December 30, 2014 – American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX
Tuning in to the Wizards game early in the 3rd quarter (marriage got in the way), the onslaught had already commenced in Dallas and the Mavericks were well in the midst of their rout. Then, for writing purposes I had to go back and watch it again on DVR, which triggered a particular memory.
You remember about a decade ago, maybe less, when the ‘2 Girls 1 Cup’ hype was circulating and many of us, before watching the actual horror, chose to watch the reaction videos just to gather our wits before finally watching it ourselves? Having to succumb to the shit show that was the Wizards-Mavs game after it was already over reminded me of that. Because, while at dinner last night, I followed through the first two quarters and a portion of the third via the ever-beloved #WizardsTwitter and based on their disgusted tweets, I had been given enough of an idea of what exactly it was I was getting into.
It definitely lived up to the hype. It was true. All of Wizards Nation had become one collective 2 Girls 1 Cup reaction video as the Mavericks….okay, no. I think I’m done with this metaphor, but watch the compilation video below and you’ll agree to the depiction it presents.
The Mavs stifled the Wizards into a wreck of turnovers, forcing 23 of them for 33 points while only committing seven turnovers of their own. They pillaged the Wizards in the paint, outscoring them 50-38. Meanwhile, the Wizards attempted only 12 3-pointers, missed 10 free throws, got little support from their bench and I’m this close to making another revolting analogy.
How bad was this one? DeJuan Blair breakout performance in garbage time bad. Randy Wittman heaved up the white flag by unloading his bench at the beginning of the 4th quarter and Blair went all out for nine points and five rebounds.
The Wizards were at least watchable in the 1st quarter. Bradley Beal and Nene executed some pick and roll; Paul Pierce hit a 3; Wall and Gortat connected. They opened up with a 7-2 lead before going back and forth the rest of the quarter.
Then the nastiness began. The Wizards were outscored 36-21 in the 2nd quarter no thanks again to a sorely struggling second unit. The Wizards shot just 35% from the field, a drastic contrast to the 65% flame launching by the Mavericks, whose bench outperformed the Wizards’ to the brink of embarrassment. Greg Smith’s six points, JJ Barea’s four assists and Richard Jefferson’s 10 points in the 2nd quarter got the ball rolling, before Monta Ellis’ nine points in the final four minutes of the half polished things up for Dallas. They took an 18-point lead into the half as #WittmanFace became..faceless.
The Wizards never recovered, even when the starters came back on to the floor. Bradley Beal failed to provide an encore performance after his breakout 33-point game against the Rockets, going just 4-for-14 against the Mavs and attempting only three 3-point shots. Rasual Butler had been struggling these past few games and last night, he made just one of seven shots while missing all three of his 3’s. Besides his signature 3-point foul draw, Martell Webster’s return was forgettable as well.
Chalk this one up against the unfavorable schedule or blame it on the fact the Mavericks are legitimate title contenders, but the Wizards have to be better than getting minimal contributions from the bench while their best shooter continues to take less than four 3-point shots. The Wizards have two days before the Thunder and Spurs to figure it out, otherwise you’ll just be reading another sick reference made by me and you really don’t want my imagination tested.
Moment of the Night
Ahh. Silver linings. How about John Wall running a 1-on-5 fastbreak?
Game Notes and Vinelights
The Wizards got off to a pretty good start, taking a 7-2 lead early after buckets from Nene and Gortat; also a Pierce 3. Dirk was a bit off early, going 1-4 in the 1st quarter which also helped.
Defense and transition is what crushed the Wizards in this game. The Mavs did most of their damage in transition, scoring 26 fast break points in the first half and 31 for the game. They stifled the Wizards on several possessions by denying them any space on the baseline and in the lane, ultimately leading to turnovers and transition points.
But again, the Wizards managed to keep up early, forcing a few turnovers and also getting some points in transition. They outscored the Mavs 16-10 in the paint early thanks to some of those transition points but also, thanks to some sweet Spurs-esque ball movement by way of #NeneHands.
This was a sweet block..err…goaltend? Tough to say in real time. Some can make the argument that a finger-roll usually prompts the ball over the cylinder and on its way down quicker than other shots, qualifying it as a goaltend. Some can make the argument that Wall’s reaction time to committing the block is just quicker than your average. I’m going with the latter just cuz.
‘Tell’s season debut began with the second unit to start the 2nd quarter and he got right to work by drawing a foul on a 3-point shot attempt – a trademark move of his. But that’s just about all I can gloat about as it pertains to bench play. For the second game in a row they contributed very little when it mattered, and the 2nd quarter is when it mattered. Seraphin, Butler, even Miller were just out of sorts and conversely, the Mavs’ bench was feasting. The Mavs outscored the Wiz 36-21 behind 10 points from Richard Jefferson and a few killer JJ Barea-Greg Smith connections. JJ BAREA AND GREG SMITH. Inexplicable.
The damage was created by the bench unit and when the starters returned, they followed suit. The Mavs continued to build on their lead with impressive defense despite Wall and company back on the floor. A traveling call on Nene here. A short jumper missed by John Wall there. A bad pass. Two missed free throws. One out of two free throws. And in the meanwhile Monta Ellis stormed the last four minutes with nine points before Chandler Parsons nailed a pull-up 21 footer over Martell right before the halftime buzzer sounded. Are you puking yet?
If so, let me mercifully replenish you with a John Wall jam.
Need I go on about this tormenting contest? Probs not. But probs still will. At really no point in the second half were we in a position to feel like things would turn around. Beal was shooting 1-8 by early in the 3rd and didn’t hit his first 3-pointer until the 1:50 mark. The Wizards wouldn’t hit their first field goal until the 8:35 mark. Nene began to feel some pain in his right foot and before you knew it the Wizards were down by 28 points, in full tiresome road trip mode. And to make matters worse, Rajon Rondo was being a dick playing as well as he did.
F it. Have another Mavs play. This time, Chandler Parsons’ absurdity.
In closing, as a form of genuine humanity and mercy, I’ll leave you with Kevin Seraphin, who despite the overall tumult we endure watching him play, refused to go down without a fight, even when garbage time began at the beginning of the 4th quarter. Salute.