January 11, 2015 – Philips Arena, Atlanta, GA
Sundays are typically a half-assing day for most regular folks. Slumbering out of bed at an unreasonable time of day; not caring enough to get out of your PJs or for a nutritious breakfast while you dig into a box of whole grain Club crackers and a half empty bottle of water from the fridge. Wait, that just precisely described my Sunday yesterday. In all truth, Sundays are commonly an unproductive segue from eventful Friday nights and Saturdays to Monday’s work day.
These habits are surely acceptable when you qualify as “regular folk”. But not so much when your profession is the game of basketball and when part of the job requirement for basketball players is showing up to work on particular Sundays. The Wizards have clocked in to work on four different Sundays this season, and after a disastrous afternoon yesterday in Georgia, came away losers for the third time.
The Hawks are good. No, seriously, they’re a fucking powerhouse. As true followers of the Spurs blueprint and led rightfully by a head coach who used to be an assistant in San Antonio, the Hawks have transformed into one of the smartest groups of players in the league. Their offense is a free-flowing spread of gifted shooters utilizing continuous movement and driven by sharp chemistry. Their defense: stifling and suffocating. When they can sense momentum slipping after gaining a big lead, they regroup and reform, and before you know it, you’re right back at square one getting lit up.
With all due credit given to the Hawks, there also can be no taking away from how bad the Wizards were. The Wizards fell behind by 20 points at one point in the 2nd quarter due to a plethora of turnovers (many unforced), a lethargic effort on defense, and a bench unit that was sorely unproductive. The Wizards did display some resilience, though. The defense intensified on a few possessions as Seraphin and Nene began to clog up the lane from Jeff Teague cuts and Paul Millsap drives. Wall hounded Teague into a bad shot, then Kyle Korver missed a rare open 3. The Wizards took advantage of the stops and went on a 22-7 run to close the half, closing the gap to 5.
The 3rd quarter was like the Rebel Yell roller coaster going backwards with the addition of a loop as the Wizards got face planted again thanks to some shitty possessions. Aside from the unconverted Gortat and-1 and some good Wall defense, the Wizards went right back to burning money, wasting a possession with a shot clock violation, Horford destroying Beal on backdoor layup attempt, and then that ridiculous Korver behind-the-back pass to Carroll in transition. The lead jacked right back up to 10 before a Beal 3 and a Nene pick-6 cut right back to 5. The problem is, Atlanta also has very good bench players. Pero Antic and his developing knack for camping out on the perimeter and shooting 3’s is annoying. The Wizards’ bigs weren’t quite fond of that routine and so often we noticed them drifting closer to the paint and failing to run back and close out on Antic’s shot attempt.
What sucks the most is when you realize the Wizards were down just 7 points early in the 4th with the ball! How could this ever turn into a 31-point debacle just 9 minutes later!? I’ll tell you how. A Korver shooter’s bounce on a 3; Webster missing 1 of 3 free throws, a shit ton of Mike Scott owning the paint; Sefolosha drilling a wide open 3 because Andre Miller was too late to run back on defense; Beal missing a long 2 which I didn’t have to tell you. THAT’S how. The Hawks stretched the lead from 7 to 20 in literally 3 minutes and before you knew it, the white towel was drawn, the bench’s emptied and the Wizards sent home doused in questions and concerns, and Hawk droppings.
Moment of the Night
Yes, folks. There WERE a few good moments. One of my favorite daydreams is visualizing a potential-tapped Kevin Seraphin. This is kind of like that.
(We didn’t come around to Vine’ing the game last night but here are a few from TruthAboutIt.net)
John be nimble. John get FANCY. John anticipate contact driving against a 6’11 PF/C and chucking it up. And-1. Don’t you judge, though. The Wizards needed points however they could them.
Here’s Paul Pierce barking at Gortat again for effortless defense. But this play was a shit show from the beginning. Millsap got a free ride to the rim after Nene got lured onto Teague after a screen, but Gortat absolutely did nothing to help the recovery. The play ended on Pierce’s desperate attempt to make a play on the ball but ended up fouling Millsap for an and-1.
Bradley Beal drives to the rim are always a fun ride.
Unforced turnovers up the wazoo. So atypical. #SoWizards.
Paul Pierce has become a force thanks to his ability to lure double-teams and then a better ability of dishing it out to one of the bigs. Here’s the first one of these types of plays to Nene. He made a similar play with Seraphin a few possessions later.
John Wall. Victim of MonStars.
Seraphin loves pulling this move on his defenders. Yesterday afternoon, it was pulled on him.