home 2014-15, Blogs, Game Coverage Game Notebook 4, Wizards at Knicks: Wiz bench unit rises over Gotham

Game Notebook 4, Wizards at Knicks: Wiz bench unit rises over Gotham

Wizards 98

Knicks 83

November 4, 2014 – Madison Square Garden, New York, NY


Key Stats:

Garrett Temple: 17 pts, 4-7 3PT, 2 ast, 5 reb, 1 blk, 1 stl, +20

Wizards 3rd quarter: Outscored NYK 32-15; Held Knicks to 27% FG, 6 pts from Seraphin

Wizards bench: 41 points.

Moment of the Night

Let’s take a moment to gaze in awe at John Wall turnaround fadeaways.

This was just mutilation of an already deceased Knicks team. Down by 13 with 90 seconds left, the Knicks found their substantially undersized sophomore point guard defending Wall in a rare post up, and the end result was totally Kobe-esque. Because John Wall is a superstar.

Randy Wittman knew in his head what he was doing. He knew what he wanted to gain out of keeping his second unit guys on the floor for those unprecedentedly extended minute at the Garden last night. There’s a common protocol for managing minutes and player fatigue when playing in the onset of four games in five nights, and so with that, Wittman took the opportunity to learn his bench unit a lesson or two about building and protecting leads, and doing so especially on the road. The crew ended up playing large portions of the 2nd and 4th quarters and produced exactly what was needed so that the starters could come in and close out the game accordingly. That was the whole plan, right?

Andre Miller in particular had the bounce back game of his season on Tuesday night. After scoring just two points in the first three games, Miller tallied 12 against the Knicks, including six in the final quarter. And Kevin Seraphin, man. The ultimate mind-boggler of Wizards fans. Years of flip flopping scrutiny and criticism, to go with hope and optimism, KS once again delivers home an elusive big night scoring 15 points on 6-7 shooting. I can’t call it. But I’m taking it and not giving it back.

While the Knicks continued to force the issue of making it a close contest by way of sporadic Melo buckets, each coming in at the expense of five previously missed shots, the Wizards threw bows right back at ’em and it was a Wall turnaround fadeaway, a KS jumper and-1, and a Garrett Temple 3 that finally blew out the MSG lights. Yeah, you’re going to want to read that one more time.

The Chronology:

  • First of all, John Wall vs. Shane Larkin is not your ideal point guard matchup. Larkin, noticeably undersized against Wall and a fraction of the talent, struggled to produce much of anything last night. Besides a nice backdoor cut to the rim early, Wall had Larkin on a pretty tight leash the rest of the evening.

John Wall loses Shane Larkin, gets the alley oop layin courtesy of Garrett Temple.

  • Paul Pierce told us before the season he still hates everyone. He specifically named LeBron James but I wouldn’t be surprised if I ever became a brain cell of Pierce’s for one night and detected scathing muses of Carmelo Anthony either. Pierce hounded Melo on defense early and throughout the night, forcing him into many uncomfortable shots.

Someone on Twitter saw this play and called John Wall the best pocket passer in DC. #ShotsFired.

  • The game seemed a bit sloppy for the Wizards offensively in the 1st quarter. I say it seemed that way because they were bricking a ton of shots that were actually good looks. Several balls rimmed in and out, a few others clanked. John Wall also missed a few open layups.

By midway through the 1st quarter, the truth was revealed:

  • The defense was amazing against the Knicks. It’s been great all season, actually. After forcing the Bucks into 28 turnovers on Saturday, the pillage carried over into the 1st quarter in New York with seven more forced turnovers. The Knicks finished with 18 turnovers for the game.

Garrett Temple is growing offensively and it’s realllly fun watching. His assertiveness in trying to create for himself has worked more than it hasn’t and it’s simply been a savior in the absence of Bradley Beal.

#OttoTime arrives, promptly makes its presence felt.

  • How good was the Wizards’ bench last night? Well, they poured in 18 of the team’s 23 points in the 2nd quarter, and 14 of the 26 points in the 4th quarter. Credit a ton of this to Andre Miller and Kevin Seraphin but let’s not forget Drew Gooden, who efficiently knocked down 4 of his 6 shots.

  • Also, a ton of credit to Randy Wittman. He’s definitely showcasing his value as a disciplinarian, keeping his guys poised in the face of a tough New York team and crowd, and getting the most out of all his players. Wittman kept his entire second unit on the floor for prolonged periods of time and those guys gave him all the reason to. While Wall sat the first 8 minutes of the 2nd quarter, Witt turned to other starters to stagger in with Miller, Seraphin, and Otto. And it only made things better. Here’s an example:

Seraphin cuts to the rim, The Truth feeds him well.

And more good stuff from The Professor, Phd.

  • The Wizards have dominated 3rd quarters in all but one game so far this season and in New York, it was again after halftime when the Wizards applied their heaviest dose of bombardment. The Wiz outscored the Knicks 32-15 in the quarter led by a ton of Paul Pierce and Garrett Temple. Defensively, the Knicks had no where to go. The Wizards stifled them into bad shots and a 5 point halftime Knick lead turned into a 12 point end of 3rd quarter lead for the Wizards.

  • Marcin Gortat clocked just 22 minutes as Wittman wisely harbored him on the bench while the backups maintained control of the Knicks. The Wizards played the first of four games in five nights and a big lead was very convenient and allowed Witt to preserve some of Gortat’s minutes.

Marcin Gortat typically likes to go hard in the paint.

2014 Wizards basketball: The John Wall scoop pass to a trailing Paul Pierce who shoots a 3 and gets the and-1.

  • Although the bench unit proved themselves worthy throughout the night, it was still very ballsy of Wittman to keep them lingering on the floor so deep into the 4th quarter. Even as the Knicks closed in on the lead bringing it down to as little as six, the backups remained on the floor and it was all Andre Miller’s fault. Miller toughly fended off defenders, crafted his way to the rim and put up indefensible shots.

  • But finally, Wittman would bring his starters, at least the ones not named Marcin Gortat, back in the game as the lead remained in single digits. And so then Paul Pierce hit a 3. Like we expect him to. From that point on the Knicks had about as much chance of breaking out of the Wizards’ defensive clamps as a Hudson crab does breaking out of a pressure cooker.

Here’s your #dagger.

we are Hoop District

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