Team Effort Nets Washington Wizards Rare Road Win

Washington Wizards (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Washington Wizards (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Things didn’t look great early on in Brooklyn. After getting in a quick 10-0 hole, the Washington Wizards quickly bounced back, though, establishing the lead later in the first quarter and never looking back. 

In truly unlikely fashion, the Washington Wizards ended their current 4-game losing streak with a road win against the East’s 6th placed Brooklyn Nets. This is the Wizards’ first road win since a 95-91 victory over the Orlando Magic on January 25.

During a month where Bradley Beal has simply dominated for the Washington Wizards – he’s averaging 30.8 points, 6.8 assists, and 4.7 rebounds – Washington’s star delivered another brilliant performance. These stuffed stat lines are becoming all too familiar in February:  31 points on 54.5% shooting plus 4 assists, 2 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 blocks.

However, even as Beal prolonged his 20-point and 25-point game streaks, his supporting cast may have stolen the show in Brooklyn. Trevor Ariza broke out of his recent shooting slump on his way to a 23-point, 10-rebound double-double.

In his second consecutive game coming off the bench, center Thomas Bryant poured in18p/5r/3a, providing the instant and infectious energy he’s come to be known for this season.

Benchmate Jabari Parker added a rebounding presence that is lacking night in and night out for the league’s 28th ranked rebounding team. His 14 rebounds led both teams. Hopefully, this helps Scott Brooks figure out how best to use the newly acquired forward. Bobby Portis, who started at center for the second consecutive game, helped on the boards as well, grabbing a dozen on the way to a double-double of his own.

Even Troy Brown Jr got in on the action. Just days after Scott Brooks vowed to finally give the rookie some more consistent minutes, Brown made the most of his time on the court, logging 7p/5r/2a in just 13 minutes. Hopefully a sign of more to come.

The win comes as a refreshing change of pace for the Wizards, who have struggled mightily this month. Washington went just 3-7 in their ten February games. Their two other wins came against  Cleveland and the Chicago Bulls.  The rare road win was just Washington’s eighth this season. Only the Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, Cleveland Cavaliers, and New York Knicks have fewer road wins.

The skid has all but ended any legitimate shot at a playoff push. In the nine games before Brooklyn, the Wizards were giving up 126.5 ppg, allowing opponents to shoot 50.2% from the field and 42.4% from three. This season, the league average for opponent’s fg%, 3p%, and ppg are 46%, 35.4% and 110.9, respectively.

Last night, however, the Wizards held the Nets to “just” 116 points on 45.9% shooting. From three, Brooklyn shot an abysmal 22.9%.

Beating Brooklyn technically helps Washington make up some ground on an Eastern Conference team firmly entrenched in the playoff standings. However, even though they’ve preached playoffs all year, it may be much too late to turn things around for Washington. Sitting this far out of the playoff picture with just 21 games left doesn’t inspire hope.

Instead, Washington needs to turn to the off-season and to the draft. They know what they have in their veterans. Now, it’s time to play and develop younger talent. Especially Bryant, Parker, and Portis. They need to see those three on the court to decide if they want to keep them. AKA how much they’ll be willing to pay them.

With this season all but lost, there’s no reason why Brown shouldn’t be getting more and more opportunities to develop at the NBA-level like he did last night. Seeing him nail game-winners for the Capital City Go-Go is great, but the Wizards will need their versatile teenager moving forward. He’s one of the few players actually on contract for next season. And with Wall set to miss most or all of next year, the more ball-handling playmakers on the roster the better. Bottom Line: Brown needs more minutes.

Next. Washington Wizards: How to Attack the Draft. dark

Wednesday’s game was the last of Washington’s season series with Brooklyn. The two teams split the series 2-2, with each winning one at home and one on the road.