New Orleans Pelicans vs. Washington Wizards Final Score: Wizards Hold Off Pelicans At Home, 83-80

Both the Washington Wizards and the New Orleans Pelicans came into tonight’s contest with two straight losses. Washington had dropped three games this season in the absence of Nene and were faced with the task of matching up with Anthony Davis, who many, including myself, consider the best big man in the NBA.

The game certainly wasn’t pretty, but the Washington Wizards managed to get another home win over the New Orleans Pelicans tonight.

New Orleans Pelicans
Washington Wizards

Randy Wittman opted to start Kris Humphries in Nene’s spot, and he produced tonight. Humphries finished the game with 8 points and 11 rebounds, giving the Wizards a much needed lift on the glass. Although the Wizards obviously missed Nene’s presence on both sides of the floor, Humphries is a more effective rebounder, making him a better fit to combat the Pelicans’ front court in that aspect of the game.

Anthony Davis put up just 14 points in each of the Pelicans’ two straight losses, but as expected, he bounced back tonight. Humphries is physical and he’s a capable rebounder, but he doesn’t match up well with Davis in terms of length and athleticism. Davis finished the game with 30 points and 13 rebounds, but luckily for Washington, much of his production was negated by Marcin Gortat.

The Polish Machine had struggled in the past few games and looked pretty uncomfortable on the floor without Nene. When the Brazilian big man went down with an MCL injury last season, Gortat stepped up and became a legitimate threat on the offensive side of the floor. With Nene on the floor, Gortat doesn’t get many clean touches in the post, but that won’t be the case now that Nene is out.

Instead of settling for 15 foot jump shots like he’s been doing over the past few contests, Gortat got great positioning down low and scored in the post without any hesitation. The Pelicans are the 8th worst defensive team in the NBA, and although they do have great rim protection with Davis and Omer Asik patrolling the paint, their perimeter defenders leave much to be desired.

John Wall, who finished the game with 11 points and 7 assists, got to the basket, often finding Gortat cutting straight to the basket for an easy layup. Paul Pierce‘s penetration also opened the paint up for Gortat, resulting in multiple easy looks around the rim. Nene isn’t expected to miss a lot of time, but it seems like Gortat is becoming more comfortable with catching the ball and finishing in the post. He scored 24 points to go along side 13 rebounds tonight.

The Pelicans shot just 37 percent from the field while the Wizards made less than 50 percent of their shots, so it certainly wasn’t a great game to watch, but a win is a win.

The Washington Wizards will take on the Miami HEAT on Monday night at the Verizon Center.