Flip Saunders used to have a saying, one he'd use when his team inevitably looked unprepared for a game early on and couldn't catch all the way up. He used it so many times in his two-plus year tenure that it became a broken record.
"The basketball gods," he'd say. "They always have a way of equaling things."
The final six minutes of this Wizards-Bucks game? That was the basketball gods equaling things. In the end, the Wizards' comeback from a 15-point deficit against the NBA's worst team ended in a game-tying three on a defensive breakdown, an overtime period where their offense looked like a bunch of headless chicken, and a game-tying attempt where the two non-injured starters collided with each other for an out of bounds call.
Milwaukee Bucks 109, Washington Wizards 105.
This is what happens when you get too comfortable. We don't know why the Wizards came out so unprepared, falling behind early and letting the lead swell to 15 points by the end of the first half. Could they have started believing their own press about being a .500 team, which really is no great accomplishment? It'd certainly be easy to make that conclusion.
And sure, that second-half comeback was nice. The Wizards ramped up the defensive effort, John Wall got his head into the game and took things over and Trevor Booker provided a huge lift. When Wall hit a tough jumper with just over a minute remaining to put Washington up five, it looked like it was over.
Instead, Khris Middleton got a really quick two, the Wizards wasted their next possession and Wall and Trevor Ariza botched a switch, allowing Brandon Knight to hit the game-tying three. A horrid overtime period where the Wizards only scored three points followed, and that was that.
Oh, and get better, Martell and Nene. This team needs you.
- Otto Porter didn't really do much in his time on the court. I don't recall him doing anything positive, nor do I really remember any terrible breakdowns defensively. He took a couple anxious shots, which is not good, but one can understand those given his rustiness. He really was just a guy out there. A guy that, as expected, looked really rusty.
- I suppose Nene's injury puts that second quarter in a new light. At the time, it made no sense that he didn't get the ball much even though he was guarded by a slender John Henson and was the only playmaker on the second unit. Maybe he was just too banged up to do much. Unfortunate.
- As great as Wall played in the second half, there were way too many times where he let his man get by him off the dribble, lost his man on off ball action and gambled in the backcourt instead of getting back. Part of being the top guy is playing solidly the whole game instead of performing in spurts. This is the area I'm always most critical of him, not his jump shot. He will have bad shooting nights. He can't have these nights where his concentration isn't consistent.
- When you have two starters go down with injuries, someone needs to step up and provide the very best of what they're capable of providing. You don't need players to act like a totally different version of themselves all the time; just the very best version of themselves. Trevor Booker provided the very best version of himself tonight.
- I don't know what the heck happened on that final play where Wall and Ariza ran into each other. It appeared that they wanted to get Ariza slipping a screen going into the corner for three, but the two mistimed it and Ariza took an awful route to the corner. The bigger question: why did Randy Wittman draw up a play for a corner three when his team still had 20 seconds left to get a quick two? Why not try for a quick hitter to extend the game? That's bad coaching.
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