Key Legislature: Wizards 109 vs Suns 106 — "Gutter Ball" Douses Phoenix | Wizards Blog Truth About

Key Legislature: Wizards 109 vs Suns 106 — “Gutter Ball” Douses Phoenix

Updated: December 5, 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 Suns, Regular Season Game 17, Dec. 4, 2015, by Adam McGinnis (@adammcginnis). Photo: Monumental Sports.

Sports fans can recognize when their team is having an off night. The reverse is also true: they usually know when their team is bringing it. In the two and half hours spent watching NBA basketball at the Verizon Center, never did I once believe the Wizards would pull out the win. Phoenix was not dominant but they were in control from the jump. Washington was short-handed, missing three of their main bigs, and Phoenix gashed them for 60 first-half points on 63 percent shooting. The Wizards’ main issue on defense was stopping dribble penetration, as the Suns drove to the rim with little resistance. Washington’s offense was haphazard, only bailed out by hot shooting from Gary Neal, Ramon Sessions, and Bradley Beal. Phoenix seemed destined to hand Washington their fourth straight home defeat. Then miraculously, the Suns self-destructed.

Phoenix went six minutes in the final quarter without a field goal, which allowed Washington to triumph, 109-106. Coach Jeff Hornacek admitted in his post-game media availability that the his team’s miscues were mostly self-inflicted. His assessment was correct. The Suns started to throw passes out bounds and stand around aimlessly on offense. It was bizarre situation to see play out because Washington’s defensive was still suspect and offered little direct impact on the visitors’ meltdown.

However, credit should be granted to the Wizards for making key plays in crunch time. Otto Porter delivered a crucial and-1 bucket, Bradley Beal scored on a balanced drive in the clutch, and others knocked down enough of their free throws. The weirdest sequence was when Brandon Knight—the Suns down three with eight seconds remaining in the contest—was fouled on a 3-point attempt. Knight missed the first attempt, made the second, then Phoenix’s Markieff Morris got a tech for delay of game. Beal then missed the technical free throw. TAI’s Kyle Weidie detailed the screw-up by Morris. Washington secured the rebound on Knight’s third attempt and, ultimately, the victory.

Due to Washington’s roster limitations, Wittman rolled out lineups that would even make ‘blogger ball’ advocates blush.

Porter was playing in Marcin Gortat’s 5 spot at one point, setting high pick-and-roll screens. John Wall said it was the first time that he had ever been at the 3 position in his career. Ryan Hollins started the game at the 5; and DeJuan Blair spent time at center during his run. It was a strange experience. Morris told me Washington’s tiny lineups were “rat ball” and the Suns were unable to punish them inside. Beal got hot and scored 14 of his 34 points in the third quarter (24 points in the second half).

As Kirk Ferentz, the football coach of my alma mater, proclaimed after his Iowa Hawkeyes finished the regular season undefeated, “Football’s not gymnastics. There are style points in gymnastics. Here it’s having one point more than your opponent. We’re 12-0. You can’t do better than that.”

The same applies to the Wizards, who desperately needed to a win, and the victories all look the same in the standings. The Dallas Mavericks on Sunday and the Miami Heat on Monday will pose much greater challenges and these Wizards, 8-9, have so many questions left to answer.

Bradley Beal, #BigPandaAlert.


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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.