Who is this team and what have they done with the Washington Wizards? After having a fairly successful West Coast road trip, the Wizards returned home to down the Minnesota Timberwolves 114-101.
John Wall earned his first start of the year and added his energy, as well as spark, to the Wizards offense off the bat. Never trailing throughout the game, Washington yet again had five players in double-digits. Jordan Crawford led the offense with 19 points off the bench. Rookie Bradley Beal followed Crawford with 16 points of his own and led the team with a plus-24 rating. Nene, Martell Webster and Wall were the other three players in double figures.
Perhaps more impressive than the offense though, was some of the defense the Wizards played. Of note was a block by Beal in the third quarter. After the Wizards turned the ball over, Minnesota’s Luke Ridnour took the ball down the court and went for the easy layup. While Ridnour thought he was in the clear, Beal had other ideas, blocked the shot and one defensive rebound later knocked down a 22-foot jumper to make the score 70-51.
There were several opportunities following the Beal block where the Timberwolves looked like they were about to seize the momentum, but Washington would immediately answer to stay in control.
Finally reaching double-digit wins, the Wizards are no longer the last team in the Eastern Conference. Taking a half-game lead over the Charlotte Bobcats certainly seemed a lot harder than it probably was, but finally Washington has something to build on. They are 6-4 in their last 10 and have the chance to add the Chicago Bulls to the list of team’s they have beaten at home tomorrow.
Wizards’ Most Valuable Player: Crawford only played off the bench and is probably still a little injured, but was clearly the Wizards’ best player. Hitting three-of-four from long range, Crawford continued to show why he led Washington in scoring for part of the year. If the team is able to get him in the starting lineup with Wall and Beal, they will be a nightmare for teams to stop defensively.
Wizards’ Least Valuable Player: On a night when the team was red-hot from three-point land, Trevor Booker was absolutely awful from the field. Washington nearly shot 60-percent and the former first-round pick went 0-4 from the floor and only 2-4 from the free throw line for his only points of the night. He is supposed to be yet another piece to a deadly Wizards offense, yet he continues to just be a liability in his limited minutes.
What it Means: It is certainly bizarre to say, but the Wizards are by far one of the hottest team’s in the NBA. As of right now, they are moving the ball incredibly well on offense and literally seem to constantly find the open-man right when they need to. Moving forward, the team needs to continue play with the same confidence, as it is their confidence which makes them so hard for team’s to match with.