Optical Illusion in Oracle — Wizards at Warriors, DC Council 74 | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Optical Illusion in Oracle — Wizards at Warriors, DC Council 74

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Updated: March 30, 2016

The D.C. Council… TAI’s highlights, seen and heard, from each Washington Wizards game. Now: Wizards at Warriors, Game 74, March 29, 2016, from Oracle Arena, Oakland, in the Golden State of California, via Kyle Weidie (@truth_about_it).

That Game Was … weirdly and deceptively competitive.

At least 20 minutes of game action seemed to be consumed by each team trading errors; Washington finished with 17 turnovers and Golden State with 16. There were also a lot of runs. The Warriors punched first with an 11-2 run early in the opening quarter. The Wizards countered with 7-0 and 9-0 runs early and midway through the second quarter (taking a 46-37 lead). Then, the Warriors ended the second quarter on a 12-0 run to take a 49-46 halftime lead.

There was a 12-4 Warriors run very early in the second half, and the Wizards answered with a 7-0 spurt (Morris 3, Wall assist; Beal dunk, Gortat assist; and Porter layup, Wall assist) to stay within one point, 60-61. The teams then traded 8-0 runs—Golden State first, then Washington. It was a two-point game, 74-72 Warriors, as the end of the third quarter encroached. But then, per usual, Washington’s offensive play fell apart. Sessions missed a desperate floater, Nene travelled with the ball, and Markieff Morris inexplicably fired a Curry-level deep 3 with five seconds left in the period.

The Warriors used 8-1 and 8-0 runs within the first six minutes of the fourth quarter to put the game away … until a rag-tag Wizards bunch of Ramon Sessions, Marcus Thornton, Kelly Oubre, Jared Dudley, and J.J. Hickson used a 12-1 run to claw back within six points, 94-100, with 40 seconds left. The Wizards further teased those still watching by making a stop and getting the ball back—but Sessions oddly forced a pass inside when he had options on the perimeter and the ball went out of bounds. Dagger. Golden State won, 102-94 (they were favored by 13).

The Warriors went through spells of apathy against Washington, while trying to entertain themselves and their adoring fans. The Wizards’ stars failed to play to their potential, sometimes by means of Golden State’s defense, sometimes by means of their own cognition. Decent game, decent effort—that was the game.

M.V.P.

Does any player, on either team, really deserve the M.V.P.? From the winner’s perspective, their second fiddles did their jobs almost in order—Klay Thompson scored 16, Draymond Green scored 15, and Harrison Barnes scored 14. Stephen Curry led the way with 26 points, 7 assists, and 7 rebounds. But he did more toying around than taking the game serious at the start, and he shot—gasp—just 45 percent from the floor, only the 24th time in 71 appearances on the season that he’s shot that mark or worse.

But he did what was needed in the end, staying true to his main skill set: Steph went 6-for-8 from deep, outscoring the Washington Wizards from the 3-point line. Curry made the game’s first bucket, a 3, and he nailed two from distance during Golden State’s demoralizing 12-0 run to end the first half. One 3 in particular came in the game’s most ‘no fair’ moment—with Jared Dudley switched on Curry.

So, sure, give him the M.V.P.

L.V.P.

John Wall didn’t bring it. While Golden State stumbled to a 27-22 first quarter lead, Wall was more of a passive observer for the meat of the game’s opening, watching teammates fire from the midrange with abandon. Wall’s one bucket—the ol’ reliable elbow jumper—and three assists in the first quarter came within the game’s first 4:40.

Sandwiched too many times amongst those plays were settled-for misses of the 16-foot (Beal), 18-foot (Morris), 13-foot (Gortat), 15-foot (Morris), and 19-foot (Porter) variety. As we’ve written before, Wall is judged by his own standards, so really, denoting him the L.V.P. isn’t truly valid. But it beez like that sometimes, and Wall has a lot of obstacles to hurdle as part of his superstardom—coaching, consistently available teammates, and, of course, himself. And, of course, coaching again.

X-Factor(s).

  • 47 total points (18-37 FGs), 14 assists, and 35 rebounds.
  • 52 total points (19-43 FGs), 5 assists, and 26 rebounds.

As briefed, Curry’s main supporting cast in Thompson, Green, and Barnes (and we’ll include Bogut, even though he didn’t play starter’s minutes) did their jobs in unspectacular but winning fashion.

Wall’s cast of Beal, Porter, Morris, and Gortat did just ‘OK,’ too. Enough for the Wizards to succeed, given what was written about Wall in the L.V.P. section. (Yes, this generally discards the crazy run by Wizards benchers in semi-garbage time.)

We don’t want to boil this down in Randy Wittman fashion, but, yes, Curry scored 26 points to Wall’s mere 8 (his sixth single-digit output in 74 games). And yes, the miserable free-throw-shooting Wizards went 17-for-27 from the line (the Warriors missed eight FTs, though).

And finally, yes, the statline above that scored fewer points (47) but assisted more baskets (14) comes from the supporting cast of the league M.V.P. and his world champion-class wrecking crew. The X-factor: whatever is floating in Oakland’s water.

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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 currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife, loves basketball, and has no pets.