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Nene’s Rebound Attempt in the Closing Seconds of Game 5

Nene’s failed rebound attempt at the final horn wasn’t the only reason the Wizards lost Game 5 to the Hawks on Wednesday night. Shooting just 37 percent from the field and failing to capitalize on their opponent’s 23 turnovers; knocking down only four shots from long range; getting minimal production from their bench — those are all contributors too. But for the sake of argument, here’s Nene’s attempted rebound under a microscope.

Setting the Scene

With just eight seconds left in the game and trailing 80-78, the Wizards set up an awesome play to get Paul Pierce open in the corner and the Truth knocks down a three to give Washington the lead. Atlanta calls timeout. During the timeout, Nene comes in for Marcin Gortat.

The Hawks come out of the timeout, and with just under four seconds to go, point guard Dennis Schroder drives the lane to attempt a layup, a shot attempt in which John Wall blocks. The ball goes awry off the backboard and toward the waiting hands of one Nene Hilario.

A charging Al Horford enters the lane and snatches the rebound, Nene falls and clears out two teammates in the process, and Horford converts an easy layup with one second left. The Wizards lose.

Possible Gripe(s)

Being upset with Nene as an initial reaction is understandable. I’m guilty of it too. But the frustration doesn’t begin and end with this specific play. His underwhelming performance throughout these entire playoffs has bugged fans and this final play of a losing effort was enough to make the weak sauce boil over.

Still shots also give you the impression that Nene had the ball in his hands. I’m again willing to put my emotions aside and recognize that 1) because you’re touching the ball doesn’t mean you’re securing possesssion and 2) watching the clip at full/live speed is really the only way to judge how much control Nene had of the ball.

But while on the topic of stills…

Nene Rebound 1

Nene Rebound 2

Nene Rebound 3

Again, the frustration with Nene doesn’t begin and end with this play. It was just the cherry on top. The Wizards dropped a winnable game for lots of reasons and they wasted feel-good moments like Pierce’s dagger three-pointer and John Wall’s heroics in the process. It all just really really stings.

NBA Playoffs Numbers and Notes: Wizards Sweep Raptors

Wall and Beal

In light of the Wizards’ unexpected sweep over the surprisingly submissive Toronto Raptors, here’s a few notes and numbers from Washington’s four games in Round 1.

* Remember Otto Porter? After playing just six total minutes in last year’s playoffs, Porter logged 32 minutes per in the four games against the Toronto Drakes, averaging nearly 10 points and better than seven boards per game. He finished the series with a net rating of +29 (128/99), while shooting 55-percent from the floor and 50-percent from long range.

It’s probably a little too early to definitively claim Porter’s professional emergence, but there’s no arguing his immense role in the Wizards’ sweeping effort en route to the second round. It’s the game’s biggest path to the game’s biggest stage and Otto Porter chose just the right time (for both team and fans) to remind us he’s still around and only 21 years old.

Here’s some more about Otto, written by yours truly.

* John Wall was soooo Optimus Dime in this series, averaging better than 17 points and 12.5 assists per game. Yowza!

* Say whatever you want about Paul Pierce during the regular season; the way he played in this series (and hopefully throughout the rest of the playoffs) is the reason he’s here. His 15.5 points per game and 58-percent shooting from deep are awesome numbers, but they still don’t represent the timing in which he twisted the dagger in Toronto’s side. So, so brilliant. And that’s why they refer to these old guys as “savvy vets”, and why they refer to Pierce as The Truth.

* Speaking of The Truth, how about that new stretch-four position, huh? Fortunately for Wizards fans (the same fans who have screamed for more Pierce at power forward for the last few months), head coach Randy Wittman finally decided to take a gander at the comments section and realized, “HEY! That does sound like a great idea!”

No, Randy. Your excuse of well we wanted to save him for the playoffs doesn’t work.

* Playoff Bradley Beal is a bad man. Check out this piece by Brett Oswalt at numberFire.

* Yes, even Razor Ramon Sessions deserve praise. He averaged 14 points, four boards and three assists per 36 minutes throughout the series and hit close to 56 percent from downtown. Similar to the Pierce acquisition (but on a different relative scale, of course), this series alone proved Sessions’ valuea.

Razor Ramon Sessions

* Drew Gooden was called on to help the Wizards’ spacing and add a (possible) threat from the three-point line. It worked. Gooden averaged 3.5 shots from deep per game and connected on half of them. Thanks, Big Drizzle.

* And it’s impossible to forget Marcin Gortat, who went from a Polish Machine to a Double-Double Machine by way of great footwork, awesome PnR, and veteran angles. For the series, Gortat averaged 17 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, and two blocks per game. This was the kind of line the Wizards FO envisioned when they forked over all that money last summer.

* Moving forward, all Wizards fans should take a rooting interest in the Brooklyn Nets. Somehow they’ve tied their series with Atlanta at two a piece and one could argue they even have some momentum after coming from behind two down. It’s not that either team is necessarily lethal right now, but it feels like the safer bet to draw the ghost of Deron Williams and Brook Lopez than to pray for Kyle Korver and Hotlanta to remain cold.

Happy Playoff Basketball!

  1. The Wiz traded away Andre Miller to Sacramento just before the trade deadline to acquire Sessions  (back)

Tyronn Lue Going for NBA Vine of the Year?

If we’re judging based off a specific scale, in which both facial expression and dialogue are considered, Cleveland assistant coach (and former Wizard!) Tyronn Lue is in the discussion for the NBA’s Non-Basketball-Move Vine of the Year.

For the record, Tyronn, that bearded guy with the man bun is none other than Luigi “GiGi” Datome, a 27-year-old rookie from Italy.

Wizards Head Coach Randy Wittman Outwitted by Whiteboard

We would stop picking on Wizards head coach Randy Wittman, but he seems to like it this way.

Here he is, in a playoff game against the Raptors, falling victim to a very clever and sneaky whiteboard.

Bradley Beal’s reaction/face at the end is arguably the best part.

John Wall with a Sick Crossover and No-Look Pass

Last night was fun.

Despite playing against a pretty awful Philadelphia 76er’s team, the Wizards played well to pick up their 42nd win of the season, and John Wall (aka Optimus Dime) was spectacular, dishing out SEVEN assists in only the first quarter, and finishing the game with 13 points, 15 dimes, and four rebounds.

One of the best circus acts put on by Wall was this bad boy, in which he does a little dance, makes a little love, and then darts a no-look pass to a cutting Otto Porter.

(Unfortunately this beauty of a sequence didn’t go down as an assist. Porter was blocked at the rim.)

Thanks to @adammcginnis for the sweet clip.

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