Prior to tonight's game, Marcin Gortat told CSN's J Michael how he feels embarrassed when teams like Philly and Milwaukee punk them in their own building. How does he feel now?
That same issue came up tonight. The Wizards dug themselves an early hole, falling to as many 19 points against a shorthanded, bad Celtics team before making a surge in the second half. Unfortunately, John Wall's triple double was negated by a 39-point effort from Jeff Green and a 20-point effort from Phil Pressey, and the Wizards fell, 113-111, when Gerald Wallace -- GERALD WALLACE -- went coast to coast for the go-ahead layup in overtime.
It's come to the point where we, as fans, expect players like Phil Pressey to give us problems. We expect the Wizards to come out flat despite this being an obviously crucial win before a challenging west-coast trip. And the sad thing is, the players know it and discuss it time and time again ... yet it still happens.
The first half started exactly as you'd expect against a depleted team that has absolutely no business winning this game. The Wizards came out lethargic offensely and with very little effort on defense. Boston ended up shooting over 57 percent from the floor while making five threes. Yes, a team that started Wallace at shooting guard made five three-pointers in the first quarter, all of which came on open looks.
Between Wall's reckless drives to the basket that yielded entirely too many missed shots and momentum-killing turnovers, the Wizards offense was in ruins. In what's become a trend this season, the shooters just couldn't find the bottom of the net, and whenever that's the case, the offense goes into complete disarray. Suddenly, those passing lanes never opened up for Wall and Nene, the floor shrunk and it was a bunch of one-and-done possessions.
But this was still the 14-29 Boston Celtics and they were bound to regress to the mean soon enough. The Wizards' offense showed signs of life, most notably Trevor Ariza, who poured in two threes in consecutive possessions. And interestingly enough, it was Bradley Beal who assumed more ball handling duties and showcased some great probing to get into the middle of the lane. He found Ariza in the corner for a spot-up three on one drive, and followed it up with a hockey assist on the next. Eventually, the Wizards tied the game on a four-point play from Webster.
But opportunities to pull away were constantly squandered. An easy layup by Wall on a fast break instead turned into a jump ball with Pressey. Green hit this shot, tying the game. Then, with the score tied up at 99 and under 30 seconds left, the Wizards got a stop and had Beal and Wall leak out on the break. But instead of attacking and preserving a 2 for 1, the Wizards elected to take a timeout. Two Nene bricks followed, and we had overtime.
It was more back and forth action in the overtime. Green continued to toast defenders for going under screens, hitting on a huge three pointer midway through the period. Webster answered the call, hitting on a three of their own, but with 20 seconds left in the period, the Wizards picked up a loose ball and were in an all too familiar situation. Wall and Gortat were in prime position to push the ball in transition, but elect to reset the offense and use up the clock. Eventually, Wall drove into the teeth of the defense, dumped it off to Gortat, who got fouled. However, Gortat split the pair, keeping the score tied.
That led to Wallace's layup, which was too easy. It was just enough to seal the victory after a desperation heave from Wall in the waning seconds falls short.
Wall had probably the strangest triple-doubles you'll likely ever see, as he also had a ton of a missed shots and turnovers. It never really seemed like he had any control over the offense, and he was strategically baited into long-twos. In the end, the Wizards never had control of the game, and that cost them.
Here are my game notes:
- Wall always seems to have lapses in effort when getting back on defense. He always seems to give up open looks because he's always looking to play the passing lanes. It begs the question of whether Wittman should deploy him more to pressure the ball handler the length of the floor. Not saying this should be on a consistent basis, but something has to change in that regard.
- This was the second straight game in which the Wizards' wings took careless approaches to guarding players coming off screens. They went under screens when they weren't supposed to, rarely fought over and switched entirely too much against a team with versatility at almost every position.
- This was a really poor matchup for Gortat tonight against Jared Sullinger. He's always had trouble defending in space, and against a stretch-4 like Sully, had no chance. But he was clearly in control of the glass all night long, so I wouldn't call it a complete disaster.
- Love seeing Wall attack the basket off a Nene post-up around the 4:30 mark of the fourth. Looked like he was spotting up for three once Nene got doubled, but quickly cut to the basket before Pressey could even make the closeout. There's no stopping him once he has a full head of steam in the half-court like that.
- Really disliked the late-game execution (shocking, I know). The Wizards had a golden opportunity to go for a two-for-one, and what better way to get a quick bucket than Wall and Beal out on the secondary break? Instead they settled for a Nene pick and pop out of the timeout. Then, after Jeff Green misses from 30-feet, Wittman stayed with his big lineup, using both Nene and Gortat on the play, and it results in Beal being used as a decoy while Nene flashed to the top of the key for another jumper that bricked.