Following basketball as a Wizards fan can be strenuous to say the least. Enjoying it is virtually impossible. Besides the few spurts of production over the course of the season, the Wizards have been about as entertaining as Paul Walker.
Although what occurred last night may have been one of those “spurts”, it’s safe to say that the exceptional display of domination we witnessed late in the 3rd quarter was arguably the best sequence of basketball we have seen from our boys all year.
We can only hope it was invigorating enough to be the turning point in what’s been a misfortunate season for the Wizards.
Outside of their comfort zone (the road), the Wizards still managed to stay on the brink of pulling away several times against Detroit last night, but the Pistons, led by the hefty ex-Hoya Greg Monroe, kept hanging around. Despite having an excellent night on both ends of the floor, one thing JaVale McGee did realize is the significance of a weight room as Monroe muscled him for a game high 27 points.
An eight point Wizards advantage at the end of the first was matched by Detroit in the second, knotting the teams at 45 by halftime. The 3rd quarter began sloppy for the Pistons, but the Wizards countered as both teams exchanged field goal droughts lasting roughly three minutes each.
That was when John Wall had just about enough.
Down 61-59 with 3 minutes remaining in the third, Wall’s and-1 layup sparked what became an incredible run to close out quarter and set the tone for the rest of the game.
The exuberant finish, which included runs of 15-2, 24-4 and 39-10, entailed a lot of what a Wizards fan had been yearning for all year: game control by John Wall, the athleticism of Jan Vesely, the absence of Andray Blatche, the rediscovery of Rashard Lewis’ jump shot, a successful pick and roll, a JaVale McGee smile, classic Michael Jackson playing during a timeout, and not to mention Kevin Seraphin getting minutes only during garbage time.
It also featured a few milestones as well: Wall tied a career high in assists (15), while Rashard Lewis highlighted his return from injury by scoring his 15,000th career point.
The Wizards eventually ended the game on a 39-16 run that capped a 98-77 victory over a Pistons team that has been almost equally as distasteful this season.
Not only did the final 15 minutes of the game refresh us of basketball worthy of watching, but it also further exposed certain areas where the team needs to cut their losses.
Yes, this is the usual buzzkill portion of the article highlighted by none other than Jordan Crawford. Hailing out of East Detroit, JC let his hometown hood down as he failed to produce yet again, shooting miserably and finishing with only four points. This is a happy post so check the game box score for details.
A cynic, also known as your typical Wizards fan, would say “it’s only Detroit”. Well, remember that “only Detroit” still happens to be two games better than “only Washington” even after last night's loss.
The Wizards winning in a decisive manner despite only nine points from John Wall says a ton about the team’s improvements, particularly in the area of sharing the ball.
It also further enhances my man-crush on Randy Wittman. Pause…
The Wizards are hopeful their immaculate finish will set the tone for the rest of their road trip.