The Washington Wizards were eliminated from playoff contention on Friday when losing to the Detroit Pistons, but Randy Wittman wants to have “pride in playing” these last three games. For the third straight game, and probably rightfully so with nothing to play for, John Wall sat out with a sore right knee. Too add onto further injury, after one quarter of play that Washington would lose their other starting guard, but that did not stop the Wizards from playing hard. Behind an efficient performance from Marcin Gortat, 10 of 11 for for 21 points, 13 rebounds, and four assists, the Wizards dominated Charlotte on their way to a 113-98 victory.
You could argue that there was nothing to play for, but that did not stop the Polish Machine from opening the game 5 of 5 from the field, while grabbing seven rebounds in the quarter. When bench players starter to enter the lineup, Washington’s defense suffered allowing Charlotte to get better shooting looks. After Hornets’ Marvin Williams had to take a seat with two personal fouls early in the game, rookie Frank Kaminsky gave the road team a boost off the bench with seven first quarter points. Behind 16 points in the paint the home team clung to a 28-27 lead after one quarter.
The Wizards got back to lock down defense to start the second quarter, which allowed them to rattle off a 7-0 run. A few minutes later Washington with go on a 15-4 run to take the largest lead of the game at 53-39. With Wittman holding all starters out besides Ramon Sessions and Gortat, who reentered late to give Nene a breather, opportunity called for Marcus Thornton and Kelly Oubre. Thornton was a mediocre 1 of 6 frm the field in the first half with three assists, while Oubre was held scoreless on two shot attempts. By halftime Jared Dudley, who pulled out a beautiful Dream Shake move, pitched in with six points that helped Washington hold a 55-48 advantage.
The team announced shortly after Bradley Beal did not start the second half that the Florida product was sidelined due to a sore pelvis injury that cost him three games a month ago. Charlotte started the half on a 9-2 run to tie the game before later taking the lead for the first time since early in the first quarter. Otto Porter then decided to take things into his own hands with a personal 8-0 run late in the third quarter. The former Hoya sparked a 15-0 run for the home team that allowed the Wizards to take a 86-74 lead headed into the final quarter.
Washington struggled to get anything going on offense during the early parts of the final quarter. It was not until there was 6:43 left in the fourth quarter that they finally scored a field goal which allowed the Hornets to pull within four on a 10-2 run. The Wizards responded with a quick 8-0 run within the next 80 seconds the featured an Oubre lay in sandwiched by a couple of 3-pointers. That same run was extended to 14-2 leading to Charlotte conceding the game shortly thereafter with the insertions of Tyler Hansbrough and Jorge Gutierrez. Oubre put an exclamation point on the game with a thunderous left handed slam before the Wizards left Verizon Center with a 113-98 victory.
The Wizards will head out for Brooklyn tonight where they have a matchup with the Nets from Barclay Center on Monday in the penultimate game of the year.