After putting themselves in a 25 point hole early in the third quarter, John Wall single handedly brought his team back into the game, cutting the deficit to as little as 3 points in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately for the home team, the Phoenix Suns were able to knock down a few crucial buckets late in the final period and eventually went on to win, 99-93.
Washington battled in the first half, for the most part, but once Phoenix started hitting from deep it seemed all but over. They hit 14 of their 28 three point shots, while Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe chipped in a combined 6 of 9 three point shots. Channing Frye, Gerald Green and P.J. Tucker were all draining three point shots and the Suns gained a double digit lead fairly easily. The Wizards seemed to give up way too many open 3’s, but once Randy Wittman decided to play a smaller lineup consisting of John Wall, Andre Miller and Bradley Beal, they contested more shots and dug themselves out of a big hole. Perhaps the biggest three of the game came from Bledsoe, the most unlikely of players on the court at the time, as he hit a deep three point shot over Bradley Beal to put Phoenix back up by 6 with just seconds remaining in the game.
John Wall helped carry the Wizards back in the second half, scoring 29 points to go along side 6 assists for the game. Wall was pretty invisible in the first half, passing up open shots and lanes to the basket, but that all changed in the final two quarters. Wall came up big for the Wizards, hitting clutch shot after clutch shot, including multiple three point shots in the fourth quarter. He wasn’t aggressive in the first half, at all, but he attacked the basket every chance he got in the second half and the Wizards definitely benefited. I’m not sure if the Wizards’ small lineup opened more lanes for Wall, but he looked for his shot more and he needs to be aggressive throughout the entire game. Of course, Washington wouldn’t have put themselves in position to win the game without Wall, but I’d like to see him play with aggressiveness throughout the entire game. Needless to say, Wall was terrific tonight and he didn’t get much help from his teammates.
Besides Marcin Gortat, who scored 17 points on 8-11 shooting against his former team, John Wall was basically playing alone tonight. Bradley Beal got hurt in the second quarter, suffering a “hip pointer”, but was able to return in the second half. Beal scored just 8 points on 11 shot attempts. Andre Miller and Drew Gooden helped Wall off the bench, but the core group didn’t give him much of a lift.
Washington has to do a better job of playing with a sense of urgency for the entire game. Late runs aren’t sustainable and it’s virtually impossible to make a drastic comeback against an offensive powerhouse like the Phoenix Suns. The Wizards have played defense in spurts since Nene went down this injury and they won’t win games like that, especially against Western Conference opponents.
The Wizards will be back at it on Friday night against the Indiana Pacers. Every game counts and Washington has to find a way to win at home.