October 21, 2015 – AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL
I got a text late last night from my brother-in-law, a young Heat fan and huge Dwyane Wade follower.
“What happened to that huge 1st quarter lead,”he asks, followed by a smiley and a screen shot of the final box score.
I responded, “you mean the meaningless game in which the starters spend extended time not playing? That one?” followed by this screen shot:
He brushed it off, of course, and then we proceeded to talk about Gerald Green (who is bae). Green scored 28 points, mostly against a Wizards 2nd unit team and usually when it mattered the least. But that’s what the preseason is all about. Everyone gets a chance to show and prove.
The guys that didn’t, were the ones who went up against John Wall and company. When things mattered the most. Judging by his leap over a row of courtside seats and floor security, things mattered to John. The Wizards’ first unit dominated the 1st quarter – taking a 14 point lead – and much of the 3rd – keeping things afloat as the Heat tried to close in. Eventually, the 4th quarter was all Miami’s. They can pretend to be satisfied with a meaningless W. We’ll take the real satisfaction.
#WizHeat in a tweet..
— Ras BoboNutzz (@wzzntzz) October 22, 2015
The Game’s Top Performer:
Kris Humphries – 16 points, 12 rebounds (3 off.), 2 steals
The Wizards’ goal of maximizing their small ball lineups would not have been possible without Kris Humphries extending his shooting range. The space it has created gives him the option to take a shot or dribble in, both of which he is fully capable of doing. His size does not affect his nimbleness, so it’s easy for him to trickle down low and make a play on the glass. This was evident in Kris managing double digit rebounds as well as 4+ three-point attempts.
Honorable mention: Marcin Gortat: 14 points, 18 rebounds, 4 blocks.
A forgettable night for..
Amar’e Stoudamire – 8 minutes of literally nothing
Yeah, this was a forgettable night for Stat, but so was any of his last five seasons in the league. Let it go, bro.
Wizards owning the break (20-11 in transition points); winning down low (48-46 points in the paint, 54-49 rebounds)
- There’s just no stoppage in John Wall, is there? I may be off count by one or two, but I’m pretty sure the first six possessions for the Wizards were engineered in totality by John. And to add to that, I don’t know if there is a defense in the NBA that can maintain a highly concentrated defense from rim to rim, for an entire game, just to stay in front of a Wall-led assault coming downcourt on just about every possession.
- Wall opened up with Goran Dragic assigned to him guard him. If only the Dragic brothers were born Siamese and perhaps then there would have been a chance.
- Other noteable matchups: Hassan Whiteside vs. Marcin Gortat; Hump vs. Bosh.
- Wall spent the first few possessions manipulating Dragic and his fellow defensemen, intriguing them towards the lane and then dishing it out to open shooters. Gary Neal took advantage. So did Kris “Humpthrees” – the latest gem dropped by #WizardsTwitter. Kudos to whoever. Wall also engaged in a little pick and roll treatment with Marcin Gortat. That thing is a fucking beauty.
- Back to Kris Humphries, though. He was unquestionbly THE shit in this opening quarter. He started started things off smoothly by nailing a contested 3-point shot (relase still slow as hell). Some good things about Hump: 1) he presents size when needed down low. 2) He’s a threat from deep when he’s floating around the perimeter. And 3) he’s hella mobile. He can move so well with or without the ball, consistently putting himself in an advantageous position over his defender. Kris had 12 points on 6-6 shooting in the first.
This John Wall no-look fling to Humphries, though.
- With Kris shifting high and then low, basically so is Marcin Gortat. Both of these guys are cured, savvy veterans and so they’ve learned to maintain good spacing between them whilst moving around. They showed this on that one play where Gortat slid up to the elbow while Hump drifted into a quick post move under the rim and drew a foul. There’s levels to this stuff, b.
- Ah shit, and here comes Amar’e Stoudamire, looking just short of a mummy.I mean, I swear I saw some bubble wrap still taped to the bottom of his shoe, like he was just shipped from an eBayer who sells life-sized NBA artifacts and then unboxed courtside.
- Wall and Neal eventually hit the bench for Ramon Sessions and…*rubs eyes in disbelief*… is that GTemp?? Garrett Temple, the absolute moral compass of the Washington Wizards.
- The pace remained uptempo with Sesh. There was a really bad possession, though. One where the ball was swinging around aimlessly and players didn’t know where to run. This got to the point where Humphries ended up dribbling around a Gortat screen before the ball ended up in the hands of a driving Temple who put up an awful floater. I just threw that out there and I hope I don’t see it again and I don’t want to talk about it any more either.
- But things quickly went back to normal after that. The Wizards continued to gallop down court after every defensive stop and made solid plays in transition thanks to Ramon Sessions. In one sequence, the Wizards destroyed Amar’e on the defensive end, before Otto Porter grabbed the loose ball and executed a tip-top 2-on-1 play with Ramon Sessions, who gracefully finished it with a layup.
- The quarter’s excitement dwindled a bit towards the end. Josh McRoberts’ long ass pony tail was a huge factor to that. Tyler Johnson (Google him) yammed it on Drew Gooden.
- Jared Dudley sighting!! The stretch-4 madness becomes exponential! And how about this dish to Oubre?
- The 2nd quarter began with much of what we wished we didn’t see. McBob’s pony tail was still exposed. Drew Gooden hadn’t recovered from Tyler Johnson’s crotch in his face from the 1st quarter. Gerald Green son’d Kelly Oubre in the post.
- The lead was trimmed to single-digits and the only things really keeping heads above water were make-up plays. For example, Sessions botched on a layup in transition and Garrett Temple, who didn’t do much overall, cleaned it up with a follow up dunk.
- The ball movement was swell but not swell enough on what I’d call the worst possession of this quarter. With the ball in swift motion, leaving one pair of hands and into another, it eventually landed in Kelly Oubre’s after what some may label as “one pass too many”. Sessions had a semi-clean look at the rim from downtown but decided to dish to Oubre who was practically trapped between the baseline and his defender. So he tossed a wobbly ball to Gooden, who was then blocked on his shot attempt. No dice.
- The Wizards also struggled keeping the guys on the perimeter in check. Slow closeouts by Dudley and Hump led to 3’s by McBob and Bosh.
How terrifying is the Wizards’ transition assault if you’re coaching against it? Watch Juwan Howard frantically plead for his guys to run back on D as soon as Tyler Johnson puts up his shot..
- Okay, so here’s the cool part of this half: Gortat keeping up with Wall’s pace in transition. This dude has his energy dial notched to the highest degree and the only thing I’m wary of us is a complete sugar crash. Having played a million games in one calendar year, Gortat’s conditioning is likely the best it can possibly be at his age. It’s really nice to see him able to skate down the floor and make plays with Wall at such a high pace.
- Wall returned eventually, but the Wizards couldn’t be handed a bucket. The gameplay was fine, the shots just weren’t falling. Eventually, the Heat would bring the game to as close as 49-45.
- Ugh. Hassan Whiteside took a piece of Gary Neal’s soul with that shot block. But I heard of a myth about them boys from Towson. They have no memory. Or maybe it’s just Gary Neal. Or maybe it’s just Gary Neal in that sequence after the block because his drive and bucket in the lane right back in Whiteside’s face was fearless.
The Wizards completely tapped out in the final two minutes. John Wall traveled. Gortat couldn’t stop Bosh. Bosh destroyed Gortat. Whiteside blocked Wall. Meanwhile, the Heat cashed out their defensive efforts and ran off six points to take the lead, 53-52 going into the half.
Miami Heat have taken the lead. Ahhh. DC Sports? Okay a bit early for that one. Sorry.
— Hoop District (@HoopDistrictDC) October 22, 2015
- Let’s talk about Gary Neal. Let’s talk about how much I like Gary Neal. This guy just knows how to make the best of his presence on the floor. He knows what he’s good at and he knows what not to try. He makes up for his shortcomings. At the top of the quarter, Neal missed a wide open shot. The next possession, Neal decides to test his man off the dribble, does, and his defender failed after Neal hit him with a fading hook on the baseline.
- How about this Wall pass to Gortat out of a trap between two Heat defenders and the sideline?
- Otto might feel this quarter today after getting banged around a bit on a few possessions. He got slammed on one play with no call, but drew more contact a possession later and got the call.
- Again, love, love LOVE Gortat keeping up with the pace.
- And then John Wall. Jesus Christ, John Wall. He was too overqualified for Goran Dragic. He was an absolute dictator with the ball in his hands and with the defense as is prey. He just did whatever he wanted to. Like this fadeaway over Birdman:
Nothing mattered, but JORTS.