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Game Notebook 56, Wizards at Bulls: Trolled By A Skeleton Crew

Bulls 109
Wizards 104

February 24, 2016 – United Center, Chicago, IL

NBA Stats Box Score

That Vine right there could be your #WizBulls recap in its entirety. That’s because nothing, literally nothing could define the shit storm the Wizards are in after losing to a broken Bulls team (on national television of course) better than a clip of Doug McDermott gliding past John Wall on the baseline and stuffing Markieff Morris’ face with orange leather.

We can set flames to Ted Leonsis’ Twitter mentions. We can cry for Ernie’s head. We can cuss out Randy Wittman. They probably all deserve it. But as we shell out blame for last night’s demoralizing performance, most, if not all of it has to be directed to the Wizards players themselves. When guys in the locker room actually ADMIT to dumbing down to their competition; when they actually admit that they got a little laxed after realizing their opponent is a roster full of reserves, nothing can excuse that. There’s no coaching strategy that can break that kind of mindset. Nothing can deflect the blame. This one’s on the players.

Last night, the Wizards were the healthiest they’ve been all season, with only Gary Neal listed in the injury report. Alan Anderson made his Wizards debut and played well, scoring 9 points in 16 minutes, making 2 of 3 three-pointers. He’s going to be a great help.

The Wizards’ paint presence was pretty weak for much of the night, as evident by the fact that only the guards had double-digit shot attempts. Marcin Gortat finished with just 8 points. Nene, usually the lead Matador when the Wizards are in Chicago, finished with just 6 points. Markieff Morris, though active on the glass with 10 boards, missed 6 of 7 shots. Taj Gibson was a BODY down low and the Wizards didn’t have much of an answer for him. On several possessions, Jared Dudley tried to front Gibson down low but just wasn’t strong enough. The Bulls outscored the Wizards 54-42 in the paint and outrebounded them 50-42.

You would think that the Bulls’ 54 points down low was solely due to out-muscling the Wizards, right? Nah b. How about E’Twaun Moore and Aaron Brooks, two reserve point guards, one of them under 6’1, combining to go 8-for-11 at the rim? The Wizards were dishing out free Lyft coupons to the Bulls guards and they were honoring them. Meanwhile, the #HouseOfGuards for the Wizards was more like a run down cottage. John Wall and Bradley Beal combined to shoot just 13 of 34 from the field. Bradley Beal missed all six of his 3-point attempts. It was a woeful time.

A loss like last night’s pretty much stamps what state the Wizards are in. And that is a state still far from respectability in the Eastern Conference. After toying with our hearts by winning 3 of 4 games after the All-Star break by an average of double-digits, the Wizards ripped through our numb souls with one of the more disturbing losses of the season. The Wizards, healthiest they’ve been all season, needed to take advantage of that skeleton Bulls team. Instead, that skeleton Bulls team trolled an underestimating, too cool for school Wizards team.


The Game’s Top Performer

Ramon Sessions

Looking at the stat sheet, one could have gone with Garrett Temple, who scored 18 points and hit 4 of 8 from three. But despite the decent shooting, he had more than a few garbage moments like trying to be a hero on the break and just…ugh, it’s Garrett Temple.

Ramon Sessions is tough. Ramon Sessions shows up to play. Ramon Sessions maintains control. The bench unit for the Wizards was great last night, and it started with Ramon Sessions. A smaller-framed, crafty-minded point guard, Sessions’ body work is so tough to defend the way he finds his way to the rim and draws contact. Converting his layups is also a plus. Sessions finished with 16 of the bench’s 55 points. He was a +5 in contrast to Wall’s -11.


A forgettable night for..

All parties that may relate to this tweet:

This one is just too tough to get over, because this one could very well be what defines our team. On a night where they are in a clear state of urgency, the Wizards diarrhea the bed with a stomach churning defensive performance against a playoff contending foe missing 4 of their 5 starters. We say they lack an identity, but what if this – this inconsistency – IS their identity?


Notables:

Alan Anderson’s debut:

AA’s long awaited first appearance as a Washington Wizard was officially paid off on this ISO play, has he handled McDermott to the rim and drew the and 1.

Anderson gave us a healthy sample of what he can provide on the floor and looked pretty comfortable doing so. Although he’s been out all year, his presence inside the locker room, on the bench, and in practices has kept him familiar with the system, hopefully making his adjustment into the rotation that much easier. Last night, that seemed to be the case. Anderson showed his threat from outside, knocking down a highly contested corner 3 before hitting a trailing 3 later in the game. He brought the ball up on one possession and was in good position for a few boards as well.

John Wall

Wall’s game was a bit pedestrian last night, as he shot just 6-for-15 from the field and had *only* 7 assists. It is, however, fair to point out that Wall hasn’t totaled more than 3 turnovers in 6 straight games and 10 of 12 games in February. He averaged just under 5 turnovers per game in all games prior. He had just one last night in Chicago.

Wall had some good moments, like when he slithered through the Chicago defense Andre Miller style for this layup:

And when he knocked E’Twaun Moore off his feet with his transition speed:

But Wall also had his terrible moments, especially on the defensive end, like every time he got burned by E’Twaun Moore or any other unworthy role player. Wall’s defensive efforts go back to the theory of underestimating inferior lineups, and that’s simply unacceptable when it’s his effort that outlines the destiny of the Wizards.

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