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Game Notebook 45, Wizards at Nuggets: Wiz get bailed out for Big 30

Wizards 117
Nuggets 115 (OT)

January 25, 2015 – Pepsi Center, Denver, CO

Few things in life feel as good as the feeling of getting bailed out.

Bailed out.

You know, like when you’re in a pickle of some sorts, and someone or something breaks you out of it? People get bailed out of jail, or out of a collection fee. Shit, I got bailed out in the 7th grade when a nice bookstore owner let me off the hook after he caught me stealing pages out of a nudie magazine.

The Wizards got bailed out tonight. How, you ask? They got bailed out by the Nuggets failing to convert offensive rebounds late in the game. They got bailed out when Kenneth Faried missed those two clutch free throws at the end of regulation. They got bailed out when Ty Lawson botched the point blank jumper from 6 feet out after he picked off Paul Pierce’s brainfart inbound pass, nearly destroying the lives of perhaps millions of Wizards fans. And for the near-catastrophe, Pierce had little say but to thank Ty.

The WTF pass by Paul Pierce that nearly destroyed the nights,
and perhaps even lives of all #Wizards fans.

“Thank you, Ty Lawson!”

Whatever it was, the end result was a win, when a win was mildly urgent. And a win only occurs when the right things happen at the right time. For the Wizards, that thing and that time was John Wall in the overtime period, when he was responsible for 8 of the Wizards’ 12 points via scoring and dishing. His performance counterattacked an equally big night for Ty Lawson, who finished with nasty stat line of 31/12/3/3, including 4 points in that OT session. Wall made up for any mess that started prior to his final takeover, so I guess you can say the Wizards got bailed out by John Wall as well. PS- this is the Wizards’ 30th win of the season, a milestone they reached a full month quicker than last year.

Fave of the Night

John Wall splits the ball between his legs and between his defenders

The conviction in which John Wall plays with is not hard to miss when you watch him closely. On this play, it’s blatant. When craftily sending the ball to Gortat in between what has to seem like sliding fuzbol legs, Wall is already turning his head and body in the opposite direction as soon as the ball is released from his hand. All because he knows what he did and he knows exactly the result.


Humphries and Seraphin: We knew going in that the production from the bench was something that unquestionably needed to improve if the Wizards had any shot at winning in Denver. The second game of a back-to-back in the middle of a road trip carries all the symptoms of gassing out and lethargy. For the Wizards last night, the performance of Kris Humphries really didn’t help pull the Wizards away from the Nuggets, instead it merely helped weather the storm that was the Nuggets. For example, Jameer Nelson’s second quarter barrage of 3’s swung the game by 10 points. But Humphries was there at the end of the quarter to keep the Wizards afloat while the defense continuously struggled to find an answer for Denver’s scoring onslaught. Hump was also huge late in the game before the end of regulation, finishing off a fast break by getting the feed from Wall for a dunk. He then scored four of the Wizards first six points in overtime.

The start of the 4th quarter was all Seraphin’s. He scored the team’s first six points but what’s glaring to me is that I think we’re starting to notice a little bit of Seraphin establishing himself as the premiere go-to guy for that second unit. And why not? Who else can the offense really play through besides #KSLife? Too often we’ve noticed an extremely heavy-footed offense led by Andre Miller with players that simply don’t know where to go or what to do. Rasual Butler is practically useless from anywhere inside the 3-point arc. Humphries is more of your energy guy and a spot-up shooter. Martell or Otto aren’t running this show, or any show for that matter. Seraphin is evolving himself into a player who can dominate the post with a variety of moves, and this season he’s showcased that more than he ever has in his career.

Up top vs. down low: The Wizards outscored the Nuggets 56-36 in the paint last night. But that was only because the Nuggets launched 29 shots from downtown. And to be honest, I’m jealous of that. The Nuggets, like the Wizards, have shooters. Only their offense is devised in a way where their shooters, well, shoot meaningful shots. Chandler, Afflalo, and Lawson were the primary culprits, combining for 21 of those 29 shots, which is around the same range of attempts the Wizards should be getting with Pierce, Butler, and Beal. But alas, despite the Wizards neglecting a major strength in 3-point shooting, their points on the fast break and points created by way of their bigs in Nene, Gortat and Seraphin usually suffice for a Wizards win. You just hate to think about that next level the Wizards could take should they tweak their playcalling a bit and apply more of the 3-point threat.

Saving the 3rd quarter: The Wizards have managed their 3rd quarters substantially well this season in contrast to last. Yet, from time to time, the halftime #WittmanJava has failed to be refreshed, something we noticed in Portland two nights ago, and again last night in Denver…until John Wall had just about enough. The Wizards went on a 9-2 run to close out the 3rd quarter, and all 9 of those points were manufactured by Wall (2 points, 3 assists).


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