What a win.
After being down by as much as 16 points in the first half, the Wizards chipped away at the lead and eventually went on to pick up their third victory of the season against the much improved Minnesota Timberwolves. Here are some Bullet Points:
- Kevin Love is playing at an MVP level and it was pretty clear from the start that he’d present a different kind of problem for the Wizards. There aren’t many players in the NBA, if any, that can do what Kevin Love does on a nightly basis. He scored 16 points in the first quarter and was virtually unstoppable on the offensive side of the floor. Thankfully for the Wizards, he cooled down later in the game. Washington held him to just 1 point in the fourth quarter. Of course, it didn’t hurt that he made just 5 of his 9 free throw attempts, including a few crucial ones down the stretch.
- Besides a few defensive lapses, John Wall did a great job in containing Ricky Rubio from creating inside the paint. Rubio finished the game with just 2 assists. On the other hand, Wall’s shot wasn’t falling tonight but he still looked like the best player on the floor at times. He finished the game with a career high 16 assists and just 1 turnover. Although he looked more aggressive than he has in the past few games, I’d like to see Wall settle less for mid range jump shots instead of attacking the basket consistently. Wall has the tools to be an effective player even when his jumper isn’t going down and he proved that tonight.
- Bradley Beal talked about remaining confident prior to the game, and he delivered tonight. Scoring 25 points, Beal bailed the Wizards out on multiple occasions and even drained a few clutch free throws in the fourth quarter to help finish the game. Most importantly, Beal held Kevin Martin to just 11 points tonight. I didn’t like the fact that he continued to settle for pull up jump shots instead of attacking the basket, but I think that will come with time.
- Martell Webster had a rather quiet game tonight, but was spectacular when the Wizards needed a bucket. Down by one in the fourth quarter, Webster drained a clutch three to give Washington the lead by two. He blocked a shot that would’ve gave the Timberwolves the lead. Needless to say, without Webster the Wizards wouldn’t have been able to climb out of that 16-point hole early in the game.
- Washington needed somebody to step up off the bench, and Jan Vesely was the player tonight. It’s virtually impossible to compete on the glass with Kevin Love on the floor, but Vesely did his best to run the floor and tip back any ball he could in rebounding situations. He caught a few alley oop dunks that really helped the Wizards gain momentum. It’s obvious that Vesely will never live up to where he was taken in the NBA Draft, but for him to stay in the rotation he needs to continue bringing energy and hustle off the bench.
Tonight’s win for the Wizards has the potential to turn their season around. Minnesota is one of the most improved teams in the league, and to pick up a comeback victory at home could elevate the Wizards’ confidence heading into Cleveland tomorrow night. Washington needs to continue playing with the same amount of effort and intensity as they did tonight against the Wolves.