Otto Porter's Big Night: Quiet Dog Bites Hard | Wizards Blog Truth About

Otto Porter’s Big Night: Quiet Dog Bites Hard

Updated: November 11, 2016


Otto Porter sat in front of his locker, in his own little world. A bag of ice was strapped to each knee, no doubt chilling his bones directly. His headphones were in his ears and he was be-bopping to something—music, a game, social media; who knows. He was not intently studying a stat sheet, as might often be the scene after one has a career game. As media funneled through the double doors of the Wizards locker room and gathered near Porter’s station, he stayed in that world of his, less concerned with reporters’ need for quotes and more worried about when the timer would go off, signalling that he could remove those ice packs. A night at the office.

Porter made his first five shots en route to scoring a career-high 34 points on Wednesday in a Wizards 118-93 blowout win over the Celtics. He did so on just 19 shot attempts (3-5 on 3s, 3-3 on FTs) and added 14 rebounds (7 offensive), 4 assists, 3 steals, and 3 blocks to his totals (zero turnovers). Per player tracking, he also led the Wizards in touches (78), passes (55), and even in average speed (4.45 miles per hour; not counting Sheldon McClellan’s three minutes of time at the end). Otto played a game-high 38 minutes but still: did anyone see this coming? OK, so maybe we saw the deflections coming—Porter’s seven represented a third of Washington’s total and half of Boston’s total deflections. Go-go gadget arms.

Did you feel in the zone, Otto?

“I did not want to think about it. I just wanted to continue to play, continue to be aggressive, continue to have energy and like I said, whatever happens, happens.”

He was absolutely everywhere. It happened. But Porter started where perhaps the Wizards need the most help, the 3-point line. He hit a trey 67 seconds into the game, assisted by Markieff Morris. Then another 28 seconds later, assisted by John Wall. Then another three minutes and change later, another assist by Wall. The Celtics never really bothered to cover Porter. He shot 12-for-16 on uncontested shots and 2-for-3 on contested shots. Not quite sure if offensive rebounds always count as contested shots but Porter scored after three of his own offensive boards, earned free throws after another, and picked up an assist after another.

“What he gives you, he gives you a winning spirit, and he does that throughout the game on both ends,” said Scott Brooks after the game as if some mom were speaking about her ‘special little man.’ “When he’s not on the floor, he’s giving it to the guys on the bench. He’s a good veteran and it’s good to see him play well. He’s been a bright spot all year for us.”

In a historic 34-8 first quarter for the Wizards, Otto scored 13 of his points, grabbed five of his rebounds, and dropped two of his dimes. It was sorely, sorely needed for the now 2-5 Washington pro team. Porter didn’t carry the Wizards in the traditional sense, but he was the rope-and-pulley system that lifted the weight.

Before the game Brooks indicated that he would look to play Porter at 4 more. Despite novelty treatment by some media, it’s nothing new—something the Wizards had in mind when drafting him. It’s just that Porter was never as strong as he is now. It’s also a matchup-based decision, and against the Celtics it’s one a coach could make. Nearly 22 of Porter’s 38 minutes were spent at 4 (in six different lineups) and during those times the Wizards were minus-8. Meaning, in the 16 minutes Porter played the 3, Washington was plus-26 over the Celtics (Otto was plus-18 on the night). Of course, plus-15 of that came with the starting lineup. So, the jury is still out, and LeBron James is the next mark. (Or is it the other way around?)

The evening was never in question, and that’s unquestionably a surprise. The most optimistic of optimists even had to wonder how long it would take for a 15-point Wizards halftime advantage (after a 35-24 Boston second quarter) to dwindle to single digits in the third quarter. It is the NBA, after all. But it was not to be, as the Wizards pushed their lead back to 22 points within the first five minutes of the second half. Credit Washington’s bench for ‘being woke’ for the first time this season—Trey Burke and Marcus Thornton combined for 34 points!—but this night belonged to Otto Porter, Jr.

The post-game quotes released by the team featured five questions asked of Porter, and each answer averaged 23 words. After a super effort, the mild-mannered Clark Kent was a reserved as ever—even if at one point late in the game Porter looked toward the Wizards bench and flexed after yet another offensive rebound put-back. After dealing with the media, he retreated back to his locker while teammates were asked about his effort.

“I told Otto to get 40 at halftime,” said Bradley Beal, looking over his shoulder toward Otto as if he expected him to be shaking his hips in an Elvis costume. “He was six points short but it’s cool. He’s great.”

Porter paid Beal no attention; didn’t even hear him. He was back in his own little world, headphones in and having a phone conversation that you could barely tell was happening.


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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.