Trevor Ariza has had some monster games this season, including a 32-point performance against the Houston Rockets last month, but none like the one he had last night against the Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers, who have the second worst defensive rating in the NBA, didn’t seem to get the memo that Ariza is having the best shooting season of his career with the Wizards. Instead of closing out on his shots, the Sixers failed to contest the majority of his open threes and they payed the price.
Take a look at his ridiculous shot chart from last night’s game.
He finished the game with 40 points on 14-23 shooting from the field. 8 of his 14 made field goals game from three point territory, including 6 of 6 shooting from three in the first quarter. At one point in the game, it looked like Ariza was going to break the record for made threes, but he eventually cooled off. Like I previously stated, the majority of his made shots were wide open since John Wall found him off drive-and-kick outs and the Sixers failed to rotate over to contest his shot.
Ariza is shooting a career-high 42% from three this season, and games like last night is going to make it extremely difficult for the Wizards to let him walk in the offseason. He’s certainly benefited from playing along side John Wall, and although we all thought his hot shooting would eventually start to slow down over the course of the season, he’s consistently shot the ball well from the perimeter this season.
He’s probably been one of the best, if not the best, 3-and-D player in the league this season. Ariza has knocked down more three point shots this season than he did in his first seven seasons combined. If that doesn’t show improvement, I really don’t know what does.