Boston (7-11) at Washington(13-6)
December 8, 2014 at 7:00PM
Verizon Center, Washington, DC
Verizon Center, Washington, DC
An opportunity for redemption awaits the Washington Wizards tonight. After a trip to Boston turned sour – and I don’t mean because the team bus made a wrong turn into a Dorchester project – the Wizards face the same Celtics team for the tail end of a home and away.
What exactly went wrong yesterday? Well, there’s that theory that the Wizards are typically sluggish in daytime outings. And surely, sluggish is what they were. Nine opening quarter turnovers, abysmal shooting and several botched possessions gave us the general perception that the Wizards had reluctantly clocked in to work on a Sunday. With the Celtics defense shutting down all pick and roll operations and forcing the Wizards into complete stagnation, the Wizards fell behind by as many as 25 points giving DC sports fans no mercy but to resort to a Plan C of watching the Ravens game and sending Marcin Gortat off into a mid-game introspection, only not staring at a white wall, but at TD Garden’s parquet hardwood.
Tonight, the Wizards need to look and play different from the top down. This begins with Marcin Gortat, in my opinion. We’ve seen time and again the Wizards feed off the establishment of Gortat in the post and in the paint because it’s a perfect tone setter for the offense. Gortat’s game yesterday was horrid. He shot 3-12 from the field in 26 minutes and was a (-14). Wittman relieved him of his duties in the 4th quarter for a smaller lineup, one which happened to pull the Wizards back into the game.
After watching some game film, I’m assuming the Wizards also understand they must correct their issues passing the ball. The Celtics, advantageous of size and length, jumped passing lanes and disrupted the Wizards’ flow of passing the ball often and it deterred the Wizards from getting anything going, even when they finally got good looks.
A rematch this close in time proximity will hopefully be beneficial to the Wizards as quick adjustments are made while certain styles of play and habits are still fresh in the players’ minds.
Last time they met was..
Too soon, man. Too soon.
The Wizards had one of their worst shooting performances of the season at (36%) with Bradley Beal (4-18) and Marcin Gortat (3-12) being the primary culprits.
Shall we small ball?
We’ve rarely seen much of it at all, but after the success the Wizards found in the 4th quarter with small ball lineups such as Wall-Beal-Butler-Pierce-Nene/Humphries, I’m anxious to see it more often. With that lineup, the Wizards produced eight turnovers, six 3-point shots and a 34-24 advantage in that final period against Boston yesterday. John Wall assisted in all six of those 3’s, too. Small ball has been a rarity for much of the season simply because Marcin Gortat is generally very productive and Kevin Seraphin has a tendency to clean up well, sometimes.
But damn, man, a lineup with those five guys, three of which are masterful from downtown, one of which can set them up like no other point guard can, and a choice between one of two stretch 4’s that can defend as far out as the perimeter and also spry enough to be effective on interior defense and on the boards. They’ve got some significant range on their shot, too. A lineup like this could be experimented best in a late first half stretch just as Wall and others are returning from their early 2nd quarter rest. And I’m sure if productive enough, Wittman wouldn’t mind keeping his Polish big resting just a few more minutes before halftime. Who knows, maybe it’ll even impact positively on Gortat’s longevity since, you know, he is slated to stick around until he’s 35. Yeah, that’s reaching a bit but hey! Take a shot Witt!