I guess it pays to take the night off against the best team in the NBA on the first game of a back to back.
After getting blown out against the Indiana Pacers last night, the Wizards quickly bounced back at home against the Atlanta Hawks tonight where they cruised to a 108-101 victory. Here are the Bullet Points:
- Marcin Gortat has consistently been good since the start of the season, but he’s seen better games than against the Hawks tonight. He did a good job in forcing Horford to make shots from the perimeter, but once he started to knock down the mid-range jump shot, Gortat couldn’t do much to stop him. He finished the game with 12 points and 7 rebounds, but I’m sure he isn’t too pleased with his performance tonight.
- Nene wasn’t expected to play tonight, but I guess it was one of those cases where the Wizards decided to rest the veteran big man in hopes of having him play in the second game of the back to back. Nene struggled from the field, but he did score 13 points to go along side 12 rebounds. Even though he didn’t shoot the ball particularly well, his presence on the court has been invaluable. Washington’s defense is substantially better when Nene is on the floor and it showed tonight, since the Wizards played some of the best defense they’ve played all season long.
- Washington has surprisingly shot the ball well from three without Bradley Beal, and it continued tonight with Martell Webster and Trevor Ariza. Trevor Ariza finished the game with 24 points, while Webster chipped in with 19. They made 10-combined three point shots and if they continue to shoot the ball well from three, I have no reason not to believe that the Wizards will manage to win some games without Beal. Both players have been great defensively, but their perimeter shooting has added another dimension to Washington’s offense.
- John Wall was absolutely spectacular tonight. He scored an array of buckets, including 2-three pointers, which resulted in a game high 26 points. He continued to find his teammates in transition and for three, adding 12 of Washington’s 24 assists for the night. Wall is playing at an extremely high level right now and did so against a surging point guard in Jeff Teague. He held Teague to just 5 made field goals in 18 attempts. We’re finally seeing Wall grow into the superstar player we all knew he could become, and it’s come with his realization that he has to attack the basket more aggressively. Once his shot is falling, like it did tonight, he basically becomes unguardable.
The Wizards are currently sixth in the Eastern Conference, but they’re just one win away from tying the Atlanta Hawks for the third seed. They’ll be back at it on Monday against the Orlando Magic.