Winning Cures Everything — Even #SoWizards | Wizards Blog Truth About

Winning Cures Everything — Even #SoWizards

Updated: January 19, 2017

I get it. I get it. The Wizards did not do a good job closing out the Memphis Grizzlies. They almost blew a late seven-point lead in 19.6 seconds by fouling a 3-point shooter, missing a free throw, allowing Memphis to get a jump ball call, losing said jump ball, then leaving a man wide-open for a last second 3-point attempt.

But just listen to yourself: “Waaah, the Wizards won their 13th straight home game but I didn’t like the way it ended.” If we have reached the point that we are complaining about wins, that’s a good thing.

I’ve got this friend. Let’s call him “Chad.” No matter what you say about the Wizards, he responds with something negative.

Washington just won 13 straight home games. Yeah, but they are 4-13 on the road.

Otto Porter is emerging as one of the best small forwards in the NBA. Yeah, but now we will have to max him.

Jason Smith is finally turning the corner. Yeah, but Andrew Nicholson.

Attendance is finally improving at the Verizon Center. Yeah, but look at the Grizzlies game.

It can be exhausting.

Let me ask you something: Did Washington ever trail against Memphis? No.

Did Washington ever trail in their previous game against Portland? No.

That’s 96 minutes of front-running basketball. Pretty, pretty good.

Look, I know this team still has problems. Some might say big, long-term ones. But those problems have to do with poor management, not the effort and performance of the players on the court. John Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter are all having career years, and Scott Brooks seems to have found a way to fashion a passable outfit from a bench full of irregular clothes.

You can be mindful of the huge hole the front office has dug, while at the same time appreciating the accomplishments of the players who are here. It’s sort of like being against the war but supporting the troops—at least that’s what I tell myself to get through the day as a Wizards fan.

Otto Still Not Getting Any Respect

I asked Tony Allen before the game how much time he is able to spend during the season preparing for each opponent. Allen said he gets a five-minute edit of each player he is going to guard.

For the Wizards, Allen said he watched John Wall, Bradley Beal, Markieff Morris, and Kelly Oubre highlights.

You may notice one name missing from that list. The same man who started the game hitting four out of five 3-pointers: Otto Porter, Jr.

It was only three weeks ago that Milwaukee Bucks rookie Malcolm Brogdon admitted that his teammates did not properly respect Otto’s game. Brogdon made those comments after Porter dropped 32 points on 13-for-18 shooting (5-for-9 on 3s).

Now, it was Tony Allen talking in his post-game interview as if he never even heard of Otto before the game:

“I didn’t even know he was on the scouting report today. I didn’t hear two words about him today in the shootaround. It was just a lot about (Bradley) Beal and (John) Wall, Beal and Wall. Like I said, we gotta pay better attention to our opponents and have a little better focus coming into games.”

At some point, defenses are going to start taking notice of Otto Porter, who Scott Brooks called the most consistent 3-point shooter in the NBA. When teams start game-planning for Otto, the court will open up even more for Wall, Beal and Marcin Gortat. Until then, Otto will be happy to take all the open 3-pointers he can get.

The Road Ahead

It’s no secret Washington has struggled on the road. They get a chance to right the ship on national television (TNT) against the New York Knicks on Thursday night. John Wall always seems to play well in the Garden, and he has bemoaned the team’s lack of national exposure on several occasions. Thursday night provides a prime-time opportunity for Wall to lobby for additional exposure.

In addition to struggling on the road, the Wizards have also struggled in back-to-backs. Markieff Morris was asked after the Memphis game why the team has had difficulty playing consecutive games—he suggested that the starters may be getting tired:

“Guys are playing big minutes and sometimes you run out of gas. It happens. We just got to figure out how to stay consistent and get those back-to-back wins.”

As previously chronicled, Wall, Beal and Gortat are all playing big minutes this season, and all five starters played over 34 minutes versus Memphis. The bench may be called upon to provide some relief with the quick turnaround in New York.

Adam Rubin on EmailAdam Rubin on Twitter
Adam Rubin
Reporter / Writer at TAI
Adam grew up in the D.C. area and has been a Washington Bullets fan for over 25 years. He will not refer to the franchise as anything other than the Bullets unless required to do so by Truth About It editorial standards. Adam spent many nights at the Capital Centre in the ‘90s where he witnessed such things as Michael Jordan’s “LaBradford Smith game,” the inexcusable under-usage of Gheorghe Muresan’s unstoppable post moves, and the basketball stylings of Ledell Eackles.