It seemed like the Washington Wizards wanted to lose this game from minute 8 to minute 47. At least, that’s how they acted. It took an 8-2 John Wall run to get to overtime and then a beautiful Bradley Beal block and Wall pull-up jump shot to seal the deal. It wasn’t pretty and it took yet another overtime effort, but the Wizards pulled it off, 105-101.
It all started with two big runs, one by the Wizards and one from the Magic. After the Wizards jumped out to a 23-8 lead, it seemed inevitable we’d see some Otto Porter (that is, Wittman would feel comfortable enough to take his #3 pick out for a spin). But no. By halftime, the Magic were only down 3. They’d eventually jump out to a 7-point lead and led by 6 with only two minutes left. That’s when Wall decided to show up, drilling two threes and refusing to allow the hapless Magic steal a win from a playoff-bound team. Wall made only two buckets in the paint in regulation but had his sights well aligned from deep, going 4-6.
No Otto Porter, but we did get to see Kevin Seraphin for the first time in three weeks. He was nice enough to grace us with 7 minutes of play and the Wizards will need more of him down the stretch. While Drew Gooden has been a decent offensive addition so far, I think we can all agree he won’t continue to shoot 70% on jumpers. I think that’s a safe bet.
While the Wizards were once the shallowest team at point guard, they might not be the shallowest at shooting guardas Beal went down with an awkward ankle twist. That means Garrett Temple is likely to log extended minutes going forward and we all know how that goes. If Beal is out, I’d hope Randy Wittman shifts Martell Webster to the 2 and adds Otto Porter to the rotation. Even with that rotation, it is unlikely the Wizards will be anything other than atrocious on offense without Beal. The team relies heavily on Wall drive and kicks and that attack just doesn’t quite pack the same punch if Garrett Temple is the man on the receiving end.
The Wizards slogged through this game, probably expecting to win the entire time. Sometimes that happens when you’re five games in the playoffs with no real chance to actually fall out. But Wall turned it on late and led the team to victory, banging his chest along the way. It’s nice to see the chest banging come in the fourth quarter more than in the first.
Washington will have no time to rest or celebrate though, as they’ll be back at it tomorrow night against the Brooklyn Nets.