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Wall’s Iconic Night Highlights Wizards Win Over Hornets

Wizards 109
Hornets 106

December 15, 2016 – Verizon Center, Washington, D.C.

NBA Stats Box Score

John Wall, the closer, the franchise, the point gawd. Despite eight turnovers, including a near-costly one at the end of regulation, Wall put his resilience and willpower on full display with a monster late-game performance to help fend off the pesky Hornets, 109-106.

After a slow start, Bradley Beal earned a near double-double with a career high 9 assists to go with his 20 points.

The Wizards may have played their best quarter of the season last night in the third, outscoring the Hornets 38-23 behind 19 combined points from the #HouseOfGuards. As a team the Wizards shot 63% from the field and forced 7 Charlotte turnovers, allowing them to turn a 5-point halftime deficit into a 10-point lead going into the 4th.

But as usual, nothing ever comes easy for the Wizards. Despite 14 combined points by Wall and Beal in the 4th and (amazing) solid production from Jason Smith, the Hornets managed to linger around just enough to get a final crack at tying the game on the final possession.

Here’s a quarter-by-quarter breakdown of the action.

1st quarter

With Kieff out with a sore foot, Scott Brooks has the liberty out trotting out his favorite small ball lineup to start the game: Wall, Beal, Oubre, Outto, and Gortat. In theory, it’s the most productive lineup for the Wizards. You’ve got adequate facilitation by Wall, a scoring threat in Beal, disruptive defense by Oubre, Otto as the all-purpose guy, and your Hammer in the middle.

Bradley Beal did a few things right in the first quarter, but putting the ball in the basket wasn’t one of them. The looks were there, but the shots just weren’t as Beal opened the game missing his first six shots. The few things he did do right? Tally three dishes and he showed some aggression, getting a rebound and a trip to the line.

Cody Zeller was hot, getting leads to the basket and making 3-of-4 shots. But it was Nicolas Batum who just wouldn’t be stopped. Batum was responsible for 21 of the Hornets’ 30 first quarter points, scoring 9 and dishing 6.

Let’s talk about Machine Gun Kelly Oubre Junior. I questioned in pregame whether or not this young man was really coming into his own and after last night’s game, and particularly the 1st quarter of last night’s game, I think it’s okay to say that he is. Oubre opened the game with 4 first quarter points and two steals, including this one for a breakaway dunk:

We saw a Jason Smith/Marcin Gortat duo lineup late in the first which at first glance may seem like a spacing disaster. But it actually seems to be all good given the fact that Smith is starting knock down some shots from extended range, allowing the two big men to coexist on the floor with a bit of a cushion of space in between them.

John Wall played the entire first quarter, going 4-for-6 from the field for 8 points to go with 3 assists.

2nd quarter

Brooks went with an almost all-bench lineup (Oubre started) to start the second and it miraculously didn’t cause mass suicide for Wizards fans. In fact, the lineup of Burke, Thornton, Oubre, Nicholson, and Smith was responsible for a 7-0 run to tie the game up at 33 at one point! The Hornets, who had shot a scorching 68% from the floor in the 1st, opened the 2nd missing six of their first seven shots.

While the second unit as a whole played well, Andrew Nicholson remained exempt from any sort of production. To be awfully frank: he sucks. His 4 minutes and 42 seconds of burn in the second quarter were his only minutes. His final stat line:

But let’s talk about an acquisition that didn’t cost the Wizards nearly as much: Jason Smith tho! Two rather pleasant WTF moments for Smith happened in the 2nd quarter. THe first is when he got grabbed an offensive rebound and putback, which in turn forced a Charlotte timeout. The second WTF moment was recovering from his own blocked shot and GETTING ANOTHER PUTBACK. Smith went into the half with 8 points and 5 rebounds. SERIOUSLY WTF.

The bench continued to roll, with Burke forcing a steal and leading the break, driving and kicking it to Thornton for a 3. Then Burke drives in for a nasty layup. Shit was glorious.

Brooks went with a 3-guard lineup later in the 2nd with Wall, Beal and Burke. Beal continued to struggle shooting, but made an impact elsewhere. Like utilizing his #PandaVision here:

A terrifying moment for Cody Zeller when he found himself squared up 1-on-1 against John Wall:

The Hornets ended the half on a 5-0 run to take a 5 point lead, 54-49.

3rd quarter

The start of the 3rd started kind of weird. The Hornets got nailed with two offensive fouls on their first two possessions. The Wizards opened up getting the ball into Gortat who scored over Zeller, then capitalized on the second offensive foul with Beal finally hitting his first basket of the game, a trailing 3 set up by Wall. But the Hornets still managed to spike the lead to 8 points. How?

I’ll tell you how. A bad sequence for Wall in his point guard duel with Kemba Walker. Walker, the Hornets leading scorer, was relatively quiet in the first half with only 4 points, but he hit a deep 3 to make up for some of Charlotte’s earlier setbacks. Wall then tumbled out of bounds while driving to the basket against Zeller, and then Nic Batum sent the Wizards to a timeout with another 3 of his own. THAT’S how.

The Hornets went on a 10-0 run to go up 10, 66-56, and that was just about enough to finally rile the Wizards up. Despite a few questionable calls (and non-calls) by the refs, the Wizards continued to put pressure on Charlotte defensively and getting buckets off turnovers. Oubre made it a 4 point game after bailing the Wizards out of a bad possesion with a 3. Wall cut it to 2 with a steal and breakaway layup.


This steal by Wall here tied the Wizards franchise record and capped off a 10-0 run of their own:

John Wall takes the Wizards franchise record for steals, and fittingly celebrates it with an assist to Otto Porter:

The Wizards ultimately went on a 19-3 run and outscored the Hornets 38-23 in what might have been their most productive single quarter of the season.

4th quarter

Another variety of small ball with Burke and Thornton in the backcourt, Oubre, Otto at the 4, and Jason Smith.

Jason Smith continued to dominate – in whatever sense that deems a Jason Smith domination. He had 2 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 STEALS!

Brooks reinserts Wall back in with the quickness as the Hornets started to trickle their way back into the game.

Two contested fadeaway shots drained by Marco Bellinelli had us all cursing in front of our kids. Or that just could’ve been me.

Anddd the Hornets do in fact get back into the game. Frank Kaminksy hits a 3 to trim the Wizards lead to 3.

John Wall didn’t appreciate Marco Belinelli tapping his nuts, and he made sure that was understood:

Per usual, nothing comes easy for the Wizards. After Wall hit consecutive baskets to pull the Wiz up by 6, Kemba Walker scored on a layup to pull them to within 4. That’s when Wall committed his 8th turnover and the most disastrous one. Trapped in the corner, Wall forced a pass that was deflected and landed in Cody Zeller’s hands who put up a quick bucket and brought the Hornets to within 2.

#WizHornets in a Tweet

The Game’s Top Performer

John Wall – 25 points, 10 rebounds, sets franchise record for steals

This was a heartwarming tweet by Oubre to John Wall and a fitting one. Considering all the negativity surrounding the team and their slow start, combined with the perpetual disdain expressed for Ernie, supplemented with the gut-wrenching Wall trade rumors, it’s never a bad time to see Wall relishing in success. A few weeks ago he took the franchise assist mark, last night he took the steals record. But aside from the milestones, it was Wall who powered his squad away from a potential #SoWizards disaster. Yes the 8 turnovers will always leave an ink blot on the stat sheet, but I’m forcing myself to believe that, with Wall, you just have to take them so long as he does everything else right, at the right time. Last night he did.

A forgettable night for..

Andrew Nicholson


Key Stat of the Night

The Wizards killed it in the “hustle points” department, outlasting Charlotte in second-chance points (21-6), fast break points (20-5), and points in the point (56-28). They also rendered 20 points off 18 Charlotte turnovers.

What’s next?

The Wizards continue their 3-game home stretch against the Pistons on Friday night. Detroit is 14-13 and coming off a decisive road win at Dallas. The Pistons are lingering around the 7th spot in the Eastern Conference, which makes this a critical ‘early’ season matchup for the Wizards as they try to find some consistency and work their way back up the standings.

2 thoughts on “Wall’s Iconic Night Highlights Wizards Win Over Hornets

  1. John Wall stole enough chances from the Charlotte Hornets to overcome his own mistakes and get the win. Unlike most of the previous 23 games, when they faltered in this game, the Wizards starters got riled up. That is how they can win games. And it is too bad that the Wizards starters do not do that more often, and lose games against Miami, Orlando and even Philadelphia. John Wall without defensive intensity is not an elite PG, it does not matter how many points many assists are in his box score line.

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