Here's your recap roundup for the Wizards' 96-87 win over the Hornets on Friday. As always, check our StoryStream and listen to postgame interviews from Randy Wittman, John Wall, Martell Webster, Trevor Booker and Kevin Seraphin on Monumental Network:
"For sure, even in the first half we gave them way too many open looks," Williams said. "The ability to respect an NBA players wasn't there. I thought John Wall was disrespected tonight. We just let him shoot shots like he couldn't make the. And he made us pay. "You want to keep him out of your paint, but you don't want to give him shots.
"And I thought our guards didn't compete at a high level to give our team a chance to win for 48 minutes. They did it in spurts, but not for 48 minutes. And they were more physical than we were in the paint. A tell-tale sign: I think we got into the (free-throw) penalty like 2 ½ minutes (into the fourth quarter). It wasn't even at nine minutes, and we'd already committed four fouls. That's not something we've been used to."
"These last few games are as good as he's done in terms of keeping us in a pace that we have to play at," Wittman said. "With these last few games, I told him, ‘Take these home and study these.' This is a way, from a pace standpoint that we have to play on offense.' I thought he's played with great confidence."
"I just got into a good rhythm. The last couple games, I've been feeling pretty good and able to knock down my shot," Wall said. "You make your first couple, you get a rhythm and you get confidence. When you play with a lot of confidence, you play at a high level."
With Emeka Okafor and Nene shooting a combined 3-of-13 from the field the Wizards were able to maintain a post presence thanks to the play of Kevin Seraphin. In 17 minutes he chipped in 10 points and battled New Orleans Robin Lopez down low.
"I thought he gave us some solid inside play," said Wizards coach Randy Wittman. "He only came up with one rebound, but he was putting a body on people; he doesn't get the rebound, that's what people always see. I thought he was in there battling with (Robin) Lopez, he was matched up with him. He gave us some solid minutes from the standpoint of us being able to continue to throw the ball inside."
John Wall was absolutely spectacular tonight. To say he was in the ‘zone' would be an understatement. Wall has looked more and more comfortable shooting open jump shots as of late, but he has never knocked down as many jumpers as he did tonight. John Wall scored a season high 29 points, making 12 of his 15 shot attempts. I believe 10 or 11 of his made shots were jump shots. He also had 9 assists to go along side just 3 turnovers. Oh, he also knocked down 3 shots from beyond the arc. I mean, it was unbelievable. Wizards fans transform into giddy schoolgirls as soon as John Wall hits a three pointer. To be honest, it's quite hard to even contain my excitement writing this game recap. After the game, Wall spoke about how important it was for him not to fall in love with his shot, but rather look for the best available shot. Wall's offense was executed to perfection tonight. Wall, who is known for his ability to get to the basket, made only one layup tonight (not counting the contested floater). Wall has averaged over 26 points in the past three games, which has been a direct result of his increased confidence. I realize that his seemingly automatic jump shot is probably unsustainable, but it's great to see how well John Wall could dominate the game when he's hitting on all cylinders.
The biggest story of the game was, of course, John Wall's ability to hit jumpers. Wall hit 9 of 12 (75%) shots beyond 10 feet; from that range, he shoots 31% (61/195) on the season.
Monty Williams alluded to this after the game: "We just let him shoot shots like he couldn't make them, and he made us pay."
It's a point I understand, and no NBA guard can be allowed the space New Orleans generally cedes to shooters this season. But at the same time, while Williams' thought that the Hornets let Wall shoot like he couldn't make shots is an accurate one, there's also the fact that Wall can't usually make those shots. As the stats show, he makes those shots to the tune of about 30% shooting. Which is awful to the point where it's justifiable to design a defense that cedes the jumper to the player. So I'll call this one a wash.
And I think that's the most maddening part of this season. We've seen bits and pieces here and there of what this team could be, but it's all sandwiched in between prolonged stretches of nothingness. Not badness or wretchedness, just nothingness. Certainly the Hornets have had moments where they looked awful, but overall it's just been a bland season. Too many times the most exciting player has sat on the bench or stayed in the corner on offense. Too many times the Hornets have run and ineffective pick and roll.