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Game Notebook 11, Wizards vs. Pacers: An Indy Bonfire On The Hardwood

Pacers 123
Wizards 106

November 24, 2015 – Verizon Center, Washington, DC

ESPN Box Score

The draftiness of the Verizon Center is a common struggle one endures on most nights coming to these Wizards games. If you’re sporting a blazer jacket or a Cosby sweater, you’ve done yourself a favor. Kris Humphries, I understand now why you invested in so many of those neatly woven cardigans.

If you went to the game last night, however, you experienced an abrupt change of climate in the arena effected by something different this time. Paul George and CJ Miles were in town, and they promptly lit up a bonfire on the Verizon floor. The two would combine to pile up stakes of 3-pointers one after the other 17 times, and set it ablaze with the stroke of a jump shot. Their fire crackled to the tune of 72 combined points in a 123-106 Pacers win over the Wizards.

Turnovers and a plethora of botched open looks prevented the Wizards from extinguishing the Indy fire. The Wizards shot just 33 percent from the field for the 2nd half in contrast to 50 percent by the Pacers. The Wizards missed 12 of 16 three-point shots while the Pacers made seven of 11. And the turnovers were just gimmes. The Pacers committed 8 of them but evidently, they were affordable as the Wizards scored just 3 points off them. Meanwhile, the Wizards committed 9 turnovers giving the Pacers 9 points they didn’t need.

The moral of the story in the locker room? Simply put: George and Miles had basketball nights of their lives making contested shots while the Wiz didn’t make enough open ones. The turnovers and the additional 25 points the Pacers earned out of them was the difference between a close game and the onslaught that it became. When a team is buy shots at a 73 percent clip from downtown, it’s likely they don’t need the extra coupons.

Losses like these happen, and it’s better that they happen on the front end of a back-to-back, when amnesia after a bad game is natural, and the opportunity to make up for it is just a handful of hours away.

Things to remember from tonight:

Paul George is an absolute savage. I know they call him PG-13 but last night he was more like an NC-17 flick and even then he might have been too raunchy for some mature audiences. It’s a treasure to see athletes dominate a sport like the way George did last night, even perhaps when it’s against the Wizards. Sometimes you just accept it, and if you’re passionate enough, you embrace it. PG poured in 15 in the first quarter hitting all six of his 3’s before continuing his obliteration of Washington in the second half with 23 more points. He finished with 40 on the night. This isn’t George’s first time prancing in DC. And he loves it.

Yeah whatever.

Turnovers have become an ongoing issue for the Wizards this season. They rank in the bottom six of the league with 16 turnovers per game *peering right at you, John*.. Still love you bro. In six games out of the 11 played this season, Wall has turned the ball over five or more times. Twice, including last night, he turned the ball over as many times as, if not less than the number of times he assisted it. His turnover count was 8 in each of those games. His assist number last night was five. This is no bueno. After the game, as part of a question regarding his high turnover count this season, John was asked whether he’s fine physically:

Welp.

With George and Miles playing lights out, could the Wizards had done a better job adjusting defensively? Shrugs. The consensus feeling from everyone who addressed the media post game, Randy Wittman included, was that it was simply Paul and CJ’s night, and that they tip their hat to them and are moving on. Jared Dudley offered similar post game sentiments but also mentioned how the Wizards defense could have adjusted so that maybe George would possess the ball less. I mean, yeah. That’s a theory, and theories are all you can offer when a player goes off the way George did. Dudley was explaining how a minor adjustment, such as to offer less help defense and instead guard the hot shooters more physically may have not cooled down George or Miles, but more so it would have prevented them from touching the ball as much. I guess we’ll remember that for next time.


#WizPacers in a tweet..


The Game’s Top Performer:

Gary Neal – 23 points, 5-8 from 3PT.

Ah, Mr. Petty Cash Box. I confess that I love that name I’ve coined him with. Neal embodies one of those oft-used petty cash boxes that always remain stuffed. He’s the perfect plug for a second unit with his crafty ways of scoring and his threat from any range. It was Neal’s performance in the 2nd quarter that kept the Wizards shielded from the bombardment of 3’s coming from George and Miles. Playing all 12 minutes, and mostly against Indy’s backups, he scored 13 points and knocked down three 3’s. The Wizards had their biggest lead of 7 during this span of time. Neal has become an extremely effective player in the offense. He knows what he’s capable of and he knows how to get to his spots on the floor for a high percentage shot. His floater is something we can do without most of the time but not every player is perfect. The last crunched up dollar retrieved from the petty box last night was when Neal let the ball slip from his hands as he pulled up for a jump shot. After looking at some tape, I would expect new invoices to be printed out and a refill of some cash for the Charlotte trip. The per diem rates down there are pretty low anyway


A forgettable night for..

Any defender guarding Paul George or CJ Miles

If you’re analyzing this situation involving Paul George and CJ Miles and their torching of the Wizards, it’s fun to take on the angle of any of those Wizards players who were guarding them. When a tandem of players are unstoppably making shot after shot from long range, you tend to get humbled to some fraction of a degree. It may not slow you down, but nothing makes you feel like you didn’t do your job right in basketball is failing to defend a player from making a shot. It becomes even more demoralizing when you know you’ve played him well by getting a hand in his face yet the asshole won’t stop missing. For those defenders I pray that a better night tonight reconciles some of these inevitable emotions.


The Vine-lights

John Wall uses his go-go-gadget arms to get this and-1.


Ramon Sessions with the steal, then does his best Wall imitation.


Remember the talk last year that Nene wouldn’t want to come off bench? Yea me neither

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