The Washington Wizards are probably more unpredictable than a roller coaster or the stock market. Fresh off a five-game losing streak and with an early offseason in sight, Washington had their best offensive performance of the game against the Detroit Pistons. They had another opportunity to secure a tiebreak over a playoff contender when hosting the Chicago Bulls. For the third time this season, and sixth in his career, John Wall recorded a triple-double as he schooled the visitors when in the game with a team-best +38. Washington won their eighth home game of the last nine opportunities in convincing fashion 117-96.
An efficient offensive showing carried over from Monday night even after Marcin Gortat (lower back) was unable to start. Nene, inserted into the starting lineup as a result, was in the middle of Washington’s ball movement with several hockey assists. On 6 of 11 shooting, while holding the Bulls to just 2 of 7 to start, the Wizards took a 16-6 lead. After Chicago cut the Washington lead to three with a 7-0 run, the home team responded right back with a 10-0 run of their own. The Bulls made their last four shots of the quarter and cut the Wizards game-high lead of 14 in half, but the DC franchise still held a 32-25 advantage after twelve minutes of play.
Officially listed as doubtful at the beginning of the game, Gortat started the second quarter for DC after getting stretched out and massaged. Chicago took their first lead of the game early in the second quarter with a 12-0 run extending back into the first quarter. With John Wall sitting on the bench the Wizards struggled on both sides of the floor. Usual reserves Garrett Temple, 5 of 5 from beyond the arc in the first half, and Nene, mismatch offensively against smaller Bulls, led Washington on a 18-2 run to retake the lead. Behind Temple’s tying of his career high of made 3-pointers in a game in the first half alone, the Wizards had a commanding 63-52 lead at intermission.
The Wizards opened the third quarter on an 8-2 run as they continued their hot shooting from beyond the arc with 9 of 12 shooting at that point. Markieff Morris struggled with foul trouble for much of the game, but it allowed the Wizards to get positive minutes out of Jared Dudley, not just Temple. Both teams started the quarter with sloppy play and several turnovers, including John Wall who had six by the end of the third quarter. Then Optimus Dime started to be selfish and scored the team’s next ten straight points that put Washington up 19. Headed into the final quarter the Wizards led 92-74.
Wall quickly returned in the fourth quarter as the Washington lead began to come into jeopardy with the offense getting sloppy. DC’s point guard went on to record his sixth career triple-double as Washington cruised to victory by having the advantage in practically every statistical category. Wall and the rest of the Wizards starters received a standing ovation on their exit with 1:37 left in the game. When a team shoots 13 of 21 (61.9 percent) frm deep, it is easy to see how Washington took care of business with a 117-96 victory.
The Wizards will travel to Philadelphia tonight for their last matchup with the Sixers this season tomorrow night.