Washington Wizards Three Takeaways: Wizards Embarrass Brooklyn Nets, Clinch Playoff Spot

Mar 24, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) shoots as Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie (8) and guard Archie Goodwin (10) and guard KJ McDaniels (14) look on during the first half at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 24, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) shoots as Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie (8) and guard Archie Goodwin (10) and guard KJ McDaniels (14) look on during the first half at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /

Washington Wizards coasted to their most dominant victory of the season on Friday night against the Brooklyn Nets, clinching a spot in the 2017 NBA Playoffs

John Wall, suffering from migraines, decided to suit up against the Brooklyn Nets (the worst team in the NBA) on Friday night.

The Washington Wizards‘ lone All-Star has been on record about wanting to play through pain if possible, just to please the fans who paid to see him on the court. Friday wasn’t any different.

In the back of their minds, Washington’s coaching staff was probably hoping the team would secure a blowout win, allowing Wall and the rest of the starters to rest before taking on the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday.

On paper and record-wise, the Nets are atrocious, but their awfulness makes them sneaky.

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It’s the bad teams that usually put up the most difficult fight, and for most of the first quarter, that was the case.

Wall scored at will, blazing past Jeremy Lin to the rim. He connected with his teammates, too, spoon feeding them for buckets.

Brooklyn, behind the play of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, scrapped, gaining a 9 point advantage early.

But it was only a matter of time before Washington took over, and surprisingly, their push came with the second unit on the floor.

Washington’s bench exploded, creating havoc and turnovers, leading to easy points in transition. A 10 point lead ballooned to 20 and the Nets had no way to respond.

With the 129-108 victory, the Washington Wizards have clinched a spot in the 2017 NBA Playoffs.

Jennings puts on a show

Brandon Jennings has reinvented himself in D.C., becoming more of a pass-first guard. He’s averaged nearly 13 assists per-36 minutes, often deferring to his teammates rather than looking for his own shot.

On Friday, he mixed it up, putting on a show for everybody in attendance with his ball handling.

Brooks has openly praised Jennings for his pace, but it’s rarely converted in baskets, at least for himself.

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He set his teammates up, mainly Ian Mahinmi, but he also looked for his own shot against Brooklyn.

Jennings dazzled the crowd with his handles, finding ways to pick the defense apart.

Jennings scored 18 points and dished out 9 assists off the bench, making 4 of his 6 attempts from behind the 3-point arc.

His play single handedly sparked the Wizards’ insurmountable lead. John Wall, who finished the game with 22 points and 9 assists, was able to sit for most of the game, playing just 24 minutes.

Jennings flat out embarrassed the Nets. It got to the point where the Brooklyn play-by-play crew was questioning whether or not the Nets’ coaching staff should be upset at Jennings for showboating.

Mahinmi is a consistent force

For most of the season, it seemed like the Washington Wizards made the biggest mistake this past summer with the Ian Mahinmi signing. Months later – just 22 days before the NBA Playoffs begin – it’s beginning to pay off.

Mahinmi’s emergence has caused Marcin Gortat‘s production to slip, but he’s become a consistent force for the Wizards on both ends of the floor. He’s used his length and size to protect the paint, but he’s also given the Wizards another offensive weapon, surprisingly.

His touch around the rim is a lot better than advertised. Mahinmi routinely scores over smaller defenders and does a solid job of catching the ball in traffic off shuffle passes.

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He scored 16 points and grabbed 7 rebounds off the bench. He also made 6 of his 7 free throw attempts.

Oubre is finding his niche

As a 21-year-old coming off an underwhelming rookie season, struggles were expected for Kelly Oubre. He’s tried to leave an impression on Scott Brooks, sometimes trying to do too much on the court.

But lately, he’s found himself on the defensive side of the floor.

Oubre, unlike most young players, takes pride in his defense. His brashness is a plus defensively, as he’s not afraid of the tough match ups. His gambling has also led to steals, creating fastbreak opportunities.

Oubre’s energy is contagious. When he’s disruptive, clapping and getting under the opponent’s skin, the rest of the team plays with that sort of fire. It’s taken some time, but Oubre is finally understanding what he needs to do to crack Brooks’ rotation.

A win over the Nets isn’t particularly noteworthy for the third seeded Washington Wizards, but it was picture perfect. Everything went according to plan. The starters got much needed rest, the bench thrived and everybody remained healthy. It was quick and painless for the Wizards.

Next: Why the Wizards Could Get To the NBA Finals

Washington will see Cleveland on Saturday, the second game of a back to back.