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Game Notebook 2, Wizards at Magic: Wall and Pierce get magical in Orlando

Wizards 105

Magic 98

October 30, 2014 – Amway Center, Orlando, FL

[David Manning-USA TODAY Sports]
[David Manning-USA TODAY Sports]

Play of the Night

Are you not entertained!? Is this not why you are here!?

Since the days of Gilbert Arenas has this franchise coveted a closer of this legendary stature. If not for anything else when Pierce was acquired, it was his prowess in clutch moments that we knew the Wizards would be inheritors of.

Key Stats:

John Wall: 30 points, 12 assists, 5 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 turnovers, +16

Garrett Temple: +20 in 33 minutes, 2-3 3-PT

Wizards had 10 total steals: Otto (3), Nene (3), Wall (2), Pierce (2)

Orlando was 20-to-18 in assist-turnover ratio. Wizards were 22-12.

Part of measuring how resolute and strong-willed a team is is how well they perform during the tail ends of back-to-back games, I think. And when the team’s best player scores 30 points, dishes 12 assists and commits only two turnovers in the process of that game, well, that I know measures him as resolute and strong-willed. It also means he’s a pretty outstanding basketball player

On a night when the Wizards were on the brink of losing a 17-point lead and needing to fend off a pesky Orlando Magic team led by a top 3 pest in the league in Evan Fournier, it was John Wall’s huge night and Paul Pierce’s clutch shooting down the stretch that helped them do exactly that.

The Wizards, who were in total control for about 85% of the game, let down their guards down early in the 4th, thanks mostly to the insertion of Kevin Seraphin. In just one minute and 56 seconds of burn, committed two fouls (one offensive, and onecostly and-1 on Vucevic), missed a hook shot, and failed to secure a loose ball that ended up out of bounds. That paved the way for a small Magic run to close the gap to 10. But after Seraphin’s exit, the Wizards continued to struggle, missing a string of shots and failing to contain Luke Ridnour, Tobias Harris, and Ben Gordon.

The Truth in the clutch, though. “He’s the truth for a reason,” as Wall appropriately put it. Two consecutive baseline jumpers by Pierce in nearly identical fashion staved off the threat of a Magic comeback, and the Wizards split their season-opening Florida adventure.

-There’s a different feel to the Wizards in their half court offense in these first two games and I think Paul Pierce has a ton to do with that. While Nene and Gortat both dictate their own games and can have the offense run through them smoothly, having Pierce be able to do the same (something Ariza couldn’t do much of)

-Garrett Temple. Quite the gentleman, and a bit more serviceable than we imagined him to be, yeah?

A (+20) to go with 12 points and two 3-pointers in 33 minutes is considerably more than you expect from Temple, and so far this season he’s proven to be a worthy for the interim gig at 2-guard.

-Nene looked great. He moved a lot in the paint, allowing his teammates to make easy entry passes to him and he hit open jumpers.

-Nikola Vucevic. His style of play very deceptive. He comes off as maybe semi-overweight, and you feel like he’s not very controlled, but really, he’s neither of those two things. He set the tone for the Magic down low as he fearlessly banged in the post against the Wizards bigs and got to the rim.

Nothing gets me more hot about the long-term outlook of the Wizards than when John Wall and Otto Porter make plays together.

Serious question: since the preseason and the first two regular season games, has there been a time he’s been on the floor and NOT made a play at some point? I’m kind of marveling at this guy right now.

-So I guess when you have two guys who look almost identical near each other on the floor you’re going to mistake one for the other. Just ask Phil Chenier.

-So Glen Rice got some action tonight and was eh. He struggled a bit early on, committing an offensive foul and getting his head stuck in Aaron Gordon’s crotch on an alley oop. Otherwise, well..there is no otherwise. He wasn’t much of a factor at all.

-IDK but something about Ben Gordon gliding in the lane uncontested while 4 Wizards players gaze haplessly at him bothers me.


-Nene got some good minutes with some of the second unit guys, thank goodness. As I mentioned above, he seemed really buoyant moving with out the ball and it really helped the offense from sputtering.

Also, don’t ever touch Nene’s hair.

-Paul Pierce was pretty quiet early on. Was only 0-2 past the midway mark of the 2nd quarter, before this tough turnaround out of the post.

Here’s a really long-range 3-point shot from John Wall. Because you love it.

THOUGHT: Aaron Gordon should probably try not to drift away from Paul Pierce at the 3-point line.

-Evan Fournier. Is a pest. He hustles. He disrupts plays by nagging the ball handler, jumping passing lanes. He can shoot which makes him even more annoying. He also looks like Lindsay Lohan with a beard.


John Wall awkward legs buzzer beater at the half type stuff.

-Just another night at the office for Marcin Gortat, who posted another double-double with 20 points and 12 boards. He was productive in the post, scrappy on the glass, and protective of the paint. His spin move out of the post is still kind of a mess, but hey..


The Wizards outscored the Magic 28-15 in the 3rd period yesterday, playing with the utmost sharpness on both ends of the floor. Wall began hitting his jump shots, Paul Pierce was creating offense via pump fakes and hard drives to the rim, and the Magic simply had no answer.

Here are a few highlights from the third period:

John Wall’s one-handed cross court pass to Paul Pierce in the corner for a 3.

#NeneLooks —> The Machine —> $$$

-Up until the final 30 seconds, the Wizards had zero turnovers in that 3rd quarter.

Here’s how my notes began in the 4th quarter:


-After the Seraphin debacle to open the 4th quarter, the Wizards continued to struggle trying to stop Vucevic and Ben Gordon, who combined for 20 points in the final quarter. But the Wizards continued to make plays. Wall hit Gortat on a delayed pick and roll, Pierce of course with the baseline jumpers and a good job by the defense finally creating some tough shots for Fournier and Vucevic.

But it was cool to see Wall finally finish off Fournier and the Magic off with this big boy layup.

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