We were heading toward yet another uninspiring Wizards result against a bad team when John Wall got called for a questionable blocking foul on Ramon Sessions. It was in the middle of the third quarter and the Bucks were only down by two points, having hung around thanks to some lethargic Wizards offense and blown rotations. Wall sort of had a point in that Sessions lowered his shoulder into his chest, but he also reached, which explains the foul.
Nevertheless, it got him mad. And as we found out for the next few minutes, mad is far better than disinterested.
On the very next possession, Wall zoomed down the court, crossed up Sessions and slipped by Zaza Pachulia for the layup, and he was engaged. Suddenly, he was pushing the pace, making decisive moves and passes. And suddenly, a two-point game turned into a 14-point one in a matter of minutes. The second unit put things away soon thereafter, and the Wizards had themselves the 104-91 win they expected over the dreadful Milwaukee Bucks.
Forty-two wins. A winning season. How about that.
The game itself was nothing to write home about. The Wizards need Wall to be more aggressive for longer to have a chance in the playoffs, but you knew that already. It was nice to see Bradley Beal hit some shots, though the selection wasn't all that much better than usual. Marcin Gortat struggled a bit; you wonder if he's wearing down from playing so many minutes (hopefully not). Al Harrington gave some nice minutes, which was cool. Trevor Ariza and Martell Webster started hitting their perimeter shots late in the game, which is important.
But let's be real: the Wizards could have trotted out five members of the Alumni Association and defeated that Bucks team.
The nicer accomplishment is the winning season. For all the grumbling we do, we've seen many Wizards seasons with similar expectations blow up in our faces. This team probably should be better, but it also has met expectations, weathered an 82-game season with very few major crisis moments and bounced back whenever they were on the brink of a big disaster. That's a credit to everyone involved. Congratulations, Wizards, on your winning season.
- Happy that Nene took the night off. There are no more back-to-backs from here, so he should be fresher for the playoffs. The Wizards certainly didn't need him tonight.
- Not all that thrilled that Otto Porter got so little time after such a great performance Friday. Seemed like the perfect time to reward the kid for such a big game. Instead, he didn't get in until Webster picked up three fouls in the second quarter. Again: it's the Bucks. Why not give Ariza a little more rest.
- Along those lines: what the heck was Wall still doing in the game with the Wizards up 16 points and under two minutes left? He should have been taken out 2-3 minutes earlier. (The same applies to Marcin Gortat and other starters, by the way). The Bucks are not rallying from a double-digit deficit with four minutes left. The playoffs are on the horizon. Every minute of rest that can be preserved goes a long way.
- Kudos to Trevor Booker. For all his faults, the guy has been playing really well of late. Nice touch on those jump hooks, nice effort running the floor, nice mid-range jumper. He's certainly making his case to get postseason minutes once Nene is fully healthy.