Thoughts on #WizJazz
Jacob Raim - WashingtonWizards.com
The Wizards fought back from a massive deficit, but in the end could not quite pull out the win, losing 92-88 to Utah. Here are my thoughts on last night's game:
1. The Comeback
The Wizards were a team on the last game of a strenuous five games in eight nights road trip and could have easily laid down and died when trailing by 21 in the third quarter. They did not. The team found another gear and went on a stunning 20-2 run to pull the game to within three points. Lots of guys contributed but it was led by John Wall pushing the tempo. They shot 7/11 during the five and a half minute run (and 4-4 from the stripe) and forced the Jazz into several really bad shots with some good D. Were they able to close the game out? Unfortunately, no. But it was certainly nice to see them fight their way back into the game against a quality Jazz team. Unfortunately up until that point they really did look like a team that was on the last leg of a road trip, giving the Jazz way too many easy buckets.
2. Okafor on the Boards
Emeka Okafor's rebounding was a big plus on the road trip, averaging 11.4 per game. Last night he pulled down 17, one shy of his season high. The quality of the competition he did it against last night was impressive as well, going against a couple of really good rebounders in Paul Millsap (who did grab 15 of his own) and Al Jefferson who average about 18 a game between the two of them. While his shooting touch was not there last night, he still contributed on the offensive end through five offensive boards. His positioning underneath the hoop was exceptional all night.
3. Big Men (Not) Scoring
Last night, the Wizards only got 21 points from their four big men who played last night. Nene, Okafor, Seraphin and Booker shot a combined 9/35 from the field for 25.7%. On average the Wizards get over 34 ppg and around 45% shooting from their post position players. Chalk it up to an off night around the rim and some good interior D from Utah as they allow the seventh fewest points in the paint in the league.
4. The Tempo
Over most of the first three quarters, the Wizards had not gotten out on the run much at all and had been content to mostly play in half court offensive sets. Wall especially really pushed the tempo during that run that put the team back in the game, and it is no coincidence that it is how they got back into the game. This team should be running up the floor as much as possible and it showed. They ended up outscoring the Jazz on fast break points, 26-18. The fact that the Jazz had six fast break buckets during the second quarter alone and only 18 fast break points for the game shows how much the Wizards were able to control the pace to get back into the game.
5. Webster's Scoring
Webster has really been finding his niche of late as a scorer on this team and once again he led the team in scoring, last night with 15 points. He scored in double figures in four out of the five games (the exception being the Clippers game) and averaged 12.4 points a game for the trip, about his average over January. He's been doing it through a mix of shooting over 40% from the month from three and driving to the hoop effectively. His scoring average has risen each month throughout the season so far.
6. Home Cooking
Should be really nice for this team to get back home and play three in a row at Verizon Center after the grueling west coast swing, look for a quick start against Minnesota back in front of the home crowd.