Wizards 115 — Magic 106
February 25, 2014
Verizon Center, Washington, DC
Trevor Booker, confused and amused at the same time after learning that last #Wizards quartet to score 20+ in a game were Nick Young, Andray Blatche, JaVale McGee, and Shaun Livingston
Cook Book, normally tranquil and concise in his post-game interviews, made no effort to contain the humor he discovered in Swaggy P, Dray, Vale and Livingston being the last Wizards foursome to each score 20+ points in a game (before last night of course). His “With Nick in the lineup??” response was especially amusing in its reflection of how surprised Book was that Young actually moved the ball around. It’s always a delight when comedy is drawn at the expense of #SoExWizards. — Abdullah
Surviving Nene-less nights..
There were certainly enough story lines headed into Tuesday night’s matchup between the Wizards and the Orlando Magic at the Verizon Center. With Nene out for the foreseeable future and Kevin Seraphin being a late scratch, it was time to see how small-ball played out for the Wizards.
As one media member put it while in the locker room, not one person in the Wizards locker room was over 7-feet tall. Yikes. Thankfully, it was the Orlando Magic, and while we could say “any team can win on any given night…”, let’s be honest here — if the Wizards lost this one, it would’ve be time to panic a little.
With that being said, the Wizards had to narrowly escape a game of runs that saw very minimal defense from either side until late in the game. While it’s not time to panic, there’s certainly some cause for concern regarding how this team is going to be able to face the better teams of the NBA sans Nene. We will get that glimpse on Thursday night against the Raptors; but let’s save any comment for Friday morning.
MVP: Trevor Ariza – 22 points, 4 assists, 3 steals, 5-5 3-PT
While four players ended up scoring over 20 points for the first time in four years, Trevor deserves a lot of credit for keeping this team in it. His 3-point barrage in the second half contributed to the Wizards’ overall 10-16 strike from deep and kept the Magic just out of reach during their many runs of the game.
He sank circus shots, got to the line (at which he went a perfect 3-3), and was, as always, a straight up nuisance on the defensive end. Those long #HookahArms of his led to some great fastbreak plays for the Wizards (who had 13 fastbreak points compared to the Magic’s zero) and seemed to put some spark into what was otherwise a very drab game.
LVP: Chris Singleton
You know the bench is running shallow when Singleton enters in the first quarter. While I cannot knock his entire game as he did provide a decent defensive effort grabbing five boards and preventing an abundance of penetration in the paint, his offense was worthless.
Filling the gap for Nene’s midrange, he took way too many low-percentage shots and ended up going 2-6 from the field. Whether he’s still getting acclimated to playtime or whether he’s just not as good as all fans had once hoped (let’s be real, it’s the latter), Singleton should in no way be any part of this team’s offense. Judging from #WizardsTwitter last night, he is now the new pee-on player for the fans to get frustrated with since Eric Maynor and Jan Vesely have left the squad.
The Wizards head to Toronto tomorrow to try and get some revenge against (one of) the teams that has had their number all season. Toronto is going to be the first real test to see how these guys can compose themselves without Nene. Look for Booker to continue to get some important minutes as well as the debut of newly acquired (and previously disinterested) Drew Gooden.
FROM THE CHAMBERS
[On Beal attacking rim more]: “I think it’s more of what teams are trying to do to him than a concerted effort tonight to really focus on doing that.”
— Randy Wittman
“Just take what that the defense gives you” has been a prime lesson taught to Bradley Beal during the infancy of his NBA career. It’s been a popular response of his when questioned about his shot selection and sure, that concept falls under some umbrella of roundball fundamentals but for Beal it’s seemingly become the offensive vision that has controlled how he operates on the floor. Time and again Beal has been pressed (by fans and media at least) to drive the lane more, attack the rim, show aggression, be assertive, not settle for long 2’s. Luckily an opponent as defensively faulty as the Magic allowed Beal to finally heed the concept of moving towards the rim and it paid off. He was 4-for-6 on shots attempted within 15 feet of the basket. — Abdullah
“When you’re an All-Star, you gotta step up and take on a bigger role, and that’s a situation I’m willing to accept.”
— John Wall
John Wall simply glows in every post-game session he gives us. Last night, players were asked about the foursome of players who each scored over 20 points for the Wizards (something that hadn’t been done since 2010). We all watched Booker’s response, and while other players correctly drew the success to good ball movement and trusting one another, it was Wall who iterated his importance as the facilitator. He acknowledged that, as he’s grown into an NBA star, he’s more and more understood how vital it is to involve your teammates and play better defense rather than focusing on scoring. — Abdullah
— HELLO my name is (@JohnCTownsend) February 26, 2014
Al Harrington true vet shit, said he told Wall keep attacking cause they don't want to defend on the inside.
— Dre Everything (@MrDCsports) February 26, 2014
— A. Sharif (@Abdu11ah) February 26, 2014
Meanwhile in Colorado: ill-advised Euro pump fakes…
If you haven't seen this Jan Vesely vine, please do yourself a favor and watch it. https://t.co/Y8jZRk3a3E
— Ben M (@BenAgent0) February 26, 2014