Washington Wizards Dominate Sacramento Kings At Home, 113-99


Washington Wizards Dominate Kings At Home

If you looked at tonight’s game in a vacuum, saw that the Washington Wizards played a total of seven players due to injuries to two starters and three more key rotation pieces, and won comfortably by 14 points, you’d be fair to assume the season was going swimmingly and that Washington was expectedly morphing into an Eastern Conference power.

However, in reality we know this game was in fact the exception not the rule thus far.

This has been a trying season, marred by injuries, horrible defense, and the realization that the roster just is not that good. Nonetheless, Washington put on an impressive showing, specifically in the 4th quarter when they outscored the Sacramento Kings 29-15 enroute to a 113-99 victory. They improved their record to 12-14, while dropping the Kings to 11-17.

The 3-headed combination of John Wall, Marcin Gortat, and Garrett Temple (because I mean, who else?) had their way with the Kings’ 28th ranked defense all night.

Gortat approached career highs in both points and rebounds (finished with 27-16) and Wall actually did set a career high with 19 assists though both he and the fans were hoping for 20. Temple continued his hot stretch by scoring 23 points and hitting five 3-pointers and has now totaled 44 points in the last two games.

Ultimately, regardless of the roster shortage, this was a game Washington had to win.

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The Kings were coming off a back-to-back and due for a letdown after an impressive win in Toronto on Sunday.

They also happen to be the Kings, meaning they’re always somewhat due for a letdown.

Wall set the tone early with 8 assists in the first quarter and led all players with a +27 rating.

He also hounded Rondo defensively and let the league leader in assists in a couple of his own tricks.

Gortat was up to 19 points by halftime on several nice feeds from Wall but also an impressive array of mid-range jump shots. He more than held his own vs. superstar DeMarcus Cousins who scored 22 points but needed 22 shots to get there.

There were some missed rebounding opportunities for Gortat, and the team as a whole, and that allowed the Kings to stay in the game despite poor shooting from the floor. But they were able to clean this up enough in the 2nd half to pull away.

A few other bulleted observations from tonight’s game:

•I really can’t say enough about Jared Dudley.

He has filled in ably and more for Paul Pierce, and in a way Nene as well. He came to Washington with the intention of solely playing power forward and I was admittedly a little skeptical because he had never really done it for an entire season before.

The results are in and are universally positive. The team hums on offense with him on the floor and he always makes the right choices. His stat lines are largely pedestrian (minus the ridiculous 3-point %) but he truly stretches the floor for the Wizards.

•The pace and space era was supposed to do wonders for John Wall’s career but the results in November did not help that claim. Since the calendar flipped, Wall has been simply tremendous.

He still has nights where he can’t find a shot (missed 11 of 15 tonight) and the turnover problem has only gotten worse, but he is a freaking magician with the ball. Many of the guys he shares the floor with are replacement level without him and serviceable role players when flanking Mr. Wall. That is called having an impact.

•Regarding the aforementioned problem of allowing offensive rebounds and 2nd chance points, my feeling is that Randy Wittman hasn’t drilled into them enough that this needs to be a team effort.

With only one traditional big on the floor, other players have to remember to box their opponents out immediately. I understand the desire to run on anything but before you can run, you must have the ball. Words of the wise from Mr. Kuchibhotla.

•It’s largely possible that I was wrong on Kelly Oubre. At the time of the draft, I thought he was a flashy piece to generate some excitement but not one that made sense given Bobby Portis was sitting there at #19 and considered to be the exact type of player the Washington Wizards needed.

While Portis may still have been the better pick, I am definitely impressed with what I’m seeing from Oubre. He doesn’t hesitate to pull the trigger and he is assertive on defense. He will have his share of ill-advised shots, turnovers, and missed assignments but as a 19-year old rookie getting thrust into the fire ahead of time, I think he’s acquitted himself nicely.

Next: Should the Wizards Consider Trading Brad Beal?

Washington will continue their home-stand on Wednesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies, whom handed the Wizards one of their worst losses of the season recently on the road.