What a game.
The Washington Wizards have had their share of great wins this season, with victories coming against the Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Clippers. But tonight was probably their best win. With just 6 road victories coming into L.A, Washington was destined to lose. Not to mention, Emeka Okafor and Bradley Beal were both out tonight. The Lakers were clearly more talented than Washington, but consistently failed to live up to expectations. With John Wall and Trevor Ariza leading the way, the Wizards would eventually chip away an 18 point lead en route to their best victory of the season.
John Wall was absolutely spectacular tonight. Scoring 24 points to go along side a career high 16 assists, Wall took over and at times looked like the best player at Staples Center. Unable to get to the basket with Dwight Howard altering shots in the paint, John Wall did a great job creating opportunities for himself to score. Wall hit the majority of his attempted jump shots tonight and even dropped Steve Nash with a nifty cross over before hitting a step back jumper. Most importantly, with Bradley Beal out, Wall had to increase his effort in finding more open teammates. His penetration put pressure on the Lakers, allowing guys like Trevor Ariza and Martell Webster to get wide open looks at the three. Wall even knocked down 4 consecutive clutch free throws, which put the Lakers away for good. It’s hard to put Wall’s performance into words, so I’ll definitely make sure to post his individual highlights once someone uploads them. His ability to create for his teammates is what helped Washington win.
How awesome was Trevor Ariza off the bench tonight? With Beal out and Nene struggling to get good shots against Dwight Howard, Trevor Ariza was forced to take some of the scoring load off of Wall. Ariza scored 25 points and set a new career high from beyond the arc, hitting 7 of his 12 three point attempts. Ariza has a tendency to look disengaged at times, but tonight he showed up to play against his former team. John Wall found Trevor Ariza on every open look he got tonight. Martell Webster didn’t play a great game tonight, but Ariza definitely filled the void.
Washington will meet the Golden State Warriors tomorrow night for their second game in as many nights.
I apologize if this game recap isn’t the greatest, but it’s difficult to recollect what occurred in games like tonight.