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Game Notebook 5, Wizards at Celtics: Bagged In Beantown

Celtics 118
Wizards 98

November 6, 2015 – TD Garden, Boston, MA

ESPN Box Score

A disaster like tonight’s in Boston is hard to describe. Where do you assign blame? What was the cause? How do we stop these tears?

DENZEL TEAR

Assigning blame is easy: how about any of the 10 Wizards players that committed a turnover? And there’s no way you’re getting me to tell you how many John Wall had by himself. Okay I give in. Eight. The Wizards tallied enough turnovers (24) to overstock a bakery, and surrendered 24 points because of them. That’s an insurmountable difference in the game.

The Wizards’ defense donated 40 points in the 1st quarter and 72 by halftime. If you missed last night’s charity event, you can still donate online. Again, turnovers were the cause and it absolutely destroyed the Wizards from the jump. The Celtics scored 8 points off 7 Wiz miscues in the 1st quarter, and 9 points off 4 miscues in the 2nd.

The starters? They weren’t awful but their backups weren’t any better. The Goof Troop comprised of Neal, Nene, Sessions, Temple and Oubre combined to miss 18 of 22 shots and literally gave no one a spec of hope that they could help turn things around. Jared Dudley was okay. Oubre got his first bucket in extensive minutes. Drew Gooden was in a suit likely sitting on a heating pad.

Down by 23 at the break, the Wizards closed the gap to as little as 14 in the 3rd. But it was all for naught, and it was all because of Kelly Olynyk and Jared Sullinger, who suddenly decided to extend their range behind the 3-point arc and start sinking balls like boxes of tea (that was a Western Civ joke). By the end the 3rd period the Wizards were right back to where the second half started.

Wittman gave it about four minutes into the 4th to see if Wall and Beal could trim the Boston lead by any fraction. They couldn’t, and finally settled for the L. Final score: 116-94, C’s.

“We couldn’t beat anybody tonight with the commitment that we had to come out and play. We went through the motions tonight and that’s the disappointing thing less than 10 days into the season. You can’t do that.”

What was the cause and how do we move foward? I feel like there should be corresponding PowerPoint slides for this recap. The Wizards were coming off a gravely upifting win over the Spurs on Wednesday, setting up a classic trap game in Boston against the 1-3 Celtics. The Celtics had spent the previous two games shuffling their front court combinations between Johnson/Sullinger and Zeller/Lee, with both tandems largely struggling. But against the Wizards, it was Sullinger’s night: 21 points on 9-13 from the field, 3-4 from 3, eight rebounds, two blocks and a steal. Hand him a #WizardsKiller application.

Moving forward, the Wizards need to realize how lame they looked last night. Bradley Beal got his, which is becoming a customary thing, but proved it wasn’t enough to overcome the general carelessness and lackadaisical body movement we saw throughout the night.


The Game’s Top Performer:

Bradley Beal – 24 points, 9-15 FG, 3-4 3PT

Lurking out of the rubble was Bradley Beal, remaining persistent in the scoring department to lead all players with 24 points. Beal was better than most of his teammates in terms of body language and movement on the floor as well. He slashed through the paint for shots at the rim and got off a few 3-point shots, missing just one of them. With the game so far out of reach virtually the entire night, Beal’s night was as forgettable as anyone else’s….except maybe Ramon Sessions..

Honorable mention: Marcin Gortat: 10 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 blocks.


A forgettable night for..

Ramon Sessions – 1-8 FG; getting son’d by Isaiah Thomas

Ahh Razor Ramon, once again landing in this slot after a pure stinker. Isaiah Thomas must have been cringing every time Sesh left the floor to sub out for Wall. Thomas raided the Wizards defense when Wall rested, taking Sessions to the rim, knocking down 3’s in his face, drawing fouls. Sessions also managed a traditional botch on a layup, and missed six of his seven shot attempts. He was a game low minus-24.


Notables:

John Wall vs. Jae Crowder

It’s not quite evident what it was that set these two off before halftime. The play preceding their testy exchange was Wall driving to the rim and being contested by Crowder. There wasn’t much contact but as soon as the play was over, Crowder said something to Wall and Wall fired back.

It became clear in the 4th quarter that whatever was said before halftime, John Wall took it personal, and he let it be known. Wall demolished this shot attempt by Crowder, sending him to ground and proceed to go all out Petey Pablo over him minus the taking his shirt off and twisting it around his head just like a helicopter part.


Marcin Gortat

Marcin was pretty tough on himself after the Spurs game, criticizing his play and vowing to be better. As Ronnie Thompson pointed out on CSN, Gortat may be overthinking a bit and I agree. While Gortat’s role on the offensive end has naturally minimized a bit, his presence is still a huge necessity. The pick-and-roll game with John Wall remains to be masterful art yet it’s seldom used now that the Wizards operate at such a faster pace. The Wizards need to find a way to incorporate this more. Gortat did most of his damage in the first half, scoring all his field goals during that period, including this spin move on Kelly Olynyk.


Kelly’s Cherry Pop

There isn’t a better way to officially break into your NBA career stat sheet than a beautiful lob from John Wall for an alley-oop. Oubre played just one basketball minute prior to last night’s game in Boston. His extended minutes totaled 14 against the Celtics and you can’t say much about his game except that it’s a gradual work-in progress. Or simply just a process. While ubre possesses the rawest of talents moving on the floor, showing hops and what not, his jump shot is something that needs a ton of work. A naturally lefty, Oubre could use some tweaks to his aim and release. I think my guy Conor Dirks put it best:

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