Wizards Get Reprieve from Turmoil By Winning Simple in Atlanta | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Wizards Get Reprieve from Turmoil By Winning Simple in Atlanta

Updated: January 28, 2018

The Wizards won themselves a ballgame on Saturday night. The plan they executed was simple, even if perhaps not replicable against most other teams not named the Atlanta Hawks. The 129-104, going-away win could be the confidence-builder the team needs, or it could simply be a blip on the radar. It was good for Washington to remind the interested observer — and themselves — what they were capable of again.

Here’s what happened:

— The Wizards started disadvantaged due to John Wall sitting out with unknown, inexact, indeterminate and indefinite knee issues bothering him again.

— The matchup at hand would be Wall’s replacement, Tomas Satoransky, versus Dennis Schroder, who doesn’t have a stellar W/L record vs. DC but has given the squad, even with Wall, plenty of fits in the past.

— Such as Schroder’s 21 points, 7 assists and 4 rebounds (2 TOs) in that Dec. 27 Hawks win versus a fully available Wizards squad in Atlanta.

— On this night Dennis was contained. He got by Sato for driving layups twice, but otherwise the Wizards ran the necessary help at him, turning Schroeder into a jump shooter (3-12 on FGs, he settled for jacking a lot of 3s, 0-5, when the Hawks were down a ton).

— The Wizards led by as much as 25, by the way. There were no lead changes, there were no ties. It was wire-to-wire.

— With Sato, it was immediately easy to see a different pep in Washington’s offensive step. All players moved around the court knowing that they way in which Satoransky was prepared to move the ball had more distributive properties to its nature than when Wall is leading the show — even though Wall is a pass-first point guard, too.

Satoransky performed well in his first start of the season (11 points, 3-3 on 3s, 7 assists, 2 turnovers, 21 minutes), and Tim Frazier actually made a nice point guard pairing off the bench with 4 points, 14 assists, and 2 turnovers. Frazier played with much more purpose than ever before in a Wiz uniform.

— The challenge was also accepted by Markieff Morris (on a tear lately) and Marcin Gortat/Ian Mahinmi (4 fouls). How could you not versus Ersan Ilyasova and a tubby-looking Miles Plumlee? Last loss in Atlanta, Illyasova and Taurean Prince combined for 10 offensive boards; they were held to 3 on Saturday.

Morris has hit 6-of-8 3-point attempts over the last two games. Starting at 34% from deep in November, that was upped to 44% in December and now 42% in January. But get this: Morris’s rebounds per 100 possession is creeping near 13 in January after hovering around 9.5 over the season’s first two months; his turnovers per 100 are also down to 2.2 from 3.5 over those first two months. Is he getting into the season’s grove or playing up his trade value?

Scott Brooks played Morris at 5 for around 12 minutes vs Atlanta, and those lineups finished plus-5. The Wizards really need another small-ball 5 aside from Morris who is not named Mike Scott.

That simple plan? Share the ball. 8 assists on 10 FGs in Q1, 11 assists on 12 FGs in Q2, 9 on 11 in Q3, and 12 on 16 in Q4.

— In total, 40 assists on 49 makes for the Wizards. Of the 12 Wizards who played, only Gortat and Jodie Meeks didn’t pick up an assist. Jason Smith was the only Wizard who scored but he did pick up two of the 40 assists. And yes, Chris McCullogh played, scored a bucket, and dropped a dime.

— The last time the Wizards dropped 40 assists in a game? Opening night for the 1992-93 season. Michael Adams dropped 14, Tom Gugliotta 7, Rex Chapman 4, and Harvey Grant 4 — en route to a 119-126 loss to Larry Johnson and the Charlotte Hornets.

Mike Scott was huge off the bench against his former team (19 points, 8-13 FGs). His eFG% from Nov. to Jan. has gone 66%, 69%, 64% — hopefully the consistency means he can keep it up for the duration.

— And Kelly Oubre (15 points, 6-12 FGs, 2-5 3s, 4 rebounds) continues to prove that the Wizards have the pieces, they just need to make some significant end-of-roster tweaks to address some major flaws. (Assuming they, the All-Stars, somehow find their mentality.)

— This game didn’t solve any problems but it helped. The Wizards sit at fifth in the East, two games out of third (Cavs) and one game up on eighth (Bucks).

— The NBA trade deadline is on Feb. 8, a week from this coming Thursday.

— There are eight games left over the 17 days before the All Star break , which starts on Feb. 15.

— Vs OKC Tues., vs TOR Thurs., @ ORL Sat., @ IND Mon., @ PHI Tues. (<– the one back-to-back set), vs BOS Thurs., @ CHI Sat., and @ NYK Wed. (Valentine’s Day).

— The best-case scenario here might be 5-3, and that’s assuming that Wall takes these last two weeks off. Who knows, maybe he just rests his ailing knee for a week; 5-3 might be the best-case scenario whether Wall plays in any games before the break or not.

— 5-3 would put the Wizards at 32-25 and on pace for 46 wins.

— If the Wizards were to make a trade, in theory they would have at least two games before the All-Star break to play with the new arrangement. Normally the break happens to more coincide with the deadline. Will be interesting to see if league-wide action picks up this week as teams become motivated to make a move and see how the new pieces might fit.

— Until next time.

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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.