His performance wasn’t as breathtaking for DC fans as it would be with RG3 per se, but at sub-100 percent health, Nene gave the Wizards every drop he had, and all but fulfilled his role as the Savior of the Sea Dogs. You can blame @kevinhine for that reference. Anyhow, there’s no question who earned the spot for this accolade. Nene was the cornerstone of every Wizards attack just as the game seemed to slip away in the beginning of the first and second halves. Leading the second unit, Nene steered the Wizards out of early holes, proving his irreplaceable worth by the crashing the glass, drawing double teams in the post to free up the perimeter, and just simply providing a spark for a team that may emotionally combust upon any loss now. As valiant as the entire team was, Nene didn’t earn the nightly WE MVP award by a landslide. Trust me, Martell, you were leading the charge early on and we’ll get to why a bit later in this post.
But as for Nene, his resilience during injury and the ability to instantly be productive make for something we can only hope for, like a cozy feel good story. You know, like the tale of the neglected franchise who’s injured leader had seen just about enough. Rips off his IV tubes and marches out the hospital, fearlessly walking straight into the arena to get dressed in his uniform and shock the entire community with his presence. Yeah, they lose the first game dramatically in double overtime, but still manage to draw some momentum, which ultimately carries them through the rest of the season and they NEVER.LOSE.AGAIN.
At 0-11, the Wizards officially have me hallucinating. Next segment, please..
This is around the time where fans are going to really start expecting Bradley Beal to display the reasons why the Wizards drafted him with their first pick. For the most part, the initial rookie jitters should be past him and he should have found a better sense of comfort on the floor. He’s been executing the plays designed for him fairly well over the past few games, although he does miss open shots more than we’d like him to, especially last night. In the closing seconds of each overtime period (2), Beal rimmed his 3-point attempt, including a wide open shot at the end of the first overtime. #ThingsILike is Beal running the Reggie Miller-like baseline routes and then coming off a curl. I feel like his shot is built for that scheme. He just needs to drain them. As an aggressor, Beal was able to get to the rim, which earned him a trip to the line early in the game. He was also on the tail end of a drive to the rim when he got robbed by Kemba Walker underneath the basket in the closing seconds of the second overtime, which ultimately sealed the game.
MKG was disabled early and late in the game due to foul trouble. He was forced out only four minutes into the first quarter, and fouled out with just 17 seconds left in regulation. He did, however, make his presence felt when he was on the floor, shooting 5 of 10 from the field, along with eight boards and a few assists and steals. He was on the front end of two Wizards turnovers that opened up the second half, both of them resulting in MKG dunks. The Wizards relished his absence in the first quarter, which was a factor in their 12-0 run. MKG was also hammer on defense as his mobility and length shut down the wingman position. Just ask Trevor Ariza.
I’ll consider this segment of the post the “runner-up” for MVP as Martell Webster deserves a bit of noteworthiness. His (+22) matched Nene’s figures as the two gelled very well on the floor at the same time. Webster attacked and attacked and attacked, earning himself 12 free throw attempts, the most on a team that attempted a total of 39. Which was three more than the Bobcats. Which means the Wizards may have cured whatever it was that disabled them from earning charity points in the past few games.
Huge shout out to Chris Singleton as well, who once again has was a force in the second half. Although he shot poorly, Singleton made his mark in various ways. He was active on the glass grabbing 12 rebounds, six offensive. He was a savage on defense, disrupting passing lanes often and got four steals out of it. Like Webster, Singleton also found his way to the line, going 7 for 10.
There’s only so much you can expect from the talent (or lack of it) you’re forced to reckon with. The opening minutes of a Wizards game has become a guessing game for fans, unknownst to what kind of start we’ll be observing. A 9-0 lead only to trail by seven at the end of the first? Or a 13 point first quarter deficit only to lead by one at the half? Whichever it is, the Wizards need to find a way to control these sporadic stretches of mishaps.