With 2:45 to play in the game, the Milwaukee Bucks’ frustration level had reached the high for the game. Larry Sanders had been called for a charge in a game that had been very erratically refereed. Before leaving the court, he turned, smiled and gave a thumbs up to each of the referees on the court. The Wizards had just regained a 16-point lead behind the efforts of John Wall, Trevor Booker and Garrett Temple and the Bucks were about to become the latest of the many playoff-bound opponents the Wizards have taken down this season.
It’s simple to understand the frustration from the Bucks squad. They weren’t getting calls very easily and the Wizards were simply on top of their game all night (sans the third quarter). Not to mention that Garrett Temple, of all people, racked up 41 minutes of game time and went 6-for-7 for the night for a total of 13 points. There’s no way they had that on the scouting report.
Something else they probably didn’t have was Trevor Booker coming out to have his best game of the season, going for 13 points and 12 rebounds (both season highs). After the game, Booker was all smiles as he told reporters that he “…felt like the old Book…”
Booker was one of three players to amount a double-double last night in the 106-93 win versus the Bucks. Nene ended up with 13 points and 13 rebounds and John Wall, who helped finish the game out with his 21 points, 10 assists and six boards.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the Wizards, however. The third quarter saw a 20-point Wizards lead turn into a three-point Bucks lead after Milwaukee outscored Washington 34-15 in the third.
The key to climbing back into the game, according to Trevor Booker, was that there was no panicking from the Wizards after losing a lead that got as big as 20 at one point. There was apparently a mini-huddle at some point during the game between Wall, Webster and Seraphin about not panicking and just realizing that ‘This is the situation we’re in. What are we going to do about it?’
Well, John Wall had a pretty direct answer for that as he led the 31-15 surge for the Wizards in the fourth quarter. Wall was running the floor on the fast-break effectively, even with playing just under 43 minutes, which is a lot to ask for a guy who hasn’t played the whole season due to injury. His jump shot was going and there was a rare crossover-to-three-point bucket sighting, as well.
Wall knows the three-pointer is a point of weakness in his game, but he said that if he has the look to take it, he’s going to feel comfortable taking it.
The Wizards are, by every means, out of the playoff hunt by now. Martell Webster even acknowledged it off-handedly, mentioning (after joking around in the locker room) that he’d “be here ‘til April, folks…” In a weird way, it’s like the stress has been lifted in the locker room. Everyone is looser. John’s a lot more vocal, Martell is more entertaining than he already is (throwing out that if getting “…midgets to rub you down helps your game, then do it!”), and Booker’s actually vaguely excited to talk to the media.
While it doesn’t matter from here on out, it certainly is good to see the bonding, improvement and dedication from a group of guys who haven’t been healthy all season. And even better, a group of guys who, health-willing, could seriously make an impact on the Eastern Conference next season.
Fun Fact of the Night: Statistician Abby (who got me the final box score) points out that the Wizards shot 50% in all three areas: field goal, free throw, and three po