When watching a game with zero playoff implications, focusing on individual performances is proabably the essential thing to do, kind of like a preseason game. Because after all, plug anyone into a lineup and put them on the court and I’m banking that they’ll give it *100 emoji*, and that is exactly what the Wizards reserves did last night in their season finale in Cleveland.
Yes, the Wizards finally drew the curtain on their 2014-15 regular season campaign and despite it being a finale where both teams had already been locked in their respective seeds, the game still drew the intensity of a meaningful game. In fact, it drew the intensity of a playoff game according to Will Bynum when he spoke to CSN’s Chris Miller at halftime. And for the second game in as many nights, the Wizards accumulated a substantial lead, squandered it, got dragged into extra time, before finally losing. Only against the Cavs, it was DeJuan Blair and his fellow reserves who took the task of recovering from a blown lead, and it was actually fun watching them try.
Basketball is a game operated by humans, which naturally offers a plausible risk of humanly injury. Unfortunately, the risk for injuries to these humans is not exempt in the playoffs, therefore what we typically consider a meaningless game, like the one last night, actually turns out full of meaning, depending on how or why you watch. So let’s break down some of the performances by the reserves last night and discuss what it could mean for the Wizards in the postseason, should they be called upon to perform more than they’re used to.
Let’s start with Ramon Sessions, who has obviously established himself as the primary backup to John Wall. Over the past few games, we’ve seen Sessions really notch up the pace and help sustain consistent movement up and down the court. He’s shown the ability to slash to the rim *and he’s actually finishing now*, and he’s good at drawing contact and getting to the line. He was 2-2 from 3-point last night so he’s also proven that his shooting range is not so shabby either. Sessions was also smart with the ball and took care of it well, finishing with a 6:1 assist-to-turnover ratio in 37 minutes. Production like this will be key for the Wizards offense as we know how disabled it can get without John’s facilitation.
Will Bynum will not let an opportunity to put up a shot go wasted. Ever. In 21 minutes of burn last night, Bynum scored 11 points on 15 shots, chucking up five 3-pointers and missing all of them. His knack for shooting could be a possession killer, however, Bynum did manage to control the offense without screwing things up too much. He had eight assists with only one turnover, and did most of his damage in the 2nd quarter where he shot 4-6 from the field for eight points.
The Dusted Vets.
File this play under things you’d never fathom seeing in this Wizards season: a Martell Webster-DeJuan Blair pick and roll play that was actually watchable – and successful. Webster and Blair had long been dusted up on the bench this season but in last night’s meaningless season finale, both got ample burn and both made the most of it.
This was by far the most productive outing of the season for Blair, who has only averaged 6.2 minutes per game in 29 games played. Blair clocked 24 minutes last night including the entire 4th quarter and finished with 10 points on 5-10 shooting. The immobility of his knees still remains and he’s not very dimensional, but if he establishes himself in the right spots at the right time *big ‘if’ alert*, he can be strong enough to make a play. The key stats for Blair from last night that really scream at you are his three offensive rebounds and his three steals, evidencing the awareness of a veteran and former champion. Also, #BlairTouch is a true gem.
Watching Martell make plays this season has merely become an elusive heartwarming pleasure. His ailing back and his slow redevelopment have taken dire tolls on him since his contract extension so when he gets opportunities like the one last night, albeit meaningless, it’s nice to see that he can still put in some work. ‘Tell had a game-high 20 points, knocked down a few 3’s, and best of all, he gave us that patented fall-down sequence after putting up a 3 to draw a foul.