Wall’s Hot Shooting and Bench Production Help Wizards Sweep Sacramento | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Wall’s Hot Shooting and Bench Production Help Wizards Sweep Sacramento

By
Updated: November 14, 2017

For the third straight game, the Wizards held their opponent under 100 points. By no coincidence, the result has been three straight victories. The Wizards improved their record to 5-0 this season when holding opponents under the century mark. Defense had been the Achilles’ heel for this team during a lull that saw the team lose five of seven games in between their bookend three-game winning streaks. The Wizards’ last three opponents would never be mistaken for world-beaters on the offensive end (Lakers, Hawks, and Kings), but then again neither were the Suns or Mavericks.

John Wall (and the bench, more on that later) was the catalyst on Monday night that allowed the Wizards to stay afloat in the first half of the game before they were able to put away the inferior Kings team in the second half. Wall started the game 6-for-6 from the field including 3-for-3 from 3-point range, bringing his total 3-pointers made against the Kings this season to nine. He has only hit 14 3s this entire season, so it is safe to say that he enjoys playing against the Kings.

One of the guys who struggled to stay in front of Wall was former Wizard Garrett Temple. Temple was complimentary of his former teammates when asked how it felt that Wall and Beal called him one of their favorite teammates:

After competing with the Wizards in the first half and going into intermission down just 57-51, the Kings certainly thought they were in the contest. Head coach Dave Joerger lamented that it was the Wizards getting out and running in transition that allowed them to pull away:

 “You know, we set up a lot of jump shots. We hung in there in the first half but in the second half they came out, they got in the paint, [and] we took a lot of jump shots. They ran out on us a lot in transition and kind of got away from us. They were very serious in the third quarter, to come out and play, and be aggressive. They got to rim. They got to the rim too many times tonight, 23-for-32 in the paint, and we were 16 for 39. There’s a big difference there.”

As Joerger mentioned, now only did the Wizards excel in transition, but they were also dominant in the paint. Rather than running post-ups for Gortat and Mahinmi all night, the Wizards amassed a good portion of their points in the paint on dribble-drives from wing players. Bradley Beal continued to be a masterful at using his crossover dribble to create separation on defenders and get to the basket–something he discussed on Saturday after the victory against Atlanta:

“Just trying to get to the free-throw line more. One thing I worked on this off-season was always my ball handling and being able to get downhill. Everybody knows I can shoot threes and they know that is what I love to do, but that is something that I am trying to beat everybody else to the punch. I do not want to be a straight one dimensional player so I have to put the ball on the floor and getting to the basket, and using my body to be able to finish with contact a lot of times. It was definitely something I worked on in the off-season but it is definitely a work in progress too.”

Beal and Kelly Oubre both workout with renowned trainer, Drew Hanlen, and it appears as if some of those dribble-drive crossover moves have made their way into Oubre’s repertoire as well. The highlight of the night had to be Oubre’s crossover of Buddy Hield which finished with an emphatic tomahawk slam:

Mike Scott Buoys the Wizards’ Bench

Scott Brooks has said previously that “the only way the bench is going to grow is by getting opportunities,” and one of the players who has caught the attention of coach Brooks is Mike Scott who finished with 15 points and five rebounds on 6-for-8 shooting from the field (3-4 from behind the arc). When asked about Scott after last night’s game, Brooks mentioned Scott’s competitive spirit:

“I like how he plays. He just knows how to play. He’s in the right spot. He’s not searching for shots, he’s just playing. And we want to build our mentality as good-to-great passing, he makes the extra pass. If he’s open, he shoots it. He gives you a great effort on the defensive end. He’s a good basketball player. I’m still learning his game but I like him as a person, I like how he competes, I like how he practices, I like how he comes in every day before practice and he stays after, he wants to win the free throw game that we have every day. He’s just a great professional for our team.”

In just 19 minutes per game, Scott is averaging 8.5 points per game, while shooting 50 percent from the floor and 43 percent from 3-point range. He is proving to be the quintessential “3-and-D” option at the forward position and is certainly establishing himself in this team’s rotation going forward.

The same thing cannot be said for Ian Mahinmi who has struggled mightily to find a role with the Wizards’ second-unit. His role was suppose to be rim-defender and rebounder, but he has not really excelled at either one of those tasks. Here are some not so pleasing numbers regarding Mahinmi from TAI’s Adam Rubin:

If Oubre and Mike Scott can continue to excel as the forwards coming off the bench, and Tim Frazier remains consistent at finding his teammates open (he’s currently averaging 12.8 assists per 36, a career high), then this Wizards team should continue to see the type of success they had against Sacramento.

Troy Haliburton on Twitter
Troy Haliburton
Writer
Troy Haliburton is a native Washingtonian, and graduate of Gonzaga College High School and Morehouse College. He is going into his second season writing for Truth About It, and also writes for sports analytics website numberfire.com. You can find him in a district bike lane in the Northwest neighborhood of Bloomingdale.