What a finish!
Bradley Beal made a surprise return to the starting lineup for the Wizards tonight, and well, the rest is history. Washington was up by as much as 15 points in the third quarter, but they hit a slump later on and the Knicks took the lead behind Carmelo Anthony’s hot shooting. Beno Udrih missed a crucial free throw with just seconds remaining in the game, which ultimately led to the Bradley Beal go-ahead layup for the game. Here are the Bullet Points:
- John Wall was absolutely terrific in the first half, scoring 19 points en route to a large lead for the majority of the game. Unfortunately, Wall wasn’t very good in the second half where the Wizards needed him most, scoring just 1-point. Wall looked very hesitant after getting his shot blocked a few times, which resulted in 7 turnovers for the night. He took a terrible corner three which he airballed in the fourth quarter that could’ve potentially cost Washington the game. Now that Bradley Beal is back, look for him to close the games out much like he did tonight. Credit the Knicks defense for figuring Wall out in the second half, but he needs to settle down when things aren’t going his way.
- Martell Webster was probably the player of the game tonight. He scored 30 points off the bench, becoming the first player to do so since Jordan Crawford (H/T Chris Miller), and he did so on 9 for 13 shooting. Whenever the Wizards needed a bucket, Martell Webster delivered. He knocked down 6 of his 8 three point shots, and most of them came in crucial points in the game. Webster has embraced his role off the bench, but he’s finishing games with the starters. He played a terrific game tonight.
- Washington had dominated New York’s big men this past month in their first match up, but Marcin Gortat was absolutely terrible tonight. He scored 9 points on 14 shots, and tonight was definitely his worst game of the season thus far. Gortat complained about not liking his positioning out on the floor, but he was shut down from everywhere tonight. He missed a few easy baskets at the basket, and he couldn’t finish to save his life. Every player goes through slumps and it looks like Gortat has hit one. I think he’ll get back into his groove once Nene returns to the lineup, which should be on Wednesday against the Brooklyn Nets.
- The Wizards have been atrocious in closing out games, but they were bailed out by Bradley Beal tonight. Beal hit a few ridiculous threes coming off screens in the fourth quarter to tie the game up, and he obviously made the layup over Beno Udrih to win the game. Washington has been missing a closer and it’s becoming fairly obvious that John Wall isn’t that player, or at least not yet, so Bradley Beal was heavily relied on. He’s hit clutch shots in the past and it didn’t change tonight. Beal has shown composure that I haven’t seen from a 20-year old sophomore in a very long time. He’s hit clutch shot after clutch shot after clutch shot for the Wizards and he continues to impress on a nightly basis. Bradley Beal is a star and hitting game winning shots at Madison Square Garden is where stars are built.
Wizards basketball has been a roller coaster ride, but I’m glad they finally pulled out the win tonight.
It wouldn’t be Wizards basketball if it didn’t end in dramatic fashion like it did tonight. Bradley Beal is emerging as Washington’s go-to guy in the fourth quarter and it’s worked out well thus far. Along with Martell Webster, Bradley Beal carried the Wizards when it seemed like the game would inevitably come to a disastrous end.
Being on the winning side of things feels good, even as a fan. Washington will be back at it on Wednesday night against the Brooklyn Nets.