Led by Morris and Oubre, the Wiz Stamp Out the Blazers in OT | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Led by Morris and Oubre, the Wiz Stamp Out the Blazers in OT

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Updated: October 23, 2018

[Photo: Associated Press]

With their backs against the wall, two Wizards players saved the franchise from facing the dynastic Golden State Warriors as an 0-3 team.

Yes, John Wall and Bradley Beal made a few plays down the stretch that contributed to the 125-124 victory (more on that later), but this game was won on the backs of two of their most outwardly expressive talents: Kelly Oubre and Markieff Morris.

Keef arguably had his best all-around game in a Wizards uniforms, and his energy and big-time shot-making were catalysts for their first win of the season. He hit a career-high six 3s and each one was more timely—he hit half of them in the fourth quarter and overtime.

The Wizards ran a succession of plays to Markieff Morris which allowed him to take advantage of 1) either a smaller defender switched onto him in the post or 2) Jusuf Nurkic lumbering to contest shots from outside. Keef consistently answered the bell and showed why Wall has the confidence to get him the ball at the end of games, and why Scott Brooks will have that same confidence to play Keef at the 5 more often.

Oubre did not have many, or any, plays called for him at the end of the game, but he was impactful on both ends of the floor. He allowed the Wizards to play small for the majority of the game after Ian Mahnmi left in the first quarter with back spasms. Scott Brooks elected to go small with Keef and Jeff Green at the 5, instead of relying too heavily on traditional big like Jason Smith. Oubre did not settle for 3s but was as aggressive as he’s ever been in terms of attacking the basket. With two minutes to go, he pulled in a board and pushed up the court for an and-1, tying the game at 102. That was the exact spark the Wizards needed.

There have been many instances where Brooks has declared Oubre an “X-factor” for the Wizards and on Monday night, he proved to be just that. This warm embrace between Oubre and Brooks at the end said all you need to know about their relationship.

The Wizards need Oubre’s defensive presence more than his offensive output, but last night is proof that Oubre can deliver both. The dribble-drive work that Oubre put in with trainer Drew Hanlen this summer seems to be paying off, as he scored six of his nine field goals on layup finishes at the rim.

Oubre was also disciplined enough to stay in the game after picking up his fifth foul with 1:54 seconds left in the fourth quarter. The team was already running thin in the front-court when Jeff Green hurt himself on the final play of regulation, and Oubre’s presence on the court became imperative. He kept his composure when it was needed most.

Even though the Wizards received strong performances from Keef and Oubre, the team still needed a trio of plays from their three max-contract players to eek out the victory. The first play came from Brad who hit the game-tying 3-pointer with 6.6 seconds to go to send the game into overtime. (If I were the Blazers, I’d have just let Wall shoot that 3 at the break.)

The second play was a fortuitous bank shot from John Wall to put the team up four with 10.1 seconds left.

This should have been the game-sealing play, but in #SoWizards fashion, the team allowed CJ McCollum to hit a 3-pointer to bring the Trail Blazers within one. John Wall had the chance to ice the game from the free throw line, but he missed the pair, affording Portland one last attempt to steal the win. An electric Moda Center crowd was assured that “Dame Time” was coming, but not on Otto Porter’s watch (this time, at least):

Washington still has so much to clean up, but credit them for showing grit. A win is a win, and perhaps it’ll have a galvanizing effect as they take on the Golden State Warriors tonight.

Troy Haliburton on Twitter
Troy Haliburton
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Troy Haliburton is a native Washingtonian, and graduate of Gonzaga College High School and Morehouse College. Bylines on bylines on bylines.

Will write for food.