The Wizards have probably never looked better this season than they did in the second half against the Detroit Pistons, as they reeled off an incredible 39-10 run that turned a two-point deficit into complete domination.
John Wall was aggressively driving to the basket, scoring, then setting up teammates. Javale McGee and Jan Vesely were flying to the rim, Nick Young and Rashard Lewis were burying jumpers and it took just under 12 minutes to accomplish. The run contributed to the Wizards’ most lopsided win of the season, 98-77, and appeared to come out of nowhere – but Coach Randy Wittman said he felt the avalanche of offense was only a matter of time.
“I think we established it in the first half,” Wittman said after the Wizards practiced on Thursday at the Bo Jackson Fitness Center on the Nike campus in Beaverton, Ore. “I just think we were our own worst enemies in the first half. I thought and then, looking at the film again, we could’ve easily built a lead at halftime and because of our unforced errors and carelessness with the ball, it allowed [Detroit] back in it.”
The Wizards were tied at 45 with Detroit at halftime, but had 13 turnovers, which resulted in 14 points for the Pistons. They trailed 61-59 when Greg Monroe converted a three-point play after the Wizards committed their 16th turnover – and sixth for Wall. But after Vesely got the 17th turnover on an offensive basket interference, the Wizards cut down the turnovers to just four in the final 15 minutes of the game, with three coming after they had already built the lead up to 16 points.
“In the [fourth] quarter we just got a good lead by 12, 15 and we said we can’t let up now,” Wall said. “Just try to get it over with, and we did a great job. Rashard came in made some big threes and Nick made shots.”
The Wizards (6-22) have grown accustomed to hanging around with teams and then getting steamrolled. Young remembers the shock and confusion he felt last month in Houston, where the Wizards were only down two points before unraveling during a 26-5 run and losing 103-76. It has also happened recently on the road in Toronto, where the Wizards trailed by one-point but were down by 22 in 17 minutes, and in their previous game against Miami, when the Heat closed out the game on a 42-23 run.
“It felt good being on the opposite side,” Young said. “We had some tough blows, like how are we get down 20 that fast in like three minutes. That Houston game was crazy. A couple of games have been like that. Hopefully that’s something we grow from and keep playing.”