Friday was a pretty magical night for the Washington Wizards, with six players scoring double-digit points to help the team to its fourth win in five games by downing the Denver Nuggets 112-108.
Imagine if this Wizards team had been healthy all year just how good they might have been. Since Trevor Ariza, John Wall, Nene and A.J. Price have all returned to the regular lineup, the team has won four of their last five. It is a pretty amazing run for a team that was the last NBA franchise to earn a regular season win this year. Now that they have a little bit of confidence, they were able to notch their second road win of the year.
While Wall had the double-double with 12 assists and 14 points, rookie Bradley Beal was the story of the game. Coming off of a 26 point effort against the Sacramento Kings, Beal sunk eight buckets for a team high 23 points. More impressive than this surge in points though, is how Beal has made 10 of his 14 shots from downtown in the last two games. For any player that is impressive, especially for a rookie in his first season.
Wall should not be forgotten though and probably had the play of the game. With time winding down in the fourth quarter and the Wizards clinging to a two point lead, Denver’s Ty Lawson drove the right side of the basket in an attempt to tie the game at 110 all. Washington’s Wall had other plans though and laid the rejection down, blocking Lawson’s shot and allowing the Wizards to grow the lead to four points after he sunk his free throws.
Friday was probably the first night where Washington had more than one or two dominant shooters all season. Beal, Wall, Martell Webster, Emeka Okafor, Kevin Seraphin and Trevor Ariza were all in double figures. While on top of those six outstanding efforts, Jordan Crawford, who returned from an ankle injury, and Nene were only one bucket away from they too being in double figures.
Defense was really optional for both teams though, with Denver also having five players with double-digit points. Lawson had a game high in points with 29. His effort, combined with Danilo Gallinari, Kenneth Faried, Corey Brewer and Andre Miller, wasn’t enough to down a Wizards team that is now looking like one of the best in the Eastern Conference, despite their terrible record.
Just about the only downside for the Wizards was an aspect of the game that has plagued them all year long, free throws. It almost cost them at the end of the game too, as Crawford and Beal both missed one of their free passes and allowed the Nuggets to hang around. If both of those players sink their shots, the game is over many seconds before it eventually was. As a team, they shot 19-of-28. The good news for Washington was that Denver was worse, only hitting 19 of their 31 free throws.
The Wizards now improve to 8-29 and turn around to play the Los Angeles Clippers tomorrow at the Staples Center. Friday’s game marked the halfway point of this long West Coast road trip. They have three more games on the road before returning back to Verizon next Friday.