The Wizards Played Charlie Brown to the Mavericks' Lucy | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

The Wizards Played Charlie Brown to the Mavericks’ Lucy

By
Updated: November 7, 2018

Three minutes into the Wizards-Mavs game, Otto Porter single-handedly cut a seven-point deficit to just two points with a 17-footer followed by a 3-point shot. Four minutes later, that smooth Porter stroke gave Washington their first lead of the game, 13-12, and it felt like a perfect storm of positive mojo was in motion. The Wizards were winning and, per Coach Scott Brooks’s directive, Porter was operating under the greenest of green lights.

Sadly, that was the last time the Wizards would lead the entire night. That sliver of hope morphed into the equivalent of Lucy pulling the ball away from Charlie Brown.

The Mavericks went on a 23-11 run and led 35-24 after one quarter. It wasn’t just the amount of points that deflated the Wizards’ momentum, it was how they were scored. Luka Doncic seemingly had carte blanche from beyond the arc and in the paint, as did Harrison Barnes and Dennis Smith Jr.

It was more of the same in the second quarter, except this time the culprit was Wesley Matthews’s 3-point shooting. He went 4-for-5 from beyond the arc, and scored 14 as the Mavs pushed their lead from 11 to 21 points. In all, the Mavs scored 70 points in the first half, while the Wizards mustered just 49 points—partly because John Wall was the only consistent scorer, and partly due to the rotation decisions of Coach Scott Brooks, which remain woefully inconsistent.

Any defensive momentum that the Wizards hoped to carry over from holding the New York Knicks under 100 points just one game earlier was methodically quelled by the hot-shooting Mavs in just 24 short minutes.

The drinker of a glass half-full would attribute the disparity in play between the Mavs and Wizards to the coaching brilliance of Rick Carlisle—perfectly reasonable considering the Wizards have won just twice against Carlisle since 2008 (and losing 16 of the last 17). That same optimist would point out that the Mavericks shot an unsustainable 56 percent from the 3-point line, and 50 percent overall en route to their 21-point halftime lead. If the Wizards continued to shoot around 45 percent as they had in the first half, surely the Mavericks would cool off a bit, and this would be a much closer match.

And just like Lucy says all the right things and holds that football just long enough for Charlie Brown to believe he really and truly has a chance to connect, the Mavs took their foot off the gas, teasing the Wiz with the hope of a comeback.

Led by Porter (9 points) and Beal (8), the Wizards scored 29 points in the third, shooting 44 percent from the floor. The Mavs, meanwhile, went ice-cold from the 3-point line (20%) and shot just 37 percent overall. Just like that, the Wizards trailed by nine points heading into the fourth quarter.

That momentum continued for the Wizards in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter, with Wall and Co. twice cutting the Mavs’ lead to six points. It looked like with a few stops and some timely shooting by Wall (who had 9 points and 3 assists in the quarter), the Wizards could possibly steal the game on the road.

Then, Lucy moved that football.

The Mavericks went on a 20-7 run the last 5:11 of the game, and during that same span the Wizards shot just 14 percent and made one (one!) shot from the field. In fact, the last five minutes of the game could easily serve as a lowlight reel of everything that has gone wrong for the Wizards this season. There was hero-ball, there were quick shots, missed open shots, and glaring lapses on the defensive end of the floor.

After the game, Coach Brooks repeated that his team simply has to stick together during these challenging times, and Wall blamed the lack of defensive communication—and the slow start—for the loss.

But the bottom line is that, at 2-8, the Washington Wizards are unable to sustain high-level play long enough to give themselves chances to win (even if they’ve shown, inconsistently, that they can play well enough to contend with anyone).

The Mavericks ran out to a big lead, faltered long enough to give a Wizards an easy target to hit, but the Wizards missed it and fell flat. Better luck next time, Charlie Brown.

 

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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.