Game Report 14: Wizards 116 Lakers 111
THE GAME TURNED WHEN… the Wizards came out of a timeout trailing 108-107 with 1:54 remaining in regulation. The Wizards went inside to Nene, a winning move in this game, but for once it didn’t work, as Pau Gasol blocked Nene‘s short shot in the paint. However, Trevor Ariza grabbed the offensive rebound and drew a non-shooting foul. On the ensuing play, the Wizards got the ball to John Wall, who squared up for a 17-footer and nailed it. The shot put Washington up 109-108, a lead the team never relinquished.
THE GAME WAS OVER WHEN… with 15 seconds left in regulation and Washington leading 114-111, former Wizard Nick Young clanged a 28-footer off the back of the rim. John Wall grabbed the rebound and was immediately fouled by Jordan Farmar. Wall made both free throws to put Washington up by 5 points with 14 seconds left. Pau Gasol would get free for an easy layup, but muff the chance with 9 seconds left. Nene grabbed the ball and the Wizards ran out the clock to secure the win.
THE GOOD… John Wall was 11-12 at the line and scored seven points from the line in the last three-and-a-half minutes of the game.
The Wizards dominated the painted area tonight, out-scoring Los Angeles 56-36 in the paint. That’s mainly due to John Wall penetrating either off the dribble or in the early offense. The Wiz came up with 15 steals tonight and Wall relentlessly pushed the ball toward the hoop every chance he got.
Wall’s speed and determination to push the ball up also helped Washington get a big win in fast break points 21-7.
The Wiz had an almost two-to-one advantage on points off turnovers, 28 to 15. Why? Well, it helps when the Wiz commit only 10 turnovers, but force 16. It also helps that John Wall is off to the races every time there is a loose ball on defense.
THE BAD… The bench got destroyed again. [More on that below.] The defense was poor, particularly on rotations, allowing the Lakers to get a lot of good and open looks at the basket from beyond the arc. The Lakers racked up 30 assists, further evidence of Washington’s poor team defense and rotation.
THE UGLY… The Wizards didn’t play a lot of defense, tonight, allowing the Lakers to shoot 53 percent from the field and connect on 13 of 28 3-pointers. Washington made only 6-21 from long range.
THE STUDS… John Wall scored 31 points, the third straight game he’s scored at least 30. He was 10/18 from the field, 11/12 at the line, 9 dimes, 6 rebounds and only 3 TO. He was crucial down the stretch, scoring 13 of Washington’s final 15 points to make sure the game didn’t slip away. Oh, and there was also this thing.
Let’s not forget Nene, who scored a career-high 30 points on 13-22 shooting. [Kind of surprising he's never scored 30 points in a game before.] He also dished 5 assists, though he grabbed only two rebounds. Pau Gasol had a nice game for the Lakers, particularly with his 8 dimes, but Nene won this battle and it was probably the difference in the game.
Martell Webster, playing at guard in place of the injured Bradley Beal, had another big game, filling up the stat sheet with 20 points on 8-15 shooting, 4-8 on 3-pointers, 4 assists and 3 steals. Webster also led the Wizards with 9 rebounds and a +12 court ratio.
THE DUDS… Washington’s bench was outscored by the Lakers bench 48-10. Now, a big margin was expected since the Wizards have essentially no bench now with Beal out and Webster in the starting lineup. On top of that, the Lakers have the highest-scoring bench in the NBA. Nevertheless, a -38 from your bench is tough to overcome. Fortunately, the Wizards were able to do it tonight. There was a price paid, though. No Wizards starter played fewer than 32 minutes tonight [Trevor Ariza, just back from injury] and Martell Webster played 43 minutes. That’s not sustainable forever.
THE MISSING IN ACTION… The bench, again. Who else? The starters played very, very well. They have to or Washington has no chance to win a game.
THE WOUNDED… G Bradley Beal is out a minimum of two weeks with a stress injury. Al Harrington is still out with a sore knee and Otto Porter is still recovering from a hip flexor injury.
THE BENCHWARMERS… C/F Kevin Seraphin, F Trevor Booker and rookie G/F Glenn Rice, Jr. were cheerleaders. Seraphin and Booker appear to have been run completely out of the rotation — understandably.
THE QUOTE… “Well, there wasn’t a lot of defense in this game.” — Wiz coach Randy Wittman in his postgame presser.
AND IT ALL MEANS… The Wizards won for the fourth time in the last five games, improving their record to 6-8 and 4-2 in the Phone Booth. John Wall is playing like a superstar, averaging about 19 points per game and second in the NBA with 8.9 assists. In the last three games, though, Wall has averaged over 30 points per game and he is trying to carry the team to victories. It’s working lately, but how long can it last? He needs more help from his teammates and tonight he got it. I was particularly pleased by Webster, who had another nice game and is averaging 12 points and 5 rebounds per game this season. Those numbers will have to go up without Beal around for the the next two weeks — and likely longer [maybe a lot longer] than two weeks.