December 6, 2016 – Verizon Center, Washington, D.C.
Just 11 days ago, the Washington Wizards beat these same Orlando Magic on the road. They accomplished that by getting off to a hot start, 26-14 after the first quarter. Tonight the Wizards gave up 40 points in the second quarter, which was “unacceptable” according to Scott Brooks.
Behind a career game from their leader, the Wizards almost pulled off a double-digit comeback for the second night in a row but could not get past an eight point deficit with 3:43 to play. Washington fell to 7-13 with a 124-116 loss as they enter the quarter point of the season.
#WizMagic in a Tweet
Ohhhhhh wow! Bradley Beal had a breakaway dunk after the jump ball and missed it!
— Candace Buckner (@CandaceDBuckner) December 7, 2016
The Game’s Top Performer
This is pretty easy. Even in a loss, Wall gave his heart and soul to a team that is quite honestly wasting it away during his prime years. Wall scored a career-high 52 points, including 33 in the second half, and nearly brought Washington all the way back from a 20 point deficit. Brooks called him the head of the Wizards snake.
John Wall sets his career high with 48 pic.twitter.com/R9bOBcgrIy
— Hoop District (@HoopDistrictDC) December 7, 2016
Unfortunately for Wall, his only help came in inefficient performances. Beal scored 19 but on 18 shots, the bigs Morris and Gortat combined for 16 points on 21 field goal attempts, and Otto Porter did not assert himself as he took only four shots after talks of him being a max player hit social media yesterday.
A forgettable night for..
Everyone not named John Wall.
This is not a joke and really sad to say. Every single player that saw the court had a subpar performance. The other four starters combined to shoot 16-for-43 (37%) and scored 10 less points than Wall did alone. The bench got absolutely destroyed on defense, as will be explained later, and only scored 22 points, which was less than Elfrid Payton’s career-high 25 points. For a team that decided to upgrade their bench during the offseason, it doesn’t show.
Key Stat of the Night
Orlando’s bench scored 73 points. FOUR BENCH PLAYERS SCORED SEVENTY-THREE POINTS. Granted, Frank Vogel tweaked his lineup to essentially put starters in the second unit, but Elfrid Payton, Jeff Green, and Jodie Meeks could not be stopped. Here is what Scott Brooks had to say about the Orlando bench that also included Nikola Vucevic:
“Well, they’ve got three guys that started a lot of games, actually four with Jodie Meeks coming back. They scored a lot of points off the bench, we have to be able to guard all the players. They’re in the NBA for a reason, they’re good basketball players, there’s 450 of them that can play the game, and we have to be able to guard all the players that come on to the floor, and tonight we weren’t able to sustain that type of intensity to get a stop.”
• Let’s start off with some positive pixels. Here is what Orlando head coach and former Pacers head coach Frank Vogel had to say about Ian Mahinmi:
“Defensive numbers are going to go up, or I should say improve, whichever way you look at it. They are going to improve dramatically. He’s one of the best defensive centers in the game. The versatility he has to both guard the post, being a great rim protector and shot blocker in the pick and roll game and still have the mobility to get out and move around the three-point line when it’s called for in terms of trapping the pick and rolls and what not and also in switching. He’s got all those abilities and that makes him one of the best defensive centers in the game, in today’s NBA where versatility is more important than being 7-foot-6, but he’s also improved his offensive game as well. He’s a terrific finisher and inside out passer.”
• Coming into last night, the Orlando Magic were the second worst scoring team in the NBA in front of only Dallas. At 93.2 points per game, Orlando shattered that average with 124 points, a season-high, and were already beyond their season game average through three quarters with 96 points. Nothing you can do but shake your head at that one.
• Broken record: Not enough effort on defense for a consistent 48-minutes. Why that is the case, John Wall said, “If I had that answer we wouldn’t be in this situation right now.” Scott Brooks continues to say there is time with 62 games left, but at what time is there a point of no return? At what point should the team start tanking (because there is this kid Markelle Fultz that is pretty good)? It is a serious question and if Washington does not turn it around quick. It will be interesting to see who goes down with the ship. Whether you like it or not, this is a mediocre team that will likely not make the playoffs with its current roster.