The Washington Wizards emerged triumphant in a 119-113 victory over the Denver Nuggets. After outscoring the Nuggets by 16 in the third quarter, the Wizards had to endure a 4th quarter comeback and another Bradley Beal injury scare before finally putting the game away with John Wall Jumper.
- First the good: It was a balanced offensive effort, with seven Wizards and all five of the starters scoring double digits. They were also efficient, shooting 47.7% from the field and 45.8% (!) from three.
- Next the bad: The Wizards did not look like a top 10 defense in the league tonight. The Nuggets shot 48.1% from the field, which would usually have been enough if they had not played utterly terrible defense. The Wizards saving grace was that the Nuggets went just 4-22 (18.2%) from behind the arc.
- The inconsistency that John Wall showed this game almost seemed like a microcosm of his entire career. He racked up the assists, but had quite a few costly fourth quarter turnovers that allowed the Nuggets to get as close as they did. He had three blocks, but was torched by Ty Lawson much of the game. But give credit where credit is due: on a final possession where the Wizards needed a score, John Wall drained a crucial jump shot. Maybe we are seeing progress right before our very eyes.
- Beal played a very good game, scoring 17 points on 8 shots, but two things stuck out to me. First, he had 12 rebounds, which is incredibly unusual for a 6’ 3” guard. I think that while Beal obviously isn’t going to be able to put up that many rebounds every game, if a team isn’t bringing any energy on the boards, his natural rebounding skill means he’s probably going to get more than most players from his position usually would. The second stat that stood out to me was he got to the free throw line 11 times. Even during Beal’s best month (January), he was only averaging 2.5 free throws a game. I’ll have to go back and see what he did differently to be so successful at drawing fouls.
- The Nene and Okafor absolutely destroyed Faried, Koufos, and McGee. Just straight up ethered.
- Trevor Booker played more minutes than Kevin Seraphin tonight. With Crawford gone, someone new might have just moved to the dog house.
- In one of my favorite basketball books, “Basketball on Paper” by Dean Oliver, Oliver remarks that the best indicator of the growth of a young basketball team is the starting to win close games that they previously had been losing. Hopefully, that’s what’s going on with the Wizards right now.
- Tip of my hat to: Ty Lawson, who destroyed the Wizards all night, Andre Miller, who showed off his old man swag all the way to 19 points and seven assists, and JaVale McGee, who for all his faults remains an incredibly fun player to watch.