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Quick Hits & Highlights: Wizards at Grizzlies, Regular Season Game 2

Grizzlies 112
Wizards 103 (OT)

October 30, 2016 – FedExForum, Memphis, TN

NBA Stats Box Score

After curling up in fetal position in the 4th quarter of their season opener in Atlanta a few nights ago, the Wizards had plenty of questions to be answered in Memphis. Things like, will John Wall bounce back from a nasty shooting performance? Will the bigs realize that boxing out is a good strategy? Will Scott Brooks plague the floor with destructive Marcus Thornton minutes? #FREESATO!?

In last night’s 4th quarter, the Wizards seemed on track to make up for some of those drawbacks in Atlanta. After all, John Wall shot 22 percent better from the field (even hit a 3!) and had a double-double by halftime; the Wizards dominated in points in the paint (but were outmuscled 47-40 on the glass); and Marcus Thornton did find himself on the court but was much more productive, scoring 11 points to go with a handful of rebounds. The Wizards were grinding it out all night long, managed to overcome a 15 point deficit, and had a 96-88 lead with just under 4 minutes left in regulation.

Instead, the Grizzlies took advantage of a momentum-shifting flagrant-1 call on John Wall, who incidentally struck Vince Carter across the front end of his noggin as he was trying to defend a layup. Carter’s two made free throws were supplemented with a Mike Conley 3 on the subsequent play, which trimmed the lead to three before Conley’s transition layup a few plays later trimmed the Wizards lead to one. In the meanwhile, the Wizards went 1-for-6 from the field since taking that 8 point lead. A Gasol 3 tied the game at 100. A failed John Wall hero-ball moment maintained it.

The overtime period turned out to be a complete sh*t show. The Wizards shot 1-for-10, the sole field goal being Thornton’s shut-out-killing 3 with about a minute left.

#WizGrizz in a Tweet…

The Game’s Top Performer

John Wall

If you were looking for an individual bounce-back game for Wall you got it last night. After getting neglected by the refs on a few clear no-calls, John went on a mini-tear midway through the second quarter, continuing to put his body on the line and earning two consecutive and-1’s. His 11 point-6 assist-3 rebound second quarter performance helped close the 15 point deficit and brought the Wizards to within three by halftime. A small takeaway from John’s game last night would be his five turnovers. Although still probably considered a high number, we need to take into consideration John’s normal turnover rate when he accumulates double-digit assists. His 13:5 assist-turnover ratio is nearly six assists better than his average.

A forgettable night for..

The Wizards PR guy who got owned by Markieff Morris’ mouthpiece

After getting whistled for his second foul just four minutes into the game, Markieff Morris wasn’t very happy. He took his frustration out on the refs, jawing at them to the point of getting T’d up but that apparently wasn’t enough. As he made his way over to the bench with the guidance of an assistant coach, Kieff flung his mouthpiece backwards, beaming it directly at Wizards PR man Patrick Rees’ phone. Rees’ reaction was priceless.

Key Stat of the Night

The Grizzlies knocked down 15 of 31 three-point attempts. Now, what isn’t crazy is the Wizards shooting the complete opposite, missing 20 of their 25 attempts. What isn’t crazy is . What is crazy is that the majority of these 3’s came by way of an 80-something year old Vince Carter and Marc Gasol – MARC GASOL!!! – who has evidently been retooled with 3-point range in his jump shot. The two combined for to shoot 9-for-12 from 3-point range, including two of Gasol’s go-ahead 3’s in overtime which helped extinguish the Wizards for good.

Quick Hits

  • The bench must improve. Coach Brooks shuffled out his all-bench unit to start the second quarter and it gave Memphis – and particularly Vince Carter – every bit of momentum to race out to a 40-25 lead. While most of the bench is struggling (peering at you Trey Burke and Jason Smith), Andrew Nicholson has been textbook for the Wizards. He’s got range and more importantly is wise in his shot selection. He hustles for rebounds and second chance points and he just looks like a genuinely nice guy. I like Andrew Nicholson.
  • The Wizards missed a ton of three’s last night, and the primary culprits were Otto (0-5) and Beal (2-8). If it’s Otto and Beal we need to be worried about, then I’m not worried. Otto has done enough to prove he’s a reliable 3-point shooter and there’s no reason to believe his misses won’t soon become makes. The same theory applies to Beal, if not more so. Beal has been showing off his footwork in the first two games, using it to manipulate his defenders and get open looks.

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