Wizards Remarkable Enough in 4th Quarter Comeback Over Bucks | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Wizards Remarkable Enough in 4th Quarter Comeback Over Bucks

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Updated: December 28, 2016

An inattentive pass was poked away, sending Giannis Antetokounmpo in the other direction for a dunk in as many steps as it takes a normal man to walk from the baseline to the free throw line. Then a forced shot by John Wall. Then another turnover by the Wizards. A 7-0 Bucks lead: It was not the crisp start Scott Brooks had imagined after his team got blown out by these same Bucks last Friday.

In stepped Otto Porter, third banana. He went on a 6-0 run of his own (could’ve been 7-0, had he not missed a free throw), slashing to the rim to make up for a bad turnover, and later canning a 3-point assist from Wall. Porter just scooted to the corner and the Bucks paid him no mind — a theme throughout the game. Otto finished on top of the night with 32 points (7-11 on uncontested shots), 13 rebounds, and go-go gadget arms that didn’t quite match Antetokounmpo’s but were impressive in their own right.

The game between the Wizards and Bucks wasn’t an elegant, back-and-forth affair, it was a tug-of-war—15 lead changes and eight ties. Washington’s largest lead was six. They held an advantage in shallow pockets: to end the first and start the second; early in the third, and over the final few seconds after the Bucks led by 10 points with 7:51 left in the fourth. The Wizards fought back with tough, aggressive, and energetic defense generally unseen so far this year. But Porter still had to can the first clutch 3-pointer of his career to put the Wizards up 104-100 with 49 seconds left. They eked this one out, 107-102.

John Wall and Bradley Beal combined for eight points on 1-for-11 shooting in the first half. You can’t say that the forest of limbs (and antlers) of the Bucks didn’t bother them, but the backcourt duo also combined for 12 first-half assists. Porter (18 first half points) and Markieff Morris (14 first half, 18 total points) carried the scoring load in a sluggish roll to intermission. Credit also goes to Morris for coming to the rescue a few times on helpside defense, not a common site. Washington simply didn’t look in focus over the first two quarters, but at least they only surrendered 57 points by halftime, as opposed to the 73 last Friday in Milwaukee.

Optimus Dime Wall transformed in the third period, scoring 11 points and dropping four dimes; he totalled 18 and 16 on the game (7 turnovers). An assist to Porter for 3, an attacking layup, a charge drawn, a foul drawn on offense, another assist to Porter for 3, a 3-pointer on his own — Wall immediately made his mark out of the locker room. He played the entire third quarter and all but 90 seconds of the fourth. Then Beal picked up some slack in the fourth, scoring 10 (including two big 3s) of his total, generally unremarkable 22. Milwaukee overloaded their defense to stop him, opening the floor for others, especially Porter. Beal was sometimes merely hesitant to attack, but more often his game was patient, and it paid off in the end.

And as the Bucks built that 10-point lead four minutes into the final period, Wall still would not let his team fade. After Porter snagged his 11th and 12th rebounds on the defensive end, Wall, within 10 seconds after each, found Porter and Beal for back-to-back 3-pointers — this accomplished in a total span of 33 seconds. The Wizards were suddenly awakened. Sort of. Neither team scored a point for the next 145 game seconds until Wall broke the ice with an 18-foot pullup. Each Wizards starter then took turns scoring, and Milwaukee didn’t have the juice.

Over the final period, Jabari Parker (14 points on the night) went 1-for-6; Tony Snell (20 total points, 5-6 3s in the first half) missed all three of his shots; and Antetokounmpo (22 points) attempted just one field goal (a dunk with 22 seconds left to make things interesting). Washington’s starters played a season-high 30.4 minutes together, finishing plus-11 — they were plus-13 in 7.6 fourth quarter minutes. Milwaukee’s starters played 20.4 minutes and finished minus-4 — they were minus-4 in 3.1 fourth quarter minutes.

It could be considered remarkable that the Wizards came back from a 10-point fourth quarter deficit — at home — to pull out a victory, salvaging a chance to finish 2016 at .500 if they win Wednesday versus Indiana and Friday versus Brooklyn (both also at home). Washington is trending up for sure, at least in comparison to their crash takeoff. Now each hallmark seems like a team re-learning how to prevail. The Wizards are top-heavy with talent to rise above most of the East’s scrum, but only if they realize it, and only if they don’t continue succumb to weaknesses.

Starter Use

  • Wall, Beal, Porter, Morris, and Gortat have all appeared in 22 of 30 games on the season.
  • The Wizards are 11-11 when all 5 starters play, 3-5 when they don’t.
  • They have one of only two NBA lineups which have played more than 500 minutes.
    • Minnesota: 561 minutes (-3.7 NetRtg)
    • Washington: 501 minutes (+9.0 NetRtg)
    • L.A. Clippers: 447 minutes (+16.2 NetRtg)
    • No other 5-man lineup has played more than 375 minutes together.
  • With such heavy reliance on a core, successful group of players, one might expect the Wizards to be better than 14-16.

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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 lives in D.C. with his wife, loves basketball, and has no pets.