around. Playing shorthanded is a built-in excuse, but the Mavericks out-rebounded the Wizards 46-39 on the game, leaving the Wizards averaging 40.9 rebounds on the season, ranked 29th in the NBA.

Nursing a 12-point lead with a little over two minutes to go in the fourth quarter, the Wizards could barely get a rebound to save their lives as they watched the Mavericks out-rebound them 7-1 (which will happen when the other team isn’t missing) to close out the game in a furious comeback attempt that was one Dirk Nowitzki 3-pointer away from being complete. It would be one thing if the Mavericks had their bigs in the game, muscling Wizards players out of the paint, but instead the Wiz were being worked on the glass by the likes of J.J. Barea and Raymond Felton. Felton finished the game with a triple-double (11 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists). His two best games of the season have come against Washington.

X-Factor.

John Wall and Otto Porter really were interchangeable as M.V.P. or X-factor, but Porter’s surprise performance gave him the nod for lead dog. Wall has been nothing short of amazing for the Wizards over the last few weeks, despite Washington’s poor team record over that span. Wall finished with 26 points (3-for-4 from 3) and he dished out a season-high 16 assists, while only having three turnovers. Wall’s shooting stroke looked about as pure yesterday as it has since he stepped foot into the league; he’ll need his confidence level to stay high with Beal set to miss the next two weeks, and just about everyone on the roster looking to him for leadership and scoring punch.

That Game Was…

A true testament to a necessary lack of quit. At risk of blowing a late game lead, the Wizards, led by Wall and Porter, would not allow the team to totally self-destruct. A loss would have been emotionally devastating after having played one of the team’s better halves all season.

Three Things We Saw

#1) Wittman’s refusal to become a participant in the game by calling a timeout when he sees a player in trouble is downright egregious at this point. With 35 seconds left in the game, and the Mavs in the middle of their comeback run, Jared Dudley found himself in no-man’s-land after he crossed half-court into a Dallas double-team. This play happened right in front of the Wizards’ bench, and instead of Wittman using his league mandated power to help his player out, he stood in peaceful quietude and watched Dudley turn the ball over, which led to a layup on the other end. If the Wizards had lost, that would have been the most important possession in the Mavericks comeback.

#2) Rick Carlisle must have had some of Wittman’s mojo rub off on to him because as the Mavs were making there comeback, Carlisle decided to Hack-a-Sessions, who is a career 79 percent free throw shooter. Sessions knocked down his free throws and, in the process, put whichever Mavs staffer that informed Carlisle that was a good idea under a microscope for the rest of the season.

#3) Kelly Oubre got his first real run in a few weeks, but failed to make a true impact. What the young Oubre is good at is fouling. Oubre had three more personal fouls called against him last night in just nine minutes of game action. This brings Oubre’s total to 20 in 103 minutes of game action. The rook is averaging 9.3 fouls per 48 minutes, which ranks 14th in the entire NBA—and the saddest part about it is the fact that all of the names around him on that list are end-of-bench big men who have “foul hard” in their job description.

Troy Haliburton on Twitter
Troy Haliburton
Writer
Troy Haliburton is a native Washingtonian, and graduate of Gonzaga College High School and Morehouse College. He is going into his second season writing for Truth About It, and also writes for sports analytics website numberfire.com. You can find him in a district bike lane in the Northwest neighborhood of Bloomingdale.