The After Party: Where we channel all of your Wizards post-game essentials into one massive data over-filled post. Game recap, locker room interviews, and a selection of delectable in-game tweets finger-picked from #WizardsTwitter.
For the first time in ages, the Wizards were able to match an opposing team’s All-Star with one of their own. And for that one time, for just last night, John Wall, in his debut outing as an official NBA star, outperformed and stole the Thunder away from Kevin Durant and his streaking squadrin from OKC.
“Playing through your struggles,” “having amnesia,” “overcoming bad stretches.” Randy Wittman and even Wall himself have time and again iterated these choice phrases when the rim tightens up on him. Wall shot 0-for-7 in the first half against OKC last night, but this frightful nature of determination and tenacity he’s developed kept his squad in pursuit and one step ahead of the hottest team in the NBA all night long.
Wall finished the game with 17 points (15 in the 2nd half), 15 assists (one shy of his career high), six steals, four rebounds, and just two turnovers.
The bench was also very stout. Martell Webster’s contributions came mostly in the 1st quarter with two 3’s. Kevin Seraphin made the most of his 9 minutes by making both of his shot attempts. Trevor Booker had six rebounds, while Garrett Temple kept the second unit under control.
Wittman’s confidence in Trevor Ariza glowed yesterday when he opted to put him one-on-one against Kevin Durant on defense. While it’s inevitable for Durant to get his, Ariza defended KD just well enough to throw some of his shots off, although we did get lucky on some easy misses. Durant finished 8-for-21 for 26 points and sat out the last six minutes of the 4th.
Here’s what John Wall had to say about Ariza’s value as a premiere defender.
MVP: John Wall – 17 points, 15 assists, 4 rebounds, 6 steals
This dude was every bit of the All-Star we know him to be. His 0-7 start from the field was a complete non-issue thanks to his contributions on the floor. Worth mentioning is Wall’s defense on Reggie Jackson. While Ariza contained Kevin Durant, Wall was able to do the same with OKC’s next offensive option, holding Jackson to 6-17 shooting and 8 turnovers.
LVP: Bradley Beal – 7 points, 3-12 FG
I actually LOVE that Bradley Beal was the game’s least valuable player. What can tell you more about this team after they stave off the league’s highest powered team despite their best scorer having a terrible shooting night? Beal struggled from the field and again looked indecisive with the ball in his hand but he never shied away from the flow of the game. To his credit, his teammates stepped up just enough to cover his off night and in his defense, Thabo Sefalosha often isn’t an easy defender to overcome either.
Key stat of the game: – 21 forced turnovers
This was about as complete of a game you could ask for against the Thunder, especially defensively. While the Thunder struggled greatly from the field (39%), the Wizards were greedy on defense, forcing 21 turnovers, including Wall’s six steals.
— Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It) February 2, 2014
grate Wiz game!!! we sadness abated for a millisecond b4 plungin back in2 pit ov despair. THX U GENERAL TSO!!!!
— wizznutzz (@wzzntzz) February 2, 2014
Wall's picnic table post-game kicks. Asked him what brand they were & he shrugged: "iono I just be buyin clothes" pic.twitter.com/bUMweMhdhJ
— Hoop District (@HoopDistrictDC) February 2, 2014