NBA Wizards 

Graham, Swarm play spoiler in the Go-Go’s opener

Down two points with two seconds left the Capital City Go-G0 were set to inbound the ball, they had an opportunity to go for the tie or the win. The execution was lacking and Robinson couldn’t find a target and the five second count was drawing near, he lobbed the ball near the rim in the hopes that Thomas Welsh could get a tip in or at least secure the ball to kick it out to a shooter. The ball sailed out of bounds and the Greensboro Swarm were able to escape D.C. with a 107-105 overtime victory. The only reason they had that opportunity is because Chasson Randle hit a couple of big three pointers, including one that was very heavily contested.

Greensboro’s Devonte Graham really heated up down the stretch of regulation and it carried on into the extra period. Of his 31 points on the night, Graham did most of his damage in the second half as he finished the first half with just four. Capital City held a nine point lead with 4:45 left in the game and Swarm were able to rally. It was clear during the last three minutes of regulation and in overtime that the Go-Go are still trying to get acclimated with each other. They contributed mightily to the Greensboro run that closed the half with turnovers and shaky decision making. Randle finished with 37 points and Robinson had 24 points to go with 10 rebounds and a few blocked shots.

The two pivotal moments in this game came in the second and third quarters. The Swarm took a five point into the second quarter due to a strong start from Cat Barber and Jaylen Barford, even pushing the lead to 11 at one point. The Go-Go stormed back into the game in the period, using their defense to fuel the run. The crowd got into it and Chris Chiozza was hitting the right notes from a facilitating standpoint. The highlight of the period and the half may have been when Chiozza connected with his former Gator teammate Robinson on a three quarter court lob.

The Swarm found themselves down 13 at the half, but they wasted no time cutting into the deficit. They were aggressive on both ends and it set the tone for the 30 point quarter. They outscored the Go-Go 30-18, but Capital City were able to take a one point lead into the fourth thanks to some resiliency from Tiwian Kendley. Barber stole the ball from him with 27.7 seconds left, Kendley fouled him and it was ruled a clear path violation. That meant the free throw and possession, but Kendley responded to that well by drawing a charge on Barber then taking the ensuing inbound pass down the court and finishing with a thunderous dunk.

It was a solid showing for the Go-Go, who made it clear that they pride themselves on the defensive end. They’ll have to get the turnovers down, they had 23 to the Swarm’s 14. They have a nice mix of athleticism and Welsh is a solid piece in the middle to complement what’s outside. There next game is Thursday November 8th on the road against the Long Island Nets.

Observations

Robinson: There’s no reason the Wizards second unit can’t use that burst of athleticism and activity on both ends of the floor right now. He is still raw in terms of putting the ball on the floor, but he can impact the game with his effort and willingness to compete. Despite having Welsh in the paint, Devin was the rim protector for the Go-Go. He blocked a couple of shots and altered several others, he also did a good job of hitting the glass.

Randle: He’s a very savy vet and he came up big at times when his team looked a little lost. His 37 points was impressive, but more so was the calm he brings to the floor. He never seemed to be sped up, just took his time and got to where he wanted to go.

Chiozza: He’s the engine, the kid played a big role in the second quarter during their rally. Hitting the glass and pushing the pace, manipulating the defense with his eyes at times to create space or allow time for teammates to get open. He finished the game with six points, 10 assists and 13 rebounds.

Christian: The first time head coach looked comfortable in his role. He never let things get to far out of hand before calling a timeout and did a good job with his rotations. Christian took the credit for the botched inbounds play with two seconds left, but again it was a good showing and his team definitely played for him.

Graham: He obviously turned up in the second half and overtime, but it was more so of him just solidifying what his resume already says. The former Jayhawk was poised and under control when his team needed him most, choosing to get others involved before taking over when the Swarm needed it. This is a good opportunity for him to get minutes as the Hornets have an extremely tough point guard rotation to crack with Kemba Walker, Tony Parker, and Malik Monk.

 

 

 

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