Bulldog'd by a Mack — Wizards at Jazz, DC Council 64 | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Bulldog’d by a Mack — Wizards at Jazz, DC Council 64

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Updated: March 14, 2016

The D.C. Council… TAI’s highlights, seen and heard, from each Washington Wizards game. Now: Wizards at Jazz, Game 64, March 11, 2016 from Salt Lake City, Utah, via Kyle Weidie (@truth_about_it).

M.V.P.

Bulldog’d, Bully Ball’d, Bass’d by Jazz. Whatever you want to call it, Utah did it to start the third quarter. While the Wizards came out of halftime with Garrett Temple bringing the rock up the court and almost bumbling away the possession before the ball wound up in Wall’s hands (and found Gortat for a dunk), former Wizard Shelvin Mack countered by bulldogging (appropriate, Butler University) through John Wall with his left shoulder on the right side of the basket and finished the bucket with the foul.

Then Mack’s teammates followed suit. Gordon Hayward bulldogged Otto Porter—drew the foul, too. Derrick Favors bulldogged Marcin Gortat, who picked up two quick, dumb fouls in the first 120 seconds of the third quarter to total four (to win a seat on the bench). Mack weaved around Washington’s offensive-enabling defense all night to score a season-high 19 points by the 9:30 mark of the third quarter, and he ended up with a career high 27 points (11-17 FGs) when all was said and done. Mack found Rudy Gobert with a lob pass—a result of Washington’s much talked-about defense—with just over four minutes left in the third to put the Jazz up 13 points. John Wall followed that by airballing a floater.

L.V.P.

A bunch of P’s:

  • John Wall was generally miserable, save for a stretch in the fourth quarter when he relentlessly attacked the basket. Too late.
  • Otto Porter’s disappearing act continued. He didn’t just get bucked down by Gordon Hayward, Trey Lyles did the same later, multiple times.
  • Nene’s finger roll attempts were not the way to counter Utah’s shoulder-to-chest play on offense. (But Nene had a decent first half.)
  • Marcin Gortat collected fouls (5), instead of rebounds (4).
  • Markieff Morris looked for his offense (and found some, 6-11 FGs), but his defense was inconsistent and sometimes he just didn’t do simple things like run the floor.
  • The starters were minus-6 in just under 12 minutes, and Randy Wittman trotted out several different odd lineups that didn’t work (15 different five-man units total).
  • No one else really played well: Ramon Sessions tried but shot 4-for-12; and somehow Marcus Thornton jacked up nine shots—a 3-pointer, an 18-foot pull-up, a 2-foot layup, a 3-foot hook shot, a 16-foot jump shot, a 3-pointer, another 3-pointer, and a 9-foot floater—and made just one (the very last shot he took).

X-Factor.

Shelvin Mack was the only member of the Jazz to break double-digits in field goal attempts (17), but five of Mack’s teammates each made four shots (Rodney Hood, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Trey Lyles, and Raul Neto), and six of those 20 makes were 3-point buckets. Neto weaved around an apathetic Wizards perimeter defense to make two 3s toward the end of the first quarter. Hood made two early in the game and added another 3-pointer early in the third quarter. The funny thing: Utah tallied only 15 assists on 38 made shots, while Washington picked up 20 assists on 35 made baskets. Why? Randy Wittman reckoned that it was because the Wizards’ perimeter defense allows so many dribble-drives, and I believe him. Six of nine Utah 3-point makes (16 attempts) were assisted; the only three that weren’t were the three 3s that Shelvin Mack made (perhaps his former team simply did not respect the development in his long-distance game). All seven of Washington’s 3-point makes were assisted, but they also missed a shitload of them (17 missed 3s, so more than the Jazz even attempted).

You have got to stop the ball, and you have got to make shots—those on the court responsible for playing the game did neither on Friday night. The top strategist in the world wouldn’t have been able to save them.

That Game Was … A Hot, Drunken Mess.

By the end of the third quarter, Comcast’s Steve Buckhantz was calling the game a disaster. Utah outscored Washington 23-7 over the last eight minutes of the period and coasted into the fourth quarter up 21 points.

As happens in the NBA, the Wizards fought with their backs against the wall—mostly John Wall—with a 12-2 run to get within 11 points, 84-95, with 5:49 left in the game. Wall went 3-for-5 from the field and also drew two shooting fouls (3-4 FTs) during this span. But then it became too much for Wall to do all by himself (even if Ramon Sessions did help), and Utah followed Washington’s run with a 17-6 run over the next five minutes to put the game to bed.

I was in bed before that point. Friday at around 5 p.m. started with a much-needed regular work happy hour—we blew off some steam, enjoyed each other’s company, had some fun, and blew off some more steam. The evening with co-workers (for me at least) started to end just after midnight. I stopped at &Pizza on U Street, had them pile toppings onto my slice until it weighed 10 pounds, and jumped on the Green Line Metro home, ignorant of the Wizards-Jazz final score.

(I will say that I tried to get one bar, with its one TV, to switch to the Wizards game at 9:30 and was told “no” because the University of Virginia was about to play in the ACC Tournament. Terrible, but that’s D.C. for you, and it was probably for the better.)

So I started watching the Wizards after 12:30 a.m. and barely made it to halftime before the weight of the pizza submitted me into slumber—but not before firing off Tweets and generally being overcome with a sense of befuddlement: the Wizards were a mess, down by eight points at halftime, and I had not a clue how I digested all that pizza.

The next morning I awoke, still not knowing whether the Wizards won or not, but was generally discouraged by their halftime deficit. Still, I avoided the score; went to play a morning of pickup basketball; and even made it back home without knowing if the Wizards succeeded in a big comeback attempt. So with a dose of Dunkin’ Donuts in tow (yes, terrible way to treat your body! breakfast sandwich, coffee, AND a chocolate donut), I turned on the Wizards game. Why subject myself to it? That’s an answer that years of pro bono blogging has been unable to provide.

But for pretty much the entire third quarter it became evident: I was eating my emotions. Last night’s pizza—and that morning’s sausages, and cheese, and eggs, and sugar—fueled a body with frustration. In the middle of the afternoon and clear-minded, I initiated a campaign of verbal abuse onto my television and the Wizards I was watching in the past. No one except perhaps some concerned citizens in my apartment complex heard me—nothing mattered, I knew. But something had to be done, and hurling curse words into the air about tiny basketball millionaire men on the TV screen seemed to be the appropriate, non-effective response in tune with the general non-effectiveness of the Wizards.

The lesson: this is not the way to ‘sports’ … but we do it anyway. And we’ll keep on doing it. I guess.


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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.