Prior to tonight’s game, I questioned the Washington Wizards’ ability to contain the Los Angeles Clippers, who have the third most efficient offense in the league. My questions were answered tonight.
Led by John Wall, the Washington Wizards were locked in defensively at the opening tip, and the Los Angeles Clippers struggled to get into any sort of rhythm. The Clippers had their moments late in the game, but the Wizards went on to close the game at home.
When the Wizards hold opponents to below 100, they’re almost guaranteed a victory. Washington has had trouble with turnovers, and I was worried that they’d commit a lot of live-ball turnovers against the Clippers, but that wasn’t the case tonight. John Wal finished the game with 10 points, 11 assists, and just 3 turnovers. Since they didn’t commit many live-ball turnovers, the Clippers weren’t given any opportunities to run, and they went on to score just 3 fast break points.
On the offensive side of the floor, the Wizards moved the ball extremely well, and when they couldn’t get a basket, they made sure to get stops on the other end. Paul scored 19 points, but he turned the ball over 6 times. Wall’s pressure on the ball was tremendous, and he forced Paul to make his teammates create their own shot.
Wall didn’t do much scoring, but Bradley Beal helped out in that aspect of the game. Beal has been struggling as of late and he really needed a bounce back game. Wall pushed the ball early in transition, forced the Clippers to collapse, leaving Beal wide open for three. Beal finished the game with a season-high 29 points on 9-17 shooting, including four three point shots. He didn’t force the issue tonight, allowing the offense to come to him. With the way the Wizards moved the ball tonight, Beal was going to find open shots, so luckily he knocked them down tonight. Marcin Gortat also benefited from the ball movement, scoring 18 points in the contest.
Everyone who played for the Washington Wizards found a way to contribute. Nene chipped in with 9 points and 5 rebounds off the bench, Rasual Butler made a few timely three point shots, and Kevin Seraphin grabbed 7 rebounds. Every starter scored double digit points tonight.
The defense was honestly tremendous tonight. Washington was prepared for tonight’s game and they locked down one of the top teams in the NBA. When their defense is clicking like it was tonight, the Wizards are one of the best teams in the NBA. The Clippers had won 9 straight games prior to tonight’s match up.
Washington has improved to 16-6. They’ll take on the Utah Jazz on Sunday. I’ll leave you with this Kris Humphries block, in honor of tonight’s defensive performance. Enjoy: