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Recap: #SwitchGate predicament underlies tough Wizards loss to Spurs

The After Party: Where we channel all of your Wizards post-game essentials into one massive data over-filled post. Game recap, locker room interviews, and a selection of delectable in-game tweets finger-picked from #WizardsTwitter.


Spurs 125 — Wizards 118 (2-OT)

February 5, 2014
Verizon Center, Washington, D.C.
NBA.com highlights


Damn the loss, this John Wall steal and breakaway layup was AWESOME.


Okay. I’ve had time to settle down from the marathon that was Wizards/Spurs at the Verizon Center last night. If you were in attendance, you were treated to one of the best games of the season, even though it ended in a loss.

The Wizards stormed out early and showed that they could handle the most composed team in the NBA. They had their way with them for most of the first half thanks to a defensive prowess that was as good as it’s ever been, and one John Wall.

The second half, however, saw a completely different team on both sides after the break. The Spurs came out sinking every shot possible thanks to Tim Duncan and the Wizards for some reason lost all composure on the defensive end, which led to the onslaught in the 3rd quarter.

Thankfully, the Wizards were able to come back and send the game into overtime. Then the tired legs began to settle in. Both teams looked beat, but the Wizards looked dead. Thankfully John Wall had a series of plays to send the game into double-overtime, but it would not be enough as they simply were out of gas.

No one wanted to hear it last night and there’s no such thing as moral victories in the NBA, but let’s be honest here— the Washington Wizards beat the two best teams in the Western Conference and took the legendary Spurs into a double-overtime game.

While all the players, coaches and fans have a right to be disappointed that the Wizards couldn’t pull this out, you have to focus on the positives. The Wizards are more than likely going to be .500 or better headed into the All-Star Break, they’ve made a name for themselves in both conferences now and the Wizards are going to be all over All-Star Weekend.

MVP: John Wall – 29 points, 9 assists, 5 rebounds, 1 dunk contest entry

Is it any surprise that Wall-Star is our MVP of the game? He’s certainly living up to the name these days. He had an explosive night on the offensive end going for 29 points and sinking two 3-balls. He also was the reason that the Wizards made it to double-overtime (which I’ll address later).

And for bonus points, it was reported today that John Wall has accepted the bid for the Slam Dunk Contest during NBA All-Star Weekend next weekend. He could be a household name soon, folks.

LVP: Nene/Marcin Gortat

You know things are weird at the Verizon Center when you find yourself wanting to see a Seraphin/Booker combo in the game rather than Gortat/Nene. These two, for whatever reason, looked extremely off for yet another game.

They went a combined 7-22 shooting and did not add their usual high-caliber production on the boards. What was most frustrating was the amount of jump shots being taken by the two. I often was screaming in my head (and on the @HoopDistrictDC Twitter handle) for Nene to quit taking jumpers. It hasn’t worked very well this season so far and it just doesn’t make sense as to why he keeps trying to force it instead of making a play down low.

Key stat of the game: John Wall’s 6 points in the last 10 seconds of first overtime

The Wizards found themselves in quite a predicament with just over 20 seconds left in the first overtime. The crowd had started to disperse as it looked like it was all over but the buzzer.

The ball was in Tim Duncan’s hands so there’s no way he would miss, right? WRONG. Ariza grabbed the rebound and got it to Wall who was given a path to score to cut the lead to 2. After two Belinelli free throws, John Wall had a quick 2-second play to get to the bucket again. But with only six seconds left, more people began to stream out of the Verizon Center as playing the foul game and trying to come back without any timeouts seemed impossible.

But for an All-Star, anything is possible.

John Wall ended up grabbing the steal off a Tim Duncan pass with five seconds left and drove to the hoop to make a pretty tough basket to send the game into double-overtime.

This was probably the most exciting ten seconds of basketball I’ve seen out of the Wizards in quite some time. The bigger significance of this is the fact that the Wizards have developed a player who can seemingly do the impossible on any given night. Even with a loss, this is a huge deal. I mean, this was the San Antonio Spurs.

What’s next:

The Wizards continue on with their home stand Friday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The fans will finally (hopefully) get to see why John Wall should have been an All-Star starter over Kyrie Irving. At the very least, they’ll see a fantastic matchup between the two. It should be an easy win for the Wiz Kids, too, as the Cavaliers just lost to a seven-man Los Angeles Lakers.



#SwitchGate controversy overcomes Wizards post-game

reported Abdullah Sharif

“Defensively, we’re not a switching team. And that’s all we were doing. I don’t know where it came from.”
— Randy Wittman

To switch, or not to switch? Several drawbacks led to the Wizards demise last night against the relentless Spurs but Randy Wittman opted to point most of the blame at the team’s execution on defense. Wittman claimed that the Wizards are “not a switching team” and was disgruntled by the fact that they were switching all night, leading to easy looks for the Spurs. The Spurs, particularly Tim Duncan, took advantage of the defensive lapses in the 3rd quarter when they darted out of halftime on a 9-0 run and quickly erased a double digit Wizards lead. Duncan scored 14 points in the quarter.

“If you want to be a good team when it hurts or your tired, that’s when you have to dig in the most and we didn’t do that tonight.”
— Trevor Ariza

Ariza agreed with Wittman, saying the team was “taking the easy way out” on defense by dropping back and switching on screens instead of fighting through them like they are normally do, or are coached to do. As a superior defenseman, Ariza is customarily passionate about the importance of defense and last night was no different. But what got under the Wizards’ skin like an ingrown nail last night? How about Tony Parker sitting out the entire second half because of back tightness but only for Patty Mills and Gerald Green to have their way with 32 points in his absence. They also combined for nine 3-pointers on the night.

“I don’t think we’re not a switching team .. I just think they got good opportunities and good looks period.”
— John Wall

Anddd this is what officially ignited #SwitchGate when Wall intricately explained the (fundamental) concepts of switching. My thoughts regarding the whole dilemma were similar to how Wall felt. Switching is dictated on a play-by-play basis. Now I’m certain Wittman hasn’t completely gone astray with his conception of his team’s defensive execution. Perhaps a good number of the switches were untimely against the Spurs, but I can’t denounce John’s claim of the Spurs just being too good anyway.


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