Wizards 113 – Bucks 106: Sato Is Freed…Again | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Wizards 113 – Bucks 106: Sato Is Freed…Again

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Updated: January 12, 2019

One way or another, the Wizards were going to be tested against the Milwaukee Bucks.

If Giannis Antetokounmpo (who was listed as doubtful before the game) had played, the  John Wall-less Wizards would have been tasked with beating a team with a an MVP candidate and the NBA’s best record.  Without Giannis, the Wizards’ challenge would be to maintain focus and not suffer a letdown against a team that was still formidable (going into last night the Bucks were 2-0 without the services of Giannis).

Giannis did not play, the Wizards only trailed for a grand total of 42 seconds, they won the game, and at least for one night they passed the proverbial test—especially Tomas Satoransky.

In 35 minutes of play, Sato scored 18 points, grabbed 12 rebounds, six turnovers (a mere afterthought tonight) and he dished out 10 assists.  The 10th assist, which gave him the triple-double, came via a play that Bradley Beal called, which resulted in an alley-oop.  After the game, Beal told the media that late in the fourth quarter, he was on a mission to get Sato his first triple-double:

I’d been trying to get him a triple-double for a minute throughout the game. A couple plays down the stretch you probably seen I was under the basket telling him to throw it, and the wouldn’t throw it. But eventually we got to an easier play, he didn’t want to turn the ball over, and I understood it, so we ended up calling that play, which we get that once or twice a game, so I had to get him his first and I’m happy he got it.

Sato, along with the rest of the Wizards starters, was both accurate and aggressive with his offense in the first quarter.  He hit four of his five shots including one 3-pointer, and had nine points by the time the quarter ended. He sat out the first 3:14 of the second quarter, and 58 seconds after he re-entered the game, Jeff Green found him wide open for a 3-pointer shot to give him 12 points.  The first third of his triple-double was complete.

When a reporter asked Green whether he was surprised at Sato’s ability to score, he chuckled and said, “You didn’t see it last year? The guy can score man, he’s a player. He belongs here and he’s showcasing it now”.   Scott Brooks agreed:

It’s constantly been telling him, ‘Hey, you’re really good at two things: spot-up threes and your floater. Never pass either one of those up.’ As the years have gone by, he’s taken those more consistently and he has to keep doing it. He’s been good and he’s been improving every year, and that’s what you want your players to do.

Sato’s offensive game has improved but he’s always been adept at passing the ball, so his assist total was hardly surprising.  But even though Sato grabbed 11 rebounds earlier this year against Atlanta, his career-high 12 rebounds against the Bucks represented just his third double-figure rebound game as a member of the Washington Wizards.

Immediately after the game, all of Sato’s colleagues crowded around him and heaped him with praise, hugs and adulation.  Once they left the court, the Wizards continued to show him how happy they were with this performance, but they doused him with a little something different:

 

When asked whose idea it was to pour water on him after the game, Sato quickly blamed on it on Ian Mahinmi.  “It was Euro on Euro crime, ” said Satoransky.

Given that Satoransky also displayed this level of skill last season while John Wall was hurt, only to see Scott Brooks and Ty Lawson usurp his playing time in the 2018 playoffs, it would be easy and understandable for him to be bitter and/or cynical regarding the attention surrounding his triple double.  But to his credit, Satoransky, while appreciative of the elusive milestone that he had achieved during last night’s Wizards victory, maintained his humility–something he had demonstrated throughout his brief NBA career.

Brad [Beal] had one before and for a shooter, it’s tough to get it. I’m more around organizing a team and I think I had a lot of numbers from the beginning. Everything was flowing down for me, rebounds, assists, shots. You always have more opportunities when you have a good start.

And now, some closing word from my TAI colleague Adam Rubin, who has been on the #FreeSato bandwagon for quite some time:

 

 

 

 

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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.