October 1, 2020

Washington Wizards Second Round Game 3 Review: Pierce delivers The Truth


Washington Wizards floor general John Wall missed his second straight playoff game with five non-displaced fractures in his wrist and lots of swelling in his left hand. In Game 2, Wall’s lack of presence lead to a number of turnovers that ended up being a difference in the game, even though his team fought hard to claw their way back. In Game 3, Wall’s teammates stepped up as the Wizards had five players in double figures. After blowing a 21-point lead with 10 minutes to go in the game, Paul Pierce sent the fans home happy with a buzzer-beating bank shot giving the Wizards a 103-101 win.

After nailing a three-pointer for the Wizards first points of the game, Pierce left the game with a shoulder injury after trying to draw the charge on DeMarre Carroll. His teammates picked up the slack, starting with Nene who would score back to back baskets against the less defensive Pero Antic, leading to an 11-2 Washington run. As hot as Nene was to start, hitting back-to-back jumpers, the Hawks were getting too many opportunities on offensive rebounds directly leading to points. Out of a Randy Wittman timeout, the Wizards went on a 9-0 run late in the quarter that gave them their first lead after the first quarter this series, 28-18.

After a slow start to the second quarter for both teams, with just a bucket each in the first three-plus minutes of action, things started to pick up. Although Atlanta was starting to up its shooting percentage from sub 30 percent to 35.5, the Wizards were outhustling the Hawks. Otto Porter stole away a defensive rebound after he missed a jumper and finished between two defenders with a reverse layup.

Moments later Nene took the ball away from Millsap after not expecting the pass and finished at the rim plus the foul. The strong defense was starting to translate into offense before things got ugly. Beal secured an outlet pass from Porter and was off to the races before Jeff Teague grabbed up high at his head and threw him to the ground. Beal came up hot and was restrained. Teague was assessed a flagrant-one foul and the Wizards cashed that possession into five points. The Wizards 18-point lead was Atlanta’s largest deficit so far in the playoffs. The Wizards maintained a decent lead at halftime with a 56-43 advantage.

Atlanta came out to a hot start in the third led by Teague, who was aggressively attacking the rim. The Hawks cut the deficit to single-digits, but the tide changed slightly after an additional altercation. Beal fouled Teague hard going to the rim (not dirty), but Teague bucked at Beal and picked up a technical foul, which fired the crowd up. Beal came back with his own 3 to stretch the lead back out to double digits. Even with Teague trying to will his team back with nine points in the quarter, the Wizards made enough big shots to control the game, including a three-ball from Drew Gooden. The Wizards ended the quarter on a 7-1 run and secured their largest lead of the game at 19 and headed to the fourth quarter up 85-66.

With the Hawks’ Al Horford going to the locker room with a reported lower right leg injury, Nene went back to work in the post. Nene drew fouls and had a put-back bucket to put back some energy in the crowd. That set the table for Will Bynum to receive the outlet pass from Ramon Sessions and go in for a layup — plus the foul — against a flopping Mike Muscala (Horford’s replacement).

The Wizards pushed their lead up to 20, but Atlanta made a solid push on a 7-0 run that forced Wittman to call timeout with 6:11 remaining. The Wizards began to self-destruct as the Hawks extended out their run to a whopping 17-0. Thankfully, Washington got much needed buckets from Bradley Beal and Marcin Gortat late in the game to give them a five-point lead with 1:17 to go. Atlanta was forced to play the foul game at the end but were still within one possession before Muscala tied the game on a three pointer with 14.1 seconds left in the game. When all looked lost, the Wizards followed the Nationals walk-off in suit as Pierce hit a jumper off the backboard as the Wizards escaped with a 103-101 victory. The Truth would later say that he did not call bank when he released the shot, Pierce said he called game; such is exactly why the Wizards were brilliant in bringing the future Hall of Famer to the nations capital.

Why the Wizards Won:

  • The Atlanta Hawks are known for their three-point shooting abilities. Tonight the Wizards shut them down from beyond the arc as the Hawks were just 7 of 23, while the Wizards were thriving with 10 made shots from beyond the arc.
  • Filling in for Wall: Bradley Beal had a playoff career high eight assists, Sessions chipped in with six assists, and Porter had a career high 17 points.
  • Post production for the Wizards as Nene came alive for the first time in the series. He and Gortat combined for 31 points on 16 shots, 15 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 blocks, and 2 steals.

The Wizards have at least one more home game on Monday night before having to return to Atlanta. With the possibility of following the Capitals by going up 3-1 in the conference semifinals, DC continues to rise. It is unlikely that Wall would be able to suit up unless the swelling in his wrist comes down significantly, but as he has reiterated he will take things day by day. However, the Wizards showed that they had the ability to dominate the Hawks for parts of the game even without their leader. The Wizards were able to not loose all momentum possible by sealing the deal at the end and now have the opportunity to push the #1 seed to the brink of elimination in front of the Verizon Center faithful.

Washington Wizards Game 79 Review: Wizards diminish chances of home playoff series after being blown out by Nets

The Wizards came into the Barclays Center riding a four game win streak and sniffing out a chance to get back into the top four seeds in the Eastern Conference. With John Wall getting his second straight game off after playing in 208 consecutive games, the Wizards were dominated as the Nets won 117-80.

The Wizards early five point lead quickly disappeared as they became stagnantly inefficient without Wall as their floor general. Washington consistently were forced into difficult shots late in the shot clock or turned the ball over, which Brooklyn translated into 11 points. The Nets went on an 18-3 run early in the game and followed that up with an 11-4 run which featured Brook Lopez in the paint. Lopez hit 7 field goals and heavily contributed to the Nets 20 points in the paint leading to a 31-14 deficit after a quarter of play.

The second unit for the Wizards could not do much better as the Nets started out on a 10-2 run. After later being down as many as 27, the Wizards begin to take advantage of easy buckets before the Nets defense was set leading to a 13-2 run. After starting the game 0-5 from the field, Bradley Beal made his next six shots in a personal battle against defensive star Markel Brown. Unfortunately the Wizards were down 54-38 at halftime with the Nets continuing their hot shooting.

Bradley Beal started the third quarter with a couple clutch three pointers, which helped the Wizards cut the deficit to 10. The Nets were able to stretch the lead back up to 18, but behind the strong post presence from Marcin Gortat the Wizards chipped back away to a 10 point deficit again. Gortat was 9 of 10 from the field for 20 points through the first three quarters. The Wizards could not get the deficit to single digits as multiple calls went against them and they entered the final quarter needing to close a 75-62 gap.

The Nets started the quarter on a 13-0 run to put the Wizards out of the game for good. This run was extended to 20-1 as Washington saw themselves down points 32. Both Nene and Marcin Gortat were checked on by the medical trainers and would not return in the game although neither seems to be major. With a back and forth ending for the fourth quarter in a mini-game of bench players, the Wizards were glad when the game was over, losing 117-80.

Why the Wizards Lost:

  • The Wizards committed 21 turnovers that the Nets cashed into a whopping 38 points, a negative 27 point differential for Washington.
  • The Wizards got no scoring from individuals not named Beal or Gortat. The rest of the team combined for 13-52 shooting from the field and a measly 35 points.
  • The Nets shot the ball with incredible efficiency at a 50.6% mark from the field including 60% from beyond the arc.

The Wizards will welcome in the Atlanta Hawks in their regular season home finale with still a lot to play for. The Hawks have little to play for as they are locked into the #1 seed in the east and may decide to rest some marquee players. Even if the chances for the Wizards to have home court advantage in the first round are slim, it will be important for the Wizards to get something positive going before entering the post season.

Washington Wizards Game 76 Review: Wizards continue to take care of business against weak teams by beating Knicks

Two days removed from a thumping on the Philadelphia 76ers, the Wizards welcomed in an even worse team by record in the New York Knicks in their penultimate home regular season game. The Wizards took care of business trying to build momentum before going into the playoffs with a 101-87 win.

After taking 3 minutes to get their first bucket on 0-5 shooting, the Wizards started to exert their dominance over the weaker Knicks. Otto Porter and Drew Gooden both usually coming off the bench got the start tonight as Randy Whitman gave Paul Pierce and Nene the night off. Whether it was a coach’s intuition or just a coincidence, they were a big lift to the Wizards as they combined for 16 points, 13 rebounds, 2 assists, and four three pointers in the first quarter. Such execution led to a 19-0 run for the Wizards that gave them a 30-10 lead after the first quarter.

Although Quincy Acy began to make some shots for the Knicks, Ramon Sessions protected the big lead. Sessions opened the quarter with a steal and bucket, old fashioned three point play after a strong drive, and a pretty assist to Kevin Seraphin for an open hook shot. The Knicks were able to get within 11 as they were given many opportunities to get to the free throw line. After the Wizards starters pushed the lead back to 16 the Knicks were able to close the gap to 54-46 at halftime.

Bradley Beal started the half on a 5-0 run to stretch the Wizards lead back to double digits. Although the Knicks started to hit some shots from beyond the arc, the Wizards had consistent offense facilitated from the floor general John Wall. Marcin Gortat continued to have a strong game against the smaller Knicks lineup. Kris Humphries started to get involved in the offense after in his second game back from a prolonged injury. Going into the fourth quarter the Wizards held an 83-67 lead.

In the fourth quarter, Whitman decided to leave Bradley Beal in the game with the bench players to redevelop his shooting stroke after starting the game slow. Beal finished the half 6/10 from the field before earning a spot on the bench with the game in hand. In the end Whitman trusted his bench to hold on to the double digit lead and the Wizards finished their home stand with a 101-87 victory.

Why the Wizards Won:

  • John Wall had a career high 18 assists in a mere three quarters of play. Such a facilitating role got his teammates involved and allowed them to convert opportunities against a lesser defensive presence.
  • The Wizards won the battle in the paint in a dominant fashion. They outscored the Knicks 60-32 in the paint led by 9-13 shooting from Gortat.
  • The Wizards got out to an early 30-8 lead that diminished all hope that the Knicks young players thought they might have on the road.

The Wizards will be glad that they got to rest many of their players tonight as they have a quick 24 hour turnaround before traveling to Memphis to play a talented Grizzlies squad. In the last meeting between the two, the Grizzlies “disrespectfully”, according to John Wall, sat four of their five starters. The Wizards are unlikely to have such a luxury this time around as they will have to play a smart basketball to have any kind of a chance on the back end of a back to back game stretch in a hostile environment.

Washington Wizards Game 74 Review: Wizards struggle, fall to Rockets

Two days removed from a double overtime thrilling win over the Hornets, the Wizards welcomed in the Rockets along with MVP candidate James Harden. The woeful shooting from the field continued [Read more…]

Washington Wizards Game 63 Review: Wizards lose to the Bucks without Beal

The Washington Wizards were able to prevent a 35-point come back from the Miami Heat on the first of a back to back leg. Unfortunately, they could not keep the momentum going as they lost to the surging Milwaukee Bucks 91-85.

In the first quarter, things were not good for the Wizards as it was showing that they were the sluggish team that had traveled the night before. The Bucks opened the game four of five on three point field goals, many of which were uncontested attempts. Randy Whitman was forced to call a timeout when his team fell behind 16-6. The Wizards were getting beat on loose balls, which led to turnovers. Milwaukee made Washington pay for such as they scored nine points off of these turnovers and got additional buckets coming off of defensive switches leaving players open. Marcin Gortat did his best to keep the game relatively close as he made all four of his field goal attempts, but the Wizards were still down 30-19 after the first quarter. [Read more…]

Washington Wizards Game 56 Review: Wizards suffer another bad loss, fall to Pistons

The Washington Wizards came out of the All-Star break and stunk up the Verizon Center in their first game back by getting destroyed by the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Wizards weren’t able to show much better on the road against the Detroit Pistons in a Sunday matinee, losing 106-89.

In the first quarter, things were slow and steady for both teams with mediocre shooting. The majority of offensive production for both teams came from the paint where the Wizards had 10 of their first 12 points. Even though Nene was sidelined early with two fouls in the first five minutes of action, Kevin Seraphin, not Kris Humphries, stepped in to have a bucket and two assists early. This allowed the Wizards to have an early 12-11 lead midway through. The Pistons began to find their stroke from deep as they hit four straight 3-pointers late in the quarter giving them a 27-22 lead. [Read more…]

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