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Game Notebook 3, Wizards vs. Knicks: A Mellow Opener Full Of Melo

Knicks 117
Wizards 110

October 31, 2015 – Verizon Center, Washington, DC

ESPN Box Score

The tail end game of a back-to-back is typically not an easy night. The deeper they pop up in the season the less easier they get. But when it’s this early in the season, they should be easy to handle. They should particulary be easier to handle when you’re playing a less-than-ripe New York Knick team whose coach undoubtedly has the bulging eyes of Matt Barnes glaring at him from the background of a FaceTime call somewhere in his mind, haunting him with each stroke of the whiteboard marker he takes during a timeout. It’s true. Yet not officially confirmed.

I’m not sure this is a game you would label as one the Wizards “let slip” as the well-known sports mantra goes. There was surely that lack of “commitment to defend” as Randy Wittman explained. There was also Jared Dudley’s decision a few months ago to circle a revenge game on this night for Carmelo Anthony’s calendar. Melo torturously disemboweled Dudley – along with poor Otto in the way – en route to a demoralizing stat line of 37 points on 18 shots (THAT’S A HUGE EFFING DEAL). But “scoring 110 points at home and still losing by 7” (again using Wittman’s words) is a game you deserve to lose. Not one you let slip.

THe Wizards and Knicks came into last night’s game from opposite ends of the regular season mental pole. The Wizards were fresh of an impressive road win in Milwaukee, with Bradley Beal’s face still numb from the 4th quarter of that game. The Knicks were coming off a home opener drubbing of their own to the Atlanta Hawks. This was a game where Carmelo anthony had scored 27 points on a typical overexpendature of jump shots and was 0-for-7 from 3.

So what was it about Halloween night that spooked the Wizards from commiting to defense and winning against the Knicks? Was it the general lack of intensity of fans in the arena (I’m going to harp on this in a future post by the way) Or the emotions of Randy Wittman having to bid his final farewell to Flip Saunders? Couple that with the in-game emotions of Melo and Dudley. We can always talk about the celebrity of Melo earning celebrity calls from refs. Meanwhile, on the other end of the floor, John Wall is screaming at a ref over the jumpball that should have been. And then of course, there are the inexplicably large turnout of Knicks fans, now strong enough to where loud boos are blaring in the arena when John Wall is at the free throw line. Bet it didn’t feel like his city then. Yep, all that happened, and all were sure to be some of the underlying factors that influenced the outcome of the game. The question moving forward is, how well can they recover? I’m voting pretty well.

Let’s see how this game turned out.

#WizKnicks in a tweet..

The Game’s Top Performer:

Bradley Beal – 22 second half points

He started 1-7 from the field in the first half, and again played the role of a catalyst in the second half with the pursuit of carrying his squad to another close victory.

Honorable mention: John Wall: 25 points, 4 assists, 2 blocks, 1 steal

A forgettable night for..

Jared Dudley

When a superstar like Melo approaches a game or a matchup in a vengeful manner, like after someone calls him overrated, you pretty much done f’d up. Coming off a bad night in Atlanta, and remembering how Dudley aired him on the radio, Melo torched victim after victim, whoever Wittman threw at him, en route to a big night

The Breakdown:

1st quarter

When did Mike Jarvis become the Knicks new coach?
unnamed (2)

  • If only the way Otto Porter had opened up this game would have been the true tone-setter for the way the Wizards performed throughout and at into the final buzzer. Otto came out serious with a bunch of confidence-mounting plays that eventually had Carmelo playing about as tight defense as you’d ever seen him. Or never seen him, rather. Otto got himself going with a steal off Jose Calderon. A few moments later he defended Melo into a long miss. Porter received the ensuing Gortat rebound and took it to the house on Sasha Vujačić. A defensive possession later he hounded Melo again into a tough shot, this time an airball. Later in the quarter, Melo tried to size up Otto with some handles but only crossed up himself as the ball slipped through his legs and rolled out of bounds.

  • Eventually, and inevitably Melo did claw his way back against Otto and anyone else. He forced Otto into a late chuck against the shot clock, and then zippes past him towards the basket and drawing a foul. Melo finished the quarter with 10 points.
  • Robin Lopez earned the dominant role in the front court matchup. He obliterated Marcin Gortat on two separate blocks and then sent Kris Humphries, who was attempting to draw a charge, into the baseline before tear dropping a bucket. Fun times for him were also short-lived when he bumped into John Wall in mid-air when Wall was attempting a layup. Oh, John scored that basket.

Speaking of John Wall, he welcomed Calderon back to another season of tormenting matchups. Watch Wall plant Calderon into the hardwood with a stutter-step.

  • Then he really got into his zone, drawing a foul on Kristaps; running a nice break and kicking it out to a trailing Drew Gooden; slinging a nice left-handed pass to Gortat out of the post. Gortat drew a foul – and made two free throws. That’s an assist in my heart for Wall. He destroyed Jerian Grant. Like Melo, Wall ended the quarter with 10 points on 3-4 shooting.

2nd quarter

  • To start the 2nd quarter, the Wizards went with the All-Supreme Deluxe Wash With The Works lineup of second unit players. I’m talking Sessions, Neal, Dudley, Nene and Gooden. Turns out it worked out not so bad. Except that somewhere out the wood works of lottery pick super-fails, Derrick Williams showed up with Fetty Wap’s haircut and a rainbow jumper arching as ever. Williams came out launching a 3, then a jumper right in Gooden’s face. Then Gooden answered back and it was just like, is Drew Gooden versus Derrick Williams why we are not here!?
  • The bench squad held fort pretty well until the starters were plugged back in. Gary Neal continues to prove his worth off the bench as a scoring option. Sessions got burned by Jerian Grant and Jose Calderon but managed to make up for it with a nice and-1 in transition. Dudley forced a turnover on Lance Thomas. The Wizards outscored the Knicks 11-8 during while the starters rested.

Here’s a cool little sequence in #HouseOfGuards:

  • Hope you enjoyed that because here’s where things get ugly for the Wizards, and particularly for Jared Dudley. Word on the streets was that Melo had been informed about Dudley’s opinion of him given in an interview with Colin Cowherd. Dudley was asked who he thought was the most overrated player in the league. Dud answered:

“I would say Carmelo [Anthony] … Carmelo is viewed as a top-five player … He has the talent to be able to facilitate … He’s gotta get out of the first, second rounds — he’s gotta get his teams to the playoffs. LeBron, with that [Knicks] roster, LeBron would’ve gotten them to the playoffs. They would’ve been at least an eight-seed.”

  • The coolest of stories given by Dudley, who now it ends up made those statements at the expense of the Wizards defense having endure a motivated, pissed off Carmelo Anthony.

Bad breaks for the Wizards in this quarter:

Wall went 1-4 from the free throw line.
Bradley Beal went 1-4 for the quarter and 1-7 for the half.
Otto Porter missed a few option shots from the corner. He was 0-3 from the field in the 2nd.
Kristaps and Melo got hot.

3rd quarter

  • The Wizards came out of halftime drier your mouth at 5am after a night of straight gin. Humphries was about as useless as balls on a snake and Drew Gooden was not much of a consolation prize. Melo was still Ice T, treating the Verizon Center like The Carter Building, treating Gortat like Pookie on a block. The Knicks climbed to an 8-point lead as a result of all this.
  • There was a spurt in the 3rd quarter where I really felt depressed the Wizards hadn’t run these scrubs off the court. I mean, facing lineups consisting of Lance Thomas and Kyle O’Quinn..I’m sure their darlings of human beings but I’m not about to write anything super-respectful about their game. The Wizards had a nice little run against them in the midway through the 3rd to erase an 8-point deficit. This 3-pointer by Beal tied the game up:

  • Otto Porter was magnificent in this quarter. He opened up with two nice cuts along the baseline, both of them resulting in points. He later put on a nice little move on Melo to create space and promptly knocked down a jumper in his face. Otto had 10 points on 4-5 shooting.

Wall with the steal. Gooden with the sling. Wall with the finish.

Another Beal 3 helped finish the quarter on a 5-0 run for the Wizards, taking a three point lead into the 4th.

4th quarter

  • So Wittman opens up the 4th quarter with DeJuan Blair on the floor, which was a bit interesting since his assignment was Robin Lopez. Blair promptly checked into an offensive foul within the first few seconds of the quarter. Committed a second foul one minute later. Alongside Blair was Gooden, Neal, Sessions, and Bradley Beal, making this about as super small of a lineup as we’ve yet seen.

Oh Bradley you so gooood…

  • A terrible sequence of possessions for the Wizards. Unable to handle the glass, the Knicks raced to an offensive rebound which resulted in a kickout pass to Grant for a corner 3. Wall’s jumper falls short and the Knicks capitalize again with Melo drawing contact on a drive. The next Wizards possession was Dudley misfiring on a pass to Wall in the corner. The rowdiness of Knicks fans in attendance also increased.
  • Bradley Beal is becoming extremely fun to watch. He’s jawing at everyone up and down the court. He dribbles with assertion. You can just tell he’s in a state of mind where he just feels he’s not to be f’d with. A nice exchange of buckets between he and Melo kept the game intense, and there was more obvious tension between he and Vujačić. Both Melo and Beal had 11 points in the 4th.

The Knicks got some huge shots down the stretch from key guys. Melo obviously got his but it was Langston Galloway and Lance Thomas who really drove in the piercing shots of the night.

And here came the controversy of the night: a timeout called by Langston Galloway while he and the Wizards fight for possession:

Both the state of Galloway’s fingers and toes are in question as it pertains to whether he was officially out of bounds before calling a timeout. Wittman and Wall were both incensed over the idea that the Knicks were even able to pull off a timeout at all.

Alas, the Wizards had one more shot at making something out of nothing. Down by 3, Bradley Beal drove to the rim and claimed to be hit on his way up. He missed and there was no call.

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