The third installment of the Washington Wizards’ 2023-24 season was an ugly one. The Boston Celtics were commanding in a 126-107 loss that left many Wizards fans who made the trip to Capital One Arena or even watched on Monumental Sports Network frustrated. The Celtics took the lead early and never looked back, with stars Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum combining for 69 points through the first three quarters.
The real story, however, lies in the fourth quarter when backups from both teams came in to relieve the starters in a game that was well out of reach.
Coulibaly and Omoruyi made their presence felt against the Celtics reserves
Bilal Coulibaly made his first start in the NBA and set the franchise record for the youngest Wizard to do so. Although the first three quarters were tough for everyone on the team, Coulibaly found his footing in the fourth quarter when the Celtics sat their starters.
He quickly showcased all facets of his game, capping it off with a high-flying slam, before finishing the game with 9 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 blocks, and a steal.
It will take time for the 19-year-old rookie to develop into a legitimate NBA starter, but once again, Coulibaly demonstrates what things could look like in a few years for this rebuilding franchise.
Another pleasant surprise on an otherwise bleak night was Eugene Omoruyi, who only played 12 minutes as one of the reserves who came in during the fourth quarter. Omoruyi was incredibly efficient during his short time on the floor, with 14 points on 5-5 shooting from the field including 1-1 from beyond the arc.
He supplemented his spectacular shooting with six rebounds, an assist, a steal, and a block. The 26-year-old didn’t shy away from driving to the rim, getting to the free throw line twice where he was 3-4.
Standing at 6’6″ and 235 pounds, Omoruyi made the most of his time on the floor by being aggressive on both sides of the ball. While not the tallest of players, the physicality that he brings to the table could be beneficial for the Wizards to generate time and room for one of the several shooters on the roster.
Does this fourth-quarter performance ensure these two players secure more playing time in their upcoming games? Maybe not, but Wes Unseld Jr. certainly has something to think about moving forward.