After starting off slow in the first quarter, the Washington Wizards managed to stay the course and pull out a stunning victory against the new-look Brooklyn Nets in overtime at home. Here are the Bullet Points:
- Brook Lopez dominated the Wizards in the paint early on, scoring 18 of his 23 points in the first half. Luckily in the second half, the Wizards started double teaming him in the post and Brooklyn’s perimeter players couldn’t knock down their open shots. Although the Nets outrebounded the Wizards tonight, Brook Lopez only grabbed 5 boards.
- Washington’s big men, particularly Nene, were huge down the stretch. The Wizards were down by 7 with just minutes left to go in the fourth quarter, but Nene willed the ball in the basket executing on two clutch four-point plays. Nene finished the game with 20 points and 8 boards on 8 for 12 shooting. His presence on the court goes far beyond statistics, especially since he gives the Wizards another offensive option with him on the floor. Nene was invaluable tonight.
- Gortat mentioned what a challenge it would be tonight against the Wizards in his pre-game interview, but he was still very productive against an elite level center. He finished the game with 15 points and 12 boards, but most importantly, Brooklyn’s defense was very hesitant in leaving Gortat on the low-block without forcing double teams. Once the defense collapsed on Gorat, Washington’s three point shooters were able to get open shots which boded well for the offense. Washington made 42 percent of their three point tries tonight, 7 of their 10 made threes coming from Bradley Beal and Al Harrington.
- Speaking of Al Harrington– the veteran stretch four that was brought in to spread the floor for John Wall and Brad Beal did just that tonight. He knocked down 4 three point shots off the bench, and at times, kept the Wizards in the game where it looked like the outcome could become pretty ugly. Washington’s bench play will inevitably struggle at times, and having a player like Harrington that simply knows how to score the ball could certainly make a difference and it did tonight. Harrington finished the game with 15 points in just 25 minutes of action.
- Washington’s back court, comprised of John Wall and Bradley Beal, were absolutely spectacular tonight. Wall wasn’t as aggressive as I would’ve hoped, but he’s supposedly dealing with lingering back spasms, so we’ll give him a pass. Although he didn’t attack the basket consistently, Wall did a great job getting his teammates involved and ultimately finished with 14 assists on the night. On the other hand, Bradley Beal looked just as good as we’ve seen him in look in preseason. He finished the game with 29 points on 11 made field goals. Whenever the Wizards needed a bucket, especially from three or in transition, Beal found a way to put the ball in the basket. Having to guard a veteran all-star like Joe Johnson is no easy task, but Beal still put up some big numbers for the Wizards. There were a couple sequences where Beal tried to posterize a few Brooklyn Nets players, and actually dunked over Paul Pierce in transition. Beal is a lot more explosive than people think, and he proved that tonight with a couple Sportscenter worthy plays.
If the Wizards want to make the post-season, they have to beat teams they aren’t necessarily expected to beat. Washington has the talent to compete on a nightly basis, and they certainly showed that tonight. Winning in overtime has boosted this teams’ confidence in the past, and they’ll need that this season.
Washington will head out on the road, meeting the Oklahoma City Thunder this Sunday.