Wizards vs Pacers, March 22, 2012 – Verizon Center
Wizards Player of the Game
Given it was Chris Singleton's poor defensive outing in the 3rd quarter that set Danny Granger off and keyed the Pacers comeback, it's tough to crown him player of the game.
But I'm going to go Skip Bayless and do it anyways. As the Wizards were attempting to weather their incredible collapse in the fourth quarter, it was Singleton who was the momentum breaker for the Pacers. Singleton stepped up to make a number of clutch plays down the stretch and helped the Wizards hang on to their lead. Not usually praised for his offensive production, Singleton was hot from the 3-point line, knocking down 3 of his 4 attempts and finishing with 16 points.
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Nene, or as Saam likes to call him my "mancrush", had a very quiet outing following his spectacular debut as a Wizard a few nights ago. Nene started the game hot, nailing his first two shots and dishing a nice pass out to Crawford for a three. However, he struggled defending Roy Hibbert in the low post and missed a few rebounds, as he has shown a tendency to do. In Nene's defense, at times he seemed limited on offense due to a lack of movement by his teammates. Often we'd see guys just lounging around the perimeter watching Nene get trapped in the paint, leaving him with very few options other than jacking it up.
It was a homecoming party for the ex-Hoya Roy Hibbert. Hibbert was dominant in the low post against Nene. As I already mentioned, Nene struggled grabbing defensive rebounds, which in turn helped Hibbert with 5 offensive boards.
The first half. The Wizards owned a 19 point lead at halftime and allowed only 31 points, leaving members of the media wishfully thinking about a potential dramatic playoff run. Okay maybe that was just me.
The 3rd quarter. Although the Wizards began struggling offensively in the 2nd quarter, they still maintained a 19 point lead going into the half thanks to Indiana struggling more. The 3rd quarter is where the Wizards had to pay. After scoring only 1 point in the first half, Danny Granger went off for 11 points in the third, helping the Pacers trim their deficit to single digits going into the final quarter.
The outcome. It was ugly. I'm talking a blend of Tyrone Hill and Popeye Jones, with a splash of Calvin Booth ugly. After starting the game 7 for 7 from the field and pouring in 34 points in the first quarter on 63 percent shooting, the Wizards totaled only 49 points for the rest of the game! Coach Wittman had little explanation for what caused the offensive collapse, other than "getting away from execution".