Who else gon shoot? Jordan Crawford hit the game winning DAGGER from deep in the most Crawfordesque way ever, from 27 feet out. Jordan has the best possible personality-type to take a 27 foot game winner because he KNOWS (even though none of us know or even think) the shot is going in no matter what. He makes his living off of contested shots and doesn’t rely on referees’ calls for points, putting the outcome completely in his hands. I’m not saying Crawford would be the first pick in a game-winning shot contest, but he has the personality and game types. Thank you Steezus for giving me an adrenaline rush at midnight when I desperately need to be in bed.
The Wizards earned their ninth win of the season and second against the Blazers tonight in Portland. Both teams came out of the gates in a burst of flame and inevitably cooled combine for 68 points TOTAL in the second and third quarters. John Wall struggled but the team as a whole came together behind Martell Webster and Nene, who both played extremely well.
I’m too hyped right now. Let’s go straight to the Bullets Points:
- Lamarcus Aldridge and Nene both started the game in supernova form. Lamarcus hit a few step back jumpers and was fouled on a putback attempt on his own shimmy-shake move while Nene hit a Dirk one-legged fadeaway, which I’ve only seen him hit a few times. He went to the “Dirk” once more in the game and missed badly.
- Lamarcus had 10 points and three rebounds in the first but Nene countered with an astonishing 17 points. Nene would finish with 24, just below his career high of 28.
- Martell Webster also dominated the first, scoring 10 points on 3-3 shooting. He also added four-point-play which he may as well patent at this point. Martell ending up posting a 24-4-6 in his return to the city that drafted him.
- I have no stats to back this up, but it appears John Wall is settling less and less for a pull-up jump shot to end quarters, halves, etc. As Bullets Forever put it, I blinked and Wall was gone and to the basket to hit a finger roll with a second left in the first quarter.
- No Wizard could catch in the first half. Webster, Kevin Seraphin, and Trevor Ariza all had passes from Wall fly right through their hands. The passes weren’t perfect, but they were certainly catchable. The turnovers in the middle of the game threw the Wizards into a bad funk which they almost never recovered from.
- In the second quarter, Nene and Webster were replaced and the scoring fell off a cliff. Turnovers sky-rocketed as no one could cleanly handle passes while passes that weren’t bobbled were also not on target. Nene checked back in with five minutes to go and the squad settled down. It’s too bad statisticians can’t quantify a calming effect; Nene might lead the league.
- The Wiz put up 34 points in the first quarter and dropped off to 16 in the second. This can entirely be attributed to the lack of minutes Nene and Webster logged in the second quarter. They were the only Wizards playing well early and the team fell apart upon their exit.
- Bradley Beal fittingly started the second half off with a turnover. He then followed that up with an air balled three. A few minutes later, he followed up a missed layup with a strong dunk. I’ve stressed all year long that perseverance is what I’m most interested in seeing from Beal. He was not on the court in crunch time and only had one bucket all night. He did post a plus-12, however.
- Wall’s first assist came on a nice drive and kick (Rondo-style pass over the head) to Webster for a three to give the Wizards a lead. This wouldn’t be noteworthy if not for the fact that it didn’t happen until the end of the third and after Wall had committed four turnovers.
- Damian Lillard came alive in the fourth and blew by Wall time and time again. He zoomed past Wall for a huge dunk over Nene to pull the Blazers within one with two minutes left. Two possessions later, Wall got the best of him with a beautiful pick pocket he took the length of the court for an uncontested dunk.
- It is alarming at how poor Wall’s pick-and-roll defense has been this year and it was put on display in the fourth by Lillard. Even when Wall fights over the screen, he does not make an effort to quickly get back in position. He constantly sits back in the trailing position, likely hoping for a big block. I would chalk this up to lack of conditioning due to just returning from injury, but this was also a problem last year. I can’t say I’m confident Randy Wittman can fix this.
- Jordan Crawford has been nonexistent since returning from an ankle injury, and appeared to be on track for another forgetful night when he drilled a step-back jumper off a set that broke down and a corner three on great ball movement from Wall and Webster. After logging eight scoreless minutes in the first half, Young Steezus added 13 in the second including the game winner FROM 27 FEET as time expired.
- Tonight’s box score