A Wizards Win is Still a Win, Even in Brooklyn | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

A Wizards Win is Still a Win, Even in Brooklyn

Updated: December 6, 2016

The Wizards escaped Brooklyn with a five-point win on Monday night after giving up 66 points in the first half, while scoring 51. It was a contest that teetered on disaster, knowing Brooklyn had lost 9 of 10 by an average margin of 18 points and especially considering how out of it (now rather par for the course) the Wizards looked during the first half (evidenced by the two “Shaqtin-a-Fool”-worthy videos above).

If you must know, Washington’s starting five finished plus-24 in 21.1 minutes (+3 in 6.8 first quarter minutes, +18 in 9.2 third quarter minutes, and +3 in 5.2 fourth quarter minutes). That means:

  • Marcus Thornton: minus-13 (17.5 mins.)
  • Kelly Oubre: minus-11 (18 mins.)
  • Tomas Satoransky: minus-5 (3.5 mins.)
  • Jason Smith: minus-3 (8 mins.)
  • Andrew Nicholson: minus-2 (7 mins.)
  • Trey Burke: minus-1 (12 mins.)

It could be worse!

You must also know that in the fourth quarter, the second unit left the starters with a 93-93 tie (the bench having inherited a 79-77 advantage late in the third quarter)—what more could you want? Washington battled one of the worst teams in the NBA and backed into another win, taking it 25-20 over the game’s final eight or so minutes.

John Wall played a decent game—25 points, 19 shots, 13 assists, 4 turnovers. When he wanted to, he controlled the floor—four assists came with teammates on the move, three led to 3-pointers. When he wanted to play defense, he did. Very early in the game Wall twice let rookie Isaiah Whitehead blow right by him on attacks of the basket. In the third quarter, the tunes changed with Wall and his teammates ramping up defensive pressure and causing turnovers, which led to a 32-15 advantage in the period for the comeback Wizards.

Although, at the end of the third period, Wall, more than capable of executing fancy passes, got a little too fancy for his teammates, turning the ball over twice in a row (the Nets missed a layup off one and dunked on the other). Wall upped his own offense in the fourth quarter, jawing with whatever inexperienced player stood in front of him and firing a no-pass, heat-check jumper after two makes in a row. He missed but later made a big 3—we know Wall is willing to take big shots.

And with that, the lackluster Wizards with two stars who might not be as starry as they think they are, scurried from the Brooklyn borough with victory.

Much to Steve Buckhantz’s seeming chagrin, Wall’s reach-around, matador defense worked … “this time”:


In the beginning of the third quarter  Markeiff Morris became more attuned to help-side defense and pursuing defensive rebounds. It is, however, becoming more and more apparent that his talents aren’t necessarily made for the starting lineup (or primetime). He cannot be counted on to not miss a rotation or a boxing out assignment. Like earlier this season, Morris also picked up early fouls, leading to emotions and a drawn technical foul. Wizards brass and staff sorely wish they could count on Morris; nonetheless, they’ll keep trying.

Marcin Gortat had a fair if not serviceable night—10 points, 9 shots, 12 boards (3 offensive), 2 assists, and 2 blocks. Don’t try to tell him that Brook Lopez is slow-footed, however, as the 7-footer, now a 3-point shooter burned Gortat twice late in the game as the Polish big man scrambled and failed to close out on Lopez beyond the arc. Of course, Lopez also got Gortat with an up-and-under move early in the game that took the same amount of time as filling a pint glass with molasses through a strainer.

Bradley Beal was solid but not spectacular, scoring 18 points on 18 shots and going 3-for-8 from deep (but just 1-4 on free throws). His scoring was spread pretty evenly over the game’s quarters and, unlike his last pro performance, he also contributed in other areas (4 rebounds, 4 assists, including a nice setup to Gortat off the roll late in the fourth quarter). This outing marked the 33rd time in 263 career games that Beal attempted eight or more 3-pointers. When shooting at that volume, the career 39.8% 3-point shooter overall is at 38.9%. But eight of those 33 games have come this season, where Beal is shooting 41%. So, improvement.

Tremendous up-and-down game from Kelly Oubre. Little big League. During key developmental time (18 minutes) he drilled a couple 3-pointers (2-5, 3-8 on FGs) and even got a chance to handle the ball on the break a couple times. He has no clue what he’s doing during those times, but that’s OK. At least this one time Oubre patiently, if not uncertainly, held up a break, moved the ball, recognized that Lopez switched onto him, and ran to the corner to clear the floor. End result: Kelly hit a corner 3. In general, I’ve rarely had an issue with a jumper taken by Kelly Oubre, at least when it’s just catch-and-shoot or using one dribble gather. The eye test proof is in the statistical pudding via stats.nba.com:

  • 59.2% of Oubre’s shots are taken with 0 dribbles — 58.9% eFG
  • 13.2% shots off 1 dribble — 60% eFG
  • 10.5% shots off 2 dribbles — 25% eFG
  • 11.8% shots off 3-6 dribbles — 22.2% eFG
  • 5.3% shots off 7+ dribbles — 25% eFG

Oubre paired with Trevor Booker to earn a double technical from the ref. Kelly immediately followed that up with a travel. Gotta roll with the punches, kiddo. Also consider this: Oubre has a Net Rating (NetRtg) of minus-9.6 this season. But when Oubre and Otto Porter are on the court at the same time—a dangerous combination Brooks should find ways to play more—the Wizards are plus-3.7 in NetRtg (115.5 offensive,111.8 defensive). For context, NetRtg for all two-man units among the Wizards starters.

  1. Beal – Morris: +7.2
  2. Porter – Morris: +6.9
  3. Beal – Gortat: +6.5
  4. Morris – Gortat: +6.3
  5. Wall – Beal: +5.6
  6. Beal – Porter: +5.1
  7. Wall – Morris: +4.2
  8. Porter – Gortat: +3.8
  9. Wall – Porter: +2.8
  10. Wall – Gortat: +1.7

Speaking of Otto Porter, yet another solid, above average game for the former puppy. Porter scored an efficient 18 points on 10 shots (4-5 on 3s) and did more than his share to disrupt the Nets otherwise, running the court, intelligently playing passing lanes, and picking up six personal fouls. He’s also improving at a long-time key to the success of his career: hitting open shots. He hit 5-of-6 uncontested shots versus Brooklyn and on the season, per stats.nba.com, he’s shooting 43.3% (26-60) on 3-pointers when open or wide open, a hair above his impressive 41.4% from deep overall.

Oh no … Jason Smith got blocked, by Trevor Booker no less, off a nice John Wall pass immediately after checking in. Smith has had a poor first 20% of the season, no question, but he also is involved in some extra boneheaded actions that diminish all the other things he brings to the table, including being the happy-go-lucky bro who’s excited to do anything on or off the court. In eight minutes versus Brooklyn, he made a shot, missed a shot, snagged a board, dropped a dime, stole one candy, rejected one bucket, and committed two ‘get yer money’s worths’ fouls.

Marcus Thornton canned a 3. In fact, he canned two of them. Furthermore, I think “canned” is the most proper verb to use when Thornton makes a 3-pointer. On the evening he launched five 3s and 10 total launches (4 total cans) and finished minus-13 in “whews-oh shits,” which is plus-minus. “Launch” is also, henceforth, the technical term for a Marcus Thornton shot attempt. In conclusion, Thornton on defense is appropriately called “skating.”

Trey Burke scored eight points in 12 minutes, sinking two 3-pointers. He also gathered two assists and zero turnovers. He spent most of this time in the backcourt with Thornton (they were minus-1) and a hiccup playing next to Beal (plus-5). Scott Brooks seemed to limit the amount of times that Burke was tasked to create offense and it seemed to work. We’ll call it a very minor victory.

Brook Lopez was Brooklyn’s best player, scoring 25 points on 15 shots (2-4 3s, 7-9 FTs) with six boards, five assists, three blocks, and plus-3 in his 31 minutes (only positive amongst the Brooklyn starters). I think it’s smart of the Nets to have Lopez shoot a shit-ton of 3-pointers this season (even if he was two attempts below his average versus the Wiz), because they’ve just gotta end up trading him at some point and this is a great way to improve his trade value. It’s like pre-developing for a chance to get a draft pick. Do what you gotta do in Brooklyn’s situation.

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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.