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Recap: Wizards evade Philly comeback, then evade .500 talk

Wizards 107 — 76ers 99

January 20, 2014
Verizon Center, Washington, D.C.


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Post-game Martell Webster:

Unwashed. Unconcerned.

Dressed down in sweats and a “RUN SEA” long sleeve, Martell Webster attempted to deflect Wall and Temple putting him on blast in front of the media. ‘Tell, who is typically the culprit of locker room pranks and the star of on-camera shenanigans, found himself against the ropes last night when John Wall shouted at Webster in the background of Temple’s post-game interview. Martell’s retort: “I’m from Seattle!”

Whatever that means is irrelevant. I just love seeing these guys having a great time after a win.

As for the win itself, well, it would’ve been nicer with a bit less apprehension. The Sixers nearly overcame a 20-point deficit thanks to a reckless 4th quarter stretch after Wittman emptied his bench with about five minutes remaining. With Otto Porter, Chris Singleton and Kevin Seraphin on the floor at the same time, the repercussions were imminent as the Sixers went on a dispiriting 12-0 run to cut the lead to eight with just over a minute left. The three combined for four missed shots and three turnovers in just three minutes. Wittman quickly reinserted Wall, Beal, and Ariza to regain momentum and secure the win.

Per usual, the Wizards endured another near atrocity in the 3rd quarter when Thaddeus Young and Michael Carter-Williams went apeshit in a span of three minutes, trimming a 14-point deficit to four. Thankfully, the Wizards regrouped to maintain a double-digit lead going into the 4th.

Game notes:

BREAKING: Michael Carter-Williams is kinda good. Just two points shy of his career high, MCW poured in 31 points against the Wiz, shooting 13-for-22 to go along with five assists and three steals. Most of his damage came in the 2nd quarter where he torched the Wizards with 15 points and solid defense. He started the 2nd quarter with back-to-back steals, leading to easy transition buckets.

F STREET BLOCK PARTY: The Wizards swapped 12 shots on the night, with a season-high in that department coming from Marcin Gortat (4). Although they allowed 54 points in the paint, the Wizards were fairly strong down low, grabbing 10 offensive boards and getting to the line 35 times.

THE REAL DEAL: Brad Beal has shown so much resilience throughout his career. Whether it’s overcoming his weak, young limbs, or breaking out of a shooting funk, Beal has proven his confidence with redeeming performances like the one last night. Beal filled up the stat sheet with a near triple-double, scoring 22 points to go with a season-high nine boards and tying a career-high in assists with eight. Beal displayed plenty of poise shooting the ball, specifically in the 2nd quarter where he scored 13 points including 8 straight to lift the Wizards up by 12.

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MVP: Bradley Beal – 22 points, 8-15 FG, 9 rebounds, 8 assists, 1 block

For 30 minutes last night, Bradley Beal was simply all-purpose. While the majority of his shot selection was more or less the same sans one or two contested long 2’s, Beal was knocking them down last night. His 13 point 2nd quarter propelled the Wizards to a double digit halftime lead and should boost his confidence moving forward. But aside from his shooting, Beal was about as active as we’ve seen him as a Wizard. He launched for rebounds, dished passes to open teammates and instilled some refreshment in his game after a few bad outings.

LVP: Otto Porter & Chris Singleton – 0-3 FG, 3 TO in 7 minutes

“Guys who want to play or think they should be in the rotation better show me where it counts, that’s the bottom line.” — Randy Wittman

Key stat of the game: – 28-35 free throws

The Wizards got to the line early and often, attempting 22 free throws in the first half alone. The lack of free throws has been a consistent area of concern for the Wizards and has drawn questions about the team’s aggression towards the rim, however last night was a different story. The Wizards bigs – Gortat, Nene, and Snakey – pounded the interior, drawing help defense from the Sixers guards and getting them into foul trouble. The “big” 3 combined for 14-20 from the line, while Thompson, Anderson, and Williams all totaled five fouls each.

What’s next

In what was originally slated as a #Steez homecoming game, the Wizards will once again try to get over the .500 hump against the Celtics tomorrow night. The Wizards defeated the Celtics in a rare afternoon game a few Saturday’s ago led by Trevor Ariza’s five 3-pointers and 27 points. This is the final home game before a 4-game west coast stint starting in Phoenix on Friday.

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FROM THE LOCKER ROOM

“Seattle.. we’re misunderstood.”
— Martell Webster

Richard Sherman’s post-game rage following the Seahawks win over San Fran has overtaken sports headlines this week and polarized football fans worldwide. So what better than to ask the opinion of a Seattle native and avid Seahawks fan? While Martell did say Sherman’s reaction was “overkill,” he did also joke that folks who are from Seattle or play in Seattle are “misunderstood.”

As for the inquiries pertaining to .500 or the possibility of getting over the hump — don’t make them. One reporter was adamant on revealing the players’ mindset regarding the .500 record but Webster and Wall weren’t having it as heard in the video. The Wizards’ heads have clearly been fogged with all the .500 talk and they’ve admitted it as being a factor in their play late in games.

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“Every time we talk about being a .500 team and getting over .500 we have team just coming in here and punking our butts.”
— Marcin Gortat

After a private consultation with Martell Webster, Gortat addressed the media and like most of his teammates attempted to divert away from questions about the team’s .500 record. The threat of succumbing to the pressure of attaining a winning record has clearly gotten the best of the Wizards and after the fourth time getting to .500, they want to do whatever they can to avoid any relapse.

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“It’s a great opportunity for our second group to come in and do a great job, contribute, and try to keep the lead and try to build their confidence and play the right way.”
–John Wall

Wall was referring to the second unit’s failure to seal the game after the Wizards were up by 21 midway thru the 4th. As were some of his other teammates, John was disappointed to have to return to the floor after the Sixers chewed into the Wizards’ lead with a 12-0 run. Like Wittman, Wall emphasized the importance of readiness and taking advantage of minutes regardless of when they’re granted.

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PIXELS APLENTY!

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Just a fraction of the many of peculiarities that flow within #MaynorTime

via @DCSportsNexus
via @DCSportsNexus

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