The Washington Wizards pulled off a 117-103 ‘upset’ victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night. It was the team’s final game before the NBA all-star break and a win was very much needed.
While they were playing a very shorthanded Nets group nothing is guaranteed with these Wizards. That’s a big reason they entered the game as underdogs. It was the second night of a back-to-back for both teams.
The win in number 27 for the Wizards on the season as they enter the break with a 27-31 record. That puts them in the 11th seed in the Eastern Conference playoff picture, one game behind the tenth-seeded Atlanta Hawks and ninth-seeded Charlotte Hornets. The Nets fall to 31-28 on the season but their record doesn’t represent their true goals.
Although stars like Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Ben Simmons, Bradley Beal and Kristpas Porzingis were not on the court for this one it still turned out to be a quality contest. Things were even throughout and the game entered the fourth quarter all tied up. Eventually, the Wizards were able to pull away thanks to some clutch performances by their bench unit.
Wizards Box Score: Rui Hachimura and Ish Smith Come up Clutch
The Wizards got an awesome all-around performance from their bench unit in this one. In the end, their bench outscored the Nets by a tally of 65-53. Leading the way, specifically in the final quarter, was the duo of Ish Smith and Rui Hachimura.
Hachimura scored a season-high 20 points in the contest, 13 of which came in the final quarter. In the fourth, he didn’t just score but he did so efficiently, going 6-7 from the field.
Smith was there to help him Hachimura guide the Wizards to victory, scoring 11 points in the fourth and tacking on 4 assists without turning the ball over. He shot 5-6 in the final 12 minutes and the Wizards as a team shot 16-18 in the fourth quarter.
Wizards Box Score: Seven Players in Double Figures
The most surprising part of this might not be the impressive balanced scoring necessarily. While seven players reaching double-digit points is a nice number, it’s far more impressive when you consider who didn’t fall under that category.
The Wizards two leading scorers from the night prior, Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, both stayed in single digits. The rest of the team stepped up and did so in an effective manner.
Hachimura led the way with 20 points while Corey Kispert was right behind him with 16 points on the night. Also reaching double digits on the evening were Smith (15), Deni Avdija (13),
Raul Neto(12), Anthony Gill (12) and Thomas Bryant (12).
Wizards Box Score: Best Three-Point Shooting Performance of the Season
The Wizards tied their season-high for three-point percentage in this one, connecting on exactly 50 percent from behind the arc. That means they’ve strung together back-to-back good shooting performances as they enter the break, something valuable to a team that has been terrible from deep all season.
Rookie Corey Kispert was the catalyst, knocking down a team-high four three-pointers on six attempts. Hachimura and Gill both knocked down their only two attempts from the outside as the team shot more efficiently than they have in quite some time.