Wizards Obey Brooks's Three Commandments and Defeat Knicks | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Wizards Obey Brooks’s Three Commandments and Defeat Knicks

Updated: January 4, 2018

During his pregame address to the media, Wizards Coach Scott Brooks was asked about the main tenets of consistent basketball for his team — commandments if you will:

“When we’re engaged defensively, we’re one of the best teams in the league getting the ball off the rim and scoring early in the shot clock.  That’s definitely a sign…and then when we make the extra pass.”

In the first quarter, the Wizards seemed to have a firm grasp on just one of Scott Brooks’ tenets: making the extra pass. Bradley Beal and John Wall seemed to make a conscious effort to get the ball to Marcin Gortat in the post, and that, combined with the Wizards’ 68-percent shooting (Beal and Gortat shot a combined 7-for-7), helped the Wizards’ starters score 28 points in the first ten minutes of the quarter.

Unfortunately, during the same span, the Wizards had no fast break points, and their defense allowed the Knicks to score 25 points on 59-percent shooting. When the 5-man bench lineup of Mike Scott, Kelly Oubre, Tomas Satoransky, Ian Mahinmi and Jodie Meeks was in the game, they didn’t fare much better. As uneven as the Wizards’ starters play had been, they still managed to salvage a three-point lead out of it. The bench players took that baton, and completely dropped it by turning a three-point lead into a seven-point deficit in a little less than four minutes of play.

The Wizards went from obeying one of the tenets Scott Brooks laid out pregame to adhering to none. At the 9:56 mark of the second quarter, after Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina hit an improbable turn-around jumper to put his team up by seven points, Brooks called timeout and re-inserted his starters. The starters responded by outscoring the Knicks 30-19, but the fast break points were still scarce (two) and the Knicks were still shooting 58-percent and had scored a whopping 62 points. The only reason the Wizards were leading by two at the half was John Wall’s improbable last second shot:

When asked after the game what was said at halftime, both Coach Brooks and Marcin Gortat responded with vague platitudes. Brooks spoke about defensive adjustments to make the Wizards more aggressive and Gortat attributed the improved third quarter play to “determination” and “execution”.

Thankfully, Bradley Beal was gracious enough to shun those tried and true phrases in favor of the tenets his coach shared before the game:

The third quarter saw the Wizards’ starters getting stops on defense and spreading the wealth on offense. Washington held the Knicks to 14 points on 28-percent shooting while scoring 26 points on 57-percent shooting on the offensive end. The Wizards’ points were distributed fairly evenly (Gortat had seven, Beal had six and Wall had eight) and Washington also established a commanding lead in points in the paint. After both teams scored 32 points in the paint in the first half, the Wizards outscored the Knicks 16-to-6 in the third quarter to help build a commanding 90-77 lead.

The Wizards bench took the same baton they dropped at the tail end of the first quarter, but this time, at the start of the fourth quarter, they ran with it. The bench extended a 13-point lead to as high as 19, using those same commandments Scott Brooks mentioned prior to the game: defense and making the extra pass.

The Wizards led by 15 when Coach Brooks re-inserted the starters into the game, but even then, the lead never dipped below double digits. Washington was far from perfect in the execution department, but in the end, they executed when it counted, thanks to their ability to selectively adhere to the commandments their coach laid out before the game. They shared the ball, they focused on defense, and they put pressure on the Knicks’ defense via the fast break. And more importantly, they won their second consecutive game over a losing team–something they’ve struggled with all season. A Win-win.

Other Bullets

  • Bradley Beal used his patented step-back move against Kristaps Porzingis in the first half, but he simply wobbled him, as opposed to making him fall. The second time he used the move, he tried and failed to make him fall, but it didn’t make the move any less sweeter to watch. Said Beal after the game: “A shot went in in the first half and he stumbled a little bit on that one. I told myself that in the second half I’m gonna do a little bit more and see if I can make him fall.”

  • Gortat had 21 points on 9-of-10 shooting from the field, and at first glance it appeared he was a beneficiary of the Wizards application of Brooks’ offensive tenets. But after the game, Gortat revealed he had other motives for his inspired play that were rooted in something much deeper than the coach:


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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.