John Wall and Drew Gooden are awesome. /end of recap
After an up-and-down start to the game, the Washington Wizards were eventually able to pull away with the lead in the fourth quarter over the Brooklyn Nets. Led by John Wall’s miraculous effort and Drew Gooden’s explosion off the bench, they went on to win, moving back up to the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference, 101-94.
The Nets took advantage of their small lineup early on, leaking out in transition and getting some relatively uncontested layups right out of the gate. Paul Pierce was able to get by Trevor Booker whenever he wanted and the Nets got a double-digit advantage to start the game. Deron Williams and Joe Johnson were hitting some tough shots in the half court while virtually no one besides John Wall could get going for the Wizards.
Washington fought back from the double-digit deficit once the AARP unit checked in, led by Andre Miller, Al Harrington and Drew Gooden. The Wizards got consecutive stops and Al Harrington provided a spark off the bench with 6 quick points. The entire team tends to get really excited when Harrington gets it going and that was certainly the case tonight. Harrington made a crafty layup followed by a put-back dunk, which cut the lead down to as little as one.
Marcin Gortat, who scored just 2 points on 1-8 shooting despite Brooklyn’s small lineup, was backed up by Drew Gooden, and man, did he have a great game tonight. Kevin Seraphin was available, but Randy Wittman opted to play the veteran instead and it definitely payed off. Gooden made a few easy mid-range shots off pick-and-pop plays from the guards and he really found his rhythm from the get go. Whenever the Nets knocked down a tough shot down the stretch, including Marcus Thornton who scored 19 points off the bench, Gooden had an answer for the bucket. Gooden scored 21 points on 8-11 shooting, including a three point shot that gave Washington a 3-point lead in the fourth quarter, but he also grabbed 9 rebounds. He was absolutely marvelous tonight, to say the least.
Despite Gooden’s outstanding performance, the player of the night was John Wall, who single handedly kept the Wizards in the game for much of the contest. Washington struggled to get their offense going early on and Wall bailed them out on a number of possessions. Wall has been settling for jump shots over the past few games, but that certainly wasn’t the case tonight. When John Wall is aggressive, he’s one of the best players in the league, especially when his shot is falling from the perimeter. Wall scored 33 points on 10-15 shooting including 4 of 6 from three point territory. The pressure he put on Deron Williams on the defensive side of the floor in the fourth quarter really set the tempo with about 5 minutes remaining in the game. The rest of the team feeds off Wall’s energy and that made the difference in the game.
Washington is now in the fifth spot in the East. Tonight’s win for the Wizards was one of their best wins of the season, especially since the team struggled so much early on. Marcin Gortat, Trevor Ariza, and Martell Webster all struggled tonight, but the Wizards kept chipping away and eventually sneaked out with another big win at home.
The Wizards will be back at it on Tuesday night against the Sacramento Kings.