John Wall is really unafraid to shoot the ball, you guys. Of course, unless it was Martell Webster sweating blood to get his buckets. The Magic had five players in double figures, whereas Wall and Webster pretty much were the Wizards offense in a 97-92 loss. So, yeah.
Wall put up 28 shots, but I can't really blame him. No one was making anything and while the Magic got hot early, Wall made the decision to go alpha dog. When you're cursing E'twaun Moore instead of Jason Terry, it really isn't your night.
Orlando opened up a big halftime lead and it looked like we were on the verge of a blowout. The Wizards made those halftime adjustments again, the Magic finally went cold, whatever, but the Wiz came all the way back. But there wasn't enough energy to complete the comeback, a familiar tale.
Webster was the only other Wizard in double figures in a frustrating loss for the Wizards. Some chronological notes.
- Well, nobody's running a clinic to start things off, but it's encouraging to watch the Wizards not get outhustled on the defensive glass.
- Wall hits in a jumper in the early going. Six more weeks of basketball, y'all.
- Kyle O'Quinn hard bankshot from midrange on the pick and roll. Somewhere in America, Stan Van Gundy just wince/scowled and he doesn't know why.
- Webster trying to get it going early...wish he'd reign it in a bit, but Trevor Booker cleans up the awkward-looking runner. If the Wizards are making shots and pulling defenders away from the interior, Cook Book can shine on a regular basis.
- Giving those points back immediately on the other end is hugely frustrating. The Wizards transition defense has to be better. Hope they were watching the Bulls take down the Heat.
- Jesus, Kyle O'Quinn. I'm looking for Mr. "Nobody will punk a player of the Washington Wizards" to put some hard contact on that mug later tonight. Hope Wall is cold angry; these are important games to his developmental momentum.
- Martell, we missed you on Wednesday night, signed, all of us.
- I saw a mention in the comments about Emeka Okafor needing to take the ball into the paint, but the next play illustrated why that doesn't usually happen. Jameer Nelson pushed the ball in transition and Oak was the only reason Nelson didn't have a gimme. Oak spent the next several seconds trying to guard what looked like three separate players bouncing around in the paint. If Oak takes it to the hole and gets it stripped, the transition D won't hold, so he takes the jumper. It's not a perfect solution, but until the Wiz figure out their frustratingly slow to react interior defense on the road...
- Say what you will about the transition D, but the Magic just don't have the options to put much pressure on the Wiz in the half-court. That's why that back-door cut for the slam door was particularly annoying. Fantastic that the Webster and Book were able to catch the Magic napping in response.
- I'm really starting to hate Garrett Temple taking shots...but that's why he was available for the team in the D-League, I guess. Booker really earning his keep tonight.
- Of course, Tobias Harris immediately dunks on the entire Wizards team. Booker didn't get all the way back and the help defense was, shall we say 'disengaged'?
- Mo Harkless for three! Doug Collins: DRINK!
- Wall expected Chris Singleton to attack with him, I guess. That kind of miscommunication is what's going to get Webster re-signed. #JohnWallJumpshot!
- If the Magic get another uncontested dunk...I'm going to write something about it in disparaging fashion. I hate to watch an elite defense, even missing as many pieces as they are, getting out-fundamentaled against an injured squad expecting to finish high in the lottery. Fundamentals from top-to-bottom is a thing for elite organizations, Wiz still have work to do.
- Orlando is creeping. The Wizards need to pull away but can't do it. This probably bodes ill.
- Start of the second quarter. Singleton is giving it the old college try, that's for sure.
- Jesus, Cartier...but that was a pretty pass from Price to set him up.
- Airwolf sighting. Ernie Grunfeld: DRINK!
- Ves with the pretty block, too bad Martin fouled on the play. I want moar of that.
- Seraphin followed up a dangerous interior pass to Ves, of all people, by shoving Andrew Nicholson in the back after the turnover. Ugh.
- E'twaun Moore did a great job protecting the ball from Wall with his body after transition was triggered and kept the premier shot-blocking in the NBA from even contesting. Well done.
- Tobias Harris is EATING the Wiz.
- More uncontested dunks, eh, Wizards? #JohnWallJumpshot!
- When Moore is hitting off-balance fadeaways because 'why the hell not?' you know things are getting ugly.
- And the Wiz rebound an Orlando miss into the bucket. Because Wizards. Which I'd hoped wasn't a thing anymore.
- John Wall doing his best to answer the Magic on his own. Randy Wittman is not happy for a lot of reasons hit now. End of half. Note to self: John Wall is fast.
- Come onnnnnn, defensive adjustments. JohnWallJumpshot(s)!
- Garrett Temple just hit a 3. Cry 'HAVOC!', Randy Wittman.
- Wizards are all the way back. Mid-range jumpers are not the way to go, Orlando.
- STOP LEAVING MEN OPEN UNDER THE BASKET!
- Bad Ariza: Tries to split two defenders off the dribble. Good Ariza: Catch and shoot three pointer.
- Both teams are scrapping. If John Wall isn't getting buckets or dimes, the Wizards are sweating blood to score.
- Martell Webster channeling his inner Jordan Crawford?
- Wall may have gone cold from the floor, but he damn near beat four Magic defenders and drew the foul.
- And a game-sealing turnover like that is the game in microcosm.