September 28, 2020

Washington Wizards Game 52 Review: Wizards get badly needed win by beating Nets to end 5 game skid

The Washington Wizards entered play Saturday riding a five-game losing streak, their worst such stretch since the end of the 2012-2013 season. The Wizards looked to end the skid and regain some ground in the playoff race in the final three games before the All-Star break. They did what they had to in emphatic style, as seven scored in double-figures and all 13 who played scored in the 114-77 win over the Brooklyn Nets at Verizon Center.

The first quarter started with an inspired effort from the Wizards, who has been struggling in every face of the game. With Bradley Beal being sidelined for tonight’s game with a toe injury that kept him out of most of the last game against the Charlotte Hornets, the Wizards needed to make every offensive possession count.

They started out by doing just that, scoring on seven of their first nine possessions with six assists. The 14-4 run to start the game was fueled by a great start from Marcin Gortat, who had come into tonight’s game struggling. Gortat was 4 of 5 from the field for nine points in the quarter with three offensive rebounds. The Wizards were also given a lift offensively from the man who replaced Beal in the starting lineup, Otto Porter, who had seven points on just four field goal attempts to complement a steal and block. As a result of the early production from Gortat and Porter, coupled with strong defense, the Wizards enjoyed a 28-19 lead after the first frame.

The second quarter started with the reserves — as usual for Randy Wittman  — and with Beal out of the lineup, Andre Miller got his first playing time in three games as Garrett Temple moved to the two guard spot and Rasual Butler to the small forward position. The bench went off on both sides of the ball to start the quarter on a 16-5 run. Much of this came against the talented Brooklyn starters of Jarrett Jack, Joe Johnson, and Brook Lopez. Everyone from the bench had a positive double digit plus/minus ratio because the Nets were held without a field goal for the middle seven minutes of the quarter.

Before John Wall and the rest of the starters even returned to the game, the lead was stretched out to 24. For the waning minutes of the half, the Wizards were on cruise control and took a commanding 58-38 lead at halftime.

The third quarter continued with the same offensive execution for the Wizards as they had displayed in the first half. With Nene exploiting one-on-one matchups for three buckets and John Wall knocking down back to back three balls, the Wizards stretched out to the lead to a whopping 80-50 mark. With the game in hand, Wittman pulled the string on the starters with four minutes to go in the quarter. Going into the fourth, the Wizards enjoyed an 89-61 advantage.

The fourth quarter was much of the same as the bench took care of business in keeping the lead upwards of 25 points. The production from Butler and Kevin Seraphin scoring-wise, and Kris Humphries on the boards, put the game into cruise control again. Wittman decided to really empty the bench with four minutes to go in the game by inserting Martell Webster, Drew Gooden, and DeJuan Blair into the game. This might have caused some sloppiness as the game wound down, but it was important to get these players minutes because they could step in later in the season if there were to be unforeseen long-term injuries to anyone of the starters. The game ended with the Wizards winning by a convincing 114-77 thumping of the Brooklyn Nets.

Why the Wizards Won:

  • To prevent extended offensive droughts that had plagued them in earlier games, the Wizards had to get easy buckets in transition where they are best large in part to the one-man fast break in John Wall. The Wizards were able to do just that with 17 fast break points in the first half where the game was put, while on the other hand only giving up three during the entire game to the Nets.
  • The Wizards exerted their physical dominance down low in the paint tonight both offensively and defensively. Washington scored over half their points, 64, in the paint while only allowing a mediocre 30 to the Nets. This was thanks large in part to the 53 points scored by Wizards big men.
  • After being accused of having the ball stick too much on the offensive end, John Wall and the rest of the Wizards put those arguments to bed with great ball movement. The Wizards shot over 50% from the field, which can be directly correlated to the fact that over 70% of the Wizards made baskets were assisted on.

The Wizards will look to continue the momentum at home against the Orlando Magic on Monday. The Magic have young talent, like Victor Oladipo, but recently fired their head coach after a ten-game losing streak. Although they just snapped that losing streak with a win against the Kobe-less Lakers, the Magic will have to travel the night before as they are forced to play back-to-back nights. The Wizards would be wise to take care of their business against a bad team that could suffer from tired legs.

About Neil Dalal

Neil Dalal is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Redskins, Wizards, and Maryland Terrapins. Neil grew up in Silver Spring, MD and attends the University of Maryland. Neil has loved everything related to the Redskins, Wizards, Capitals, and Terrapins since he was eight years old. However, he favors the Orioles, as he started watching baseball before the Expos moved to DC. You can follow Neil on Twitter @NeilDalal96.

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