November 17, 2015 – Verizon Center, Washington, DC
They say “life comes at you fast”, a reactive phrase that’s commonly used to explain a harsh and/or perplexing experience of blindsiding reality. Sometimes this experience can confuse one to the point where they may even question their own existence in this world.
Let’s role play. Say you play basketball in Wisconsin, where the pace of life is super slow much like the pace of the offense you play in. Your team has some potential with players who are young and versatile. After a sample size of early regular season games, you’ve won the same amount of them as you’ve lost. You guys are work in progress. You’re just OKAY.
Now you’re flying in to Washington, DC to play the Wizards. You start to feel the city’s buzz just as the plane dips to an altitude below 10,000 feet and you’re advised to remain in your seat until the aircraft lands. A few minutes later, you’re on the team bus navigating through crowded city streets. You see the kind of civilization, traffic, and movement you don’t quite experience back home. You’re a long ways away from cheese factories and funny Northern accents. Look at you, you’re already shrinking. A few hours later, you enter the Verizon Center. It’s only been a few weeks since the last time you encountered John Wall and his squad, statistically measured as the fastest paced team in the league. You want out. You suddenly black out, becoming oblivious of where you are, looking over to the end of the bench asking your teammate if they want next as if you’re living in a moment five years ago at a rec center. But your name is already penciled in the active roster, and already displaying on the jumbotron as the starter. You’re f*cked.
Two and half hours later, you find yourself limping back down the tunnel, tormented by the terror of unprecedented speed. The defense had been on their back heel virtually the entire night, tortured by 18 fast break points while you guys had only accounted for two of your own. For some inexplicable reason, coach felt that even though his team ranked last in the league in pace, and were facing a team that ranked first in that department, that somehow you guys could still dictate the flow of the game and induce the Wizards to play as sedated as you. HA! Imagine that.
On an evening where your favorite point guard’s favorite point guard – John Wall – was exalted for his relentless work in the community, the Wizards celebrated with a 115-86 thrashing of your Bucks on Tuesday night. They punished your half-court offense with a strong, yet simplified defense. They hit 52 percent of their shots and had six players score double-figures, led by Wall and Otto who had 19 apiece. They out-crashed you on the glass. They outran you on the break. They overcame a slow start to the second half and by the 4th quarter, they led by as many 34. The Wizards were long overdue for a blowout win (yes, 8 games is long overdue), and on Tuesday night, they got it at the expense of you and your squad who, in the wisest of words cried by Kevin Hart, ‘wasn’t ready’. That’s right. Life comes at you fast.
#WizBucks in a tweet..
— Hoop District (@HoopDistrictDC) November 18, 2015
The Game’s Top Performer:
A true MVP both on and off the court. It’s becoming really hard to iterate the man John Wall is simply because there’s nothing new to say. After humbly accepting his award for delivering community service, Wall aggressively accepted his role to deliver another dazzling performance, torching Michael Carter-Williams to the point where his hair band rolled into a scrunch and was lost in a forest of head pubes. Wall was one assist away from achieving back-to-back double-doubles. He was everything the Wizards needed to be, especially with his soulmate Bradley Beal out for a third straight game. After the game, Wall explained his devotion to the betterment of society and helping the less fortunate:
— Hoop District (@HoopDistrictDC) November 18, 2015
A forgettable night for..
I like Yannis. I like his aggression. I appreciate his size and stature combined with his mobility. At the adolescent basketball age of 20, I’d say he’s got the potential to be a franchise cornerstone. But that’s what makes defeating him and making it a tough night for him all the more pleasing. Giannis plays with the mindset that he owns the floor. And when things start to backfire, and he goes something like 3 for 13 from the field, he gets agitated. The paint had him rolled up like a gyro pita as rebounds start getting ripped away from his extended arms and Gortat and Nene were pounding away at him defensively. The 2nd and 3rd quarters were especially excruciating, where he went 1-9 in that stretch.
Dud was exceptional last night. Pegged as one of the veteran replacements for Paul Pierce but a bit slow to catch up due to injuries, Dud broke out his best performance as a baller in DC leading the bench squad with 13 points and hitting 3 of 4 shots from downtown. Dudley’s presence on the floor and especially as a stretch-4 provides the Wizards with just the right utilities to be who they want to be: play solid defense to create low percentage shots, grab long rebounds, and spot up on the wings for an open shot that’s naturally created by Wall’s magnetism.
After the OKC game, Wittman lambasted his team for their poor defense, emphasizing that they need to think less about offense and focus solely on defending. Defensive struggles are natural when a team commits most of its offseason on improving their offense and through the first half-dozen or so games of the season, the Wizards have proved that. But what the Wizards proved last night is that when simplifying the defense to where a dedicated effort is made to force tough shots, good offense will be rendered as repayment. Last night, the Wizards allowed less than 90 points and scored more than 110. They contained the Bucks to 43 percent shooting (partly because the Bucks just suck at shooting), and the Wizards still managed to maintain their uptempo style of offense.
The Wizards have now won two straight games with half a backcourt and that’s a bit understated. What this entails is the Wizards being able to compensate for injuries, something that they’ve been dreadful with in the past. For his career, Garrett Temple has been solid at best and pure solidity is what he’s given the Wizards while #BubbleWrapBeal has been out. And once again, Gary Neal – the Wizards’ petty cash box – was a catalyst off the bench with 10 points, helping pick up some of the pieces left with Beal’s absence. Combine all of that with a few dabbles of Kelly Oubre (2-3 FG; 7 points) and Ramon Sessions (7 more points) and the Wizards had just enough to help overcome the loss of a player averaging a quarter of their total points each game.