As the Raptors and Wizards get ready for a pivotal Game 5 tonight, it’s pretty clear that the play of John Wall will have a big hand in deciding the outcome of the game that will break the 2-2 tie. Wall looked comfortable and dialed in during the games in Washington, upping his series averages to 27 and 13 while equipped with a ton of space to maneuver. A key to Wall’s recent success has been the complementary game of Marcin Gortat, who Wizards fans called to be benched after Game 2 but is now getting Washington Post articles praising his physicality.
Of course, you know where I’m going with this. Marcin Gortat sets moving screens. His 6.8 screen assists per game lead the entire playoffs by a wide-margin, and it’s because of his mastering of the art of the moving screen.
There’s no need to do a play-by-play breakdown. They’re illegal. However, much like James Harden’s crafty moves to create freethrows and Giannis Antentokounmpo’s extra maneuvers to get away with an additional step or two, he has perfected the art of being effective to a point where they are not called.
It’s unfortunate that not one whistle has been blown on them, as recently, as you can see in the video, Wall has benefited immensely. Wondering why he doesn’t have anyone within arms length of him when he’s shooting midrange shots? Or why the PNR has been so effective in general? It’s this.
Of course, Gortat’s borderline illegal physicality is nothing new. It’s just something to keep in mind for tonight. Will a whistle finally be blown? Probably not. Do the Raptors need to defend better? Probably.