Wow. What a game.
Despite missing Nene, the Wizards have made it clear that they’re not going to make any excuses. After all, John Wall is the All-Star on the team and it’s his responsibility to make it work. Well, the Wizards were trying to avoid a season sweep against the Toronto Raptors tonight, and it took a lot more effort and heart than normally expected. Washington and Toronto went back-and-forth for the majority of the game, and it eventually ended in triple overtime (!!!), 134-129.
John Wall started the game hot right out of the gate, knocking down jumper after jumper, but the Wizards couldn’t pull away. His backcourt mate, Bradley Beal, didn’t provide much relief for Wall–scoring 11 points on 4 for 16 shooting. Beal has settled for jump shots and struggled with his shot in the past, but that honestly wasn’t the case tonight. He just couldn’t get his jumpers to fall.
Luckily for the Wizards, John Wall came up big whenever they needed a bucket. He finished the game with 31 points and 9 assists, but more importantly, he showed resiliency down the stretch where he easily could’ve hung his head and gave up. Wall turned the ball over 7 times tonight, but that didn’t stop him from attacking every chance he got. He also came up with a key steal in the third overtime that essentially won Washington the game, and followed it up with multiple layups over Tyler Hansbrough. Wall has struggled in clutch situations this season, but he really stepped up tonight. Again, there were multiple sequences where he completely botched the possession, but he made sure to make up for it with a clutch field goal.
Wall will get the credit tonight, and he’s deserving, but I’d give the MVP to Marcin Gortat. Without Nene, Gortat has been forced to carry more of the offensive load and he’s definitely responded well. Scoring a career-high 31 points to go along side 12 rebounds, Gortat came up big in the clutch, making layups off the pick and roll that tied the game up, including a key and-1 in double overtime. Gortat was also terrific defensively, picking up 4 blocked shots. His rotations were outstanding and I can’t praise him enough for his performance tonight. Outstanding.
Washington got contributions from virtually everyone that played. Andre Miller and Chris Singleton combined for 25 points off the bench and really led the second unit. Miller provided some great relief for the Wizards, often times picking up the offensive slack when it got stagnant. Miller and Harrington have really surprised me with their ability to beat their defenders off the dribble, especially since they always seem to lack lift around the basket. Their veteran savvy is much needed and it’s rubbing off on the rest of the team. Miller was also outstanding tonight.
It took a lot of heart for the Wizards to pull this one out. DeMar DeRozan and Greivis Vasquez combined for 60 points, including some of the most ridiculous made field goals I’ve seen this season. Vasquez knocked down a pull up three point shot in overtime that could’ve potentially been a dagger, but the Wizards continued to fight.
Both teams deserve to get the ‘W’ tonight, but unfortunately only one was able to pull it out, and I’m glad it was the Wizards. Tonight’s game was certainly the most entertaining Wizards game of the season. They played their hearts out, extending their win streak to 5 and getting 2 games above .500.
They’ll be in Philadelphia to face the lowly 76ers on Saturday, but they’ll definitely need to get some rest after tonight’s hard fought battle. What a win, Washington.