Friday Night Drive on Fun Street — Wizards Over Wolves, 112-105 | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Friday Night Drive on Fun Street — Wizards Over Wolves, 112-105

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Updated: January 8, 2017

The Wizards won themselves a ball game on Friday night. Their stars carried them — all we ever wanted. They, like veterans, countered the punch of young pups — did you ever dream this would be the day? It was fun basketball! — a nice reminder of what it can be with this team and the upteenth tease of potential.

It was an important 112-105 victory, only if it makes the ghosts of last year’s home triple-overtime loss to Minnesota stir — just a nail in Randy Wittman’s coffin. Also on Friday night: the Wizards’ bench was still bad, and in other news, a broken clock is right at least once a day, sometimes twice.

But a win is a win and this was a particularly positive one, even if against a bottom 8 team in the league. Minnesota has got to be the most dangerous bottom 8 team.

Observations.

  • I probably wouldn’t be off in thinking the latest ‘rah-rah’ about Otto Porter’s career (or breakout) season wasn’t on Andrew Wiggin’s mind in some regard. He dropped 41 points on Otto and friends, and that started with four layups/dunks in the first quarter. Porter can stick with Wiggins but he clearly can’t jump as quick as Wiggins, and the Timberpup always seemed to have one last counter-move and Otto’s body could not keep up.
  • Marcin Gortat picked up two early fouls, Jason Smith replaced him and holy crap blocked Karl Anthony-Towns.

  • Andrew Nicholson picked up three fouls in five minutes. Spare me, please.
  • The bench was it’s most terrible in the second quarter. And the starters played even better to bail them out. Get this: they were plus-11 over 6 second quarter minutes. Beal hit a 3, Wall was aggressive, Gortat got a slam (and even drew two charges while in foul trouble himself), and maybe even Markieff Morris did something great.
  • Minnesota took a one point lead with 7:15 left in the second (after Washington led by 9 with 3:05 left in the first), but then the starters’ push gave the Wizards an eight-point halftime lead, 56-48.
  • The starters went plus-1 in the first quarter, minus-6 in the third, and plus-6 in the fourth.

  • And so Wiggins scored 16 of his 41 in the third, going hard at Otto Porter again.
  • Wiggins, amped, bombed a 3 with space from Markieff Morris after what seemed to be a planned switch (which Morris did a good job of against James Harden in Houston). It was Wiggins’ only made 3-pointer of the night in three attempts, but hard to fault Morris for making him shoot.
  • Still, I wonder when the stats will tell us: the chance of player X taking (and making) a 3 on a screen-and-roll switch versus someone 6-foot-9 and above (player Z) when player X has already taken Y amount of drives to the basket so far and that ultimately, player Z should give player X no more than 2.3 feet of space to limited points allowed per possession on such occurrences.
  • Washington built a 14-point lead early in the third and Wiggins and his team came storming back. Zach LaVine hit a couple 3s in a row and Steve Buckhantz was incredulous (Classic Buckhantz). The flurry continued, and somewhere within the Timberwolves scoring 13 points in about 90 seconds, John Wall peppered in three consecutive buckets for his team.
  • Otto Porter helped save some grace in the third quarter with two 3-pointers of his own but the Wizards were outscored 37-24 and the Wolves held a five-point lead entering the fourth.
  • The Wizards scored 32 points in the final period to 20 for the Wolves. But it was a tight contest — tie game at 101 — until 2:30 left.
  • Wiggins still shined in the fourth (9 points), and Karl Anthony-Towns scored six (18 on the night). But after those two, only Gorgui Deng scored in the fourth (5, 15 points total).
  • Zach LaVine scored eight total points (0 in the fourth) and was a game-worst minus-18 (Trey Burke was second-worst at minus-13). Ricky Rubio scored four points on three shots the entire game.
  • John Wall was too amazing. He scored 8 points of his own in the fourth, procured 8 points for Gortat (assisted all of them), and otherwise picked up 2 other assists in the final period — 18 total assists and 18 total points on the night. Six points and two assists came over the last 130 seconds of the game.

The Wizards are back to being as near but below .500 as they can be with a chance today to get back to even in the cold, frozen tundra of … MILWAUKEE. [extreme Steve Sabol voice]

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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.