Before tonight’s game, the Washington Wizards had dropped three straight contests–their longest losing streak of the season. The New Orleans Pelicans had won three of their last five, but didn’t have enough to stop the Wizards at home.
Although the Pelicans have beaten a few elite teams this season, their defense leaves much to be desired.
John Wall and the Washington Wizards dictated the pace early, and it didn’t take long for them to gain a double digit advantage. The Pelicans were 25th in defensive efficiency before the start of tonight’s game, and they clearly had trouble containing Wall in the first half.
New Orleans turned the ball over five times in the first quarter, and Wall pushed the ball in transition. In the half-court, Wall got Marcin Gortat and Paul Pierce some easy looks, and it looked like Washington was going to pull away.
Most importantly, Washington held Anthony Davis to just three shot attempts at halftime. Of course, that changed in the last two quarters.
With Nene on the bench, Davis started to get it going inside the paint. He later knocked down a few outside shots. And just like that, the Pelicans were back in the game.
Washington’s second unit wasn’t great defensively, but they did produce points.
Andre Miller made all five of his field goal attempts, finishing the game with 12 points.
We’ve become accustomed to seeing Miller dominate off the bench, and when you stop and think about what he’s doing, it’s truly amazing. At 38 years old, Miller is the oldest player in the NBA, but continues to play at an extremely high level off the bench.
Otto Porter also gave the Washington Wizards a spark off the bench with 6 points, 7 rebounds, 3 blocks and 3 steals. I was worried that the return of Martell Webster would hinder Porter’s development, but it looks like Randy Wittman will give Porter a shot to play.
Even though he’s not scoring 15+ points each and every night, Porter is finding ways to contribute. Whether it’s a timely bucket or a block, Porter does all the little things that help teams win ball games.
I was disappointed at their lack of offensive execution down the stretch, but the Washington Wizards did enough to win the game. Not every win is going to be pretty. Wall knocked down a pull up jumper and Rasual Butler drilled a few free throws to seal the win for Washington.
Washington is going to have to find ways to grind out wins and they did so tonight.
They’ll be back at the Verizon Center on Wednesday night to take on the New York Knicks.