December 10, 2016 – Verizon Center, Washington, D.C.
Coming into the game, there was a nervous feel from fans facing an athletic team featuring Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker. That uneasiness was not settled after one quarter of play when the home team trailed 32-23, or in the third quarter when Milwaukee rattled off an 8-0 run. However, the Wizards stayed locked in and were able to turn the tide.
Down six with 5:21 to play, the prospect of a win looked bleak but the Wizards were able to put together a 14-2 run to gain a six point advantage. Porter hit a 3, Wall had a couple lay-ups, Kelly Oubre had a thunderous dunk, Beal had a layup, and free throws put things away. Washington improved to 9-13 on the year, behind a rather impressive Verizon Center crowd, with a 110-105 win over the Bucks.
#WizBucks in a Tweet
The bench is engaged in this game and so is the crowd, crazy pic.twitter.com/xLP7ZWCyIB
— Neil Dalal (@NeilDalal96) December 11, 2016
The Game’s Top Performer
Kelly Oubre Jr. – 19 points, 9 rebounds, 3-6 3PT, 3 steals
— CSN Wizards (@CSNWizards) December 11, 2016
Everybody shhhhhhh. A day after the young man’s 21st birthday, Oubre came to play and celebrate with a career night. The second-year wing scored 19 points and hit three 3-pointers, both career highs, on his way to posting a stat line that also included 9 rebounds and 3 steals. Oubre credits the recent uptick in playing time and production to his increased level of focus. His teammates, Wall and Beal, agreed and said he has matured as well.
I asked head coach Scott Brooks (btw it was fun asking the first question of the postgame presser as the main beat writers were a tad late getting to the interview room) if Oubre’s defense was actually more impressive than his career offensive game and he agreed.
“I thought Kelly was outstanding on both sides of the ball and the game basically tells you what to do. If you play the defense that he has played it rewards him and I thought he had a lot of good looks because of the defense that he played. It gives you good looks cause it gives you energy and I thought he rebounded the ball well in that first half and we needed those rebounds. When he rebounds and defends the scoring is going to come and I thought he was outstanding throughout the game. He is on a nice run right now. I see some growth in his game but we’re not there, still some progress that has to be made, but we’re going to keep pushing him and he’s a worker and he’s going to keep working.”
A forgettable night for..
Andrew Nicholson –
Honestly, I feel really bad for Brooks. His prized free agent signing, Ian Mahinmi, has been available for one of 22 games and so he is forced to get creative at the backup center position. Nicholson got the first crack at things tonight when Marcin Gortat got a rest, but it was a forgettable nine minutes of play that saw him watch the entire second half from the bench. Nicholson scored two points on three shot attempts and committed three personal fouls. With Washington’s recent adoption of small ball, Nicholson’s minutes could become non-existent when Mahinmi returns for good.
Key Stat of the Night
Giannis Antetokounmpo truly is a freak. He played 41 minutes and had a final stat line of 28 points, 13 rebounds, and 7 assists. However, the key stat of the game is that the Greek player committed seven of his team’s 20 turnovers and also had 18 field goal attempts. If it takes 25 possessions to score 28 points for the best player on the team, Washington will live with it and that they did all the way to a victory.
• Milwaukee Bucks head coach Jason Kidd on John Wall not being included in GM poll of top passers in the league:
“I think he’s one of the best at the speed he’s being clocked at on the floor. He does it at a very high level and does it extremely well. He finds guys in the corner, he makes it extremely easy for his teammates to play with. When you say there’s five, it puts a limit on guys and there’s a lot of guys that are playing the game at a very high level but he should be mentioned in that group.”
• BREAKING NEWS! Marcin Gortat spoke to the media! It was a bit of a funny situation as I was told he probably would not speak but he then immediately called over Wizards PR to let them know he would make himself available. Gortat may have pulled a Marshawn Lynch with a “I’m just here so I don’t get fined” approach but it was still better than nothing. The Washington center threw caution to the wind about not getting too excited about a two-game winning streak, which is true, but it is still better than the alternative. Additionally, here is what the Machine had to say about the Wizards playing with a bit of pace.
“I think we just had energy, I think we just had energy. Everybody came out pushing the ball, and John (Wall) obviously was running the point super aggressive. That is just how we started the game, but the most important thing is playing 48 minutes like that.”
• Tomas Satoransky was a DNP-CD for the third time in four games. The other time he only played four minutes. Yes, it is his rookie year and he may have hit a bit of a wall, but I would still argue he is worthy of playing time nonetheless. Marcus Thornton has been better of late, passing more and being a more efficient shooter, but Satoransky’s development for the future is related to his playing time now and he provides a better defensive option, which is what the entire team has been preaching for.