Was it a block? A Steal? Both?
“Possibly,” JaVale McGee said. “A stat stuffer, I guess.”
McGee was simply credited with a block and a rebound on a spectacular play that stood out as the lone highlight on an otherwise hideous night for the Wizards. When Portland Trail Blazers guard Wesley Matthews decided that he was going to meet the rim, McGee met him there and grabbed the ball right out of his hands, cleanly palming it and staring down Matthews as he landed.
“I jumped high because I know he has a tendency to dunk on people,” McGee said of Matthews. “I just went up there and tried to give it as much as I could. He pushed the ball and tried to dunk it. It stuck in my hand and I just grabbed it.”
After the game, the Trail Blazers couldn’t help but talk about arguably the best block of the season. Portland center LaMarcus Aldridge couldn’t help but give Matthews a hard time. “The highlight that stands out in my head was McGee going and taking Wesley’s dunk. I saw Wesley had his steps together, so I was like, ‘Okay, this is going to be a top 10 dunk.’ And then it was a top 10 block. So I was just like, ‘Wow! Okay.’ Then, when [McGee] talked to him after he blocked it, that made it even better for me.”
McGee ranks third in the league in blocked shots at 2.4 per game, but he had just the one emphatic rejection on Tuesday. It was the first time in five games that he hadn’t had at least two blocks. McGee had blocked 23 shots in his previous four games, and the Trail Blazers made a concerted effort to take him out of the game. He picked up two fouls in the first two minutes and never established much of a presence outside of his monstrous swat on Matthews.
“Unbelievable. I mean, he defends the basket,” Portland Coach Nate McMillan said about McGee. “He is a high-wire act. McGee is a beast in the paint. He blocks some shots. He can intimidate. We got him in foul trouble early and he had to go to the bench. I thought that allowed us to really get to the basket.”
McGee said it was difficult to watch the Trail Blazers have a layup line against the Wizards’ non-existent defense. “It was really frustrating out there.”
But the Wizards will have an opportunity to make up for the humiliating loss on Wednesday against the Los Angeles Clippers. McGee will return to the arena where he gained some notoriety with his second-place finish to Clippers rookie all-star forward Blake Griffin in the Slam Dunk contest.
“I guess it’s exciting,” McGee said of going back to Los Angeles. “I get to see my family. I’m just ready to play another game and try to get another win on the road. As long as we come out aggressive and get some rest, we’ll be good.”