home 2014-15, Blogs, Game Coverage Game Notebook 81, Wizards at Pacers: Wiz Lose Battle For Futile Vengeance

Game Notebook 81, Wizards at Pacers: Wiz Lose Battle For Futile Vengeance

Pacers 99
Wizards 95 (2OT)

April 14, 2015 – Bankers Fieldhouse, Indiana, IN

Game Leaders:[ezcol_1third]WIZARDS[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third][/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]PACERS[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]Beal/Gortat (19)[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]POINTS[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]Miles (25)[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]Wall (11)[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]ASSISTS[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]Hill (10)[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]Gooden/Gortat (10)[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]REBOUNDS[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]Hibbert (12)[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]Gooden/Humphries (1)[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]BLOCKS[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]Hibbert (3)[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]Wall/Butler (2)[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]STEALS[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]4 Players (1)[/ezcol_1third_end]

So, my colleague/good friend Irfan K insisted that I use the above image of piling bricks as a point blank recap for last night’s 99-95 double overtime loss by the Wizards against a Pacers team desperately in pursuit of a playoff spot. His case for such irreverence is probably justified. After all, the two teams combined for more than 200 field goal attempts, but converted less than 80 of them. Neither team managed to eclipse the 100 point mark despite 10 minutes of extra playing time either.

The Wizards, lodged in and secured as the 5 seed in the Eastern Conference, naturally had not much to play for except perhaps a few pre-playoff national TV cameos on Turner Sports Network. Still, as the game slugged its way into two overtime periods, Randy Wittman ended up operating his primary lineup in the game for 40+ minutes each, a decision that both fairly and unfairly maligned him by fans and the media. According to Wittman, his players were locked in on playing the game out and the mission was none other than to gain vengeance for the Pacers eliminating them from the playoffs last season.

And so the players played, albeit to the grating tune of basketballs clanking off rims and a deafening tone of offensive confusion they still played. It took three minutes before a ball would actually fall through the hoop, and it was Bradley Beal’s 12-footer that broke ice. A random and spontaneous spurt of offense followed Beal’s shot as the Wizards opened up an 8-0 run before the Pacers finally scored at the 7:33 mark.

Here are six of those eight points in six Vine seconds:

Meanwhile, the Pacers were putting the finishing touches on the solar room of the fortress they were constructing thanks to all the bricks they had put up. I can’t really joke about it too much because despite Indiana missing 20 of 27 shots in the opening quarter, there was no way the Wizards were taking advantage. Not with their 35% field goal percentage. The Pacers algebraically canceled out that 8-0 start for the Wizards by going on a 9-0 run of their own and suddenly, the Wizards became subcontractors for the fortress construction.

Somehow, though, in between the lousiness there were some moving pixels of the positive variety. Seen here is John Wall using his personal Hodor in Marcin Gortat to screen off two defenders at.the.same.damn.time and help him get an easy bucket at the rim.

A few plays before that, Bradley Beal showing off his improvement running the floor and taking more initiative in finding his own shot. His burst of speed down the lane followed by the quick pull up before the defense can close in on him was superb.

The final two minutes of the quarter were just a hot mess. Stupid stuff like Wall searing through defenders and finding enough room for an open layup but deciding to kick it 24 feet back out for a contested Otto Porter jumper that bricks. Or when the Pacers grab an offensive rebound with 15 seconds left on the game clock and run it back down to a George Hill shot with three seconds left to close out the quarter. All of this set the tone for what would be a tedious, hang heavy sludge fest that uselessly stretched our work night bed times close to midnight.

Surprisingly, it was Washington’s bench unit that surged the team to their biggest lead of the game. A lead, which #SoWizardsly was botched, then lost, and ultimately forgotten about after the Pacers came out victorious. But in a game like this, it’s better to focus on the individual performances and try to assess the team player by player. For example, Otto’s 2nd quarter performance was a really good one. Eight points on 3-5 shooting and this, this excellent display of patience and poise.

I’m just going to autosim the rest of the game summary, the same I way I wished we could have autosimmed the game through the two overtimes. The Wizards took a 41-33 lead into the half, eventually had it trimmed to three by the end of the 3rd, despite Wall’s playing all 12 minutes. In the 4th quarter, John Wall’s shot with 51 seconds left in the regulation tied things up, and his missed short-range jumper as time expired kept it that way. Both teams would combine for 3-17 shooting in the first overtime period and remain knotted to play a second OT sesh. That’s where a George Hill 3-pointer late in the period pulled the Pacers up by 5 and the Wizards could not counter.

So, what is the verdict for Wittman opting to run his All-Star and company past 40 minutes of burn in a meaningless game? I don’t have that much of a problem with it although I find it could have been more practical had Witt opted to run Ramon Sessions for a chunk of the minutes Wall got. I get that the players may had been a bit emotionally vested in ousting the Pacers from playoff contention but perhaps there may was a moment in the 3rd where Randy pulls John from the game. On the flip side, the Pacers were getting hot, and it was David West’s stank face that was drawing all the momentum and it was very possibly irking the Wizards. West scored 13 points over the course of the two final quarters of regulation and the two overtimes and I’m positive he was a major factor in Wall and company pleading to stay in. So I’m kind of cool with that. At some point, though, you look at the landscape of things and address all agendas. This was a meaningless game. Players have been worn and torn over the past few weeks and admittedly so. Bradley Beal has a glass ankle. Paul Pierce is old. Marcin Gortat needs to be preserved. Randy Wittman needs job security. But alas, basketball.

Here are some closing Vines.

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