Consider the factors heading into last night's game at the Verizon Center:
- Wizards W-L record: 9-26
- Kings W-L record: 8-26
- Tuesday night game
- Snowfall expected from 7PM to 11PM
The Wizards won the game in overtime, 136-133. They won despite giving away an eight-point lead in the final minute of regulation and adding similar drama to the end of the overtime session.
At the game's outset, the arena had a little extra buzz thanks to two groups in attendance. Showing up for Jewish Heritage Night at Verizon, a huge contingent of Jewish fans sat right in front of the Great Wall of Assists (which got 9 A's for the night) in section 116. They danced during the timeout music, shook the Israeli flag, and shouted their Omri Casspi chants every time he was in the game. Another contingent with flags sat high up in section 400.
A smaller, but no less enthusiastic, group sat in section 118. Gathered to herald the reunion of John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins, a group of fans decked out in Kentucky blue added to the commotion in Verizon. One 60-ish gent, with an old UK jersey tucked neatly into front of his dress pants, won the Jumbotron dance contest during a timeout with an assortment of moves that would normally merit medical attention. This group also had plenty to cheer about as DeMarcus Cousins had a few strong moves to the baseline (despite 4-17 FG shooting) and John Wall played a steady overall game in which he broke out the one-man fast break. He used it to draw 10 free-throw attempts.
The game picked up on this early enthusiasm and ran with it. Nick Young scored a career-high 43 points, including two fiery-hot stretches in the first and third quarters. The early run featured 11 points in three minutes, and then Nick later ran off an amazing 16 points in the final four minutes of the third quarter. Credit the Wizards, and especially John Wall, for getting him the ball when he was hot. Discredit the Kings and Paul Westphal for setting up a defense that ignored him.
|Nick Young shooting a technical FT.|
At end of the first quarter, the Wiz were up by a 38-19 edge. The Kings prevented the blowout by switching to a zone in the second quarter. The defensive switch flummoxed the Wizards offense. Yi and Hinrich missed some long jumpers and the lead shrunk to seven points within the first five minutes of the period. Of course, it wasn't the worst lead giveaway of the night -- that would come later and force overtime. Amazingly, the Kings led 56-54 at half.
The second half featured 142 points, highlighted by Young's scoring outburst. A proliferation of bizarre occurrences raised a great number of questions:
Question 1) John Wall crashed into some empty courtside seats in the third quarter. These seats weren't just any vacant seats. Ted Leonsis and his party were in those seats both before and after Wall's collision. Where were you Ted? Why weren't you there to protect the franchise with that big, lovable Greco-American belly of yours?
Question 2) Andray Blatche went to the floor to secure a jump-ball tie-up with Jermaine Taylor. (He went to the floor more than once to make hustle plays. Read that again. Yup.) Andray hurt his shoulder on the play and stayed down for a minute or two. What would have happened if Blatche could not take the jump ball? Who fills his place? (Blatche stayed in the game briefly, but the rule is the same as the injury free-throw rule. Westphal would have been able to pick any Wizard, presumably Wall or Hinrich, to take the jump ball.)
Question 3) John Wall made a jumper with 1:02 remaining in regulation to give the Wizards an eight-point lead. Half the fans in attendance left at this point of the game. Oops. Don't you know that these are the Washington Wizards? Why were you hurrying to leave?
Question 4) As the Wizards tried to close out the game in regulation, Nick Young, who at that point had 37 points, apparently saw the end-of-game scenario as an opportunity to get to 40 points by using the free throws that the Kings were giving. But with Hinrich and Wall in the game, Nick was not the player you want trying to dribble through ball pressure. Why were you worried about getting to 40 in a close game, Nick? (Not sure, but he coughed up one turnover, nearly another, and later missed a free throw, all contributing to the regulation collapse. He also pushed his total to 43 points with three free throws and an overtime 3-pointer.)
Question 5) Cartier Martin played three minutes. Which three minutes? The final three minutes of overtime in a game that featured no substantial foul trouble. How does that happen? (John Wall apparently went to the bench during an overtime timeout while suffering cramping issues.)
After DeMarcus Cousins missed a three-pointer at the final buzzer in OT, the referees started to confer. Given that
- Francisco Garcia had already made a three-FT sequence on one play and converted a four-point play on another
- Beno Udrih had been awarded two free throws after an earlier buzzer-beating video review
- The Wizards blew a 20-point first-half lead before the half ended
- The Wizards blew a six-point lead in the final 14 seconds of regulation