A Few Not-So-Crazy, Crazy Things That Happened at the Wizards Game - Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

A Few Not-So-Crazy, Crazy Things That Happened at the Wizards Game

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Updated: December 15, 2016

Let’s not save the best for last – if there is a such a thing.

#1) After an amazing flip of kind sort of switch – we’ll call it the Wall Switch – the Wizards turned a 56-66 deficit at the 8:22 mark of the third quarter into an 87-77 advantage entering the fourth quarter.

The Wizards were even up 108-102 after two Bradley Beal free throws with 24 seconds left in the game.

And. Then. They. Almost. Blew it. Of course!

With Washington then defending against the 3-point shot, Kemba Walker easily waltzed down the lane for a layup. Then the Wizards inbounded the ball and found themselves trapped in the corner – where ‘YOU SHALT NOT RECEIVE MERCY FROM THE REFS’ goes the creed – and so Wall turned the ball over and Cody Zeller Cupid Shuffled his way into the paint for a hoop … two-point game.

On the other end, Wall went 1-for-2 on free throws (7-8 on the night), and the Hornets got not one but two clean, good looks to tie the game. And because, sadly, there was no one else to really play, Marcus Thornton – of all people – was on the floor for those last-ditch Hornets shots (Marcin Gortat was on the bench), and Thornton guarded the inbounds passer, Marvin Williams. After Nic Batum missed the first 3, Thornton was zero help on the boards (OK, it was a team effort), and Walker’s potential buzzer-beater rimmed in, and then out, which was followed up by Scott Brooks doing a three-quarter turn on the sideline to release angst over a potentially bad, bad loss.

Instead, the Wizards beat the third-best team in the East (entering the night) to elevate their record to 10-14 — read the gamer from Bryan Frantz here.

And, hey, Washington is ONLY THREE GAMES OUT from fourth place in the East. What more could you ask for, you greedy Wizards fan, you?

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#2) Attendance in the Verizon Center, once again, sucked. And such a sucky atmosphere can really suck the life out of a game between two teams playing in the best pro basketball league in the world. Did I mention it was sort of sucky?

In any case, Wizards fans, if anything, are creative. So one fan (Twitter user @eric_shap) had a cool sign, featuring a fire emoji and Ernie from Bert & Ernie wearing a wizard hat and holding a duck and a toothbrush (unintended yet appropriate). He and some friends (wearing retro Bullets jerseys), I could see from my perch, sat not far behind the Wizards bench (and thus not far from team owner Ted Leonsis).

Evidently the sign-holder got in a “jawing” match with Leonsis.

Evidently, Theodore later gave him a cookie.

All’s well that ends well, I guess. And of course, the D.C. Sports Bog has a whole web log about this.

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#3) Jason Smith had his best game as a Wizard, by far, with 12 points, 7 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 assists, and 2 turnovers in 18:25 off the bench. Smith (along with fellow newcomer Andrew Nicholson) is the NBPA union representative for the Washington Wizards.

After the game, Smith spoke with TAI about the NBA’s new CBA, the tentative agreement being announced at some point during the contest. Read Smith’s thoughts here.

Notes.

  • In the first half each of Washington’s starters were either minus-6 or minus-7 in plus-minus, while off the bench, Smith was +3 (10 mins.), Thornton +3 (8 mins.), Trey Burke +2 (9 mins.), and Andrew Nicholson was an even-0 (5 mins.)
  • In the second half: Gortat was +18, Beal +15, Wall +11, Oubre +9, and Porter +6 … while Thornton was minus-10, Smith minus-5, and Burke minus-4 (Nicholson didn’t play in the second half).
  • Observation: Marcus Thornton’s shot looks like a Rube Goldberg machine featuring a catapult, shot-put, and rope-and-pulley system. Maybe even several catapults.
  • John Wall wore bright orange Nikes. And while I’m all for the traffic cone version of Wall – I think – the practical side of me wonders if such bright shoes makes it easier for defenders to see him in their peripheral, or maybe the shoes are just a distraction to the defenders.
  • Marco Belinelli, 16 points off the bench, 4-for-6 on 3s, made some wild, wild shots and thankfully missed some subsequent heat-checks. He was also muscled by Wall going to the hoop at one point – Wall missed a point-blank shot, got his own rebound, and put it back in – to which Wall responded by yelling in Belinelli’s face, earning him a technical foul. It was Wall’s sixth technical of the year, tying him for second-most with Russell Westbrook and DeAndre Jordan after DeMarcus Cousins’ eight count. Wall was tied for third in technicals last season with 12 – halfway there with only about 25% of the season gone!
  • Trey Burke was matched up against Kemba Walker a little too often for my own comfort but who am I to question Scott Brooks? And related to that, Wall was sometimes matched up on Nic Batum or even fellow Wildcat Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Whatever works – Kemba (17 points) shot 4-for-11 on contested shots and 3-for-4 on uncontested shots.
  • Attacking the offensive glass did not seem to be part of Washington’s game plan early on, but Marcin Gortat (5 offensive, 12 total boards in 36 minutes) and Jason Smith (3 offensive, 7 total in 18.5 minutes) kept chipping away like Flip Saunders’ (#RIP) old friend Sisyphus. And, lo and behold, by the end of the game the Wizards (51.7% FGs on the night to Charlotte’s 51.4%) more than tripled up their opponent in second chance points, 21-6.
  • Also noteworthy, the Hornets outscored the Wizards by 27 points at the 3-point line (14-33 to 5-18).
  • Brooks used a three-guard lineup a couple times, predominantly: Wall, Burke, Beal, Porter, and Gortat (+2, 4.2 minutes).
  • On the evening, the Wall-Burke-Beal trio was +2 in 4.5 total minutes; the Burke-Thornton-Beal trio was +2 in 1.8 minutes; the Wall-Burke-Thornton trio was minus-3 in 1.1 minutes; and the Wall-Thornton-Beal trio was minus-3 in 0.4 minutes.
  • Beal, Burke, and Thornton (then later Wall) spent time on the court together in the second quarter (7:18 mark), implemented with the Hornets up four points. But Charlotte wasn’t exactly going small, with Walker, Belinelli, Lamb, Kaminsky, and Hibbert on the court, and with an even larger lineup on the floor when Batum, Kidd-Gilchrist, and Zeller were inserted to join Kaminsky and Walker about the time that Wall replaced Thornton. The Wizards didn’t go back bigger until Oubre subbed in for Burke with 2:55 left, by which point the Wizards had trimmed their deficit from four points to two … only to see it grow back to five, 49-54, by halftime.
  • Kelly Oubre started in place of Markieff Morris (sore left foot / rest), and continued to be a baby-man disruptor on defense. Look who’s talking:






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