Kevin C. Cox
Martell Webster's putback off an airball left his fingertips perhaps a tenth of a second too late as the Wizards remained winless in Nene's return to the floor.
We are Wizards fans and we know heartbreak. There are some pretty obvious moments to point to right now. Kevin Seraphin's missed dunk leading to Bradley Beal's awkward offensive foul and ejection in overtime ... points AND a player off the board, man. Trevor Ariza losing Kyle Korver on the perimeter with seconds left in an overtime game up by two. Randy Wittman's out-of-bounds plays in crucial moments resulting in terrible shots. And, of course, the missed free throws and the final play. There's more, but those are the ones that stand out in a heartbreaking 101-100 overtime loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night.
The Wizards played their most complete game of the season. The Hawks could never pull away and watching the team felt good. Wittman hasn't lost the squad by any measure and he somehow used 11 players tonight to effect. There was a lot to like.
But in the end, this is like almost kissing the girl of your dreams: you were right there, man, right there. There's a lot to build on, but Wittman is going to have to work a miracle to keep the team from feeling like their hands are full of ashes.
- In the first quarter: Kyle Korver hit a three, Beal answered on the other end and stayed sharp defensively, breaking up an easy basket for Korver in the lane without fouling.
- Nothing like being hungry for some offense when Crawford brings the herky-jerky. It looks so casually unstoppable, I have to chuckle to myself.
- How about the veterans to end the first quarter, eh? The team looked comfortable AND competent. Watching Martell Webster hit a three and score in transition felt gooooood.
- In the second quarter: Love A.J. Price following up in transition. That's a play the Wiz are typically on the receiving end of.
- Chris Singleton's defense was SENSATIONAL in one series early in the second. He denied Korver a easy three, floated back inside to his man, then rotated onto Josh Smith and forced him to pass it to the outside for a contested jumpshot that missed. Freaking GORGEOUS.
- Great ball movement around the eight minute mark. Granted, you probably don't want to flip it Trevor Ariza with the shot clock expiring, but open at the three point line? I'll take it. Especially when it's just a result of the fundamental offensive play we've seen too little of this season.
- Emeka Okafor just made the Hawks color commentator acknowledge/invent his 'pretty good post game'. Ha.
- Wizards defense is hanging tough; breakdowns have been rare-ish and the Hawks aren't making them pay. Wizards up by one with two minutes left in the half.
- Nene shooting free throws to give the Wizards the lead. Impossible to describe how good that felt.
- In the third quarter: Seraphin getting post touches early again, establishing his presence in the paint and drawing the attention of the Hawks defense.
- Trevor Ariza bothering Josh Smith's focus after an offensive board and preventing the kick out by getting back to his man without missing a beat.
- Great charge taken by CSing to halt the Hawks transition and cut off their momentum.
- Martell Webster missed a shot, came back down the floor and fought Josh Smith in the post, getting a jump ball. Wizards won and Nene to the line on the other end. Two free throws made. Defense tightened up. Trevor Ariza to the line off a nice-looking bounce pass from our Brazilian Bombshell and two free throws made. Martell Webster makes a back door cut and the Hawks lead is five. None of that happens without Webster fighting like an alley cat and Nene following through. Bravo, gentlemen.
- 24 second violation! Anyone else love seeing Emeka Okafor and Nene on defense together?
- In the fourth quarter: Wiz take advantage of a defensive breakdown, Seraphin back door cuts and throws down a thunderous dunk.
- Trevor Ariza corralled a rebound and immediately fired a long outlet pass to Bradley Beal in transition while Seraphin followed, touching hands to the iron yet again.
- Bradley Beal hitting open shots in fourth quarter makes me happy. So happy.
- Kevin Seraphin has been scoring steady, steady, steady.
- In overtime: A.J. Price catches the defense napping again for the and-1. A fanbase exhales.
- CSing making open shots in overtime makes me feel like a proud papa.
- Kevin Seraphin with the HUGE jumper!
- In the first quarter: Some solid early half-court offense and ball-handling stalled by turnovers. But one of course wonders how much time these guys have played together. Not TOO concerned, but it's not like we can just overlook the impact TOs had on an early ten point deficit.
- If you had told me the Wizards would have problems defending Al Horford and Josh Smith, I would have said, 'Well, ok.'
- In the second quarter: Martell Webster forced the issue inside, often against double- and triple-teams. Reset the offense, yo. You're not alone out there.
- League Pass video dropped for several minutes. Boo.
- Trevor Ariza ended the half with two terrible offensive possessions. On the first, he dribbled underneath the hoop then tried to spin back underneath nearly losing the ball in the process. I've seen worse ideas but how could he miss the gaggle of help defense available? And then he took an absolutely HORRIBLE shot at the end of the shot clock, off-balance and mid-air. If Jordan Crawford had taken that shot, even his most ardent supporters would be annoyed. But Ariza? The Wizards were fortunate to finish the half down three.
- In the third quarter: Trevor Ariza put a three point shot off the back of the backboard. The BACK.
- Mini-rash of defensive breakdowns and the Hawks are threatening to open up a tough lead, currently up five.
- Wizards getting no offense when they need it. Atlanta's defense triggering turnovers and transition. You knew Kyle Korver wasn't going to keep missing open threes. Hawks by eleven.
- Trevor Ariza pressed in transition and no one followed him. It wasn't a great decision, but why in hades wasn't anyone burning up the floor behind him?
- A.J. Price caught the defense napping and made a beautiful dish to Emeka Okafor that caught him napping. He managed to get to the line. Making one, he ended up with a team offensive rebound and promptly jacked it up off the glass. There was only about five seconds remaining in the quarter, but even a peremptory check of his peripheral vision might have told him both Trevor Ariza and Martell Webster were open on the perimeter.
- In the fourth quarter: Four point play for Zaza Pachula. ZAZA PACHULIA.
- The Wizards shot below 70% from the charity stripe tonight, but no miss hurt so much as Nene going 1 for 2, to set up Devin Harris (who else?) tying the game from the line.
- Another critical Wizards out-of-bounds play from a timeout falls short. The only passing grade in that situation is points. Missed opportunity for Randy Wittman. Y'all know where the buck stops. Overtime.
- In overtime: Bradley Beal misses a three, Kevin Seraphin gets the offensive rebound and misses a dunk. Bradley Beal charges and is ejected. HUGE.
- Kevin Seraphin has not scored since four minutes remaining in regulation and his attempts have been rushed. Nene has not played in overtime. Injury flaring?
- The Hawks are getting to the offensive glass when they need to. I hate failing to box out when it ISN'T a critical situation.
- Trevor Ariza completely lost the one of the best three point shooters in the league in a two point situation at the end of an overtime game. That cannot happen. EVER.
- In the first quarter: Jordan Crawford had a terrible early turnover and responded on offense by firing a trademark deep 3 through the iron. Love 'im or hate 'im, folks.
- Al Horford scored several buckets in a row. As the Hawks' best player began to assert himself, Kevin Seraphin answered twice followed by Jordan Crawford. The Wizards remained down by approximately 8 points but the gap refused to widen, setting the stage for the end of the quarter.
- In the third quarter: Ariza attacking the rim gives me an instantaneous ulcer, but I can live with it (a little) if a strong offensive rebounding like Kevin Seraphin has established some post position.
- In the fourth quarter: A.J. Price just did a Jordan Crawford impersonation, beautiful penetration and score. A few plays later, he complains to a ref trailing transition. Short-handed help defense rotates away from the rim on the ensuing break and the Hawks get a big dunk in transition. Halts Wizards momentum. Hawks get another turnover and uncontested transition bucket. A few plays later, Price catches the defense napping again at a critical moment.
- The Wiz have been responding to gut checks like a scrappy boxer. Every time it seems like the Wiz could apply some real pressure on the scoreboard, Devin Harris strokes the bottom of the net.
- Say what you want about Trevor Ariza's play, he's playing balls to the wall tonight. Following his shot has padded that rebounding stat, but this is the kind of furious energy Trevor Booker needs to recapture. Read Mike's feature if you haven't already.
- In overtime: Offense stalled in the halfcourt and had to completely reset with only seven seconds left, A.J. Price found Trevor Ariza who hit from the corner(!).
- Four point lead in overtime and I'm tearing out my eyeballs.
- Martell Webster hit an amazing putback about a tenth of a second too late. Great play ending in defeat by official review. Cubs lose, Cubs lose.
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