October 29, 2014 – American Airlines Arena, Miami, FL
Play of the Night
John Wall separation generates fadeaway wealth.
The danger of Wall’s athleticism presented adequately on this play. Mismatched with Chris Bosh, Wall enforces himself via penetration to the rim, legally uses a forearm to draw separation, then springs into a baseline fadeaway shot to yield cash.
Greetings once again to the start of what’s surely to be another adventurous hayride of Wizards basketball. Undermanned and naturally out of sync, the Wiz tip offed in Miami last night giving us their first 48 minutes of action to observe, dissect, scrutinize, gloat over and as always, lose our minds about.
Some of the positive takeaways from this game are somewhat easy. The first ones that come to mind are kinda like:
John Wall is a bona fide floor general.
We can stop asking if Paul Pierce “still got it”.
And, Otto Porter is becoming who we’re thinking we want him to be. In other words, he’s becoming pretty good.
But the kinks are equally visible. The operation of the second unit guys must be led by staggered starters, be it Gortat down low with Humprhies, or be it Wall with Otto Porter. By the way, you could give me Wall to Otto on every play. I don’t even care. A bad takeaway from Wall has to be his defense against Norris Cole. Cole got the first start of his NBA career and promptly dropped a career-high 23 points.
Ultimately the Wizards were diffused late in the 4th quarter by a rash of Dwyane Wade buckets and the inability to answer them.
Here’s how it all went down:
Paul Pierce broke ice for the Wizards with his first points in a Washington uniform, appropriately a 3-pointer.
-The Heat still go with a spread offense and still swing the ball very well in it. Chris Bosh is clearly their go-to guy and thus, he dictates the floor for Miami.
LOVED Drew Gooden.
With Nene suspended, Gooden got the nod at the 4 and the excitement of that news was every bit visible via the energy DGIII brought on the floor. Gooden was scrappy on the glass, played solid defense and was as reliable as we’ve known him to be with his put backs. Oh, he can still shoot it from range, too.
-It was no surprise to see Glen Rice not getting the start. It was also no surprise that we never saw him check in the game. The ankle still seems to be a little tender and with the season just getting underway, no need to rush. Garrett Temple is a darling. Great guy. Hard worker. Excellent teammate. Awesome uncle. And he tries so hard when he’s in the game. Even if he’s not good enough (which he’s not), you love his attitude and approach. Besides Garrett’s moderate defensive abilities, he’s sometimes noticeable shooting the ball as well. He hit a 3 to end the first half, and one early in the 3rd quarter (went 2-6 from 3 for the game).
– The game got a bit sloppy midway thru the first. We saw a few players slip – including Wall – and Steve Buckhantz informed us that the hardwood in the arena was brand new and that last night was the first game to be played on it.
– It took a few minutes to get Marcin Gortat involved and his matchup against Birdman was enticing early. An entry pass to Gortat was broken up by Birdman which led to a Norris Cole fast break layup. Gortat countered on the very next play with a layup fed to him by John Wall.
Yeah. Like I said. He still got it.
–Kris Humphries may had been a bit rusty and perhaps a bit uncomfortable with his injured fingers which explains why he didn’t shoot all that well. But he had critical lapses throughout the game, specifically early in the 2nd quarter when he dozed off on a Miami pick and roll and a few moments later committed a moving pick. He also got a bit hot at the ref when he was called for a loose ball foul after getting tangled with Chris Andersen.
–The Wizards primary second unit was comprised of Andre Miller, Otto Porter, Rasual Butler, Kris Humphries and Kevin Seraphin. Let us say a prayer so that whichever higher deity it is that you believe in so they may bestow their mercy on this star-crossed group.
-I think Kevin Seraphin checked Chris Bosh for a single play in that 2nd quarter and was promptly removed from the game for Gortat.
-Bosh had a heavy second quarter with 16 points, getting to the basket, getting to the line, and getting it from 3-point range. Simple pick and roll plays were enough to get Bosh into good space and distance to hit the midrange. The Wizards were a bit slippy on the boards at times which somehow would lead to Bosh getting the ball on the perimeter and shooting from deep. This happened 3 or 4 times last night.
Wall spent the first 7 minutes of the 2nd quarter on the bench. This is what happened when he finally returned.
-The 3rd quarter, however, did not fare well at all for John. He got beat badly by Norris Cole on the first few plays, twice getting beat off the dribble and once on a crossover. Somewhere in between all of that nonsense was a bad jumper attempt by Wall, too which made him visibly irritated.
Meanwhile, here’s more Paul Pierce.
– And then suddenly, Wall recharges and dominates on a few plays. Here is getting fancy on Cole and a no call, then the play on defense and strong move between two defenders on the fast break. Angry Wall >
– It was both good and bad to see Pierce chewing out his teammates, namely Marcin Gortat after the Wizards failed to capitalize on a jump-ball in which DWade couldn’t jump for. Gortat failed to grab Pierce’s tap out and during the timeout, Pierce went off. In fact, it was bad enough that when the camera was panning by the Wizards huddle during the timeout, Gortat was getting consoled by Glen Rice who was giving him a pity tap on his back.
– The 4th quarter somehow became James Ennis’ quarter. That’s because the Wiz bench allowed it to be. Ennis blew past Miller and put it up with ease over Rasual Butler, then later had the jam of the night when he put Butler in the ground.
– Things really started to spiral for the Wizards after that monster slam by Ennis. Bosh continued to penetrate to the rim and get to the line for and-1’s, Shabazz Napier pick pocketed Wall and took it the other way for a layup. Then Wall got erratic with the ball and started to chuck. The Wizards fell behind by 9 at this point nearing the halfway mark.
Otto Porter in the 4th quarter.
Six points for Otto in the final period and it makes you wonder just why in the hell he was subbed out for Temple with 3 minutes left in the game. Otto’s dynamic improvement has been a mere testament of his great court awareness and he showed that throughout the night. Just a play before this pull up in transition, Otto cleaned up the glass on a Gortat miss which simmered the Heat’s run a bit.
– Miami’s ball movement is wonderful. Continued to lead to high percentage shots and it’s what kept fending the Wizards away from pulling ahead.
– With the Wizards ultimately losing by 12 points, it was hard to believe that they were down by just 4 points with 3 minutes left. But when Wade came back from a minor calf contusion he suffered earlier, he led the Heat on another shooting parade and Washington buckled. But hey, at least it was nice to know that Otto came back in for the final garbage minute when the deficit had already reached double digits.