REAX: Wizards Summer League Game 3 — Eddie Stole The Ball! Eddie Stole The Ball! | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

REAX: Wizards Summer League Game 3 — Eddie Stole The Ball! Eddie Stole The Ball!

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Updated: July 13, 2016

Kelly Oubre hit a 3-pointer to give the Wizards their first lead since the first quarter. But the 74-73 lead didn’t last long: the Wizards again trailed 18 seconds later when Brooklyn Nets guard Isaiah Whitehead hit a 10-footer. But then Washington got the lead right back when Oubre found Danuel House for yet another 3-point basket.

Up 77-75 with 5:51 left in the game, the summer Wiz Kids proceed to play careless basketball while the Nets went on a 9-2 run. The Wizards regrouped and over the last 1:55 of the game they got contributions from all five players on the floor. The result: the team’s second win of the Vegas Summer League, 87-85.

How did all go down? Let’s delve shall we?

Thumbs Up.

Jarell Eddie scored 19 points on 6-of-12 shooting during Sunday night’s loss to Atlanta Hawk, showing that he—not just Kelly Oubre—could lead this Summer League version of the Wizards. Last night, Eddie shot 7-for-12 and scored 16 points—eight of which came in the first half of play. He hit just two 3-point shots, he missed three free throws early in the game, but he continued to demonstrate his offensive versatility. On two different possessions, he drew a Nets defender in close by feigning an outside shot, then drove to the basket for a strong layup. But Eddie, here, is not getting this ceremonial thumbs up for his offensive exploits.

With 4.9 seconds left in the game, after Micheal Eric and D.J. Cooper forced Rondae Hollis-Jefferson to the right side of the floor (as they were instructed to by John Wall and his courtside entourage), Eddie poked the ball away, ran the length of the court, and made the game-winning layup while under heavy pursuit from the Nets’ Josh Magette.

Eddie was relatively unimpressive during his stint on the Wizards roster at the end of the 2015-2016 regular season, and he needed a strong showing in Vegas to justify a return trip to the roster in the fall. Following up a 19-point effort with 16 points, along with a game-winning deflection and basket, is one hell of a start.

Danuel House displayed a trait in tonight’s game which will serve him well should he make the regular season roster—and that is the ability to heat up rather quickly. The Wizards trailed by 10 points with 2:49 left in the third quarter, and between turnovers and cold shooting, the Nets were pulling away. Then House hit two 3-pointers in a 35-second span (he tried a third 30 seconds after he made the second, via a ridiculous pull-up heat check, but it didn’t fall) to quickly cut the Nets’ lead to five points. In the fourth quarter, aside from the aforementioned 3-pointer (assisted by Oubre) which gave the Wizards a two-point lead, Eddie also slammed home a defiant one-handed dunk that caused former Wizards and newly acquired Brooklyn Net Trevor Booker to stop his interview with the ESPN announcers to say, “Wow!”

Oh, and Coach Lowe may have jinxed his pick-and-roll defense:

Thumbs Down.

D.J. Cooper struggled to run the Wizards’ offensive effectively in the first five minutes of the game, and that lack of control played a big part in an early five-point deficit. To make matters worse for the starting guard, Sterling Gibbs checked into the game after Cooper committed a foul and a turnover and immediately helped the Wizards go on a 12-0 run. Cooper did not fare that much better at the start of the third quarter, when he played five minutes without registering a single stat: no points, rebounds, assists, steals, fouls drawn, or anything else. As the ESPN announcers astutely observed, there is a backup point guard job to be won in D.C., but Cooper is not exactly distinguishing himself as “the guy.”

They say that winning is the best the deodorant, and last night, the Wizards last-second win did a masterful job of masking the stench of the team’s 13 turnovers—nine of them coming in the first half. During one particularly putrid stretch in the second quarter, the Wizards turned the ball over three consecutive times, which deprived them of any offensive momentum (and points). Yes, they won the game, but Coach Sidney Lowe could not have been happy with the turnovers and the lack of consistency in the point guard department.

Midrange.

Coach Sidney Lowe wants Kelly Oubre to play hard, and smart, during this summer league experience, given his expectations as the go-to guy. Oubre did not have the best of shooting nights (5-13 from the field, including 2-8 from the 3-point line), but he more than offset that by playing hard on defense. He took a charge in transition, played smothering perimeter defense, and added a steal and a blocked shot.

Unfortunately, Oubre did not always play intelligently, committing seven fouls in 29 minutes of play. And most of the fouls were reminiscent of the ones that were called on him during the regular season—he was either out of position on defense and jumped or reached to make up for it, or he was frustrated by a call that did not go his way and was uber physical with the Nets on offense.

His shooting will come, as will his ability to consistently finish around the basket, but both Coach Lowe and Scott Brooks (via an ESPN interview) have stressed that he play smart basketball first, and that was lacking at times versus Brooklyn.

Trending.

Aaron White may not have felt entirely comfortable with how he played against the Nets, or during summer league basketball overall, but none of that reservation showed on the court.

He started off the game with a 3-pointer, and followed that up with pinpoint interior pass to Micheal Eric, who hit one of his two free throws. He did blow one easy, open fast-break opportunity when he dropped the ball and was denied the chance to convert a layup. But with 14.9 seconds left in the game, when the Wizards offense looked disjointed and it appeared as if they wouldn’t even get a shot off in time, White took D.J. Cooper’s pass (catching it despite it being thrown slightly behind him), regrouped in the air, and converted a layup. That alone may not be enough to earn him a roster spot, and he’ll have to pick it up in the scoring department, but if nothing else, he showed Coach Lowe that he belongs on the floor in crunch time.

Baby steps, right?

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Rashad Mobley
Reporter/Writer at TAI
Rashad has been covering the NBA and the Washington Wizards since 2008—his first two years were spent at Hoops Addict before moving to Truth About It. Rashad has appeared on ESPN and college radio, SportsTalk on NewsChannel 8 in Washington D.C., and his articles have appeared on ESPN TrueHoop, USAToday.com, Complex Magazine, and the DCist. He considers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar a hero and he had the pleasure of interviewing him back in 2009.