Key Legislature: Wizards 113 vs Kings 99 — There’s No ‘D’ in Sacramento | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Key Legislature: Wizards 113 vs Kings 99 — There’s No ‘D’ in Sacramento

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Updated: December 22, 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. Kings, Regular Season Game 26, Dec. 21, 2015, by Adam Rubin (@LedellsPlace) from the Verizon Center, D.C.

Next time you want to complain about Washington’s defense, remember, it could be worse. It was not entirely clear what Sacramento was doing on the defensive end against the Wizards on Monday night. Ramon Sessions was on the floor for 31 minutes and even he could not figure it out. “They were doing different schemes,” he told me. “I can’t really tell you one exact thing they were doing. Umm, I think they went into a zone for a little bit at one point.”

Jared Dudley had another explanation: “I asked Temple whether he paid them not to guard him.”

Whether by design, indifference, or financial remuneration, the Kings paid little attention to anyone in a Wizards uniform not named John Wall. The result was an absurd 31 assists on 42 made baskets for Washington, with Wall contributing a career-high 19 dimes (watch them all here). And those numbers would have been even more absurd if not for two missed dunks by Marcin Gortat off of incredible looks by Wall, and a Kelly Oubre alley-oop that was nullified by a ticky-tack foul.

Sacramento shaded Wall’s side of the court so strongly that it looked like an infield shift. If the goal was to take the ball out of Wall’s hands, the strategy worked. Wall finished the first quarter with 0 points on 0-for-3 shooting but he also had eight assists and zero turnovers. The Wizards scored a first quarter season-high 34 points, with Gortat contributing 13 on 6-for-6 shooting.

Count DeMarcus Cousins among the many who believed Sacramento should have tried something different as Washington’s assists and 3-point totals continued to rise. “I don’t feel we made any adjustments that we needed at times,” he said afterward.

I’m sure George Karl appreciates the coaching advice from Cousins, but he would probably settle for just a little more effort from his mercurial star. DeMarcus seemed disinterested on both ends of the floor, arguing with the refs after most of his 22 field goal attempts and failing to rotate—or in one case expend much energy at all—on defense.

In related news, Gortat scored 27 points on 12-for-19 shooting with 16 rebounds and four blocks.

Despite Washington’s victory, all was not well at the Verizon Center. First, the positives. The Wizards scored plenty of points against Sacramento’s forgiving defense. The plan was to make Cousins run and, as Karl acknowledged after the game, Gortat did a great job beating him down the court. “[Gortat] outran us for three, four, maybe five easy ones,” Karl said. “My feel was the open court was killing us.”

The Wizards also took advantage of Sacramento’s poor perimeter rotations to the tune of 14-for-24 3-point shooting. Temple was the biggest beneficiary of Sacramento’s myopic focus on stopping Wall, hitting five of ten mostly wide-open 3-point attempts.

However, the game was much closer than it should have been. If you never looked at the scoreboard, you would have assumed Washington had a double-digit lead entering the fourth quarter based on the Wizards’ hot shooting, Rajon Rondo’s pedestrian assist total (5), and Cousin’s general indifference. Yet, the score was tied, 84-84, thanks to Sacramento’s dominance on the offensive boards (13-2) and second-chance points (14-3). Although Washington took control of the game for good with an 8-0 run to start the fourth quarter, it was by no means a pretty win.

If there is one mitigating factor, it’s injuries. Washington only played seven players against Sacramento (save for 39 seconds from DeJuan Blair), and Randy Wittman only played eight in the previous win over Charlotte. As Sessions admitted after the game, the players are tired but they are playing with a lot more effort than earlier in the season. If they can maintain this energy level when the cavalry returns, there might just be some life left in this campaign after all.

 

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Adam Rubin
Reporter / Writer at TAI
Adam grew up in the D.C. area and has been a Washington Bullets fan for over 25 years. He will not refer to the franchise as anything other than the Bullets unless required to do so by Truth About It editorial standards. Adam spent many nights at the Capital Centre in the ‘90s where he witnessed such things as Michael Jordan’s “LaBradford Smith game,” the inexcusable under-usage of Gheorghe Muresan’s unstoppable post moves, and the basketball stylings of Ledell Eackles.