September 30, 2020

Washington Wizards Game 65 Review: Wiz down short-handed Griz

The Washington Wizards defeated the Memphis Grizzlies, 107-87, on Thursday night at the Verizon Center in Washington.

The Grizzlies were playing the second game of a back-to-back in a busy March schedule that has them playing 17 games this month, so Memphis head coach Dave Joerger decided to rest Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol, Mike Conley and Tony Allen.

The Grizzlies’ backups that were starting tonight got off to a fast start, building a nine-point lead in the first quarter at 33-24. Beno Udrih and Kosta Koufos combined for 16 points in the quarter for Memphis. John Wall beat the first quarter buzzer to cut the Wizards’ deficit to seven going into the second quarter.

The Wizards took over the game coming out of the break. The Wizards tied the game at 41 on Paul Pierce’s three-pointer with 6:11 left in the quarter. Otto Porter gave the Wizards the lead at 43-41 with 5:43 left in the first half, forcing the Grizzlies to call a 20-second timeout.

After JaMychal Green’s layup tied the game a second time, the Wizards took the lead for good on John Wall’s free throw with 5:18 left before halftime and never looked back.

“We finally got active in that second quarter,” said head coach Randy Wittman. “Fronting posts, denying passes, deflections; I think we had 12 deflections in the second quarter alone. What did we have at half, 19 fast break points? I think 13 of those were in the second quarter so our defense fueled us to get us going.”

The Wizards entered halftime with a 60-47 lead after outscoring the Grizzlies, 34-14, in the second quarter.

“Our defense really picked up,” said Paul Pierce. “Giving up 30 points in the first quarter especially when they don’t have their two big lead scorer All-Star guys in, it’s kind of embarrassing to us so we really picked it up. Settled into our defensive ways and never looked back.”

Marcin Gortat scored 22 points with nine rebounds for the Wizards. Gortat’s usual frontcourt partner, Nene, had the night off for personal reasons.

Drew Gooden scored 13 points starting in Nene’s place, while Paul Pierce also scored in double-digits with 17. John Wall added 21 points with six assists.

Green and Jarnell Stokes led the Grizzlies with 13 points apiece.

About Derek Norin

Derek Norin is a Contributor to District Sports Page. He is also the Washington Capitals correspondent for Pro Hockey News and is a contributor to Talk the Red. Derek was a copy editor for three different student publications at Ohio State and was a founder of the newspaper, the OSU Sentinel, that would become the OSU Rubicon today. Derek has been a member of SABR, SIHR, and PFRA. Derek put together www.capshistory.com, a history of the Capitals franchise told in Youtube videos. You can follow Derek on Twitter @dereknorin.

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