It seems like the Wizards have learned to close out games after all. After a back and forth game the entire night, the Wizards managed to sneak out with a victory over the surprisingly good Los Angleles Lakers. Here are the Bullet Points:
- With Bradley Beal sidelined, the Wizards have to find someone to replace his production and Martell Webster did so tonight. Starting at shooting guard in place of Beal, Webster scored 20 point to go along side 9 rebounds and 3 assists. Webster knocked down 3 consecutive corner threes in the fourth quarter which gave the Wizards an 8 point lead. If Webster continues to play this well, and I honestly think he will, there’s no reason the Wizards shouldn’t remain competitive without Beal. The only downside to that is Webster will have to play major minutes. He played a game high 43 minutes tonight.
- Washington has to make up for Bradley Beal’s scoring and having Nene step up on the offensive side of the floor could do the trick. He scored a career high 30 points on 13 for 22 shooting. The Lakers don’t have a defensive anchor which makes their interior defense rather suspect. Nene was able to dominate inside the paint as well as outside by knocking down multiple 15 foot jump shots. When Nene gets going, it opens up the floor for the rest of the team. Trevor Ariza didn’t shoot the ball well from the outside tonight, but he should once he gets his rhythm back.
- Marcin Gortat had a quiet game tonight, but he did contribute with 15 points and 8 rebounds. Gortat is continuously getting better at running the pick and roll with John Wall and it showed at times tonight. Randy Wittman opted to play Jan Vesely over Gortat in the fourth quarter since Mike D’antoni played a smaller lineup.
- John Wall was absolutely phenomenal tonight, scoring 30+ points in three consecutive games. Whenever the Wizards needed a bucket, John Wall found a way to do so. Not only did he score 31 points on just 18 shot attempts, Wall created for his teammates with 9 assists. There was a sequence where Wall stole the ball in transition and finished the play off with a 360 dunk, which pretty much summed up his game for the night. Wall knocked down 3 mid range jump shots in the fourth quarter which added to the Wizards lead, but also hit a few crucial free throws down the stretch. After the game Wall spoke to the media about wanting to become the best point guard in the league, and with games like this, he’s making a statement around the NBA. John Wall has looked like an NBA All-Star all season long and he’ll continue to do so.
Washington will be back at it tomorrow night against the Milwaukee Bucks, for their second game in as many nights. This win will do wonders for the Wizards’ confidence, since their finally closing out games down the stretch. John Wall is emerging as a legitimate leader in clutch situations and I have no doubt that he’ll continue to do so. Washington has improved their record to 6-8.