The end result of tonight's game was never going to be in question. The Wizards had every reason to win tonight's game. The Knicks had every reason to go out there, try hard, get some experience and not do anything that would jeopardize their standing as the team with the best odds of winning this year's NBA Draft Lottery.
Tonight was about evaluating the Wizards' process more than their results. While nothing is perfect, there was more good signs than bad ones from tonight's win. Let's review the both.
Good: John Wall, droppin' dimes like his wallet is overstuffed
Whether Wall was focusing on getting assists tonight to get his teammates going, or just pad his assist numbers in general, it did have a bit of an effect on the rest of the game. He was 3-13 shooting and didn't get to the line at all. So yeah, it was nice of Wall to get Gortat and Porter some quality shots tonight. Though it wasn't a vintage John Wall performance, it was performance that reminds us Wall can mess around and get 18 assists in 29 minutes if he feels like it.
Bad: Bench still struggling
While the starting lineup continues to play well, even as Otto Porter and Drew Gooden have spent more time with the first unit, the bench has struggled to keep pace. Part of the issue is trying to reshuffle units with Kris Humphries' return as well as the addition of Will Bynum, but clearly, there's still some work to do.
After the Wizards' starters raced out to a 30-10 lead in the first quarter, the bench let Ricky Ledo and company get hot in the second and make things competitive again by halftime. Defensively, they're still a mess and Rasual Butler and Kevin Seraphin still just haven't been able to get things going.
Not only does the bench need to get it together so they can contribute in the playoffs, but they need to be dependable enough to give the starters valuable rest in the closing weeks of the season. After being forced to bring the starters back in to seal the deal Wednesday against the 76ers, Randy Wittman wisely kept the starters in until the game was comeback-proof this time around, but it comes at the expense of more wear and tear for guys who really don't need to be exposing themselves to injury risks this late in the season.
Good: Otto Porter, lookin' fancy
Otto Porter's game is built on taking advantage of other team's mental mistakes, whether it's someone's sloppy ballhandling or falling asleep defensively, so you shouldn't be surprised he went 7-9 from the field and finished with 17 points against the Knicks.
This late in the season, it's probably not a good idea to reshuffle the starting lineup to replace Porter with Paul Pierce. Not only are you throwing Pierce into a role he's not accustomed to, but you're not giving the lineup much of a chance to perform in competitive situations. That said, the Wizards really need to think about how tinkering rotations to maximize Porter's on-court time with John Wall, who benefits far more from playing alongside Wall than Paul Pierce does.
In the closing seconds of the game, with the Wizards up 99-87, Rasual Butler threw down a dunk to ensure a Wizards fans would get half off Papa John's tomorrow. Knicks coach Derek Fisher was not pleased, which led to him saying something absurd that should never be repeated.
Fisher rarely voices his gripes publicly - but tonight? I'd imagine his message was clear in huddle about Wizards pizza chase embarrassment.— Steve Popper (@StevePopper) April 4, 2015
Drew Gooden came to Knicks bench and explained he'd spoken to Butler who knew he was wrong to dunk at end.— Steve Popper (@StevePopper) April 4, 2015
Fisher's take on the dunk at the end - "Pizza doesn't taste that great."— Steve Popper (@StevePopper) April 4, 2015
Pizza doesn't taste great? The Knicks have officially driven Derek Fisher insane, and that's a shame.