November 1, 2014 – Verizon Center, Washington, DC
Nene (+15) and Marcin Gortat (+26): Combined for 42 points on 19-26 shooting.
Wizards defense: forced 28 turnovers (18 steals).
Career highs: Otto Porter – 21 points; Garrett Temple – 18 points.
Moment of the Night
Verizon Center crowd chants “OT-TO POR-TER”
When Paul Pierce was thrown out late in the first half after excessively jawing with the refs, all eyes peered over at Otto Porter in consensus. After all, few things can get a Wizards fan amped up like an opportunity for Otto. And against the Bucks on Saturday night, Otto responded with 19 second half points, triggering a beautiful blare of “Otto Porter” chants from nearly every fan in attendance.
It was a night of…scenes, I guess. An incredibly lackluster, semi-awkward home-opening introduction by ‘creative liaison’ and ‘super-fan’ Wale. A Paul Pierce ejection. A blatant John Wall mean mug at Jerryd Bayless. And the thunderous “OT-TO POR-TER” chants that hummed in your ears like endearing violin strokes from Niccolo Paganini.
As the crowd gradually filtered in before tip-off (which was delayed some extra minutes due to the Wale performance), the Wizards players were formally introduced to the sounds of the “Ambition” instrumental as Wale sporadically blurted out random half bars from the single.
As for the game itself, it brought to life a number of things we pine for regularly. John Wall scored his third straight double-double in as many games this season. Marcin Gortat and Nene pillaged the front court. Garrett Temple, yes Garrett Temple, maximized – and perhaps overfilled – his capacity as the interim 2-guard. And Otto Porter, man. When Paul Pierce got tossed near the end of the 3rd quarter for a double tech, I jokingly tweeted this:
Future YouTube link: Otto's career night vs. Bucks after Pierce gets ejected 11/1/14
— Hoop District (@HoopDistrictDC) November 2, 2014
By games end, it was no longer a joke.
early was nearly unblemished early in the game. Swift passing around the perimeter led to open looks and got the big guys rolling down low. The Wizards had seven assists on nine buckets in the first quarter, with ZERO by way of John Wall.
- The Wizards’ ball movement
- Part of that ball movement comes courtesy of excellent interior passing between Nene and Marcin. The two combined for six total assists, including this beauty from Nene.
Also, pristine Hall of Fame court vision by The Truth.
- Garrett Temple has never had a drink. He’s never had a smoke or tried drugs. But he’s GOTTA be on something now, right? With all the craze of filling the void at shooting guard following Bradley Beal’s injury and all the concern over a lack of depth at the position, Garrett Temple has levelly kept things at a cue with some seriously sound basketball. His career high of 18 points on Saturday night was a driving force for the Wizards on offense, gravely exceeding our normal expectations.
- It was great to see the Wizards stifling the Bucks defensively early on without sending them to the line. The Bucks were over in the penalty by the midway point of the 1st quarter while failing to attempt one of their own until inside the final 2 minutes.
- The Bucks were forced into 28 total turnovers by games end. Eight of those came in the 1st quarter and there were 17 by halftime. Garrett Temple fittingly was the tone setter for 18 steals on the night by the Wizards, picking off a bad Larry Sanders pass in the opening minute of the game and taking it to the house. Three Wizard had 3+ steals in the game including Temple (3). Nene also had 3 while John Wall had 5.
Marcin Gortat: Best center alive.
- Yeah, yeah. That’s kind of a reach. Or at least guys like Marc Gasol, Dwight Howard, and Joakim Noah amongst a good number of others will argue so. But in figurative terms – and Marc loves him some figures already averaging a near double-double on 63% FG shooting – Gortat has been every bit of a complete front line anchor you want him to be. He’s staunch on defense, aggressive on the glass, and he’s becoming further established in finding ways to get the ball in the basket. Here’s a tough fadeaway as an example.
- Now to the serious stuff. WTF is up with the Wizards second unit? The Wizards had a 12 point lead going into the 2nd quarter against the Bucks and a lineup of Andre Miller, Glen Rice, Otto Porter, Kris Humphries and Drew Gooden completely ruined it. As the Bucks began closing in on the lead, Wittman manically pulled Humphries (who went 0 points on 0-2 shooting in 7 minutes) for Nene as well as Miller for Wall. By this time the lead was trimmed to 4.
Per Wittman and Garrett Temple, Paul Pierce got the game ball for getting himself tossed from the game, leading to Otto’s career night.
- It wasn’t totally clear what had happened, or where the confusion lied. According to Wittman’s post-game explanation, a prolonged review of a clear-path foul committed by Pierce is what had him more frustrated and also said that while the first tech was deserved, the second one wasn’t. Typically, such a sequence a precedent a disheartening #SoWizards finish to a game, but in Saturday night’s case, it brought us a rather magical finish. #OttoMagic.
Wall — oop —> #OttoMagic
Should I just go on a rampage of 4th Quarter #OttoVines?
- Players were getting a bit ornery with one another as the game wore into the 4th quarter. Gortat and Zaza Pachulia kept exchanging a few unappreciated extra shoves, while OJ Mayo tried to incite Wall with a shoulder bump from behind. But John Wall put a seal on all that noise with this mean swat of Jerryd Bayless’ shot attempt and the appropriate mean mugging look-down at him afterwards.
- The Bucks gave a concerted final effort in the 4th to make a game out of what was otherwise a night fully controlled by the Wizards. After falling by 14 early in the final quarter, they trimmed the lead to 8 and that’s when John Wall decided to brand a JW stamp on Jason Kidd’s noggen as he scored 5 of the team’s final 10 points including an assist to Temple for this 3-pointer.