It took a little longer than expected but the Washington Wizards won their sixth game of the season in overtime. DeMarcus Cousins nearly won the game with his spectacular 36 points and 20(!) rebounds. He was able to take the game over late in the 4th quarter hitting a variety of turnaround jump shots, layups, and dominating the boards. The Wizards dynamic backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal combined for 10 points in the overtime session and helped deliver a much needed W after a disappointing loss against the San Antonio.
Tensions were high once again as Scott Brooks, John Wall, and Marcin Gortat all picked up technical could in the first half. This is Wall’s fourth tech of season, which puts him behind former college teammate DeMarcus Cousin. For the night the rest of the starters played well, in particular ever-improving glue guy Otto Porter had 15 points, 8 rebounds, and played the passing lanes well gathering 3 steals. Porter also continued to do the dirty work on the unsung glue guy, holding Rudy Gay to just 18 points, including forcing him into six turnovers and 1-4 performance from the 3-point line. Kelly Oubre notched his first career double picking up 10 rebounds to go along with 10 points. .
The Wizards Commit 24 turnovers, Including a career-high 11 from John Wall
24 times the Wizards turned the ball over. 24 times! Nine of those turnovers were unforced. What’s worse is John Wall, the All-Star and leader of this team, had 11 of his own. Now more so than ever Wall has been throwing ill timed passes and dancing around the ball like it’s no ones business. Not sure what needs to be done but Wall, who previously has been a strong decision maker, has to find his groove back in that department
Wizards Finally Defend the 3-point Line
The Wizards have routinely allowed teams to make double digit 3-pointers but tonight only allowed three to fall. That maybe due to the fact that along with the Wizards, the Kings are one of the worse 3-point shooting teams.
The Hop – Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards agreed to an enormous $128 million contract last offseason. Now in the most important season to date for not only Beal, but for the Wizards as well, the highest paid player in franchise had the best scoring game of his career just as his team needed it. Since he’s gotten into the NBA, Beal has been working on expanding his game beyond his lauded shooters label and so far his hard work has paid off. In his last three games he’s scored 94 points, good for 31.3 points per game. So far his career has been marred by inconsistency and injuries but it seems like he’s currently on a tear, if he continues to play like he has he will be on the way to his first All-Star berth. With the victory against the youth-filled Phoenix Suns the Wizards improved to 4-10.
In a game that featured a primetime matchup between the stud backcourts of the Suns and Wizards, it was John Wall and Bradley Beal whom came out victorious. Along with Beal’s career-high 42 points, Wall added 18 of his own points along with 15 dimes. On a night where he struggled with his own shot (6-24) Wall did what great players do and found other ways to contribute. The bench also had a solid night. Tomas Satoransky and Marcus Thornton are developing into a strong duo and they have a done a good job of facilitating and scoring when on the court together.
3-Point Defense Still Needs Work
The Wizards again allowed another team to make double digit 3-pointers. Over the last three games they have allowed 12 3-pointers a game.
Bradley Beal Building Confidence and Tougher Mentality
Courtesy of NBA.com After the game Beal was quoted as saying he was allowing himself to not worry so much about his shots falling, just realizing that no matter what happened there was always a next play, ”Not thinking, not worrying about if I miss or if I make it. I just have the same mentality that it’s on to the next shot. That shot’s over,” Beal said.
The Hop – After inexcusably losing to the lowly Philadelphia 76ers the Wizards were able to exercise their frustration on the New York Knicks. John Wall dropped 23 points to go along with his 11 assists, and Bradley Beal added 18 points in his return after a 3-game absence due to injury. On a night where everything clicked for the struggling Wizards, they dominated in a second half and led by as many as 27. Of course the Wizards had to make it look respectable and give their fans a scare when they let the Knicks get to within 9 points of a seemingly insurmountable lead. John Wall came to the rescue and closed the game with a pull-up jumper and free throws.
The Wizards started off slowly going 1-6 out the gate until John Wall took control of the offense and was dolling out dimes like usual. All it took was consecutive 3-pointers from Beal and Otto Porter for the flood gates to open. Holding Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis in check was one of the biggest factors in the win. Otto Porter and Markieff Morris both did splendid jobs being physical and not allowing either Porzingis or Anthony to get comfortable. Otto Porter in particular actually had probably the best game out of the all Wizards player. He was constantly battling and playing with intensity all over the field. He fits the role of a glue guy perfectly. The bench also bucked their trend of uneven play with strong nights from players like Marcus Thornton, Kelly Oubre, and Tomas Satoransky. When the bench is clicking and playing well in conjunction with the starters the Wizards are even scarier. Although they did allow the Knicks to get back in the game they more than held their own and weren’t a liability.
The Wizards entered this game only averaging six made 3’s game. With the return of Bradley Beal the Wiz enjoyed an amazing performance from beyond the arc. Going 15/25 will be a huge confidence boot and will hopefully hold over to the Saturday night game against the Miami Heat.
Bradley Beal’s Hamstring
Hamstring injuries are never the easiest injuries to recover from. It’s even harder the older you get. During the game he did beat Courtney Lee and Carmelo Anthony for a fast break layup, but also got beat for a fast break layup after missing a corner 3. He went on to acknowledge that playing with a gimpy hamstring was a challenge but left room for optimism.” “It’s tough with a hamstring because it’s not going to all the way clear up on you. You’re not going to go back to 100 percent; you’re going to have to work through some things. I was able to tolerate some soreness and stiffness, and it actually feels a little bit better, too.”
With the the starting backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal absent due to surgery rehab, and injury respectively, the Wizards had a tough game ahead of them. The rookie backcourt of the Tomas Satoransky and Sheldon McClellan played well and fearlessly together. In fact on multiple possessions Satoransky and Marcin Gortat displayed a unique chemistry together. ” A eastern European thing” as Gortat called it at halftime. The Wizards, in the first quarter, started off well grabbing 21-12 before Jimmy Butler and Isaiah Cannon took over and sparked a 10-run and took the lead 22-21. They ended up winning the 1st quarter 28-27. The second quarter was a back and forth affair. Late in the quarter the Wizards went on their own run, an 11-0 one to be exact. With the lengthy scoring and strong defense they took a 56-53 lead into half time.
The second half was a complete disaster for the Wiz and company. The Bulls defense dominated, holding the Wizards to only 14 points. Combine their smoothering defense with a balanced attack and you have the recipe for a hard earned lead going into the 4th quarter 81-70. In the final frame the Wizards played with more passion and played like they knew what was at stake. The closest they pulled to was seven points, but from then on Butler took over and the Bulls defense played better and pulled out 106-95 victory.
Satoransky and McClellan Proving To Be Hidden Gems:
With their first career starts, Tomas Satoransky and Sheldon McClellan became the first rookie starting backcourt for the Wizards since John Wall and Jordan Crawford did in 2010-2011. The two young guns had pretty solid games, Satoransky dropped 12 points along with 9 spectacular dimes. Meanwhile McClellan had 15 points, attacking when he had the opportunity and not allowing himself to make silly mistakes. Their development and confidence will be pivotal for nights when John Wall and/or Bradley Beal are out.
Bench Struggles Again:
In what has become a recurring storyline for the Wizards the bench struggled mightily. Trey Burke, in particular, was having a hard time running the offense and it created problems for the rest of the bench. Only producing 18 points, 10 boards, and 4 assists exasperated the issue. It will be interesting to see how they respond to Marcin Gortat’s comments about ” being the worse bench in the NBA”.