Wizards/Kings: Three Things We Learned | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Wizards/Kings: Three Things We Learned

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Updated: November 14, 2017

After a less-than-stellar loss to the Dallas Mavericks at the start of their four-game home stand, the Washington Wizards have now won three straight games in convincing fashion. Victory number three came at the expense of the lowly Sacramento Kings, who the Wizards defeated 110-92.

The final outcome of the game suggests this was an easy victory for the Wizards, and after the first two minutes of the second half, it was quite a breeze. But the devil is in the details, as they say—and as Coach Brooks will surely show his team during film study, the Wizards won because of their ability to quickly shed their troublesome habits.

Let’s delve deeper and look at three significant points from last night’s game.

1. Defense, Defense, Defense

The Sacramento Kings came into last night’s game averaging just 94.6 points per game — good for 29th in the NBA — and just two weeks ago when they played the Wizards, they scored 32 points in the first half and 83 points for the entire game. But after the first nine minutes of last night’s game, the Kings scored 27 points to just 17 for the Wizards. The Kings’ baskets came in every imaginable way: Zach Randolph manhandled Markieff Morris in the post, former Wizard Garrett Temple hit a 28-footer, George Hill hit two long 3-pointers and Bogdan don’t-call-me-Bojan Bogdanovic got into the act with five points of his own. By the end of the first quarter, the Wizards trailed 32-25, and they allowed the Kings to shoot 52.2% from the field and 80% from the 3-point line.

The next three quarters, the Wizards held the Kings to just 36% shooting, and it was a collective effort. The bench forced five second quarter turnovers which led to 10 fast-break points for the Wizards, and in the third quarter, as John Wall said after the game, the starters “made the right reads” and “let their defense dictate” how the game went.

While Wall and the starters put the game out of reach with their defensive effort in the third quarter, the bench deserves much of the credit for basically changing the momentum of the game in the first half. Speaking of the bench…

2. From Scapegoats to Second Quarter Heroes

Last week in his weekly column for ESPN, Zach Lowe had this to say about the Wizards’ bench:

The very lineup that Lowe correctly assessed and criticized demonstrated — for the second straight game — that they possess the ability to be a net positive on the floor. In fact, last night they bailed out the starters in the first half.

The lineup of Tim Frazier, Jodie Meeks, Kelly Oubre, Mike Scott, and Ian Mahinmi entered the second quarter trailing by seven points, and in just 90 seconds they cut the lead to one point thanks to consecutive baskets by Meeks and a layup by Oubre. Kings coach Dave Joerger called a timeout to calm his team but the bench barrage continued with a free throw and a dunk by Oubre and consecutive jumpers by Scott, which led to yet another Dave Joerger timeout with the score 38-34 in the Wizards’ favor.

The bench faltered a bit halfway through the quarter, which prompted Coach Brooks to bring back the starters, who extended the lead to as much as nine points before settling for a six-point halftime lead. The Wizards never trailed again after their first half turnaround and the bench deserves much of the credit, specifically Meeks (four points), Scott (four second-quarter points and six points with the starters in the first quarter) and Oubre (seven points).

Coach Brooks praised the reserves after the game:

“They gave us [a boost]. We didn’t have the defense that we wanted to. And then we gave up 32 points in that first quarter and our second unit, I think we got six or seven out of eight stops to start the second quarter and that created points. We generated points off of our defense. We’re at our best when we defend and when we try to score off our defense.”

3. Kelly F. Oubre

Kelly Oubre scored 12 points and tied his season-high with eight rebounds and his play on both ends of the floor was instrumental in the bench’s ability to shift the momentum in the Wizards’ favor in the second quarter. As good as his play was on the court, his comments after the game about hard work and growth–words that he’s been using to describe his growth all season–continue to be refreshing evidence that he’s maturing. But more than that, Oubre’s appearance on this list is due to his flashy, fourth quarter crossover and dunk combination, which put the Wizards up 20 points:

 

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Rashad Mobley
Reporter/Writer at TAI
Rashad has been covering the NBA and the Washington Wizards since 2008—his first two years were spent at Hoops Addict before moving to Truth About It. Rashad has appeared on ESPN and college radio, SportsTalk on NewsChannel 8 in Washington D.C., and his articles have appeared on ESPN TrueHoop, USAToday.com, Complex Magazine, and the DCist. He considers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar a hero and he had the pleasure of interviewing him back in 2009.