Everyone here that used to hate eating their vegetables as a kid can relate to the Wizards' 104-91 win over the Jazz. You procrastinate, picking at your bowl of peas while delaying the inevitable. Your parents glare at you, and you know, deep down, that you really should listen to them. And eventually, you finish, but not before taking way longer than you should and not after some sort of reward is floated.
We know the Wizards don't enjoy eating their vegetables. Games they should win rarely seem impressive, and there have been times where they didn't finish the job altogether and were metaphorically grounded. But lately, it seems like the Wizards are at least realizing they better do as their parents say because it'll lead to the reward of better playoff seeding.
That was tonight in a nutshell. There were stretches where the Wizards chowed down and raced far enough ahead to feel comfortable. A John Wall floater put the Wizards up 15 midway through the third, and things seemed good.
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But rather than finishing the few remaining vegetables left, the Wizards remembered why they hate eating their vegetables in the first place. The offensive movement died and the defensive communication faded, allowing Utah to end the third on a 7-0 run and eventually cut the lead to five early in the fourth. Someone needed to be the parent that reminded the team about the task at hand before getting the reward.
I guess you could say the "parent" ended up actually being a few different people. (And I thought this metaphor would perfectly carry through the whole recap. What do I know?). The starters returned and stepped up, starting with a great pass from Drew Gooden to Bradley Beal for a dunk. On the next play, the Wizards got a steal and Al Harrington drove baseline to did this.
A Wall finger roll and Trevor Ariza three later, and the Wizards had finished their bowl of peas. Next up: carrots in Milwaukee.
- Have to give credit where credit is due: the Wizards don't win that game without Drew Gooden. He hit a couple big shots in his second-quarter stint, then made a nice reverse layup and hit Beal on that Princeton-style backdoor cut to start the finishing surge. There was plenty of negative, particularly defensively, but those plays were critical
- I liked some of what I saw from Otto Porter on defense. There was one play in particular in the second quarter where he trapped someone on one side, then rotated back to run his man off the line and stop Utah's ball rotation. He needs to be wayyyy more confident and decisive offensively, though.
- There will be games when Andre Miller shows his age. Tonight was one of those games. The hope is that he realizes he doesn't have it and doesn't try to do too much regardless. With the exception of a couple possessions, I think he was enough in the background.
- It really is amazing how Ariza is now a lights-out three-point shooter.